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A Dream Home on the Water

A Dream Home on the Water


By Chris Petry

Despite a lack of fins, gils, or webbed appendages, humans sure do love spending time on the water. In fact, we built the whole of civilization around it. Of course, in those days, water was the most efficient method of travel and transport so it makes perfect sense that New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Austin… you name it, were erected on the banks of a lake, ocean, or river.

Logistics and infrastructure aside, people just enjoy being close to the water. How many dating profiles include a variation of “long walks on the beach” in their likes? Did you know there are over 59,000 registered boats within the Ohio boundaries of Lake Erie, alone? I guess it makes sense. Lake Erie is home to an estimated 50% of all fish that inhabit the Great Lakes region. A little further from home, the state of Florida reports that over 19 million people will visit their beaches in a given year. I’m going to guess that some of that traffic hails from Northeastern, Ohio. Yes, I saw your tan.

Another popular item you’ll find positioned on the water? Homes. According to this piece from World Property Journal, waterfront homes commanded a 118% price premium in 2023. The fact of the matter is, a lot of buyers are willing to spend more to land their dream home on the water. Maybe they plan to dock a boat, fish, or swim off a private pier. Perhaps, they have a special appreciation for the majesty and beauty of a shorefront getaway home.

An indirect benefit to, at least, lakefront living is the added privacy that usually comes along with it. Think about it. Most lakes are a little off the beaten path and usually surrounded by dense forest. So not only do you get a magnificent view of the water, you also have greater ease of access to a plethora of outdoor recreational opportunities, such as hiking, biking and skiing. Homes are usually a little further apart and traffic is minimal compared to land only homes which tend to be closer to major highways and business corridors. Conversely, some homebuyers may find that isolating. It really comes down to what you’re looking for in a private residence.

It's not all breaching whales and roses, however. Homes on the water have their own distinct drawbacks. For one, you’re on a body of water! Sounds great in theory but if said body of water is prone to flooding or annual weather events such as hurricanes, well… that’s not so magical. The risk of that property damage usually comes with a higher insurance premium. Typically, flood insurance is an entirely separate insurance coverage and can be mandated in high-risk areas for certain types of mortgage loans.

Another downside to lakefront properties, which was touched on in an earlier paragraph, is the higher price tag. There’s less inventory and high demand, which keeps prices higher even when mortgage rates and general inventory are good.  Of course, if you’ve always dreamed of a home on the water, then you need to speak to an agent from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stouffer Realty, who can help you locate or compare such properties. Until then, you can still enjoy a weekend out on the water without the benefits or drawbacks of maintaining a residence there.