Top 5 Tips for Buying Waterfront Property in Maryland

Top 5 Tips for Buying Waterfront Property in Maryland

This state, which is located next to our nation’s capital, may be small, but it offers so many reasons to move here. Aside from having access to all the perks of Washington, DC but with a much lower cost of living, Maryland residents enjoy a booming economy in a prime location. This means more job opportunities, particularly in tech and trade industries. This place also offers a plethora of wonderful spots, such as beaches, mountains, and farms for those who love the outdoors and want to experience the four seasons.


If you are considering moving to Maryland and buying a home near the Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean, or any of the state’s more than fifty creeks and rivers, there is a wide array of beautiful waterfront homes to choose from. As a homebuyer, there are a few things you will need to do and take note of when buying this type of home. In this article, we share with you the top five tips for buying a waterfront home in Maryland.

Maryland Waterfront Real Estate Agent

Choose a Waterfront Real Estate Agent

Unlike most homes for sale in the real estate market, waterfront properties in Maryland come with their own unique set of regulations, details, and features; and you need an experienced waterfront real estate agent to ensure that your home purchase goes smoothly. Choose an agent who has detailed knowledge of the waterfront properties along Maryland’s bays and tributaries, and who can commit to assisting you from start to finish. 

View of the Lake, the Dock, and Lakefront Homes in Maryland

Check the Location

When buying a property, the location is more important as the structure. Why? Because even when you have bought the “perfect home”, you might later on realize that there are things surrounding your house that you are not necessarily fond of, such as boats too close to the shore or strangers fishing from your dock. And while you can make changes to the property that you just purchased, you can never change its location. So, familiarize yourself with the types of waterfront houses and consider the location very well. A waterfront
home is located directly on the water, meaning the house is built on a property that goes directly to the water’s edge. A house that is advertised as having a water view may have an expansive view of a large body of water, while other houses would offer only a tiny glimpse of water from an upstairs window. On the other hand, a home that is advertised as having water access might not have a
view, but your house is located in a community that offers water access. 

Man Signing Documents

Get Insurance for Your Home

While insurance can be costly and complicated, it is to your advantage to talk to an insurance professional and get an insurance for your property. It is important to note that the Maryland homeowner’s insurance will not protect you in the case of a flood and, if your property is located within a flood zone, you will be required to purchase flood insurance which is costly as the pricing is regulated by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). So, before you make an offer to buy a waterfront home, contact the local zoning board to check the flood zone map and know what the requirements are for the piece of land you plan to purchase.

Know Your Responsibilities as Homeowner

Get to know your responsibilities as a homeowner. If you will be part of a homeowners’ association, find out from the HOA’s management company if there are any fees or requirements. If you are buying a waterfront home that is part of a homeowners’ association or is located in a developed community, you need to inquire about the regulations that they have established. Generally, communities and HOAs will hold the riparian rights to waterfront properties, so you need to know what you are allowed to do with your non-riparian home.

When a home is non-riparian, there is water access, but the property leading to the water is not owned by the homeowner. Given this, the homeowner does not have a pier or dock in the water, but the communities will grant the owners access to the water. When a Maryland waterfront home has riparian rights, the homeowner’s deed extends all the way to the water’s edge, so the body of water actually forms one of the property’s boundary lines. When you own riparian rights, you have direct access to the water and the right to extend use into the water upon the approval of the local government, with the condition that you do not encroach upon the neighbors’ rights.

View of Lake and Lakefront Homes in Maryland

Learn About Critical Area Regulations

The Maryland General Assembly created the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Protection Program for the purpose of protecting the Chesapeake Bay and the surrounding environment by restricting and controlling the development within these crucial areas. Following this, a Critical Area Buffer 100 feet adjacent to the tidal waters, tidal wetlands, and tributary streams was established, within which shrubs, plants, and trees were planted to help protect against runoff water that can cause land erosion carry pollutants into the water. If you are buying a home within this critical area, you will be limited to use your land within the established regulations and will need to request approval for any developments.

Homeowners within the buffer can only remove trees that are dead, dying, diseased, or a hazard on the property, and are required to replace these with new trees. You may build on property within the Critical Area, as long as you consult with your local zoning board for all rules and regulations in your specific situation. Residents within the buffer zone might also be required to submit a Buffer Management Plan if you wish to make any changes on your property. 

Infographic Showing the Top 5 Tips for Buying Waterfront Property in Maryland

Although the rules and regulations involved with Maryland waterfront homes may be quite overwhelming, it will all be worth the work. After you have learned all the important information that every homeowner needs to know, you are ready to close the deal and start enjoying all that the benefits that the beautiful waters of Maryland has to offer. Let us help you find your dream waterfront home here in Maryland! We are just a phone call or email away. Feel free to call us at 443-992-5700 or send us an email at [email protected]

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