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Waterfront Lots for Custom Homes: Are They Worth It?

Living on a waterfront lot has captivated the imagination of folks for centuries. It’s one of the most sought after accomplishments for many dreamers. There’s something about water that draws us to it. Whether it is the idea of waking up to the gentle lapping of waves or enjoying the panoramic views, it is undeniably appealing. However, it is a significant investment and there are both advantages and drawbacks to consider. In this article, we will explore not only the pros and cons of waterfront lots, but also dive into some of the details related to the design and construction challenges to help you decide if waterfront lots are worth it.

waterfront lot for custom home

Defining a Waterfront Lot

First, what is considered a waterfront lot. Seems like we see homes with water views all the time, but that’s not quite the same. A waterfront lot refers to a piece of land that is situated along the edge of a body of water, such as a river, lake, pond, or ocean. The term “waterfront” indicates the proximity of the property to the water’s edge. If you’re in a tall condo building a block away with a nice view of the water, that’s not a waterfront lot, but enjoy the waterfront view anyway. Waterfront lots are often very desirable and are typically valued for their natural beauty and can command higher prices in the real estate market.

Pros of a Waterfront Lot

There are some meaningful advantages to a custom home on a waterfront lot. Lets review them.

  • The View: Undoubtedly, one of the most significant pros of waterfront living is the breathtaking views. Being able to see a sunset or sunrise over the water as its glassy surface reflects all the incredible colors can be incredible. Whether it’s a serene lake, flowing river, or expansive ocean, waterfront properties offer a picturesque backdrop that can enhance your overall living experience.

  • Lifestyle & Recreation: Living on the waterfront provides immediate access to a variety of recreational activities. The activities will vary depending if you are on a lake, river, or the ocean, but you can enjoy activities such as boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking and more right from your own backyard. This can lead to a more active, hassle-free, and enjoyable lifestyle, if you love water-based activities.

  • Serenity: Waterfront living often offers a sense of seclusion and tranquility. The sound of water can act as a natural barrier, providing a sense of privacy from neighbors and the hustle and bustle of urban life. Looking out your windows at a calm lake, surrounded by trees or mountains in the background is a great way to reduce stress. Similarly, falling asleep to the sound of ocean waves or early morning walks or jogs on the beach may be ways for you to manage your daily pressure and hassles.

  • A Wise Investment: On the more practical side, waterfront lots are often considered prime real estate and a solid financial move. They have higher values compared to inland homes and their scarcity and desirability can contribute to higher property value increases over time, so you can build equity quickly.

  • Unique Architectural Opportunities: Designing a home on a waterfront lot allows for some fun. Homes clearly will be crafted to maximize views, with features such as large windows, decks, and balconies that seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor living spaces. It is an opportunity to design a truly distinctive and customized living experience.

Cons of a Waterfront Lot

Just as there are advantages, there are some disadvantages to waterfront lots. Best to be fully aware than caught by surprise. Here is our take on the cons of waterfront lots.

  • High Costs: Waterfront properties have higher upfront and ongoing maintenance costs as compared to inland homes. Exposure to saltwater, humidity and the elements can accelerate wear and tear, while construction methods required for the locations can also be more initially and to maintain. Lastly, both flood and home insurance will be more than inland homes.

  • Bugs & Pests: Waterfront living means accepting that you’ll likely be barraged with bugs and other critters that will depend on where you live. Mosquitos and other bugs will be prevalent in many areas, while rats, snakes, raccoons, and alligators will be seen in other locations. Even waterfowl can be occasional nuisances.

  • Hurricanes/Storms: One of the most significant concerns associated with waterfront living is the increased risk of natural disasters, such as flooding, hurricanes or storm surge. Coastal areas are particularly vulnerable, but so too are riverfront and lakes. You will need to invest additional resources in insurance and take precautionary measures to protect your property.

  • Moisture Levels: Most waterfront properties have one con in common – high moisture levels. This can lead to some maintenance hassles. You’ll need to keep watch for wood rot, metal corrosion and mold growth. And if you have a beach nearby, you’ll constantly be battling sand in the home.

  • Regulatory Restrictions: Living near water often comes with a myriad of regulatory restrictions and permits. These may include rules regarding dock construction, shoreline protection, building height and the building location on the lot. Navigating these regulations can be complex and may put limits and restrictions on the design of your home.

  • Lack of Privacy: Remember all that serenity you want? Well, some waterfront lots may require you to sacrifice a certain level of privacy depending on the location and public access to the beach or areas near your home. Since waterfronts are such a draw, tourists and locals alike may be frequent visitors. Again, it all depends on your location, but don’t be surprised to be surrounded by beachgoers looking into your home.

waterfront lots

Design & Construction Challenges

Waterfront lot custom homes have a variety of real challenges to manage and overcome during design in particular, but also during construction. We have touched on some of these briefly in the pros and cons, but here are some of these design/construction challenges.

  • Environmental Considerations: Designing a home on a waterfront lot requires careful consideration of the local environment. Architects and builders must navigate strict regulations to ensure that construction activities do not harm the delicate ecosystem surrounding the property.

  • Foundation and Stability: Waterfront properties often have unique soil compositions and may be subject to erosion. Engineers must design foundations that provide stability while accounting for potential shifts in the soil and understanding drainage. This requires specialized knowledge to ensure long-term structural integrity of the home.

  • Flood and Storm-Resistant Construction: To mitigate the risk of flooding, homes on waterfront lots must be designed and constructed with flood-resistant materials and techniques. Elevated foundations, deep pile foundations, flood vents, breakaway walls and waterproofing measures are crucial components of building a home that can withstand the challenges posed by risking water, wind and storms.

  • Corrosion & Rot: Exposure to saltwater can accelerate the corrosion of building materials. Architects and builders need to select materials than can withstand the corrosive effects of saltwater and moisture to ensure the durability and longevity of the home. This may include using stainless steel, treated wood, and corrosion-resistant coatings.

  • Permitting Challenges: Obtaining the necessary permits for waterfront construction can be a complex and time-consuming process. Local authorities may have strict regulations to protect the waterfront environment and you must work closely with regulators to secure the required permits needed for construction.


Choosing a waterfront lot for a new home involves not only weighing the pros and cons, but also navigating the unique challenges associated with designing and constructing a custom home in a waterfront setting. While the breathtaking views and recreational opportunities are undeniable advantages, you must carefully consider the environmental, structural, and regulatory factors that come with waterfront living. With thorough research, collaboration with experienced professionals, and a realistic understanding of the potential challenges, you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth it. All the best with your decision!


“I have known Jon for many years. He and his team at Owners’ Ace are an invaluable resource to anyone looking to design and build a custom home. Having their assistance makes a complex process so much easier and successful. I recommend Owners’ Ace to my clients and to anyone looking to build their dream home.”

BG Holmberg, Top Custom Home Realtor in Tampa Bay Area

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