In the real estate vernacular, at least here in Florida, there are four terms that define a property’s status on the water – they are – Waterfront, Water view, Water access, and Water Extras – simple eh! Not so fast…you see, in real estate, although the term “waterfront” could refer to anything from the gulf, to the oversized puddle the developer was trying to pass off as a pond, “waterfront” is really only one thing – a property (whether it be a condo or a single family home or a townhome) that is directly on the water. still simple, eh! Not so fast again…
Ok, Ok so you have a property directly on the water, that means you can use the water, right? Not necessarily. If you are in a waterfront condo complex, maybe you can – if there is a dock in the community, or a fishing pier (water extras). But, if not, don’t try launching your Boston Whaler from your public lawn – communities tend to frown on that. If you are in a single family home, you more likely, have access but beware the mangroves! You may need permission from God to give them a haircut and that water on the other side, may remain an unrequited dream, as you load your kayak on the roof of your jeep wrangler in search of unfettered access.
Alright, so waterfront assumes I have a “water view,” though, right? Well, maybe, but in addition to mangroves (see above) you could be on the non-waterside of the building (in a condo) and may have no view of the water or a very diminished view. It may be that the building is waterfront but that particular unit isn’t. (I really think they should have thought this one out better and only made buildings with one side – the water side – but they didn’t consult me so it’s happened). Because, believe me, there are buildings in “waterfront” communities that have no views at all, being completely blocked by another unit, or it’s a water-view if you repel down the side of the building and crane your neck around the corner (only practical if you have 8 eyes and can throw webs from your hands).
One other combination of terms, that could have you looking both ways before you hit the beach, is having water views, water access, but not being considered waterfront (how could this be? You ask). The usual reason is that there’s a road between you and the water or the beach. This little deflection from “actual waterfront” can also drop the price by a substantial amount as well as flatten that new shark floaty you just bought, if you aren’t paying attention!
So, what’s the point of all this? Be suspicious. Ask questions, look at the aerial maps or have your realtor call to see where the unit is in the building, if it’s not obvious from pictures. Pretty simple – actually much simpler than my explanations above!