What Buyers Are Looking for in a Luxury Waterfront Property

  • Kathryn Scarborough
  • 10/27/21

Austin’s rivers are one of its greatest attractions. Lake Austin, formerly called Lake McDonald (named after Kathryn’s great great grandfather), is part of Texas’ Colorado River and is a popular fishing and boating destination with an excellent stock of largemouth bass, catfish, and sunfish. The lake is maintained as a constant-level lake through releases of water from Lake Travis upstream and is a popular choice for waterfront living.

Owning waterfront property is a dream for many. Nothing can beat the gorgeous, permanent views of lush landscapes and water. There are unique characteristics to waterfront property and here  are some of the most important features to consider.


Water Frontage

While this seems obvious, water frontage can vary greatly and is a key component to the property’s valuation. If the water bends in front of the property, for example, it will appear to have greater water frontage because the valuation is based on the twists and turns of the water and not the width of it against the property’s land. Thus, the most desirable Lake Austin Waterfront homes for sale are those that have a relatively straight border with water frontage across the entirety of it. Solid bulkheads, the barrier wall between the water and property, are important. They should be well-maintained and not in need of repair. There should be no sinkholes behind the barrier walls.  If there are, it is a sign the bulkhead is “leaking” and has a hole that needs to be repaired. Be sure to find out whose responsibility it is to repair any issues that may arise with any barrier walls. If the responsibility falls on you, check with your homeowner’s insurance to see what, if anything, it will cover. One of Kathryn’s all time favorite listings is at 1900 Cliffwood Drive. It has over 350 feet of water frontage and the home sits on a bluff affording both lake access and perhaps the best lake view she has ever seen.

Usable Yards and Access

Some properties will have wetlands on them restricting use for that area. Some have murky water that isn’t great for swimming. Some have restricted dock access.. It is important to know what features are important to you. Is recreational water that you can boat and fish on important to you?  If so, you will want to be sure your dock has no restrictions and is in good shape. Walking down to the area should be easy and the dock should feel sturdy, while still having enough movement to ebb and flow with the water’s movement. Are you more interested in the view and usable yard space for entertaining? In that scenario, you will want to inspect the yard for any soft and unusable areas. You will be on the lookout for a lack of steep steps and easy access between the house and entertainment areas.

Gorgeous Views

Large windows capturing the serene views of flowing water are the primary reason people are drawn to waterfront property. As you are looking at Lake Austin waterfront homes for sale, be alert to properties that may be overpriced just because of the view they have a claim to. You may be able to get a house better suited to your needs at a better price and still have a gorgeous view. The best part of any view provided by waterfront properties is that they are permanent. For example, homeowners in more urban areas may purchase a home with a wonderful view only to find that view destroyed when new developments go up. This is something waterfront property owners never need to worry about. Privacy is an important factor to consider also. Properties with good window coverings will allow for privacy and protection from the sun. 

Good Investment

Waterfront properties are limited, creating a steady demand for supply. New subdivisions with streets and trees are much easier to build than ones with lakes or rivers. Thus, waterfront property appreciates well over time and is less prone to market downturns. They make solid legacy investments that can be passed down from generation to generation. They also demand high rent rates. If the neighborhood association allows for rentals or Airbnb’s, they can provide a lucrative revenue stream. Most waterfront homes in Eanes ISD are on the market for 31 days and receive at least two offers, which exemplifies the solid investment of waterfront properties. 

Good Financing

Financing waterfront property is not the same as financing land-locked property. The lender will need time to research the surrounding floodplains and evaluate any potential issues. They may be doing this to secure their loan, but it is good for you, too. You also want to ensure you are making a safe investment. Some lenders may qualify waterfront mortgages as specialty loans because of their unique needs. Some waterfront properties may cost more than a conventional mortgage allows, which means you will need to get a jumbo loan. Those loans have their own, different, set of requirements. It is important to plan ahead and get prequalified for your loan before you start shopping.

A Realtor that is a Waterfront Specialist

Owning waterfront property has unique specifications that homebuyers need to be aware of. Some Lake Austin waterfront homes for sale will require flood insurance. Some lenders will consider waterfront property to be specialty loans. They have special maintenance issues that may arise, and the home must be built to withstand the waterfront. The docks and any outbuildings should have special legal permits attached to them. A real-estate agent experienced with waterfront property can guide homebuyers through the process and make sure it has everything they are looking for. 

Kathryn considers lakefront luxury estates her specialty. Recently, she sold the most expensive waterfront property in Austin, listed for $38,900,000. Are you ready to start looking at Lake Austin waterfront homes for sale? Kathryn Scarborough Group has the experience you need to find the waterfront home of your dreams. 


*Header Image : Luxury Waterfront Estate sold by Kathryn


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