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Ryan Riley of Penrith Home Loans shares several factors that waterfront home shoppers should keep in mind.

5 things you need to know when buying waterfront in Washington

Buying a home, while exciting, can be a complex process. Furthermore, purchasing a waterfront home comes with a few special considerations. Ryan Riley of Penrith Home Loans shares several factors that waterfront home shoppers should keep in mind.

1.The Competition

Supply and demand dictate how competitive the housing market is but when it comes to waterfront properties, the supply is relatively set. This means when a home becomes available it will attract attention.

Ryan notes when the price point of a home is lower, there is generally more competition. This means that if you’re looking at a waterfront home on the modest side of the cost spectrum, you should be aware that others are looking, too.

How can you position yourself in a crowded market? Ryan suggests sitting down with your home loan expert well in advance of looking at properties or making an offer. Know what you can afford and get pre-approved for that amount.

2.Flood Insurance

Depending on whether or not a waterfront home is determined to be in a flood zone, the property could require flood insurance. That being said, it’s possible the land is located within a flood zone yet the home is elevated to the extent that the structure itself does not qualify as being in a flood zone. An engineer can determine if this is the case and make the proper designation.

The cost of flood insurance will vary, but it’s important to include this in your monthly payment calculations.

3.Home Inspections

When inspecting a waterfront home, your home inspector should be on the lookout for issues associated with moisture. Waterfront homes are often less sheltered from the elements than other properties, so your inspector should also pay special attention to the integrity of roofing, siding and other outside components.

There are specific inspectors who are qualified to inspect shoreline barriers, piers and other associated structures and equipment.


Because waterfront homes are unique, the appraisal process can take a little longer. You may want to factor this into your expectations and general timeline. And, speaking of appraisals

5.Home value

Since waterfront homes are typically more expensive, the quantity of potential buyers is smaller. When the economy is robust and qualified buyers have disposable cash, the market becomes more competitive and home values increase.

“Conversely,” Ryan explains, “when the economy is slow, the size of the buyer pool that is willing to pay top dollar for a waterfront property, or any luxury home for that matter, is much lower.”

Because the Washington housing market is hot right now, buyers looking for waterfront homes should get preapproved to make their offer stand out. Penrith Home Loans’ Certified Buyer Program may give you an edge and increase the odds of your offer being accepted because of its compelling on-time guarantee. To learn more, call 800-383-3355 or visit

Check out the Washington Waterfront Home Tour this weekend to take a tour of beautiful properties along our state’s shores. The tour includes properties ranging in price from the mid-six figures all the way to exquisite multi-million-dollar estates throughout the Puget Sound. To learn more and see featured properties, visit