What All Waterfront Property Buyers Should Know

David Levin 15/04/2016

I am often asked, “Why should a Buyer of waterfront property hire an attorney to do the closing, and what are the benefits of hiring an attorney who limits his practice to waterfront property law?”

First and foremost, only an attorney is qualified to provide legal advice!!!

If an attorney is hired to issue the title insurance and perform the closing, this legal advice is included in the service.

An attorney can answer questions of utmost importance to all Buyers, such as,

  • Is the recorded legal description accurate?
  • What is the nature of any deed restrictions upon the use
    of the property?
  • Will the title to the property be marketable for future sales or refinancing?
  • What is the zoning of the subject property and how will local zoning laws affect the use of the property?

The purchase of waterfront property requires a higher level of due diligence than other properties. An attorney experienced in waterfront property law can assist the Buyer in answering important questions such as,

  • What federal, state and local governmental restrictions will affect the development or redevelopment of the property?
  • Does the existing structure comply with applicable Flood Zone requirements?
  • Is the property suitable for the Buyer’s intended purposes?
  • Who owns the submerged lands adjacent to the uplands?
  • Can I build a new dock or modify an existing dock?
  • Do riparian rights come with the property?

Unlike a Title Company, having an attorney on the Buyer’s side can help make sure the Buyer’s interests are faithfully upheld. One of the greatest benefits of using an attorney is that the attorney has an ethical obligation to work on behalf of the Buyer’s interest.

Buyers should understand that there is a difference in the level of service between closings performed by an attorney and those performed by a Title Company. They should also be advised that with respect to waterfront property, not all real estate attorneys have the same level of experience.

To gain a better appreciation for the issues to be resolved prior to the purchase of waterfront property, Buyers are encouraged to review the two-part brochure entitled, “What Every Waterfront Property Owner Should Know”. These brochures, containing comprehensive checklists, can be obtained by contacting, David M. Levin, Esq.

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