Some of the most desirable properties in the Golden Isles are on beaches, marshes, creeks and rivers.
The unobstructed views, even from condominiums, are often spectacular, giving property owners a sense of solitude and an appreciation for nature.
For those in the market for waterfront property, the good news is there are plenty of choices currently on the market, said Roland Daniel, owner of Roland Daniel Properties on St. Simons Island.
There are currently 94 single-family waterfront properties and 63 waterfront condominiums on the market.
The prices range from $167,000 in Brunswick to $11.9 million on Sea Island. The houses range in size from one bedroom, with 540 square feet to seven bedrooms, at 11,282 square feet.
The available condos range in size from one to five bedrooms, and from 613 square feet to 4,421 square feet.
And for those seeking a more privacy, Little Hawkins Island is also on the market for $14.9 million.
The options range beachfront property on St. Simons, Jekyll and Sea islands to houses with deepwater access and docks.
“There are currently 36 single-family homes available with either private or community dock, or the potential for one; from $440,995 to $11.9 million, plus the private island,” Daniel said.
A dock can increase the value of the property anywhere from 25 to 50 percent depending on the distance to deep water.
“Certainly, a house whose boat has to lie 800 feet away is not as desirable as one 150 feet off the property,” he said.
Robert Kozlowski, president of the Golden Isles Association of Realtors, said it’s understandable why waterfront property is desirable.
“It gives them a sense of calm,” he said. “You always have a view and you don’t have neighbors on all four sides.”
The length of time waterfront property stays on the market depends on a number of factors that go beyond the selling price and condition of the home, he said.
Those in the market are recommended to learn if the property has ever been affected by flooding, how it weathered during the recent hurricanes and the cost of flood insurance.
“It can be cost prohibitive for some people,” Kozlowski said. “It’s important to look at the prior history.”
Daniel said those in the market for waterfront property need to make sure their agent gets all pertinent information and to ask for a longer due diligence period to hire experts. If they are building a home, studies on pilings and soil stability are recommended.
When considering an existing waterfront home, Daniel recommended double-checking everything.
“No matter what a seller’s disclosure document says, engage experts to check it for you,” he said. “A few thousand dollars spent investigating may prevent you from making a million or multimillion dollar mistake. Check status of bulkheads or lack thereof. Check neighbors for bank erosion.”
The recent hurricanes did not affect the waterfront property market much. New homes can be built to withstand storms, but Daniel recommended to build higher than recommended.
He also has advice for people considering existing homes.
“I’d be extra careful concerning older homes waterfront and on slab or low crawl space,” he said. “Generally, contrary to logical thinking, most recent flood maps have some waterfront properties in less danger of flooding than previous maps.”
Daniel recommended first-time buyers to take their time and do their homework, regardless of the location.
“Explore the entire rainbow of inventory since there’s relatively little that can be,” he said. “Choose a real estate professional who can and will help you ask the right questions.”