Buying a Waterfront Home in Nova Scotia

Richard Payne
Published on June 12, 2020

Buying a Waterfront Home in Nova Scotia

Are you looking to buy a waterfront home in Nova Scotia?

With ocean views and an abundance of pristine lakes, buying a waterfront home in Nova Scotia is a dream come true for many. Whether you fancy a seasonal cottage, a year-round cottage, or your full-time waterfront home – you will have your fair share of options to choose from.

If you’re lucky enough to make buying a waterfront home a reality, there are some questions you should consider as part of your research and due diligence. This way you can avoid any surprises after closing day by knowing exactly what you are getting into with a waterfront home.

Here’s some of the main questions you should ask about the waterfront home you’re considering purchasing:

  1. What is the shoreline like? – Is it sandy, rocky, weedy or mucky? What are you planning to use your waterfront for? Some shorelines are easy to clean up if they’re not ideal – but others you’re stuck with what’s there. Be sure the shoreline works with your needs.
  2. What is the structure of the shallows? – Is it swimmable? Reedy? Hard bottomed? Is there a steep drop off? Or a gradual incline? How deep is it at the shoreline? Can you dock a boat if necessary?
  3. What is the view? – Granted it may not seem like an issue when you’re initially viewing the waterfront home, but for the long-term, would you want to be looking at a run-down cottage across the lake if that were the case? Look at your surroundings and ask about any future plans that may affect your views
  4. Are there any limiting features for docks? – The waterfront home you’re looking at may or may not already have a dock in place. If not, is there a reason? Are there any municipal restrictions or limiting features about the property that would make it difficult to put in a dock? How long can your dock be?
  5. How noisy/congested is the waterfront? – If your waterfront home backs onto a public access beach or lake, how busy does that beach get? Are you on a busy lake with speed boats zooming by? Some lakes prohibit high-speed and even powered boats. This may be good news for kayakers, but bad news for water skiers.
  6. What type of boats are allowed? – Depending on the size of the lake your waterfront home is on, there may be some restrictions on the size of boat allowed. This is a big question to ask if you already have a boat.
  7. How accessible is the property? – What will you be using this waterfront home for, and does its accessibility work with your requirements? Steep stairs may not be a problem now, but if the property is in your family for years to come, will they be an issue later? What about emergency access and winter access? Is the waterfront home a boat access cottage? Year round? Be sure you know any limits.
  8. Are there any erosion issues? – Look for evidence of potential erosion, fresh bare soil, slumped banks, exposed roots or water channels. You wouldn’t want a portion of your waterfront home to wash away in a major rainfall.
  9. What are your neighbours like? – If your waterfront property is meant to be a peaceful, tranquil setting, you certainly wouldn’t enjoy neighbouring party animals. And vice versa, if you’re looking to party through the warm temps, you wouldn’t want to be in a location that doesn’t allow it.
  10. Does the water level fluctuate? – How close are the structures on your property to the waterfront? What is the likelihood of flooding during the spring melt or heavy rains?
  11. Are the structures on your property four seasons? – What will you be using this property for, and does the structure match your needs? How easy or difficult would it be to winterize the home should you wish?
  12. In rural areas, look into utilities. Buying a waterfront home in Nova Scotia may lead you to rural areas. If you are a buyer who is accustomed to the convenience of suburban life don’t assume that an adequate septic system, cable and Internet will be readily available at the waterfront home you are looking at, so investigate these issues before buying.
  13. Consider the property more than the structure – Many people fall in love with a waterfront home but after they buy it, they realize the swimming is mucky, the view is not very good, it’s difficult to get down to the water or the place is not very private. My advice would be to buy a property that you really love. You can always change and renovate the waterfront home but you can’t change the location, so when you do decide to buy your waterfront home make sure it is in the perfect location for you.

I hope that these questions will help you in determining which waterfront home is right for you so you can enjoy beautiful views and endless fun!

Working with a REALTOR who has experience buying and selling waterfront homes will ensure you don’t run into any problems, you end up choosing the best type of waterfront home for your needs and you get the best deal.

If you have any more questions, or you are ready to start your search for your waterfront home, please reach out and I will be happy to help set up a search for suitable waterfront homes.

Other BLOG posts you may find helpful:

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Seller Tips: The Top Reasons Why People Decide to Sell Their Homes

Empty Nest? Perhaps it’s Time to Downsize and Thrive

Relocating to Nova Scotia. Where Should I Live?

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