THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN AQUIRING WATERFRONT PROPERTY IN SOUTHWEST FLORDIA
Please consider the following to assist with your purchase decision of waterfront property in the Cape Coral, Fl. and surrounding areas of southwest Florida.
Cape Coral, Fl. has the world’s largest inter-costal water canal system. Approximately ½ of the 400+/_ miles of canals is fresh water that is “land-locked” and does not provide access to the Gulf of Mexico. The home sites and homes on these waterways provide enjoyable boating experiences, wonderful fishing opportunities and peaceful, scenic water-views. Buyer beware! These property values tend to be affected by the lack of gulf access. There are various boat ramps throughout SW Fl., for boats that can be trailered, which provide access to the Gulf of Mexico.
Saltwater canals provide access to the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the Gulf access these home sites and canal homes typically have and hold greater value than the fresh water, land-locked, properties. There are two types of gulf access waterways. Direct access or “sail boat access” is free of bridges on your voyage to the Gulf. However, overhead power lines may restrict the height of the mast of some sail boats at some canals. Gulf access canals with bridges will definitely restrict the type and size of boat that will travel under bridges. Boaters beware! Fishing rods in rod holders mounted on the T-tops may have to be removed and antennas may have to be lowered to pass beneath certain bridges. Another consideration for saltwater Gulf access is a boat lock or a boat lift. In SW Cape Coral, west of Chiquita Blvd, these waterfront properties are located behind a lock. The homes located on these properties tend to be of the newer “upscale” Florida architecture style. However, all boats from these properties will have to pass through the lock to gain access to the Gulf. In NW Cape Coral, near Pine Island road, boaters from these properties will have to use a boat lift to gain access to the Gulf. Also, the water depth in the canals is an important factor when acquiring waterfront properties. Canal depths at the mouth may be sufficient; however, by the time you maneuver your boat to your dock the water depths can greatly vary. Canals are not uniformly dredged and water depths may not be consistent across the width of the canal. The mouth of the Whiskey Creek canal has a narrow channel with restricted depths especially during low tide. Effects of tides are critical to boat docking and access. The change of tide, on average, is approximately 1 to 2 feet. Weather and seasonal changes can affect the tide an additional 1 to 2 + feet. Bonita Bay has areas which are very shallow and at low tides may not be navigable. The Landings, Deep Lagoon, Town River, Pepper Tree Point and Palmetto Point are marked for channel entry and have passable water depths.
Another factor to consider with saltwater is maintenance. Vessels floating in saltwater can obtain a build-up of barnacles within a few days. Removal of barnacle build- up can be beyond the level of expertise of the typical boat owner. Removing the boat from the water or underwater diving crews are the options. Boat owners with floating vessels must maintain the paint on the bottom of their boats. Depending on your usage, at least annually, if not semi-annually or more often, painting is suggested. Common sense navigation, avoiding oyster bars and coral reefs and taking care about beaching your boat, together with routine inspections, is a must. Marina dry-docking or at your dock boat lift can save on this maintenance and extend the normal useful design life expectancy of your prized vessel. Waterfront properties with an existing boat lift adds value. When installing a dock and or boat lift do your homework. Typically a 10,000 lb boat lift will service up to a 30 ft. boat. The type of boat you have will definitely dictate the type of lift you’ll need. An “angled” installed dock and lift provides easier access on and off the lift more so than a parallel or perpendicular (to the seawall) arrangement; especially on a narrow canal. Barnacle build-up on the lift can affect the performance and life expectancy of the lift as well as cause possible damage to the paint and or hull of your boat. This may become a maintenance item including but not limited to regular inspections, cleaning and lubrication of the lift.
The width of the canal can directly affect the value of the waterfront property. Typically, the wider the canal the more value to the property. Buyer beware! When considering two similar waterfront properties and one has a wider canal it will most likely be a better purchase decision to go with the wider canal waterway. There are three typical sizes of canals in Cape Coral: 80, 120 and 200 (considered “wide-water”) feet wide. Wider canals are usually deeper with less possibility of “stagnant” water. Also preferred is a corner or peninsula canal property or an intersecting canal. The Ft. Myers waterway canals are typically less than 100 feet wide and can be as narrow as 40 feet. Wider canals offer easier navigation and provide your family much more privacy while enjoying your waterfront home.
Properties located directly on the Cape Coral or the Ft. Myers banks of the Caloosahatchee River are considered premier properties. They have unrestricted boat access to the Gulf and offer impressive, expansive views. Boaters beware! Riverfront properties are subject to choppy waters which may make it difficult to get your boat back onto your lift. A boat lift is essential for riverfront properties to prevent your prized vessel from being knocked around by rough water.
Another factor to consider when acquiring waterfront property is the property exposure. Southern exposure (on the waterside) is desirable because you’ll enjoy the winter sun all day long. Western exposure is desirable for the famous Florida, picturesque, sunset views. You will benefit from an eastern exposure having the morning sun heat your swimming pool (as applicable) and the house providing shade relief from the afternoon summer sun. During the summer months the afternoon sun can be very intense. The exposure of your property can directly affect your boat. UV rays from the sun can fade gel coats and canvas and can cause excessive heat build-up in cabins.
Finally, consider your future as well as your current boating needs and desires when selecting your waterfront property. At first, interior bridges may not be a concern if you start out with a pleasure deck boat. However, if you ever take up sailing the bridges will be as concern. If you only start out boating a couple of times a month a boat lock may not be an issue. However, if the frequency of your voyages increases to many trips a week, or more, this may become problematic.
As indicated from the above, there are many factors to consider when acquiring waterfront property in SW Florida. We are here to assist you to ensure that your purchase decision is the correct one now and for the future. We can provide you with a personalized, extensive and exhaustive mapping of all the waterfront properties that meet your needs and desires. We are the waterfront property specialist in SW Florida and look forward to working closely with you to assist with your acquisition of your “piece of paradise”.