Living on the Water’s Edge

Little known facts about waterfront real estate on Cape Cod

Any property within 100 feet of wetland, falls under conservation jurisdiction, where the rules and regulations are different from the traditional purchasing or selling of property on Cape Cod. Each of the 15 towns on Cape Cod has their own rules and protocols that require local conservation, and sometimes state approval.

It is important to be aware of these differences, so there are no surprises and one knows what to expect when selling a waterfront home. This is where experience with water property proves valuable, because we know what needs to be taken into consideration throughout the transaction. That is why we have a team here devoted exclusively to water property.

Things to consider when selling a waterfront home

A waterfront specialist will consider the following when pricing your property to maximize its value.

is your property bEACHFRONT?

  • How much of the beach do you own? Generally speaking, on Cape Cod, beachfront property is the most desirable, thus making it more valuable and returning the most equity.
  • Is the beach private or public? Privately owned beachfront property offers more value simply because you own the beach than public beachfront property.


Why is this important? Cape Cod is a boater’s playground, and from a value standpoint, the kind of dock and its location will directly affect your property’s value.

  • Is the dock licensed and permitted at the local and state level? Dock approval is an expensive, time consuming process and requires engineering. Not everybody can have a dock. And just because you apply for one, does not mean you get approved. Thus, docks add great value. How much value depends on a few variables.  For example, is it a deep water dock? A  Deep water dock offers the highest rate of return. 
  • What is the length of the license? If you have already undergone this complicated legal process, this will add more value to your property’s worth.
  • Is the dock private or is it shared with the neighbors? A shared dock still holds value, but will limit the interested buyer pool for your property.  Not everyone wants to share 🙂

Flood Insurance

  • What flood zone is the property located in? Why does this matter? Depending on the flood zone your waterfront property is in will affect who looks at the property to purchase. There are various factors to consider, but the flood zone will directly affect the pool of buyers interested in your home, and subsequently the cost for them to obtain flood insurance. It can be smart to get out in front of this by knowing how much it will cost, or knowing if your existing insurance is transferable. Many buyers hear the term “flood insurance” and automatically think it will be a big expense, and this is not always the case. 
  • Is it required? A buyer paying cash for the home is not required to obtain flood insurance. But a buyer getting a mortgage will be required to obtain flood insurance, and your existing policy, if you have one, is not always transferable to them. When flood insurance is required, it is at the state level or your mortgage provider, and only covers up to the first $250,000 in property damage, which is not a lot of coverage for a waterfront home.
  • What does your elevation certificate show? If your property is in a flood zone, your elevation certificate is good to have in hand before marketing the home. This will allow buyers to obtain quotes for flood insurance. In fact, we often recommend getting your own quote if you do not already carry flood insurance, because perhaps you own the home outright. 

Conservation Considerations

Any improvements to land or the home within 100 feet of wetlands, require local conservation approval before any work is done.

  • Are there any outstanding Orders of Conditions? We can only speak to Cape Cod coastal living, but this could delay the sale of your property.
  • Does the Order of Conditions require continual maintenance, such as annual plantings?  Knowledge of this information can be helpful to disclose upfront before going to market so there are no surprises, disappointments or misunderstandings that might cause a deal to fall apart.


  • Should you spend money making improvements to make your home more suitable for your family’s needs? 
  • Should you make improvements so that the property will sell for a higher price? 
  • What improvements offer the best return?

Each property is unique, so we do not give the same advice to everyone. Our mission is to make the sale of your home as easy and hassle-free as possible, all while negotiating the highest price at the best terms. We pride ourselves on this! We will meet with you and make recommendations, so that you can make the best choice for yourself and your family.

Any experienced real estate agent will recommend specific repairs that should be performed prior to listing your home for sale.  However, Property Cape Cod Real Estate is different in one of several very important aspects.

We are different in that a Property Cape Cod Real Estate agent offers superb concierge service. What does this mean? Live off Cape? We don’t just make recommendations on what work to perform to go to market, we call our contractors and oversee the work for you! 

We have direct access to, and strong relationships with, the very best local vendors, contractors, and professionals, all bringing their expertise to each unique situation. With your approval, we will contact the contractor for you, review and approve the work performed, and troubleshoot any issues that arise.

And because of this, you can take a great deal of pride in the public presentation of your most valued asset, whether in person or online, and know that this “show ready” path will result in the property’s maximum income potential.

We understand how hard a decision it can be to sell your home. For us, you are not just another sale. Selling your home, while meeting your specific needs at the same time, is what drives us. 

Learn more with a no obligation consultation.