Create Shared Water Frontage

by : Steve Gillman

By creating shared water frontage you can dramatically increase the value of property. This can get complicated, but then that's why you won't have much competition.

What do people buy when they can't afford a house on the lake or ocean front? They buy a home near the water with shared water frontage. This is a piece of land on the water that is commonly owned by more than one home owner.

Usually, this is arranged when a subdivision is developed. A lot on the water is purchased, and each of the owners of the lots in the subdivision have a shared interest (part ownership) in the waterfront lot. There may be rules in the subdivision conditions and covenants that limit how the waterfront lot can be used. For example, perhaps boats cannot be left on the property for a long time, or fires built.

While this certainly isn't the same as walking out your back door onto your own beach, it is better than having to drive to a public beach. Generally the water frontage is within walking distance of the homes that have an interest in it. As a result, these properties can sell for substantially more than others nearby that don't have water frontage of any kind.

How do you use this knowledge to make money? You could build a subdivision that has shared water frontage, of course, but you may not be ready for that. There is another way.

Creating Shared Water Frontage

Suppose you have three houses up the street from a lot that is on a nice lake. They are worth about $100,000 each. You have been watching the sales of properties that have shared water frontage, and have determined that your properties would be worth about $130,000 if they had shared water frontage. You see that an empty lot on the lake is for sale.

The math is not certain, but it is relatively simple. If you can add $30,000 in value to each of your properties, that is a total of $90,000. If it costs you about $7,000 for the legal costs and closing costs of buying the water front lot and deeding an equal interest to each of your three properties, you have a potential net gain of $83,000. Buy the lot for $60,000 and you are doing okay, right?

That is the basic idea. Of course, you can also specifically buy a lot on the water first, and then buy as many empty lots nearby as possible, to and deed a share in the water frontage to each buyer of a lot. To do this you want to watch for subdivisions that are near water, and with a lot of unsold lots. Then you need to find a waterfront property and do the math.

One more thing. In the first example, you could deed a one-fourth share to each of the three properties, and keep a share for yourself. It might not affect the prices of the lots much (if at all) having the ownership split four ways instead of three, and you'll have your own water front property for when you want to take the kids to the beach.