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Your boat and you: Tips for buying waterfront property

By Andrew Bell

When you're looking for luxury real estate in Surfers Paradise, one of the things you might want to consider is where to keep your watercraft. Whether there is enough space on your property to store the vehicle or not, an increasingly popular option for boating enthusiasts in Queensland is investing in facilities that enable owners to moor their craft on the water – without the need for heavy or inconvenient trailers on a daily basis.

If you think that a waterfront property the perfect path for you and your Surfers Paradise dream, here are some things to keep in mind. 

Waterfront dreams

Australia's love affair with waterfront properties is well documented, but purchasing a property with berthing capacity could prove an even more lucrative prospect. Acquiring a property on the water can be quite a difficult process if not thought out correctly. It's important to do your research and find a home that matches your lifestyle, with an agent who understands your preferences and priorities. 

Many people choose waterfront property from which they can launch the vessel directly. Investigate the water depth off the jetty in relation to your boat and consider how easy it will be to manoeuvre. 

Different boats have unique requirements for depths or drafts and it's similarly important to look at docks that can facilitate the size and length of your boat. Check for the condition of the jetty – waterfront properties are exposed to the harsh elements, so any rot or rust where you'll berth the vessel could be a safety hazard. 

Insurance is another thing to consider. The Queensland floods raised a whole bevvy of issues relating to insurance premiums to cover flood damage, something which should be at the forefront of your mind when purchasing on the waterways of Surfers Paradise. Assess the risks before you buy and consult with your real estate agent – they will be able to tell you if the property has had any problems before. 

Long-term lease

A lot of marinas are now being developed hand-in-hand with a range of other uses, from residential to tourism. This means that if you're a savvy investor, you might want to take advantage of Queensland's water-mad lifestyle by renting a berthing space at one of the state's marinas. With a growing number of people choosing boat ownership as their leisure activity of choice, it's not surprising that berthing spaces in Queensland can be quite competitive – the state alone accounts for 19 per cent of Australia's marinas, according to the Marina Industries Association of Australia.

The first thing to understand about investing in marina space is that you don't directly purchase the site. Instead, you generally pay for a long-term lease – upwards of 20 years in most cases – almost as if you are paying rent in advance. 

Investing in a marina berth can be quite a lucrative enterprise, granted you are aware of hidden costs and potential risks. In theory, renting the space to another person at a higher rate than what you paid for it – taking into account any interest to be paid on a loan – can make a tidy sum. But in many respects it is similar to unit rentals. You are responsible for maintenance, body corporate fees and property management costs. Setting the right rent on the space is vital to ensure to you don't end up out of pocket.

Whether you're buying a waterfront property from which you can launch your personal cruiser or are considering investing in a tidy berth at one of Surfers Paradise's array of many beautiful marinas, consulting with real estate professionals is an essential step. Ray White's expertise with luxury property and marine services will help you discover the perfect property to meet all your needs. 

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