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It’s the ultimate dream, isn’t it? Many people love the idea of living right on the waterfront, enjoying the breathtaking view right from your backyard. Waterfront living may make you think of cottage country or even a tropical paradise. However, Ottawa has many bodies of water and offers stunning properties along the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers. That’s not even mentioning the ten lakes found within the municipal boundary. You could say that Ottawa is the ultimate destination for an all-season paradise! Imagine the possibilities:

  • A luxury estate with parliament views across the river 
  • Charming lakeside cottages perfect for your vacation getaway or year-round home
  • Or your own custom-made dream house on a patch of vacant land by the majestic Ottawa River

For millions of people, living on the waterfront is the ultimate dream come true. However, when actually planning to make the purchase, there are some practical considerations to take into account.

Flood Insurance is a Must

Life on the waterfront isn’t always glamorous or luxurious. Before buying, work with the licensed real estate agent and check the municipal maps to see where the flood zones are. However, even if your potential home isn’t in a known risk area, you still need to be ready for anything. There is always some risk of flooding when you live close to the water. As a result, avoid storing any valuables or paperwork on the lower levels of your home, and be sure to take out a separate flood insurance policy.

Many home insurance policies have limited coverage and may not cover you at all if you live in a known flood zone.

You may have heard that the real estate market has recently undergone a massive shift. Find out what that might mean for Ottawa right here.

Check for Shore Road Allowances

Did you know that you can buy land only to discover later that there’s a wide section you don’t actually own? It’s something that can often happen on waterfront properties, thanks to something called Shore Road Allowances. These zones were put in place on Crown Land during the 19th century to allow for the transport of goods. 

Legally, they still exist, and they can severely interfere with your plans for your dream home. How can Shore Road Allowances affect you? 

It may limit what you can and can’t do on your property. In other words, if you have plans to build a boat house or a dock, you may have to think again. Shore Road Allowances can also mean that the public has access to what you thought was private land!

Details like these are just one more reason to with a local real estate expert, especially when buying on the waterfront.

When you find a property you love, you’ll want to order a land survey to ensure that everything you’re investing in is truly yours.

If waterfront life isn’t for you, you might still consider rural living. These posts will give you food for thought:

Waterfront Property Comes at a Premium

Real estate values always go up because, as the saying goes, they’re not making any more land. Livable waterfront property is particularly scarce. That’s why the luxury of living on a beach comes with a price. Supply is already low, and the demand has never been higher. Since the pandemic, waterfront properties have experienced a boom in popularity as more people move out of cities and are drawn in by the relaxing lakeside lifestyle.

Before you start house-hunting, sit down with a financial advisor and mortgage broker to ensure you can cover the carrying costs of your waterfront home.

The Land Matters – Look Beyond the House

Homes on the waterfront are often beautiful, spectacularly large and airy, offering fantastic views. It’s easy to fall in love with the house itself. However, we recommend bringing an expert with a critical eye to inspect the entire property. Otherwise, your “dream” home might sit on the edge of a rocky, murky beach that is rarely safe to swim in. Think of it this way: You can renovate the house. You can tear it down and rebuild it if you want. The land, however, you’re stuck with. No amount of money can change it.

Check the Zoning Laws

Shore Road Allowances aren’t the only legal pitfall to watch out for when buying a new house. There are countless details to think about. One of these is to check the zoning laws before you sign on the dotted line. You may have big plans for your waterfront house. The government may have other ideas. (And you know who wins in that situation, right?) 

To avoid any problems in the future, work with a local real estate expert to find out what you can and can’t do before submitting your offer. 

Want to know more about the fantastic areas just outside Ottawa? Read some of our recent community posts below:

Fun Activities on the Ottawa Waterfront

What can you do once you’re the proud new owner of a home on the waterfront? Four seasons of fun and excitement await you! Here are just a few activities to look forward to: 

  • You’ll find some of the best white water rafting in Canada. The season runs from May to September and offers up all kinds of turbulent fun. There are daredevil adventures available for those brave enough to conquer the rapids. If you prefer a more peaceful or family-friendly experience, try a float on one of the gentler channels.
  • Every summer, you’ll find people swimming, jet skiing, kayaking and waterskiing along the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers.
  • Once the weather gets too cold for swimming, winter activities include ice fishing, snowmobiling and skating on the frozen river. (Although extreme caution must be taken to ensure ice conditions are safe.) 
  • Go ziplining any time of the year! Fly across the river right into Quebec. Ottawa is the only place where you can zipline into another province! What a great way to enjoy panoramic views 37 metres over the water! 
  • Both the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers offer beautiful hiking trails to explore all year long. The Ottawa River Pathway and Mud Lake Trail are fantastic places to watch the Autumn leaves change colour.

Do you have any questions about buying or selling property in Ottawa or the surrounding areas? Our team has served the region for over 40 years, and we are happy to help you get started. Reach out to us by email or call 613-690-5993 today!