The loss of traditional docksides and the need to find new uses for rundown areas means that many areas in the UK have been revitalising their waterfront areas by converting disused wharfs and warehouses into homes, or by building new flats and houses there. However, are they a good buy? Anderson Associates’ Paul Anderson, a building surveyor based near Ipswich, looks at the pros and cons of these types of properties.
Tranquillity – many people opt for a waterside home in search of a quieter life. Although this may not be the case because if the area is really taking off, such as the Ipswich Waterfront, pictured above, you may find that it’s busier than a lot of other urban areas. However, at least one side of your property will have water as a border, so you will have some extra privacy.
The Views – instead of looking out over a road, or someone else’s house, you will have a vista out omto the water that many would envy.
A Healthier Lifestyle – waterfront properties are much closer to a variety of sporting activities such as sailing, yachting, surfing, fishing, etcetera, making it much easier and convenient to join a club or take up a new outdoor hobby. This is particularly true in the London Docklands area. Also, in theory, the air should be much cleaner with less traffic around too.
The Financial Angle – many waterfront homes are desirable residences and will hold their value well for longer, as and when you do decide to move. Also, if you live in the area, you may not have to pay the extra charges that visitors do, like marina fees, parking charges and suchlike.
The Space – warehouse conversions, in particular, often have more internal space.
The Character – if it’s a conversion of an existing building and has been done sensitively, then there should still be exposed beams and brickwork - which many people find very appealing.
Free from Worry - modern new-build waterfront properties should be built to the highest of health and safety standards and should contain all the mod cons. Meaning you can move in without needing to do any major work or having any concerns.
The Initial Asking Price – estimates show that a waterfront view increases asking prices by as much as 50 per cent.
Insurance Premiums – depending on the nature of the water you are living next to, insurers may think that your home is more at risk of flooding, which means paying a higher price for your premiums.
Higher Maintenance – these can be increased because of the exposure to moisture, humidity and dampness, and you may be more exposed to wind damage too. There is also a risk to the interiors of waterfront homes as well.
Pests – you may also have to factor in insects that thrive near water which have the potential to be major irritants.
Restricted Access – at least one approach to the property won’t have any roads, just water, and you may have to consider if it’s a popular tourist destination (or has a thriving nightlife) that this will increase traffic when you don’t want it to. As with all properties, look at the traffic at different times of the day – and also think about different months too.
Higher Utility Bills - if it’s a conversion of a warehouse you could end up with much higher bills as a result of large, open rooms costing a lot more to heat and illuminate.
Listed Status – you also have to check, in the case of conversions, if it’s a period building because if it is listed, you will be heaviy restricted in the amount of changes you can make. There may also be limits imposed if you live in a conservation area.
Limited Space – With newbuilds (in contrast to some conversions) space may be more restricted and lacking in character.
Anderson Associates - Building Surveyors in Ipswich
Anderson Associates provide surveys on all types of waterfront properties, from new-builds to dockland conversions. (We also offer commercial property surveys, period property surveys, brand new home surveys, and many other types, in Kent, parts of London, Essex and Suffolk).
Whatever the property, we usually recommend our full building surveys. The fees are not significantly more than a Home Buyer’s Survey. However, our full building survey also includes a cost summary, which not only advises you on what repair and maintenance issues the property has, but also gives an indication as to their cost.
If you would like to know more about any of the services we offer, call us on 01473 623656.