Whether you’re looking for a quiet beachfront oasis or a lakehouse to indulge in water sports, these three locations will satisfy your greatest fantasies of waterfront living without breaking the bank.
From lakefront water activities to tranquil beach views, it’s obvious why the number one property type for secondary homeowners is a waterfront residence, according to the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury® program. Spending time waterside is the epitome of luxury, but finding the perfect property that accommodates your needs, and price point, can be a feat—especially in today's market. If you're limiting your search to waterfront properties in more popular coastal destinations, like California or Florida, you may be hard-pressed to find anything under $5 million, but there are still affordable waterfront properties available in quieter, lesser-known locales...if you know where to look. We talked to three Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property Specialists to find out where these hidden waterfront gems are, and what second home buyers should look out for to get the most bang for their buck.
Richland Chambers Reservoir, Texas
Based in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Nancy Pieper says Richland Chambers is one of Texas’ hidden gems.
A short 90-minute drive away from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex sits the third largest lake in Texas—Richland Chambers Reservoir. A hidden gem with over 300 miles of shoreline, you can spend the entire day on the lake and only see a handful of boats. “It is just far enough from Dallas that it feels like a real getaway,” says Nancy Pieper, a Luxury Property Specialist affiliated with Coldwell Banker Apex, Realtors in Flower Mound. Having owned a lake house there, Nancy and her husband John fell in love with the lake—so much so that they are in the process of building there again.
Richland Chambers is situated right by Corsicana—a quaint town characterized by brick roads, charming shops and restaurants. This new lake “hotspot” has seen a lot of activity recently. In fact, in the last two months, Nancy has sold five lakefront properties, and there is still a lot of room to build on the lakefront—a rarity in the DFW metroplex. “At an average price per square foot of $228, there are currently 21 active homes on the market, with sizes varying from 420 to 13,289 square feet, and only two of them are priced above 2 million,” Pieper says. “Moreover, the lake area offers an attractive option for those interested in building their dream homes, with 149 active lots for sale, ranging from $30,000 to $1,005,500.”
Richland Chambers Reservoir is the third-largest lake in Texas.
“Don't take this journey without a knowledgeable agent that understands the importance of water depth, seawalls, septic systems and more,” she says. “Buying a home in the city is much different than purchasing lake property. It’s easy to make bad decisions without support from a knowledgeable agent.”
To find a dream waterfront property that’s actually in your price range, Pieper recommends really thinking about what kinds of lake activities you actually want to be involved in. If you’re just looking for water views, you can probably avoid paying for factors you don’t need.
“Know what the right fit for you is,” she says. “Are you an avid boater, enjoying skiing, tubing and surfing? Are you a fisherman? Or do you just enjoy the beautiful views of the lake? Many times, the less deep water is the best purchase for the money.”
Twin Cities, Minnesota
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property Specialist Kathryn Kennedy is based in the waterfront-adorned Twin Cities, Minnesota.
Home to more than 14,000 lakes, Minnesota has its fair share of waterfront properties. In the Twin Cities alone, residents have access to Lake Minnetonka, Lake Harriet, Lake of the Isles and Lake Bde Maka Ska, not to mention the dynamic waterfront and scenic beauty of the Mississippi River. According to Kathryn Kennedy, a Luxury Property Specialist based out of the Coldwell Banker Realty office in St. Paul, the bustling urban culture and metropolitan amenities that complement this robust lake life are what makes the Twin Cities unique from other waterfront destinations.
“While the Twin Cities may not have an ocean coastline, its riverfront and city lakes real estate opportunities offer their own distinct advantages and appeals to individuals seeking a vibrant urban lifestyle combined with waterfront living,” Kennedy says.
The new Highland Bridge development offers an opportunity to build a custom waterfront home.
When hunting for your ideal waterfront home in the Twin Cities area, one piece of advice Kennedy shares is to know what kind of lake life you’re looking for and understand the differences between various lakes. “Do your homework in regards to the many different waterfront options available, such as fully recreational lakes versus lakes that don’t allow motorized vehicles, dock options, sandy beach lakefront options, different types of views, quiet versus busier and larger fully recreational lakes,” she says. “Also make sure to check with the county or city where the lake or riverfront property is located to learn about local shoreline and water use ordinances.”
To minimize the costs of your waterfront home, Kennedy suggests keeping an open mind and broadening your search to less dense areas. “Buyers who are open to properties in need of cosmetic updates, purchasing in areas further outside of the cities or in lower demand, quieter and smaller lakes can usually get more for their money.”
Kennedy’s listing at the new Highland Bridge development is situated along the Mississippi River.
One of Kennedy’s listings, located on Mississippi River Boulevard in Saint Paul’s new Highland Bridge development, is the perfect example of how to get more bang for your buck with a waterfront home. “We are selling the lots for buyers to build custom homes, which can be achieved at less than $2 million, as the lots are priced from $475,000 to $1,150,000 depending on size,” she says.
South Carolina Lowcountry
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property Specialist Thomas Kersey sells waterfront havens in the scenic South Carolina Lowcountry.
From the gorgeous Spanish moss to the saltwater and marshlands, the Lowcountry region of South Carolina is characterized by picturesque natural beauty and rich, coastal culture. Home to sought-after towns like Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and Beaufort, this area attracts second-home buyers for both its peacefulness and high quality of life.
“My personal favorite differentiator from other waterfront markets is the pure and preserved natural beauty,” says Luxury Property Specialist Thomas M. Kersey who is based out of the Coldwell Banker Access Realty office in Bluffton, S.C. “We don’t even have commercial signs, and all buildings must blend with the natural surroundings. We are nothing like your typical ‘beach destination’ with colorful commercial strips and endless gift shops. It’s the perfect island for families who seek a slower pace and a break from reality, which is why many of my past clients have one thing in common—they all tell me that they came back because their families have been vacationing here for generations.”
Kersey’s 194 Spring Island Road listing is on the market for $2.575 million.
Along with classic water activities like fishing, boating, sailing and surfing, the Lowcountry region also has several championship golf courses, a plethora of art galleries and plenty of shopping for residents to enjoy. All of these features make for a very high-demand area, and, according to Kersey, it will only continue to grow in popularity—so he recommends acting fast.
“Don’t wait for the ‘perfect house,’ rather look for the perfect view and a home that needs some TLC,” Kersey says. “These waterfront properties have proven to only rise in value and desirability, and the older ones are the homes with the handpicked views.”
As for minimizing costs, Kersey emphasizes the importance of finding a local real estate agent that understands the ins and outs of the Lowcountry market. “Because we are a destination market, not all agents are full-time, and not all agents specialize in waterfront properties,” he says. “In the Lowcountry, we have to worry about carrying costs that are unique to our location and environment, so you need an agent that knows not only what to look for but how to help you avoid buyer’s remorse and mistakes, and can help guide you to the most desired purchase for your budget.”
Overlooking the Colleton River, this home is uniquely designed to immerse residents in the surrounding nature.
Perched above the Lowcountry landscape, along the Colleton River, Kersey’s 194 Spring Island Road listing perfectly embodies the peacefulness and natural beauty of the area. With an architecturally significant contemporary design, this 2-acre property is ideally crafted with bountiful outdoor space and a back wall full of windows to enjoy gorgeous sunrise views of the water.
Visit coldwellbankerluxury.com to find your new waterfront oasis.