Nothing says you’ve made it quite like a gorgeous waterfront property in a scenic coastal area. If you’re ready to take the plunge, here’s what you need to know about buying waterfront homes for sale in Naples, Florida.
An overview of Naples, FL waterfront real estate
Naples is an affluent resort-style city located along the Gulf of Mexico on what is known as Florida’s Paradise Coast. Sought for its white sand beaches, golf courses, fine dining restaurants, and spectacular sunsets, Naples offers luxury coastal living at its finest.
Its natural attractions are second to none – those who live here are surrounded by the beauty of the Naples Botanical Garden and the Ten Thousand Islands. Because of its exclusivity and location, Naples gets high demand from real estate buyers and investors from all over the world.
Property types and neighborhoods
Naples offers an exclusive selection of waterfront properties, including estate-style properties with private boat slips to modern condominiums that offer high-end amenities and beach access. Buyers will also find historic waterfront mansions that have been restored and updated to include modern features.
The city also has several gated communities that appeal to different buyers. Naples’ waterfront communities include:
- Port Royal
- Olde Naples/Downtown District
- Naples Cay
- Royal Harbor
- Cove Towers
- Aqualane Shores
- Park Shore
- Coquina Sands
- Bay Colony
- The Moorings
Some of the most desirable waterfront homes for sale in Naples, Florida are located along Gulf Shore Boulevard. The boulevard starts at Old Naples and ends at Vanderbilt Beach. It passes through several exclusive communities, including Coquina Sands, Park Shore, and The Moorings.
Home prices and property values
According to Realtor.com, the median listing home price in Naples was $699,000 with a median listing home price of $376 per square foot as of July 2022. Naples properties spent an average of 58 days on the market.
However, waterfront properties in Naples’ most exclusive communities can easily command millions of dollars. A 1.5-acre beachfront estate recently sold in Naples for a record $62 million, the most expensive real estate transaction in the city’s history thus far.
According to data from local Realtors, the median listing home price in the desirable area of Gulf Shore Boulevard was $2,300,000 as of July 2022. That translates to an average price of $1,351.38 per square foot.
Naples waterfront homes come in an array of designs, including Spanish Revival, Mediterranean, Modern, Contemporary, and Key West-style architecture.
Special considerations when buying waterfront real estate
How does the local climate affect your usage and enjoyment of your waterfront home? Will year-round weather conditions permit you to use the property to its fullest? Naples has long, warm, and humid summers that make swimming, boating, and watersports quite enjoyable.
Winters tend to be short and comfortable with mostly clear skies and some wind, which means that you should still be able to enjoy water activities during this time of year. Temperatures typically vary from 56°F to 89°F and will rarely go below 44°F or higher than 92°F.
Flood insurance is crucial to buying waterfront homes for sale in Naples, Florida. When shopping around for an insurance plan, make sure it provides sufficient coverage, including coverage for flood and fire damage. You may also want to consider purchasing insurance coverage for any damage to valuable belongings that will be stored in your waterfront home.
Rather than seeing insurance as an added expense, you should view it as a way of protecting your investment. You can reduce the upfront costs of property insurance by purchasing newer waterfront properties that comply with modern building and hurricane codes, which means that structures on the property can withstand high winds. If you want to buy an older waterfront home, choose one that has either been updated or retrofitted in accordance with current building codes.
There are two kinds of flood zones in Naples: special and non-special flood hazard areas:
- Zone X is considered a low-risk zone and flood insurance is not typically required for properties located in this area if you’re not using a federally insured mortgage (i.e. an FHA loan) to finance your home purchase. This area is considered the most desirable zone when it comes to flood insurance.
- Zone X500 is a moderate-risk flood hazard area. As with Zone X, flood insurance is not mandatory for home purchases in this area if you’re not using a federally insured mortgage.
- Zones VE, AE, AH, and A are regulated flood zones and are considered high-risk. Home purchases in these areas come with mandatory flood insurance and floodplain management.
If a portion of a property falls within, or borders one of these zones, and if the home purchase has been financed with a federally insured mortgage, then flood insurance is mandatory, even if the rest of the property falls within Zone X or X500. The lender can also indicate flood insurance as one of the conditions of loan approval.
You can determine whether or not a waterfront property lies within a high-risk flood hazard area by referring to the most recent Flood Insurance Rate Maps. the City of Naples interactive web tool. Once you navigate to this web tool, please enter your address to view the map for your area.
You can also confirm a specific property’s official flood zone designation when you contact a Naples Floodplain Coordinator at 239.213.5039.
Most waterfront estates are located in low density areas. This takes you away from the crowds and into a more peaceful environment. The most sought after waterfront homes for sale in Naples, Florida provide plenty of outdoor space and private amenities like on-site pools, tennis courts, and boat slips and docks. These properties tend to have gated entrances and driveways. This gives you and your family some much needed privacy when using the property.
If you’re not too concerned about privacy, then a waterfront condo might be a good option for you. These residential units are located within buildings with shared amenities such as pools, gyms, and rooftop gardens.
How do you plan to use the property, and how often? Many buyers use waterfront properties as seasonal or vacation homes for the summer, and for entertaining with friends and family. Some use the property as a permanent year-round residence. Waterfront properties can also be rented out for passive income.
When searching for a waterfront home in Naples, be clear about your goals and objectives. Knowing how you want to use the property and how often you can realistically visit will help streamline the search process.
Take your lifestyle and preferences into consideration when choosing a waterfront home. If you enjoy swimming and boating, make sure that the water surrounding the property is conducive for either one. If you love entertaining friends and family from out of town, choose a home that has a sufficient number of bedrooms and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.
Requirements for buying waterfront homes for sale in Naples, FL
- Financing – Unless you’re paying cash, it’s generally advisable to get pre-approved for a mortgage before looking at waterfront homes. This will help you determine how much home you can afford and help guide the search. Getting pre-approved also makes you more attractive to the seller, especially if there are multiple offers on the home. In most cases, you need to set aside 20% down payment in cash depending on the terms of the mortgage.
If you’re an international buyer, you can either apply for a mortgage with a bank in the United States or secure a loan with a bank that has U.S. subsidiaries in your country. If you secure financing in the U.S., you may be required to come up with 30% of the purchase price in cash as a form of down payment. You may be able to secure a loan with 20% down payment if you have robust finances and credit.
- Property insurance – As mentioned earlier, it’s worth investing in property insurance to protect your assets and for peace of mind. If you are purchasing a home in an area where flood insurance and floodplain management are required, talk to different insurance providers and shop around for the best rates and terms.
- Rental income – If you are purchasing a waterfront home to be used as rental or investment property, you must declare your rental income and file a federal tax return. Since Florida does not impose a state income tax on residents, you will only pay tax to the U.S. federal government. You can also deduct maintenance costs, management fees, mortgage interest, utilities, and other expenses related to the rental.
- Property taxes and other fees – Aside from rental income taxes, you may also be subject to other state and county taxes. You may also need to pay homeowners association (HOA) fees, country club membership fees, and other miscellaneous fees depending on the neighborhood in which the waterfront property is located.
Specific processes for buying waterfront real estate in Naples, FL
Inspections. Home inspections are crucial to any real estate purchase, but more so waterfront homes. When buying large waterfront homes for sale in Naples, Florida, you will need to conduct various land and water-based examinations such as surveys, water quality testing, and elevation certifications to safeguard your investment.
A professional inspection will help you evaluate the overall condition of the home as well as uncover any potential issues, such as water in the basement because of a high water table, corrosion on the home exterior, or mold and mildew caused by elevated moisture levels.
If you’re buying a large waterfront property with recreational facilities, you will also need specialized inspections for swimming pools, tennis courts, bulkheads, and boat slips to make sure that the property is in good condition.
Learning about the structures, land, and body of water that surround the property will help you get a full picture of what you’re buying.
Water survey. It’s prudent to conduct a study on the body of water fronting or surrounding the property before committing to a purchase. Work with a professional who has a working knowledge about bodies of water during the buying process.
For instance, it would be helpful to learn about the water depths within the vicinity if you own a boat or plan on buying one. Boating depths vary substantially depending on the type of boat.
Further, it’s important to determine what activities you can enjoy in and around the water. It would be disappointing to buy a waterfront home, only to find out later that the area isn’t fit for boating, fishing, or swimming.
- If you are an avid swimmer, check if the water surrounding the property is safe for swimming. Look for reliable information on water quality as well as beach access before making a purchase.
- If you’re an avid boater and angler, you’ll want to know what kinds of fish can be caught in the area as well as how far out the best fishing spots are from the property.
Insurance requirements. When purchasing flood insurance for your waterfront home, you’ll need to look into various insurance requirements depending on the property’s location, age, structure, and other factors.
Homeowners association (HOA) fees and rules. Most waterfront properties are located within gated communities that are governed by homeowners associations (HOAs), which typically charge monthly fees and other expenses for the upkeep of shared areas.
Some bodies of water may also entail association fees. If you purchase a lakefront home in Naples, for example, there may be a lake organization dedicated to maintaining the lake’s cleanliness and safety at the expense of homeowners.
Moreover, HOAs enforce a set of rules and regulations, sometimes referred to as covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs), that all homeowners must follow. These rules often place restrictions on major renovations, pet ownership, and other aspects of homeownership. CC&Rs may also provide guidelines on acceptable behaviors and activities within the community.
Buyers should be fully aware of any restrictions that apply to a waterfront property before making a purchase. For example, if you want to build a new dock on the property to make way for a larger boat, you should find out if the HOA places any limits to dock size. Have your Realtor coordinate with the HOA to discern HOA fees and CC&Rs before making an offer on a waterfront property.
Renovations and upgrades. Once you know the CC&Rs of a waterfront community, you’ll also need to take stock of any modification you need to make to the property to make it more suitable.
Most waterfront homes are custom built to cater to the tastes and preferences of their owners. You’ll also want to put your personal stamp on the property by making renovations and upgrades. These modifications will help transform the property into your dream home if you intend to use it as a permanent or second home.
If you plan on adding a new dock, observation deck, or seawall or in the future, you need to learn which changes you can realistically make depending on the zoning and location of the property. Major alterations are typically subject to HOA or government approval so plan ahead and make sure that you have the information you need before committing to a purchase.
Maintenance. It is important to become aware of the maintenance requirements of a waterfront property before going ahead with a purchase. Effective maintenance will help ensure the longevity of your waterfront home as well as potentially reduce the costs of major repairs.
Basic waterfront property maintenance tasks include:
- Roof maintenance
- Dock maintenance
- Deck maintenance
- Siding maintenance
Preserving the property’s frontage is one of the most important maintenance requirements that ownership entails. Making sure that the roof, docks, and break wall are in good condition can help protect a waterfront home from weather damage.
Work with waterfront experts in Naples today
Our award-winning team has over 18 years of experience in residential real estate. As a Multi-Million Dollar Top Producer, we rank among America’s Top 100 Real Estate Agents®.
We have sold more than $300 million of real estate since 2003, having worked with hundreds of clients, including first-time buyers, seasoned investors, and sellers downsizing from their estates. We specialize in luxury real estate and waterfront and golf course properties in Naples, Bonita Springs, and Estero.