What is “MLW” in water depth?

MLW stands for “mean low water.” It refers to the water depth at an average low tide. However, there are a few other factors to consider. First, the MLW measurement in the multiple list system is usually provided by the seller. Sellers have been known to “over-estimate” the MLW at their docks. Second, water depth … Read more

How do I get a pier permit?

There are a number of consultants in the area who will prepare and submit a pier permit for you. I have also shown several clients who wanted to save money how to “do it yourself.” It is a fairly simple procedure once you have all the state and county forms (approval is required from both Anne … Read more

What is the difference between the critical area zone and the buffer zone?

The Critical Area is the land area 1,000 feet inland from tidal water or tidal wetlands. The buffer zone, on the other hand, has restrictions on construction, clearing, and vegetation management within the minimum 100-foot buffer along the shoreline. Other factors may increase the buffer and extend it beyond the standard 100-foot mark. Give us … Read more

People keep telling me about the “high waterfront taxes.” Is there an additional tax on waterfront that non-waterfront homeowners do not pay?

Property taxes are based on the estimate of a property’s value (comprised of a land portion and an improvement portion and together called “the assessment”) and the tax rate per dollar of assessed value (“the mil rate”). Consequently, a waterfront and a non-waterfront property with the same assessment would both pay the same real estate taxes … Read more

I keep hearing the term “riparian rights.” What does this mean?

Riparian rights refer to a homeowner’s right to build a structure from their property (usually a dock) into the water. However, just as on land, you must get the proper permits and comply with applicable laws in order to build. This means that not all properties with Riparian Rights will actually be able to get a … Read more

Can the channel or slip at the pier be dredged to achieve deep water access?

Maybe. With the exception of maintenance dredging of existing channels and basins that have been previously dredged, dredging of shallow water habitats in areas of less than three feet at mean low water is not permitted unless approved by the appropriate state and federal agencies. We have worked with a number of homeowners to get … Read more

Will a basement in a waterfront home always be damp?

Absolutely not. Although all homes have moisture in the soils surrounding the basement, a well-built home is protected by sump pumps, under slab drainage, and water-proofing. Your “Mr. Waterfront” Buyer Expert can help identify these features for you and schedule inspections with building experts to make sure your home has what is necessary to keep the … Read more

Will I need flood insurance?

After the recent storms in New York and New Orleans, more and more properties are required to have flood insurance. If needed, the cost of the flood insurance varies widely depending on the elevation of the property and whether it is in an “A”, “B” or “C” flood-zone area. Of course, homes that are built … Read more

What is the “Homestead Tax Credit”?

Maryland tries to protect long-term, primary homeowners from being “taxed out of their houses,” so the state caps the amount that taxes can increase on a primary residence each year. When the house is sold, the tax bill is reset to account for the current assessment of the property. Then, after a year, the new owner is … Read more

What is the difference between radon and radium?

Both radon and radium are naturally occurring substances that are in ground water and the ground. While both are very common and not considered harmful in low doses, high doses can pose a health hazard. Both can easily and inexpensively be removed from the air and the water. Radon and radium tend to occur in … Read more