FAQs

The slip at the house I am considering is too shallow for my boat. Can I dredge it?

Maybe. Typically the County will issue permits for dredging to the “historical depth” and if there is no sub aquatic vegetation (“SAV”) that will be destroyed. You also need to consider if tides and currents will quickly fill in the area you just dredged. We work with several people that specialize in dredging and pier permits. In some cases it may be cheaper, simpler, and more permanent to just extend your pier into deeper water.

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 basement dry.

How does the exposure impact a waterfront property with regards to shade, sunset/sunrise views, storm exposure, etc…?

Homes on the water are exposed to greater weather elements than non-waterfront homes. Mother Nature tends to be less forgiving to a home on the water — wind and driving rain can be particularly fierce — so it is important to understand what precautions you can take to help protect your investment. Ask us about the best building materials for highly exposed areas such as Chesapeake Bay frontage.

What is the average tidal range and how does that impact the MLW and water access to the pier?

Unlike in Maine, the  Chesapeake Bay (and tributary) tides vary by a foot or two most days. However the tides are not your problem – the wind is the problem. Northerly winds in the winter and fall can drop the water level by three feet in addition to the low tide! Summer southerly winds can raise it the same amount. Storms coming up the Chesapeake Bay can bring water surges six feet or more above normal! There is a simple way to tell what the “average low water” level is by looking at the pilings – do you know what it is? And, if a serious storm is on the way, listen to the NOAA weather for updates so you can take care of your boat in an extreme tide!

Having a pool on the waterside of a property seems to be a rare find. Is it difficult to get a permit to install a waterfront pool?

It is extremely difficult to get a pool permit on the waterside of a home. The main reason is that most properties do not have enough space outside of the critical area buffer in which to construct a pool. However, there are sever legal justifications that can be used to get a variance to build a pool with less than normal setbacks. And there is a property classification called “buffer exempt” which allows construction of a pool closer to the water. Let us know if you want a pool and we will contact one of the reputable permit people we work with to determine if a pool is feasible.

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 out of the flood zone do not require this coverage at all. A Mr. Waterfront Buyer Agent can evaluate the homes you are considering, let you know it they will require flood insurance, and help to estimate the cost.

What is a nitrogen reducing septic system and how does is impact the potential for future development of a property?

A nitrogen-reducing system consists of the advanced pre-treatment unit and the sewage disposal field. The advanced pre-treatment units used in Anne Arundel County typically replace or work in combination with the septic tank. Aeration or recirculation is used to promote biological action, resulting in the release of nitrogen as a harmless gas into the atmosphere. Nitrogen reducing systems are considered the best available technology in Anne Arundel County, and are generally required for new construction, building addition applications that require an upgrade to the existing septic systems, and repair or replacement applications for existing septic systems that are located in the Critical Area. This may sound complicated but we can assist you with the process.

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 eligible for the Homestead Credit to keep his/her taxes from significant increases – assuming, of course, it is a primary residence. The Homestead credit is not automatic; it requires an application.

What steps do I need to do before I can make an offer on a waterfront property?

The most important thing a buyer can do prior to making an offer on a waterfront property is to be pre-qualified by a reputable lender. We have access to a number of great local lenders in the area who truly understand the waterfront market.

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 certain types of soils and in certain areas of the County. I usually discuss with my client and the Home Inspector as to whether testing for radon and radium is advisable. Usually the Seller will pay to have these products filtered from the air and water if they are found.

Buy or Sell With Us