The 4 main areas where you’ll find Clearwater Beach homes for sale are Island Estates (Intracoastal waterway frontage, canal frontage and non-waterfront), the north beach area (both Gulf frontage, Intercoastal frontage and non-waterfront), the south beach area (mostly on the Intracoastal waterway or canals) and the Sand Key area (mostly on the Intracoastal or canals).
I’m going to focus on the waterfront homes here so I can bring up the features with waterfront homes that are unique and need to be looked at when you are considering buying one of these houses.
The first is the seawall. Usually the seawalls for houses on the Intracoastal or canals are made out of reinforced concrete and act as a separation between the soil of the property and the water. There is also a cement cap on top of the seawall that is also made of concrete. (There are some seawalls made of material other than concrete but the ones I have seen so far in the Clearwater Beach areas have been only the concrete ones.) Houses on the Gulf that are beachfront will not normally have a seawall, so this mainly applies to those on the Intracoastal or canals.
Seawalls can be expensive to replace so you’ll want to know the age of the existing seawall (if the owner knows) and have it checked during the home inspection. Your inspector will want to look for any cracks in the seawall or cap and other indicators of problems. If the inspection shows that there is damage or that the seawall may need replacing in the next few years, you may want to get an estimate from a reputable company that does this type of work.
The second feature can vary in waterfront homes, but usually they will have a dock and/or boat lift and/or davits (kind of like two arms that project over the water with cables that can lift and lower a boat). Again, this is mostly for those houses on the Intracoastal or canals.
Probably the 2 most important of these, cost-wise, are the dock and lift. You should have these included in the inspection you have done to find out their condition and to make sure that any davits or lifts are functioning as they should. If there appears to be any potential problems you should have them checked more thoroughly by a good company that services and installs them to see if the issues are minor or major and to get an idea of what it may cost to repair or replace them, as needed.
Though it is not really a feature, a third area you should pay attention to is the cost for home and flood insurance. Being on the water does result in a higher insurance cost than you’d see for houses inland so you don’t want to be surprised by waiting until after you have a contract on a waterfront home to find out what your insurance premium may be. You can reduce that cost some by having storm shutters on the windows and doors but you should talk with your insurance agent to find out exactly what you can do to reduce the costs and how much reduction there would be.
My final comment on Clearwater Beach homes that are waterfront is that you need to be more attentive to maintenance. The salt air is corrosive and any outside metal can rust more easily and quickly. It may take more of your time but it will cost you less in the long run to make sure you regularly and properly maintain all the outside aspects of your home (including lifts and davits).
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