A reader named Al asks:
I want to buy a house preferably on the water, but I'd consider close to the water.
Is there a town where a person can still buy a waterfront home say for under 300k?
And I mean a home where I could get to the ocean. Not some man made lake outback.
Maybe in an area that's up and coming or not so developed? North of Ft Lauderdale or I'd even take the West Coast but I'm assuming it more expensive.
I liked the Ormond Beach area, Vero, Sebastian, Flagler, Delray, a lot of those towns are very nice.
You might be surprised to hear my answer, but yes, such places do still exist here in Florida.
You're likely not going to find a new community with what Al is asking for, but if you're willing to put some TLC into a smaller, older home, the dream of a Florida waterfront home for under $300k is achievable.
Expand your search to include condos, and you open up a lot more choices.
There are a lot of condos on the water in Florida with boat docks either for rent or in some cases that might be included with your unit. Some of these are a little older but you can find some new ones too.
In fact, one of the condos we feature here on the site, Marina Grande on the Halifax, located just south of Ormond Beach which Al said was one of the places he likes, has condo units starting in the mid-$200k's and also has a 28-slip marina just for residents.
But Al only mentioned homes in his email, so that's what we'll focus on in this article.
In my book Pick the Right Place I talk about a few different ways to go about your home search online, but for the specifics of Al's search I'm going to start at Zillow.com.
Realtor.com is another option but I'm hoping Zillow shows us a little bit more of what's available since Realtor.com is limited to only what's listed with agents, and Zillow can show us what's listed with agents but also what's listed For Sale by Owner.
So we're going to start on Zillow and click “Buy”.
I put in “Ormond Beach, FL” for the city but you can really use any Florida city and zoom out because for Al's search we're going to take a look at what's available around the state.
Other filters we're going to set are:
- Price: $200k-$300k
- Bedrooms: Al didn't specify but I'll assume we want something with at least 2 bedrooms so we'll pick 2+
- Home Type: We just want Houses so we're going to deselect all of the other options
To really dial in our filters we're going to say we want waterfront, water view and a dock.
After we click done, we'll zoom out on the map so we can see all or most of Florida, and here's what we see:
All those red dots are what's for sale matching our search criteria.
Obviously Zillow is showing us everything on water that has a description that mentions a dock, but we won't focus on all those red dots in the interior of the state.
Instead let's take a closer look at a few of the ones near the coast.
Immediately this one for $300k in Fort Pierce caught my eye…
It looks like the river is right out the front door and the description says there's the potential for a private dock.
There's a ton of exploring Al could do with his boat around here. It's not far from Hutchinson Island, Blind Creek Beach, and Fort Pierce Inlet State Park.
Further north in Merritt Island, which is near Cape Canaveral, here's one on a canal that leads to the Banana River…
In just a few minutes time, Al could be on his boat and on the river watching the latest SpaceX rocket launch from the Cape.
Further north in Palm Coast, here's another one on a canal that leads to the Intracoastal…
Back in the early 2000's, Palm Coast was consistently ranked one of the fastest growing cities in America.
Let's pop over to the west coast for a few.
Here's one on Cedar Key in the heart of what's know as Florida's Nature Coast…
From the description:
The expansive great room's wall of glass overlooks the salt water of a back bay, which connects shallow-water access to the GULF OF MEXICO. You'll find no shortage of seaside wildlife to entertain you, as you sit on the large open deck overlooking the boat dock.
Sounds like a potential winner to me.
Further south in New Port Richey, here's one on the smaller side (under 1,000 sq. ft.) but has lots of updates and modern finishes inside…
From the description:
Launch endless adventures from the 10,000 LBS capacity boatlift! There is also a convenient floating dock making loading and unloading your boat a breeze! Just a short cruise to the open Gulf!
I think that gives you a pretty good idea of what you can find around Florida on the water for under $300,000.
As you can see, there's not a whole lot available, and definitely not anything brand new, but if you look hard enough, you just might find something that works for you.
Do you think you could make any of the homes we found work? Let us know in the comments below!