Many people who think about buying real estate in Hawaii envision living in a house that's set along white sand beaches, with a view of the ocean. This dream can become a reality, as there are gorgeous waterfront properties available throughout Oahu. From Waikiki oceanfront condos to luxury beachfront houses in Kailua, Hawaii beachfront homes offer the pinnacle of waterfront living.
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While there are a variety of waterfront homes to choose from, it's important to learn about shoreline setbacks prior to making an offer on a Hawaii beachfront property. According to Hawaiian law, the official shoreline refers to â€œthe upper reaches of the wash of the waves, other than storm and seismic waves, at high ride during the season of the year in which the highest wash of the waves occurs, usually evidenced by the edge of vegetation growth, or the upper limit of debris left by the wash of the waves.â€
When you buy an oceanfront home in Hawaii, it's a good idea to get a shoreline certification that tells you where the boundary is located. The problem is that these certifications can take up to 6 months to acquire, since officials have to measure the tidal ranges over a period of time, not just on one day.
The standard setback from the shoreline in Oahu is 40 feet, but it could be more, depending on the neighborhood. That means that no permanent structure (like a house) can be built within that setback. Sometimes you'll see beachfront houses that are much closer than 40 feet to the water. That's usually because the shore has eroded since the house was built, or the home was constructed before the rule came into being.
When shopping for beachfront property in Hawaii, it's vital that you find out where the shoreline setback is located before making an offer. The last thing you want is to buy a property thinking you can build something where you legally can't. Also, if there's some type of structure that is located inside the setback limit, make sure that your title and home insurance will still cover you.
In Kailua, the setback is usually going to include a lot of the beach, so even though your home is right on the sand, you probably won't own any of it. In Diamond Head, your home may be on a cliff, and even though you might own part of that cliff, you probably won't own any of the adjoining beach. The only way to be absolutely sure of where your property ends and the public beach begins is to get a shoreline certification.
In Hawaii Kai, your property might go right up to the water since there isn't a lot of sand there, while the North Shore has some great sandy beaches like Sunset, Mokuleia, and Waialua. Buyers should note however, that not all beachfront properties on the North Shore will feature a sandy shorelinemany have rocky shores. Because the shoreline can vary so much, most beachfront homes in Hawaii have rock walls that meet the water.
Contact AlohaTony to learn more about buying or selling Hawaii beachfront property.
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