waterfront property on mill creek, annapolis md

Remodeling Waterfront Properties in Maryland

remodeling waterfront properties in marylandWhen it comes to real estate in Maryland, waterfront properties are highly coveted. Living near the water provides a sense of tranquility and serenity that cannot be replicated in any other type of setting. However, not all waterfront properties are created equal. Some may be outdated or not optimized for modern living. This is where remodeling comes in. Remodeling waterfront properties in Maryland can not only improve the functionality of the home, but it can also increase its value.  Building or remodeling waterfront properties comes with a very unique set of challenges and you would be wise to work with a construction firm that understands and has experience with these requirements. So, before you build or renovate a waterfront property, here’s what you need to know.

It’s All About the Footprint when Remodeling

Here in the Maryland, there are a variety of issues that must be addressed when building or remodeling waterfront properties. One of the most critical factors is the footprint of the existing structure.  As a general rule, if you’re building up and staying within the existing footprint, you can eliminate a lot of extra work and headaches. This is because if you decide to completely rebuild, there are often rules and guidelines that mandate moving a house farther back from the water’s edge. This can greatly reduce the beautiful waterfront views you fell in love with.  Adding a second story to an existing home, if the structure allows, is a great way to add square footage without having to completely rebuild and can often help you comply with critical area requirements. We have a free guide that explains this process in more detail.

Maximize the View of a Waterfront Property

One of the primary reasons people seek waterfront properties in Maryland is for the view. Therefore, it is essential to maximize the view when remodeling. This can be done in several ways. One way is to add large windows or glass doors that provide unobstructed views of the water. Another way is to build a deck or balcony that extends outward, providing a clear view of the water.

Impervious Surfaces

Here in the Mid-Atlantic, because of our wonderful proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, there are a variety of issues that come into play with waterfront properties, particularly those located in critical areas.  One such issue revolves around impervious surfaces.  Impervious surfaces are hard surfaces that change the direction or ultimate destination of precipitation.  The laws help to prevent the addition of these hard surfaces in areas close to the Bay and its tributaries.  Often each county and state have different definitions for impervious surface. In Anne Arundel County, for example, gravel is considered impervious, even though water runs through it. This can impact things like adding a new driveway, a new patio or deck, or hardscaping a portion of your yard.

Permitting & Impact Fees

All building or remodeling projects must be properly permitted. During this process, when remodeling a waterfront property in Maryland, the local zoning office will determine the impact fees and permitting fees that will be required. For waterfront properties, which are usually located in critical areas of the Chesapeake Bay, these fees can be substantial.  So, a wise person will investigate the costs before purchasing the property.

Incorporate Natural Elements

Waterfront properties are unique because they are surrounded by natural elements such as water, sand, and vegetation. Incorporating these elements into the design can create a cohesive and serene atmosphere. For example, using natural materials such as wood and stone can complement the surroundings. Adding plants and landscaping that thrive in a coastal environment can also enhance the overall aesthetic.

Outdoor Living Spaces

Waterfront living is all about being outdoors and enjoying the natural surroundings. Therefore, creating outdoor living spaces is a must when remodeling a waterfront property. Consider adding a patio, outdoor kitchen, or fire pit. These spaces not only provide a place to relax and entertain but also add value to the property.

Resale Value

While remodeling a waterfront property in Maryland can be a significant investment, it can also yield a high return on investment. When planning the remodel, it is essential to consider resale value. Focus on improvements that are not only functional but also attractive to potential buyers. This may include adding high-end appliances, updating the plumbing and electrical systems, or increasing energy efficiency.

Feasibility of Remodeling Waterfront Property

While some people fall in love with a waterfront property, they don’t always realize the cost or amount of work that will be required to bring the property ‘up to snuff’.  This is an important consideration.  We know of one family that purchased a property and when permits were pulled, realized that all of the previous improvements had not been permitted properly.  There was a substantial amount of work that had to be done, to bring the property up to code and the county had to be paid for the previous improvements.  So, be sure to enlist a feasibility engineer or other resource to help you evaluate a property before you buy it.

The bottom line is that, when remodeling a waterfront property in Maryland, it’s important to work with an experienced contractor.  You’ll want someone, like Parker Design Build, who has experience with critical area restrictions, impervious surface calculations, and who can help you navigate the permit office.  If you’re thinking about building or remodeling a waterfront property, contact us today for a free consultation.

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Parker Design Build Remodel is a family-owned business that has been serving the Baltimore metropolitan area for over 15 years and has received multiple awards.


2506 Caves Road
Owings Mills, Maryland 21117

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Parker Design Build Remodel is a family-owned business that has been serving the Baltimore metropolitan area for over 15 years and has received multiple awards.  

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