Monday, November 08, 2010

Q: We are really interested in the enclosed listings of waterfront property.

We want to put up a yurt or tent so that we can have a getaway near the water. Can you show us these parcels?

A: These are "recreational" property. That means they are not buildable. Most real esate brokers would rather not even have these listed because we have to field calls and emails about them all the time. King County will not allow temporary structures or out buildings on a property that doesn't contain a house. The health department wants to be sure you have water and septic. Using the bushes is not an acceptable option.

One of the current waterfront listings is actually in the water! Yes, you heard me right, it is underwater! No land. Sort of like buying swamp land in Florida. The other property is a postage stamp lot that is not buildable and it is a high bank cliff. It could be used for picnics. If it were closer to the water you could launch a kayak from it. That's about all it's good for.

People buy these lots at tax sales without looking at them. Then they come out to the Island and find that they have purchased an almost totally unusable property and a few years later the lot shows up at a tax sale again. It's sad.

I recall one parcel that I went out to find for a couple who were all excited that they had purchased a waterfront lot on Vashon. There was no land left! The tidal action had taken all the land away and there wasn't anything left. They bought air!

If it looks too good to be is! A decent, buildable parcel of waterfront land will be hundreds of thousands of dollars not a few thousand dollars. As for yurts and tents, the hippie days have been over for a very long time. Yes, we do have a few yurts and RV's and tents still discreetly tucked away on someone's "back 40" but if there's a code enforcement complaint they'll be history.