Certain types of properties just lend themselves to having certain features and amenities desirable to buyers and renters. If you've invested in a waterfront property, you've likely thought about whether you should add a boat dock or refurbish an existing one. Let's make this an easy decision for you: Yes. And here's why.
Why do you need a boat dock?
The boats we're referring to here are not yachts or other large vessels that likely require a professional crew to operate and a large marina to call home. Rather, we're talking smaller seacraft -- yes, even kayaks and Jet Skis -- that can be moored at a dock as part of a waterfront residence.
Unlike a car that can be parked anywhere that's legal, a boat needs to be in a slip and safely attached to a dock when not in use during boating season. This ensures the boat, as well as its operators, is protected, as the dock allows for safe embarking and disembarking. A dock can have one or more slips, allowing for multiple small seaworthy vessels to be tethered.
What does it cost to add a boat dock?
According to HomeAdvisor (NASDAQ: ANGI), the price of building a boat dock ranges from $3,277 to $26,524, with an average cost of $14,732. Like many home improvement projects, the cost depends on the deck's size and type of materials used, which is likely determined by the size of the boat.
HomeAdvisor reports the average pier is $100 per linear foot, which works out to be $15 to $40 per square foot. Prefab or already-assembled models could cost as low as $1,000 -- but you probably won't be able to do much more than jump off that dock or paddle away in a canoe. Permanent docks with higher-end materials and construction can cost between $50,000 and $75,000; if you've got luxury vacation rental on the water that beckons a bevy of Jet Skis and a boat or two, you'll likely want to get on board -- pun intended -- with that upgrade.
If those prices leave you feeling a little seasick and you just want to provide an option for a canoe or two, consider a modular floating dock. The brand EZ Dock offers economical options ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars, in various configurations, usually made from plastic or sometimes aluminum. This might be a good option for lightweight seacraft, but for heavier vessels, a permanent dock made from wood, steel, or aluminum is the better choice.
How much value does a boat dock add to waterfront property?
Owning a boat is expensive, not just because of the purchase price of the boat but also the cost of maintaining and docking it at a local marina if there's no private dock. But dock rentals aren't cheap, particularly if you own waterfront property in an upscale part of town.
While prices vary by marina, HomeAdvisor reports it can cost anywhere from $150 to $1,000 a month to dock a boat. It all depends on the size and length of the boat; the daily cost averages out to $0.50 to $2.00 per foot, which can add up quickly. Don't forget about storing your boat during the offseason -- that's an extra $1,500 to $4,000.
A private dock not only saves on monthly rental fees, but it also saves time. Avid boaters and water enthusiasts will appreciate not having to walk or drive to the marina and deal with boat traffic in the harbor -- they can drift away easily from a slip on their private dock. Even homebuyers without a boat could appreciate having a dock to dive off or to just sit at the edge of the water and watch the sunset.
The bottom line
Investing in a waterfront property is not just about having a pretty view. It's about having easy access to that water for recreation, particularly boating. While not every waterfront property buyer or renter will have a boat, without a dock, you'll be turning away those who do.