Waterfront living in Idaho: Pros and Cons

Almost everyone loves the water. There is something about the babbling of a brook or river or the lapping of waves against a boardwalk that just makes for a relaxing atmosphere. If that is the experience that you have when you hear the sounds of water, or if you have any other special connection with water, then you might want to live in a waterfront home.

Waterfront living means that you live in a home that boarders some sort of body of water. This can be the ocean, a lake, a river, or a stream. Now, here in Idaho we are landlocked and have no access to the ocean, so your main options are going to be lakes and rivers. However, the principles are still the same (for the most part) no matter the body of water you live by.

Before you start looking for your dream waterfront property, make sure to check your MLS results carefully. When you are searching for waterfront properties in Idaho you may find some homes are labeled as waterfront, when they are simply near a pond, and sometimes a canal. While this is technically 'waterfront' it isn't what we all normally imagine when we think of when we hear that word. So, unless you really do want to live near a pond or canal, be sure to check the property description before scheduling a showing.


Let's start our analysis with the pros. These are easy to think of because many of the pros we could think of are the normal reasons that people want to live waterfront in the first place. But, nevertheless, let's dive right in.

1. Serenity

There is something serene about living near a body of water. Why that is, we may never know, but it sure does wonders for the troubled soul to spend mere minutes on the shore of a lake or river to calm to nerves.

Usually, there will be wildlife and vegetation growing near a body of water, so there will also be the quiet serene atmosphere of the trees and shrubbery as well. This will only add to the feeling of peace and tranquility that you already enjoyed with your waterfront property and also promote healthy living with all the bright new air that is being projected by the vegetation.

2. Privacy

Another great thing that waterfront properties is the privacy. Usually there are less people around waterfront properties, especially if it is a private lake that the house is situated on, so it gives the owners a better sense of privacy. Not to mention, with those trees we mentioned earlier, there will be fewer prying eyes from the outside world.

3. Proximity to water activities

Now, of course, we have the water activities. One of the main reasons go to the water. Playing or relaxing in the water on a hot summer day is one of the best feelings in the world and, depending on the kind of waterfront property you have, you may have more opportunities that you think.


Ah, boating, is there anything more fun? There are many kinds of boats and many different activities that you can do with them. For our intents and purposes, we are classifying canoes, yachts, kayaks, and waterskiing boats as "boats". If you live near a body of water that can handle a larger boat, like a lake, then your possibilities are endless. You can do all sorts of stuff on your boat out on the water. It just depends on what you want to do.

However, if you live by a river, you will be limited to small stuff like kayaks and other watercraft that can travel down a swift current.

-Swimming/ wading

Swimming and wading are very popular summer activities and they are some that are readily available when you live waterfront. However, be sure that it is safe to swim in the water you have access to. For instance, the Boise River has been swollen all of 2016 and is not safe to swim in. So be careful and watch for warnings from officials before hopping in the water.

More stable value

Another great pro for living near a body of water is the value of the home doesn't decrease as fast. Many people want to live by the water, even if it means living in a smaller house. This means that even if houses similar to the one you buy lose their value yours will not, as much, since it is a waterfront property (this is obviously an assumption, the value of your house is based on market trends and the overarching economy).

The view

Another classic waterfront living pro is the view. Honestly, just think of it, waking to see the sun rising over the glistening water every morning. Wouldn't that be marvelous? And for those of you with mountains or forests on the opposite shores of your waterfront property, then it gets even better. That magnificent view will be the envy of many and will be a source of great serenity for you. Besides, it will save you money on interior decorating - who needs paintings when you can open the curtains and see the natural 'decor' of the Earth!

Renting capabilities

Another pro that we would like to mention is the rental possibilities that come with owning a waterfront property. If the waterfront property is not your permanent residence, then you can always rent it out to people who would like to vacation there. This could mean extra money for you in the long run! It is a great opportunity that, even in the waterfront property community, is pretty rare.


Now, as wonderful as all those pros sound, there are always cons as well. Disadvantages do exist for waterfront properties, believe it or not.

Rising water levels

One thing that you have to worry about with a waterfront property is both tidal cycles and natural growth of the body of water. Like we said earlier, the Boise River has had phenomenal swelling this year which could put many riverfront properties in jeopardy. Lakes are the same way, if they are being fed by snow melt or other fluctuating sources, then they also have the risk of rising as well. And, if the water rises, you have two things that can happen. Either a) your property gets eaten up by the water and it loses value, or b) it...


Next on our list would be flooding. Obviously, a bit bigger of an issue than simply losing a foot or two of property to the water depths of your river or lake. Floods are nasty and they can happen to even the most secure of properties. You will want to always have good flood insurance if you are bound and determined to live by the water, and you should always make sure your house is as elevated as possible to protect it.

Water damage

Whether it floods or not you always have to worry about water damage. When you live next to the water, the air is humid, ground water can be closer to your house than you think, and so on and so forth. All of these things can do great damage to a house. Wood and water are only friends when they are never separated or never come in contact with each other. A piece of wood that gets wet and then dries over and over again will swell up and rot causing terrible problems for a home.


Another problem that moist air and excess water bring to a home is mold. Mold loves cold, damp places and it will flourish in a house by the water if proper ventilation and other precautions are not achieved. Mold is the silent killer of houses and needs to be warded off with all diligence.


Next there's mosquitos. Mosquitos love to nest in stagnant water which can be in abundance around water sources. Even if it is a fast paced river you live next, there will still be all sorts of strange stagnant water for them to call home. With the devastating diseases that mosquitos can carry with them from place to place, protecting yourself and your guests from them should be a very high priority.


We talked a little about flood insurance earlier, but it is worth mentioning again. When you live in a waterfront home you are going to need insurance for flooding and any number of other things. The sad thing, however, is that all this insurance will cost you quite a bit, actual rates may differ by location and agency. So, just keep that in mind.

We hope this article has helped you in your decision on buying a waterfront property. For more information, contact us today and one of our amazing Treasure Valley based real estate agents will be glad to assist you. They can also help you find the right Boise home for you! So, call today!