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Private docks become a valuable real estate as boat sales skyrocket

Joanne Falla decided that it needed to be bigger. A big house and a big boat.

Her home in Harwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, wasn’t big enough for an intimate family of fathers, two sisters, brother-in-law, nephews, and dogs. Since the blockade began, a 51-year-old Boston-based tech executive has lived and worked for 30 years in his father’s law firm, the 1789 building.

She wanted an 80-year-old father, a gym, and a community home that could be shared with the whole family on vacations and weekends.

She also wanted to expand the family’s fleet, which was a single 11-foot ship powered by motors and oars, built by her father in the early 1960s. It was not possible to keep the entire clan safe. So when she and her dad saw a used 16-foot cat boat at the nearby Arey’s Pond Boat Yard in Orleans, he snapped it.

Joan also found a new home in the boatyard. One day, while checking the boat inventory, she found a house on the other side of the shore. I had everything I needed for a Cape Cod house. It was on a hill high enough to protect itself from storms, with weathered roofboards, blue shutters and waterside views.

The house was impressive 4,983 sq ft and had 5 bedrooms, 5½ bathrooms and a pond with a frontage of about 200 feet. Just below that was a boathouse sitting on a bush of bright green swamp grass. Perhaps above all, the property had a 100-foot dock.

Jim Fara on a float on a 100-foot dock at his daughter Joan’s house in Orleans.


The Wall Street Journal Tony Leon

View of the array pond from the deck of Joan Fara’s five-bedroom home, where the family gathers. The boathouse is at the bottom right.


The Wall Street Journal Tony Leon

Prompted by their father, the two toured the house with a broker. They found it in a high quality home that had just undergone a high end upgrade. It was ready to move in and was big enough for the family. They thought the boathouse would be a great office for Fara, who also has a place in Boston.

But for $ 4.4 million, she rejected it out of budget. That is, until the price goes down, just as she benefited from the listing of her company, San Mateo, CA-based Snowflake.

“I made a $ 3.5 million offer and a few hours later the broker said it was accepted,” Fara said. She closed her house in February and her father moved the next day.

Today, Fara’s most exciting amenity in her new home is the dock, which can accommodate a couple of boats. She is not alone in her passion.

Docked to Cape Cod

Joanne Falla bought the perfect home for a close family and their boat.

Jim Fara heads to the boathouse. The boathouse can also be used as a guesthouse when her daughter Joan is not in the office.

The Wall Street Journal Tony Leon



Homes with private boat docks, bulkheads, seawalls and lifts are in high demand as Americans buy a record number of pleasure crafts to stay socially distant and stay healthy in the great outdoors. .. Chicago-based National Marine Manufacturers Assn. According to the report, boat sales reached a 13-year high in 2020, up 12% year-on-year. Last year, more than 310,000 powerboats were sold in the United States.

This increase in sales is also due to people working remotely in what used to be their weekend home. Their relocation can now justify what a significant investment vessel needs.

Fara jumped on two new ships for her family. Fara paid about $ 15,000 for repair work, an additional $ 26,000 in used catboats, and $ 11,000 in used 18-foot skiffs. He also purchased a $ 2,200 mast and line kit for the 1963 boat. His efforts are not included.

In some waterfront communities, getting a new dock is difficult. John Hagenstein, a partner at Beacon Marine Construction in Mashpie, Massachusetts, said in Cape, environmental regulations restrict new construction, but homeowners can restore or replace existing docks. He has already registered four-month-old twins Wyatt and Mira. , In the case of dock permits, they may get 20 years from now.

Other areas that are out of stock include parts of Maine, Florida Keys, and about 700 miles of coastline in Talbot County, Maryland, and homes on the market tend to sell quickly.

Jo Giardino’s $ 150,000 Seahunt GF was detained at his breakwater in Islamorada, Florida.


The Wall Street Journal Mary Beskies

Heather Shields, the main broker, Senior Vice President of Legacy Properties at Sotheby’s International Realty, calls inventory status “difficult.”

She sold a 5,100-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-½-bath home in Cape Elizabeth via FaceTime a few weeks ago for $ 1 million, but buyers haven’t seen it yet. Her latest top list is a five-bedroom, four-bath, 4,679-square-foot home on Lake Sevago in Standish, priced at $ 3.5 million. There are docks, stone bulkheads and a 150-foot lakeside sandy beach.

In Maryland, Easton’s Meredith Fine Property owner and partner Cliff Meredith says his business has tripled this year in 2020.

“The appeal of this area is that it’s located in golf practice areas in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and DC,” said Meredith, who estimates that about 90% of sales are on the waterfront. “Everyone is afraid to fly, so the safest thing to do is to ride with your family.”

Shortly after Covid struck, he sold a $ 2.8 million, 5,251 sq ft, four-bedroom, five-½-bath home in Oxford. The coastline is 1,700 feet, with small sandy beaches and wide ocean views. There is also a dock and boat lift.

Buyers are Karl Williams, 58, COO of Virginia Tech and his wife, Amy, 50. They share a home with three children, 90 minutes from their parents’ home in Arlington, Virginia. 16 years old, Christian (19 years old), daughter Catalina (26 years old). Last year, his third son, Ethan, 22, died suddenly of a short illness, which triggered his purchase. “We always knew we would get a villa that would appeal to family and friends,” Williams said. “It was right for us at that time and it was a great decision.”

The dock has his first boat, a 27-foot white Boston Whaler. He refused to reveal the price, but said he had negotiated a 25% price cut just before the dealer closed on Christmas Eve. He is learning how to operate it in an online course.

“I’m an Army man,” said a 1985 West Point graduate. “I didn’t go to Annapolis.”

According to Brett Newman of the Newman team at Coldwell Banker Schmidt Real Estate in Islamorada, at Florida Keys, any home design takes a backseat for its location on the water and its boat setup.

Giardino bought a property with a 350 x 7 foot dock in the Venetian Shores community.


The Wall Street Journal Mary Beskies

“I don’t go home, I just go back and check the docks,” he said. “It doesn’t work if it’s devastated, the water is too shallow, or the canal isn’t clean enough for the bait fish to survive with the bait pen.”

He recently gave the Venetian Shores 3,382 sq ft, four-bedroom, three-bathroom home to Joe Giardino, 62, owner of the Adirondack Kayak Warehouse, a kayak retailer in Amsterdam, NY. Sold for $ 1.95 million.

Not only is the house on Giardino Drive (his surname), but also Giardino’s dream breakwater.

He didn’t like the real house. There was a 1975 design and a blue mansard roof. He replaced the roof, repainted the stucco exterior, and put hurricane glass into about 37 windows at a cost of $ 125,000. He describes the new look as Florida Coastal Modern.

Giardino closed on July 2, the day after selling a 3,576-square-foot, five-bedroom home in the same community for $ 1,975,000.

The new home will have a $ 150,000 boat lift for the Seahunt GF and a 350 x 7-foot dock, and broker Newman estimates that the installation of the previous owner will cost $ 350,000. Giardino bought his first home in Keys in 2004, but has been looking at this new home for at least a decade. “The stars are finally aligned and I was able to get it,” he said.

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Private docks become a valuable real estate as boat sales skyrocket

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