What Are “Beach Rights” Worth?

226 Riverside Avenue, $1.795M. Who knew it had beach rights?

226 Riverside Avenue, $1.745M. Who knew it had beach rights?

Here’s our chance to find out!

226 Riverside Avenue, which had sat around for years, on and off the sale market, finally found multiple bidders last July and went $53,050 over its asking price, selling for $853,000. The buyer turns out to be an investor who has now done a total re-do, including (my favorite) a beautiful new cedar roof.

But the most notable “improvement” is the addition of Willomere Beach rights. No previous listing of this property, going back to 1992 when it fetched $287,000, ever mentioned the existence of such rights. So who did the detective work required to unearth this information,  the broker, the lawyer, the buyer? 

I’ll be the first to admit, Willomere Beach ain’t exactly Tod’s Point, but it is substantially better than nothing (see photos included on listing)! Having that little beach to sit around on or launch a kyack from adds genuine value. But how much? $100,000? $200,000? You tell me.

(Here’s the “before picture” of 226 Riverside Avenue)

List: Lisa Weicker

19 thoughts on “What Are “Beach Rights” Worth?

  1. So let’s do some math. He spent $50-55k for the roof. Maybe another $250k for the rest – shingles, a/c, paint. I do wonder why he’d spend the dough for a Kitchen by Deane in such a modest home – her kitchens are outrageously expensive (=overpriced a zillion-fold) and I would not be interested in paying for a Kitchen By Deane in this home. Maybe in a multi-million $ home. maybe, but probably not.

    He didn’t have do to much to the floors – they looked decent from the old photos. Even assuming he spent $400 on the reno (he got hosed if he did) and another $50k for research to prove there are water rights, how do you get to $1.7 for a 1777 sf home. Note that the new listing does not mention the square footage. Me thinks I smell greed.

    What will all this renovation and the beach rights do to the taxes? Now they are a mere bagatelle at $7100. Will they double? I assume he got permits for all this work and the assessor came knocking on the door after he got a C of O?

    Also interesting that in one of the new photos, he chose to show a shutter closed, presumably to say they are real shutters, not plastic ones nailed and that they can be closed if a hurricane blows through? Or am I reading too much into the closed shutter photo?

    • LM:
      Holy cow , that’s quite an analysis! Your estimate for the cedar roof sounds high, by at least $10K, but otherwise, you may be estimating accurately. I haven’t been inside yet, so I can’t be sure, but this particular investor/builder is known for doing really, really high quality work. The house is small, but it located deep in “prime Riverside” and may yet appeal to a young couple or older empty-nester types. Most people simply don’t want to take on the job of a total renovation, so they’ll pay a large premium to have it done for them. We shall await the market’s verdict.

  2. 50K for research to determine beach rights? Sheesh. A title searcher would be able to pull all the deeds and docs together for about $49,500 LESS. There’s about 10 who practically live in the town clerks office and could do it in a few hours.

  3. It might be wortwhile (and profitable) investigating if any other Riverside properties have beach rights to Willowmere, though I suspect Willowmerites would rather you didn’t.

    • Ants:
      The “back story” on this is that once upon a time, the Marks family owned that whole swath of Riverside, south of Riverside Avenue (including our Mom’s property!). When they sold off individual lots, old Mrs. Marks would dole out Willowmere rights seemingly at random. The moral of the story is, if you live on any lot formerly owned by Marks, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look at your deed (stored in the Town Hall basement vault. If the lot you live on was once part of a larger lot, it’s still possible that your neighbor’s rights extend to your property.

  4. I am wondering if there is a Willomere Association tax that he is required to pay? If not, I doubt he will have kayak storage rights as I understand there is a strictly controlled kayak allotment process there (governed by the Willomere “kayak czar”).

    • Vic:
      Ha, you clever lad! You’ve reminded me of a forgotten element of this story, namely, The Willowmere Association. All well and good, digging up a lost “deeded right” for a property, but you can’t then go sashaying down to the association beach the next day, parking your butt in a handy Adirondack chair, and prepare to store your kayak on the nearest rack. Nope, the next step, after determining your long-forgotten deeded right, is to contact whoever happens to be that year’s president of the association and ask permission to join. Maybe they’ll let you in, maybe they won’t. And this is true of all street associations, not just Willowmere.

      • Really? Wouldn’t a deeded right trump any association president’s opinion on letting someone past the velvet rope? If I had a deeded right I’d use it. A deeded right that runs with the land is a powerful thing, no?

      • Anon:
        Yes, a deeded right is a legally powerful thing, but we are missing some essential information on this particular case.
        From what I’ve gathered, this may have been a case where there was what might be called an “archaic” deeded right, un-used for decades, possibly associated with a larger parcel that was later sub-divided? In addition, the house in question was built in 1887; at that time, I’m pretty sure there was no such thing as the “Willomere Association”, or any sort of beach.

  5. i saw that place when it was first listed about 4 years ago, before a modest re-do of the interior (which you referenced). it was a dump. i almost put my foot right through a part of the front porch.

    sure has come a long way, baby!

      • agreed. i meant when i saw it circa ’10 or so, the place was far from being ready for prime time. a family grew up in the house and it was their home, hopefully many happy memories.

        being new buyers to the area, we were shocked at what was offered at that price.

        either way, that’s neither here nor there. new owner/builder did a beautiful job fixing it up.

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