Buying beach real estate to enjoy in your retirement is a dream that may now be in reach for you. Images of long walks on the beach, sounds of waves lulling you to sleep, and ocean breezes caressing your skin fill your thoughts. It is an exciting time of your life and you’ve worked hard to make it come true.
Top 5 Tips for Buying Beach Real Estate
In the excitement of making your dream of a beach house come true, take care not to overlook a few important considerations during your search. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you look for beach real estate:
Check Out Different Communities
Look at many different properties and communities before settling on one. You might like a particular beach, but you need to investigate the area surrounding it and different communities. That means learning about the community and nearby plans for development. You may not like the fact that a beach house you love will soon have a four-story condo building next door. Also, many beach communities are seasonal. Make sure you will love the house just as much in-season and off-season.
Drive around and see what is nearby. Save yourself some time by using various online maps to see aerial and street views of the surrounding area.
Compare Needs vs. Budget
Take some time and create a list of features you want and figure out what you really need in a beach house. Determine which of those things you can comfortably afford. Think about it as you would your primary home. For example, consider how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll need. Think about how much entertaining you will do. You should expect to have more visitors to your beach house than you may expect.
Another important consideration is how much maintenance and repair the house will need. Being near the ocean will expose the home’s exterior to salty air, saltwater, harsh sun, and sand. Keeping it up can be expensive. Salt air and saltwater are corrosive, so you need to expect frequent repair and replacement. If all of that is within your budget, make sure there is nothing else you would prefer to do with the money.
Take Location and Insurance into Consideration
Shop around for homeowner’s insurance. Is insurance even available for a home in your chosen beach location? If it is available, make sure your budget will cover the premiums you’ll face to insure it. If you are getting a mortgage to buy the house, the lender will likely require you to have special insurance for flood, wind, or hail damage. Don’t forget to factor in premium increases, too.
You may decide that the cost of insuring a beachfront property is just too much. If so, you may want to look at homes that are a short distance away from the beach. You will find lower sales prices and a little less ongoing maintenance. By moving your search just a few blocks off the beach, your insurance costs and other expenses will be a little lower because you will have better protection from the harshest beachfront weather, floods and storm surges.
Research Local Weather Patterns
Go online and look at the weather patterns and storm history for the area before you buy beach real estate. Is the area prone to annual hurricane damage? If so, what months are the most frequent? Have a home inspection done by an inspector that specializes in waterfront property. A specialized inspector can tell you about the weather and maintenance issues unique to the area. The inspector will look for problems caused by proximity to the ocean and its weather. For example, the inspector will be able to tell if the house has been flooded and the frequency of flooding. Salty floodwaters do significant damage to electrical systems, foundations, and wood. Make sure that if the home is destroyed by a weather event you will be allowed to rebuild.
Will You Ever Rent It Out?
A popular way to recoup some of the costs of a beach real estate is renting it out to vacationers. If you plan to do that, keep some things in mind as you do your house hunting. The first is to make sure the community permits it and understand any restrictions placed on it by the HOA (if applicable) and local ordinances. You may need a home inspection and a license before you can rent it.
Another important consideration is how you will market the house for rent. The community may have an on-site management agent to do that, or you’ll have to make your own arrangements.
Find out from the sellers whether they rented the house previously and how much the property earned during the past few years. If written records of the rental income and expenses are available, ask to see them. In some beach areas, homes with more bedrooms and bathrooms are the most popular and bring the most in rental income.
Discuss Your Options With Agents Who Know Beachfront Properties
Let the beachfront experts at Katie Zarpas Group help you find your dream beach house. Contact their office for more information and get started looking for your new beach real estate property.