Buying a beach house is a little different from buying a home in the city or suburbs. Being aware of the differences, and of the unique circumstances that apply for a beach house, can help you understand how to buy a beach house that fits your expectations and budget.
A Few Things to Consider When Buying a Beach House
Since beach houses are closer to the ocean than inland homes, they come with their own set of factors and risks – thus, it is important to know these before buying. Here are some important things to keep in mind as you work through the process.
Will Your Beach House Be Your Primary Residence or a Second Home?
Whether a beach house will be where you live or where you vacation makes a difference in terms of financing rates, insurance rates, and in some areas, your state and local property taxes. If the beach house will be a second home for you, you will need to put more money down than you would for a primary residence, and you may find your insurance premiums and taxes are higher. Before you shop, make sure you will be able to afford those extra costs.
Will You Need More Insurance?
Due to the proximity to coastal waters and exposure to severe weather conditions, you are likely to need insurance coverage of the sort you would not need for property that is not near the beach. For example, in some locations, you may need flood insurance. Or you may find that hurricane insurance is necessary, and you will pay higher premiums and higher deductibles for a little less coverage. Will the insurance cover erosion that occurs due to extreme weather conditions? If you plan to rent your beach house to others, you will want landlord insurance as well.
Will Local Laws Allow You to Rebuild If the Home is Lost in a Major Weather Event?
Another factor to consider is whether the applicable laws will allow you to rebuild if you lose the property in a major storm or flood. In some locations, the governing authorities have determined that topography and coastal conditions have changed enough that no further building will be permitted. Once a structure in that location is lost, it cannot be rebuilt. Make sure the property you may be considering is not under those conditions. If it is, you need to factor it into the price you are willing to pay. You will need to determine if insurance coverage is even possible for such a property.
Are You Able to Keep Up with Beach Property Maintenance?
Beach properties are subjected to external conditions that other homes are not. For example, the humid, salty air can corrode paint and exterior fixtures at a much faster near the coast. Constant exposure to the sun’s heat can also cause wear to the exterior painted surfaces, leading to dry rot. If the beach house you are considering is on or near the oceanfront, you may also have frequent winds blowing sand against the exterior surfaces, which will mean more frequent painting than you might expect. Be on the lookout for damp, humid conditions that cause mold and mildew to thrive inside the home. If the home is carpeted, you will find that it does not wear as long as it would in non-beach homes.
Is There a Public Access Easement on the Property?
Make sure you are aware of any public access easements on the property you are considering. Sometimes, these beach access easements run alongside the home. Often, the easement is a beachfront easement that allows members of the public to use the beach. If the beach property you are interested in is encumbered by such an easement, you should factor the easement into the sales price you negotiate. Like any other easement that encumbers a private property, the property owner cannot interfere with the public’s use of the easement. This means you cannot block it or prevent public access to it, even if you do not like people walking by on a regular basis.
Do You Have a Real Estate Agent Who Is an Expert in Beach Property?
Buying a beach house often means you must consider factors in addition to those associated with buying a house located elsewhere. Not every real estate agent is familiar with the issues that are unique to buying beach houses. Some of the most important considerations are noted above, but those are not the only questions you need to be aware of before you make an offer. You need an agent who knows what they are doing when it comes to locating, negotiating, and closing on the sale of a beach house.
Learn More About How to Buy a Beach House
Before you begin your search for a perfect beach house, talk to the experts on beach properties. Contact Katie Zarpas Group for more information on how to buy a beach house or if you need a real estate agent to help you with your search.