In recent years, the market for second homes has been on the rise.
It should come as no surprise that many people choose to pick their vacation home in a beachfront location.
While the dream of living in a tropical paradise sounds like heaven on earth, that doesn’t mean buying beach houses shouldn’t be a well-thought out decision.
Let’s take a look at seven factors to consider when buying beach houses.
1. Foundation, Construction, Windows, and Roof
Living by the beach is just about everyone’s dream situation, but one aspect of that lifestyle is being prepared for hurricanes, nor’easters, or other storms. Depending on where you are and which coast you’re on, there might be more or less frequency of potentially damaging storms.
When buying beach houses, you want to make sure that they are constructed with wind and flood-resistant materials. It’s also essential that they are strong enough to stand up to high temperatures and heavy rains.
Beach house roofs can undergo more wear and tear than inland houses, so you’ll also want to make sure the roof is in good condition. Replacing roofs can be expensive, so it’s better to buy a house that has a relatively new roof made of weather-proof and durable materials.
Lastly, if the area you’re looking to buy in is at a high storm risk, you’re going to want impact windows. This protects your property from wind damage and debris during severe storms and hurricanes.
2. HOA or Property Management Fees
Is your beach house going to be a second home for you? If so, you might need to hire property management of one kind or another to take care of your house while you’re not there.
If your beach house is within an HOA community, it’s possible that the HOA will take care of maintenance and management for you. It’s a good idea to weigh the benefits and costs of HOA fees vs hiring your own management because the fees can be quite expensive.
3. Outdoor Living Space and Proximity to Water
When you’re living by the beach, you most likely are looking to have outdoor space to enjoy the pleasant weather. When you’re shopping around, take into consideration whether a property has a porch or patio.
Also, how close is the house to the water? Would you rather have beachfront property or have an ocean view from your deck? Think about what’s important to you in this regard and use it to help guide your purchasing.
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4. Flood Risk
Depending on where your beach house is, you might be at considerable risk for flooding. Some beach properties are even built on stilts to account for the changes in sea level.
You’ll want to make sure that the house you’re looking to buy was built with flood-resistant materials. You can also research whether or not the property is in a high-risk flood zone. If the home is situated on a slightly elevated slope or a hill, this might help prevent flooding.
5. Potential Rental Income
If you’re planning on renting out your beach house when you’re not there, you’ll want to run the numbers on whether or not it’s a good return on investment. Beach houses that have more than one bedroom are more easily rented out and of course, can be rented for more money.
Houses in HOAs are likely subject to a strict set of rules regarding renting out your house. This is worth looking into well before making an offer if rental income is a part of your plan.
When you’re trying to decide if a home is a good beach-side rental, compare it to other similar rentals in the same area. That can give you a sense of the going rate for a house of that type.
6. Insurance Rates
You’re going to want to take the time to shop around for the best beach house insurance rates, as they can be quite high in beach communities. Depending on your location, you might need flood insurance as well.
Even if a house is perfect for you in every way, the experience of being there can be ruined by the community of people around you. If you’re looking for a serene, tropical paradise, you might be very disappointed to find that the neighboring houses are regularly rented out to college-aged partiers.
Neighbors are also important if you’re not going to be living there year-round. It can be a real asset to have friendly neighbors that will keep an eye on things for you when you’re not in town.
This is also relevant when it comes to using the house as a rental. If your house is located in a noisy, party-focused area, you’re likely to get renters who are looking for this type of environment. If your house is located in a quiet, peaceful area, the renters attracted to your place will likely be calmer and quieter.
Buying Beach Houses Should Not Be an Impulse Decision
Anytime you invest in property, you’re also taking on risk. Buying beach houses is no exception to this.
If you are looking to buy a beach house in a place you’re not particularly familiar with, it’s a good idea to talk to a realtor about the market. They can give you an idea about beach house prices in that location and what the culture and community are like there.
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