Your bags are packed, the kids are ready, the salt water is calling. You have finally decided to make the move and own piece of paradise. But before you start home shopping and writing checks, take a look at my five simple tips to help you make a smart and informed coastal home decision!
One… Rent First
This is advice I have always given to people whenever they move to a new city, and I always use it myself… even when I made the move to 30A. Rent for a few weeks first. It is money and time well spent. Learn the area, discover the ins and outs, get comfortable with where you want to be. Is it right on the water, a few blocks away, or nestled a bit inland? Drive around… a lot! Learn the area well and then decide.
Nothing tells you more about a new neighborhood, including a beach neighborhood, like spending 24/7 there. Running errands, going to the grocery store, finding your favorite beach spot… basically, living your daily life. Put down a few temporary roots before you plant the entire tree. Even just a few blocks or a couple of miles can be a big difference when finding the right home.
Two… The Beach House Does Not Have To Be On The Beach
I know, it might go against everything you’re thinking but sometimes your perfect coastal home may not actually be on the water. You can often find more house, at a cheaper price, just a few blocks away. For instance, I live a couple of miles from the gulf but I can still be out my front door and have my toes in the sand in six minutes. And those extra six minutes literally saved me tens of thousands of dollars. On a daily basis, that little bit of extra time to the water doesn’t impact my enjoyment at all… but I absolutely enjoy the money I saved!
Plus, beach front or bay front property is almost always more expensive to maintain and insure. Yes, you might give up a stunning ocean view but the question is… Is it a smart, and cheaper, trade off in the long run?
Three… Learn How To Use A Compass
Buying a house on the water instantly makes you think of endless sunsets enjoyed on a wraparound patio. But, does that patio actually face west? Just because a home is waterfront or beachfront does not mean it’s going to give you the view you want. How is the house situated on the lot? Where are the porches and patios? Where are you going to spend the most time? All of these are very important things to consider when buying. Think about how you will use the home and what is important to you when it comes to outdoor living. Do you want sunrises or sunsets or perfect southern exposure all day long?
Four… Renting Out Your New Beach House
Maybe you want to recoup some of the cost of your dream coastal home by renting it out. But will it work as a rental home?
First you need to find out if the neighborhood you’re considering allows rentals. And if so, under what terms and conditions. Also, is your new potential house even appealing to renters? Consider what people may be looking for in a beach/vacation rental and not just what you would enjoy as an owner. Also, has the home rented before? Find out if there is rental income documented for the home you are considering.
And finally, ask yourself if you want to be a landlord. While it may be appealing to have income to offset ownership costs, there is also a lot of work involved. For instance… are you going to have a management company oversee the property or will you do it yourself? Who’s going to handle maintenance and bookings and cleaning? All of those vacation rental responsibilities add up quickly.
Five… Talk To The Pros
When you start considering a beach house it’s also time to start considering the experts! Coastal properties come with their own set of specific concerns and issues so it is always smart to bring in specialists.
Right out of the gate, you need a great inspector who knows beach homes, area conditions, and pitfalls. You also want an insurance person who is well-versed in flood and hurricane coverage. And you should consult a builder or environmental expert who knows local building codes and regulations in case you might want to make changes down the road.
And of course, you need a realtor who can handle all of the above concerns and questions with ease and speed. Somebody who will be by your side as you make your new move to the beach. And that my friends, is where I come in!
Buying a beach house is one of the most exciting, and one of the smartest, moves you will ever make so make sure the process is smooth and enjoyable. The sooner you’re done, the sooner you will be putting on suntan lotion and enjoying paradise!