How to Know if a Beach Home is Right for You
Owning a beach home is an exciting endeavor, one that many people only dream of. Have you been wondering if buying a beach home is right for you and your family? Let us help. We have the important questions you need to consider before committing to coastal real estate. Like any big investment, you want to proceed wisely knowing that you're well informed and prepared for the task at hand. So grab a pen and paper! You'll want to write this down and ask yourself these vital questions.
Can you afford a beach home?
This is a crucial question and one that has many elements to think about, but whenever possible the key is to buy under your budget. Whether you plan to buy a beach house as a vacation home or as your primary home, you don't want stress to be part of the package. Monthly costs that are too high that you're stretching to make payments are not a wise way to go. Not to mention the other costs that are or may be associated with your beach home like insurance, homeowners association fees, and taxes (particularly if this is a second home). You will want to leave yourself some wiggle room for unforeseen expenses that may arise on any given month and you want to have a little freedom to make spending decisions like hiring a property management company, if you so choose. Talk to your real estate professional, ask questions and be well-informed about this special niche of real estate—and don't forget to ask about ways to save money.
How well do you know the location?
Before buying any home, you want to get well acquainted with the area. This is especially true when buying a beach house. Spend time vacationing there. Get to know all the seasons firsthand so you know what to expect throughout the year. Get to know the weather and crowd patterns during the on- and off-seasons of the beach locale. If this is a vacation home for you and your family, is it easily accessible to everyone? Can you get there when you need to if an issue arises? Or get there often enough to enjoy it? Get to know the community and build connections from the get-go. Spend enough time in the location to really get to know the area on a more intimate level. Are there enough activities and things to do for everyone? Are there any concerns about the area that you have? Talk to real estate professionals in your area of interest, as they know the local landscape and work (and probably live) in it every day.
Is your beach house a vacation home, investment property, or both?
This is one of the first questions you'll need to ask yourself before moving forward. What is your goal here? Are you looking solely for a vacation home you and your family can escape to when you desire or are you looking to make money off of it as an investment property that you rent out? Each scenario has its own set of considerations. If you are going to rent out the property, you will need to pay income taxes on the rental income you receive. Your property taxes may also run higher than what you pay now, either because the tax rate in the vacation area is higher than where you live, or because its a second home and not a primary residence. Discuss the the possible scenarios with your family and explore your options, then talk to your real estate agent to get his insight and expertise. Whichever way you choose, the more you know about what to expect—the better off you'll be. Always remember to be realistic about your expectations, whether it involves the time you plan to spend at the beach house or the income you expect to generate from the investment, and have a plan of action in place to help guide you along the way.
Are you able to manage a beach home?
You'll have to decide if you'll be managing the coastal property yourself or hiring a property management company to do it for you. Even if you're not using it as an investment property, you still need to be realistic about how you will manage the home and the property while you're not there. Can you get there if need be? Will you take care of the landscaping or hire someone? Do you have the time and flexibility in your day-to-day life to drop everything and get to the house if the need arises? Do you welcome more responsibilities? These are serious considerations. A beach house is a joy, but not one that comes without time and effort. Honestly assess your lifestyle, your time and your willingness to commit before taking the plunge.
Will you be there enough to enjoy it?
The dream of a beach home has to be coupled with reality. Think about how much time you realistically will spend there. Think about how things may change when your kids get older. Will other commitments keep you tied to home? Will your kids have the time and desire to continue vacationing in the beach home as time goes on? Busy weekends, sports, friends, church and school activities can make it difficult to get away. Be sure the money you spend is worth the amount of time you'll be able to spend there, if this is a vacation home. If you're only getting there a couple weeks out of the year, then renting may be the best option for you and your family. You definitely want to get your money's worth and you can't do that if you're not even there to enjoy it.
RELATED READING: 10 Reasons to Love Life on Emerald Isle
How much do you know about buying coastal real estate?Buying and owning coastal property comes with a set of considerations all its own. So how much do you know about buying coastal real estate and what it entails?
Here are some frequently asked questions:
- Do I need flood insurance?
- Is there insurance for wind damage?
- What about erosion and/or storm damage?
- How much will I have to pay in taxes?
- What building enhancements do I need to make my home beach ready?
- Where is the best place to build on my beachfront lot?
RELATED: How to Find the Best Real Estate Agent for You
Are you looking to make your dream of owning a beach home a happy reality? Then start by looking at Sun-Surf Realty's beach houses and coastal properties that are currently on the market. Then let us know if we can help you take the next step. Our real estate agents and sales professionals look forward to serving you.
Is it your dream to own a beach house? Were these questions helpful in guiding you to take the next step?