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15 Tips For Buying A Beach Property
Beach property is everyone’s dream. No matter how much we love a mountain retreat, there’s something special about owning a home at the beach. The air is different, the climate is instantly relaxing, and whether the house is on the waterfront or a few blocks away it offers a special kind of calm. The benefits of beachside living are numerous, just like the many tips available for buying a beach property, which is why we’ve narrowed the field to 15 must-use tips:
#1: Choose the Location with Care
It sounds like an obvious bit of advice, but you’d be surprised how many buyers pass up a prime location for an area with a cheaper price point. Buying beachside is an investment in a vacation home. In fact, according to Time Inc., 87 percent of vacation home buyers plan to use their property as a getaway. So choosing a location that caters to an awesome vacation is crucial. After all, who wants a getaway to a place that causes stress or bores?
#2: Rent First
Before locking yourself into the purchase of a beach property, look into renting. By renting a home in or near the community you intend to move into, you grab a golden opportunity. Not only can you explore the area to ensure everything you want is within a convenient distance, but you can also scope out the neighborhood during day and night hours.
#3: Buy for Less
Everyone knows the benefit of a budget, especially when it comes to saving for vacation. When buying a vacation home at the beach, don’t fall into the trap of purchasing a property that’s a stretch to afford. Instead, buy under your budget so you have more money to spend when vacationing.
#4: Be Realistic
How often will you use the house? If you’ll only be visiting once or twice a year for a limited time, you should consider renting the property out when you’re not there. It can help pay off the mortgage faster and provide a secondary source of income.
#5: Understand the Tax Implications
If you’re buying a beach house in another state, research the tax laws thoroughly. Before buying, ensure you know the tax implications of owning a second, non-primary property – especially if it’s out-of-state.
A qualified real estate agent will be able to assist you in understanding the tax implications of your prospective purchase. They may even have tips on ways you can save, such as opting to buy outside of city limits.
#6: Project Minimal Rental Income
If you’ll be renting the property out, obviously a certain amount of projected rental income will factor into your investment plan. Before projecting income, talk to a local vacation rental agency about the realistic demand for a property like yours. Project the smallest rental income into your plans to ensure you don’t bite off more than you can chew.
#7: Don’t Impulse Buy
The opportunity to buy a vacation home can come out of nowhere. A friend, family member, or investor might approach you with what looks like the perfect deal. Resist the urge to buy out of impulse. While a proposal can sound good, there might be hidden risks. Do not sacrifice a single step of the home buying process. Instead, work with a local real estate professional and seek a second, qualified opinion on any opportunity that presents.
#8: Find the Right Agent
A real estate agent is an invaluable resource. When you’re shopping for a beach house, find a real estate agent who specializes in true waterfront property. The average agent won’t have a detailed knowledge of beachside properties, which puts them at a disadvantage in helping you find the deal that’s right for you.
#9: Look beyond the House to the Property
It’s easy to fall in love with a structure, but the house isn’t the only thing to consider. Take a good look at the property the house sits on and the beach itself. Some homebuyers never realize the water nearby is murky or less than ideal until after they purchase.
Remember: You can change the house, but you cannot change the land. Take the time to thoroughly investigate the property and the surrounding area.
#10: Look into Loans Early
The early bird catches the worm, and the homebuyer who looks into loans early always gets the best deal. When buying a vacation home at the beach, you’re investing in a secondary property. Start researching loan types early to find one that meets your needs.
#11: Ensure the House is Weather Ready
Weather is a major factor when buying waterfront property. Depending on the location, the house you purchase could be at the mercy of strong winds, tropical storms, and hurricanes. Ensure the house itself is weather ready and able to withstand the standard elements of the area. For homes in the path of seasonally strong winds, extra measures to aid the house in withstanding ugly weather should already be in place.
#12: Look into Insurance
Home buying and insurance go hand-in-hand, but since a vacation home will likely be rented out or see limited occupancy, insurance is even more crucial. Tack on the thread of nasty coastal weather and insurance becomes pivotal to a sound investment. Before buying, find out how much insurance will cost and whether it will adequately cover natural disasters.
#13: Talk to the Neighbors
When buying a primary residence, talking to the neighbors is a tactical move. They’re the first to willingly spill the beans on the what’s what of the house for sale next door. Use the same tactic when buying a vacation home. Find out if they’ve had any property issues or dislike the area for any reasons.
#14: Understand Waterfront Responsibilities
If the home you buy falls under an HOA, chances are you’ll be expected to upkeep certain waterfront responsibilities. These might include maintenance and upkeep of your home and waterfront.
#15: Buy an Existing Home
Thinking about buying land to build on at the beach? Don’t. If you’re after a vacation home, buying land and building can quickly become an expensive and stressful venture. Invest instead in an existing home with the help of a local real estate professional.
Whether it is your first home or the home you plan to retire in, I will be there to ease the process every step of the way! I find great pleasure in helping people achieve their goals in real estate a....