Buying a home is always a challenging process with appraisals, inspections, and financing challenges. Buying a property on the beach or canal front home just adds to the complexity of it all. Here are my top 10 tips to help you buy your beach house.
- Lenders Matter – Beach properties have higher insurance costs and usually higher tax rates, so the overall cost is higher than your traditional home. Working with a lender that is familiar with the area you are purchasing matters. A lender that is familiar with the area will use local appraisers that have experience appraising beach property. As you know lot values can be based on water proximity, and other factors specific to beach property that not all appraisers have experienced. Your local agent will have a list of lenders that could help you.
- Lot Versus House – It’s great to fall in love with your new beach house, but homes can change, your lot does not. How is the deck view? Are you on a block that is full, of rentals and you are a full-time residence? Is the lot low and holding tidal water? These are just a few things to consider when buying on the beach.
- Consider Your Lifestyle – Like kayak fishing on the bay? Select a house that allows you to drop your Kayak in the bay in the morning. Do you like sunrise beach walks, make sure you have easy access to the beach. Know your lifestyle and/or your vacation rental target market for advertising. You are on the Gulf Coast what is the Lifestyle you want?
- Work with a real estate agent that lives and works in the area. – An out-of-area agent may not have detailed information about the neighborhood and will not know the ins and outs of living and buying on the Coast. Wouldn’t you like to work with a potential neighbor that knows the area, is familiar with the properties, and can help you work thru any challenges during and after the buying process?
- Insurance is Not Cheap. You will need to have three types of insurance coverages if financing a home on the Gulf Coast. Flood, Wind, and Fire. Your local agent will be able to provide you insurance contact information for those that do and do not require an elevation certificate.
- Can You and the Beach House Survive the Elements? There is a price for paradise… it’s called rust and repair. On the coast, the salt air eats everything. Right now, I need to repair my deck because whoever built it did not use stainless steel nails and the current nails have rusted away. Also, the storms, Hurricane Nicholas impacted the coast with its wind and storm surge and there is clean up and roof repairs. Then you see the sunrise over the water, and all is forgotten. Make sure you and your structure can survive the elements and the sunrise is enough for you.
- Find Out What You Can Do With The Property. – Building restrictions are tough on the gulf coast. Property owners must follow city ordinances, parks and wildlife rules, and government agencies requiring hurricane-rated windows, siding insulation, and roofing. Under longstanding Texas law, the state owns the areas of beaches between the average low and high tide lines. Learn about your potential property.
- Know the Utilities. – If you are used to living the suburban life with fast wifi, clean water, and electricity that works with just a flip of a switch, you need to learn what’s available on the gulf coast especially in rural areas. Working remotely will require a wifi system that may not be available in all areas, and strong wind may cause a temporary electrical outage. Bringing or updating services can be very expensive.
- Know Your Responsibilities as a Homeowner. – What are the city ordinances, are you a member of an HOA, are you responsible for dredging the canal. Knowing your responsibilities and the cost is an important part of owning a property on the Gulf Coast.
- Become Part of the Community – Beach communities are wonderful, especially small communities! Now like any community, they will have their disputes and differences, but when the going gets tough and a storm impacts the community everyone pulls together to help! Enjoy your new community and participate in events for a great time!
I hope you find the perfect Gulf Coast property for you. Give me a call, I can help. 979-341-9293