8 Things Nobody Tells You About Buying a House Near the Beach

8 Things Nobody Tells You About Buying a House Near the Beach

8 Things Nobody Tells You – A sunset view, piña colada in hand, and your own slice of beachfront property… it’s what keeps me binge-watching “Beachfront Bargain Hunt.” But from the inevitable environmental concerns of sea levels rising to pesky (and expensive!) HOAs and complicated zoning laws, buying a house at the beach isn’t always a breeze.

Realtors from California to Florida and beyond weighed in on the eight concerns and considerations they wish buyers had to go into their beachfront house hunt with clear eyes (and hopes of clear water).

HOA Fees Can Get Pricey

In some towns, beach communities are full of HOA-run neighborhoods, which is not something every buyer realizes or considers. The costs can add up. Real estate broker Theresa Raymond says, “If your home is within an HOA community, you are bound to pay their regular fees for everything.”

Dan Driscoll, co-founder of Boutiq, a startup that connects buyers with vacation rental properties, explains that there are questions to ask beyond what the HOA monthly or annual fee is. He recommends digging into the rules and regs in the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) to determine whether the HOA board is developer/declarant-controlled or elected by homeowners. “The age of the community may mean that HOA fees are artificially low in order to move homes, but as it becomes more established, HOA fees may rise considerably,” Driscoll adds.

Sea Levels Should Be a Top Concern

You’ve read the stories. Sea levels are rising and oceanfront beach homes will be the first to bear the brunt. Mitchell G. David, founder of Beach Life Ocean City, explains that buyers can get caught up in the emotion of buying a beach house and neglect to consider the looming environmental concerns.

“Consider whether the beach house you are buying is far enough above sea level,” David says. “You are likely to face consequences in the near future if it’s not.” Also, don’t forget that high and low tides have an impact. Low tide may look like smooth sailing, while high tide brings the ocean’s reach within feet of your doorstep.

Zoning Could Have an Impact on Your Views or Plans

“Make sure you are well versed in short-term rental and zoning laws,” says DJ Olhausen of Realty ONE Group Pacific. Vacation destinations across the country are passing laws that cap the number of short-term rentals or place restrictions on who can rent out their home and when. Speaking to new laws in his hometown of San Diego, Olhausen says, “Only those homeowners who are chosen from a random lottery will be allowed to hold a license to rent for shorter than one-month periods.” If buying your dream beach house involves relying on rental income, check on zoning laws before you make any moves.

Additionally, Olhausen points out that zoning laws are critical to beachfront properties. “No one wants to purchase a new beach house with a view only to see a four-story building erected next door,” he warns.

A Coastal Home Inspector Is a Must

The wear and tear on a beach home is totally different than a home in a city or suburban neighborhood. Jeff Tricoli of the South Florida-based Keller Williams Tricoli Team explains, “Unless an inspector is expert enough with coastal properties, you should resist the temptation to hire them. Beach homes are subject to a highly corrosive environment and can have unique issues.” There may be roofing, window durability, or siding issues that a standard inspector could miss — and you don’t want to end up with an unexpected repair bill months later.

Your Location Determines Sunrise or Sunset Views

Water views are stunning, but they’re made even more stunning by vibrant sunrises and sunsets. Those are what Instagram visions are made of, right? That’s why California-based broker Martin Carreon recommends figuring out which you prefer before taking the plunge with a beachfront house. “If you would love to watch the sunset, go for west-facing homes,” Carreon says. “If you prefer sunrise, get a home where you will face the water when the sun rises from the east.”

8 Things Nobody Tells You About Buying a House Near the Beach

But Direction Means More Than Just Views…

Sunset and sunrise are the benefits of an east or west-facing home, but there’s another, less glamorous consideration. Tricoli tells buyers to pull out their compass and put on their meteorologist hat. Typical wind patterns determine whether your home could be more susceptible to storm damage. “West-facing homes are much more prone to storm damage compared to south-facing homes,” he says.

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Traditional Homeowner’s Insurance Won’t Cut It

Rena Pacheco-Theard, CEO and cofounder of Boutiq, a luxury vacation rental provider, offers practical advice to future beachfront buyers, “Traditional homeowner’s insurance isn’t sufficient and flood insurance won’t protect you in the event of a hurricane.” She recommends a wind insurance policy, which will cover wind-driven rain damage, but warns that the cost and availability of this coverage can vary significantly.

Beachfront homes will require more comprehensive coverage than the average home, and you may need to rebuild or renovate extensively every 20 years or so. “With severe weather becoming more common, buyers should be prepared for more frequent significant weather events,” Pacheco-Theard adds. “You need to have plans to protect the home if you’re in the path of a hurricane, including ensuring that someone will be available to perform them if you are not at the home yourself.”

Know the Ins and Outs of Your Beach Access

There’s something to be said for buying one or two houses back from the water. You won’t have a front row seat to erosion (at least not yet), it’s less expensive, and your home won’t see the same level of wear and tear from wind, water, and salt. But it also means you won’t have beach access right out your front door.

Pacaso chief acquisitions officer Joe Maehler is well versed in helping beach lovers find their dream home, and he advises buyers to consider several beach access questions. First, is it a wet or dry beach? Dry is often preferred if your ideal beach day includes laying in the sun. He says, “If it’s on a busy road, where on the road is the home located? Can you exit and enter your home safely?” and, “If it is not on the beach, where is the nearest public beach access with parking?” Keep in mind, you may be one house away from the water, but if the nearest access is a drive, rather than a walk away, is that something you’re okay with?

10 Advantages of Owning a House Near the Beach

10 Advantages of Owning a House Near the Beach

1. Beachfront Properties Tend to Achieve a High Return on Investment

Mypass-a-grille.comWhile you are likely buying a home as a long-term asset, it is hard to deny the investment potential that beach properties have. Beachfront real estate tends to do very well over time, and there is a very strong chance that your beach house will appreciate in value while you own it. It is often said that real estate is one of the best investments for the average American, and beachfront properties are one of the best places to start looking. While they can be expensive to buy in the first place, their values typically rise substantially over time. This is especially true in areas that are on the cusp of becoming major tourism hubs, but is true in most popular beach areas, too.

2. Living Near the Beach Leads to Reduced Stress Levels

It has been clinically proven in several studies that living near the beach is very beneficial for your health. From the calming sounds of the ocean waves to the increased amounts of vitamin D from the year-long sunshine, your health will likely improve in some way by living near the beach – even if you don’t alter your daily routine. The sea breeze, ocean water, and drawn-out sunshine all offer health benefits that are unique to beachside areas and are a major advantage of living near the beach.


3. People Living Near the Beach Tend to Get More Physical Activity

While the sea breeze and sunshine are said to do wonders for your health, most people living near the beach tend to lead a more active lifestyle than they do elsewhere, too. From the proximity to the beach to the warmer weather year-round, beachy areas tend to inspire inhabitants to get out and move more than inland areas. In a time where sedentary lifestyles have become very common, this advantage is incredibly valuable and can add joyful years to your life.

4. Popular Beach Areas Are Filled with Amenities and Entertainment Options

While every beach area has its own charm, major beach areas are absolutely loaded with amenities. Myrtle Beach, for example, is designed to host millions of visitors every year. This means that the city and its surrounding area are equipped with enough grocery stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues to occupy the large crowds that attend during the busy season. As a resident, you get to take advantage of these areas all year long!

These areas are often filled with water parks, world-class restaurants, movie theaters, farmer’s markets, and more, and residents get to take advantage of them often at a more favorable price than tourists.


5. Beaches Have Some of the Best Sunrises and Sunsets

If you are a nature lover, you know that it is pretty hard to find a better sunrise or sunset venue than the beach. This is because beaches are situated right against the ocean, which backs up directly to a wide-open horizon. This endless stretch of water creates the perfect undisturbed backdrop for sunrises and sunsets, which are both incredibly gorgeous and calming. If you live near the beach, you can take advantage of these views as often as you want. Hello, sunrise walks on the beach!

10 Advantages of Owning a House Near the Beach

6. Beach Houses Make Great Rental Properties

Many people buy a beachfront house to be their primary residence. However, many others buy them as a second property or vacation home. If you fall into the latter group, you can choose to rent out your beach house during the times that you are not occupying it. Beachfront houses and condos tend to make great rental properties, as there are always people looking to visit the beach and stay in comfortable accommodations. This creates a unique opportunity to generate passive income, that in many cases can even pay your monthly dues on the property itself!

7. You Likely Will Not Need to Move When You Retire

Not everyone moves when they retire. However, many people do choose to! After decades of long, hard work, many people seek peaceful, warm areas to call home for the rest of their days. If you already live in an area like this, you may be in less need to search for a new home after you call it quits at work. This is especially beneficial for people who appreciate stability and like to really turn their house into a “forever home.”


8. The Offseason Is Quiet and Tranquil

Most popular beach areas have a busy season and an off-season. While the busy seasons can certainly be hectic, the off-seasons and shoulder seasons are a major highlight. As we mentioned earlier, these areas are loaded with amenities like restaurants, grocery stores, and entertainment venues. When the tourist droves go home for the year, you are left with all of these amenities at your disposal!

Imagine being able to visit popular, tourist-favorite restaurants without having to wait in a line that wraps around the corner! For the majority of the year, this is what you get as a resident of a beachside area.


9. The Weather Is Often Better than in Inland Areas

Beach areas often have comparably better weather than areas further inland. This is largely due to the presence of the ocean, as it helps to keep temperatures relatively consistent throughout the year. It isn’t necessarily that the sun shines any harder in these areas, but rather that the ocean helps to draw heat away during the summer and provides stored heat in the winter. These areas often experience much less temperature variation between seasons as a result.

While there are certainly advantages to having four distinct seasons, many people simply do not want to deal with snow and ice. While beaches in Massachusetts often still have to deal with this winter weather, beaches in South Carolina and Florida don’t tend to have this problem!


10. Beachside Homes Are Great for Raising a Family

The beach presents many opportunities that simply aren’t available elsewhere, or at least not to the same degree. Many beach areas are filled with small, local businesses, for example, which provide ample opportunities for teenagers to get work experience. Similarly, the relatively nice weather enables families to spend more time outside, helping them to make more meaningful memories together.

If that weren’t enough, many popular beach areas are experiencing a major boom in size, which contributes to the quality of education and housing available in the area. Many of these areas have great public school systems, and this trend is likely to continue in the future.

Thanks for reading our post on the advantages of owning a house near the beach! As a family who lives near the beach, we can personally attest to each of the advantages listed in this post. While there are certainly a few drawbacks here and there, we truly feel that living near the beach is ripe with positive aspects and advantages that are hard to find anywhere else.