PROBLEMS WITH BEACH HOUSES – There are numerous reasons why you might be thinking about purchasing a property on the coast; from the year-round vacation experience to the views, buying a house beside the sea is often seen as the ultimate aspiration for American property owners.

And what’s not to love? A seaside property will offer unrivalled views of the ocean, easy access to some of your favorite hobbies and pastime, and more than a few envious visits from city and country-dwelling friends. However, owning a home beside the sea isn’t without its issues.

Issues Affecting Seaside Properties

We adore beachfront homes and waterfront properties, but it’s essential that anyone thinking of purchasing such real estate is realistic when it comes to the issues they’re likely to face. Have you considered how the environment, and surrounding landscape, could adversely affect your home?

Sun, Sea, And Sand

Properties located in hotter climes are subject to the effects of long periods of bright sunlight, which can cause external finishes to age prematurely. Sand blowing in from the beach, and salty sea air are likely to cause rusting metalwork, chipping and scratching to paintwork, and damage to mechanisms such as window latches. The damage caused by sand and salt is unavoidable. Finally, consider sudden tidal surges and waves whipped up by the wind. High waves and rising water levels can mean that gardens and home exteriors, and even interiors, can be damaged by floodwater.

Weathering And Erosion

Waterfront properties are less sheltered than those further inland, so rain and driving winds off the ocean will do more damage than you might expect, battering homes and creating a need for frequent maintenance. Coastal erosion is also a great fear of many homeowners living close to the beach, as the shoreline gradually recedes towards properties. Such environmental action can greatly devalue a property – not to mention the concern and upset it will cause. The threat of rising sea levels due to global warming is a real one; during extreme tides seawater can flood land and homes, make access difficult, and affect electrical appliances. Water damage is a real issue for seafront homes, and must be taken into consideration if you’re thinking of buying a property in a particular neighborhood.

Issues Affecting The Interiors

Environmental damages don’t just occur outside; the frequent dragging in of sand and saltwater can scratch hard floors, sully carpets, and affect soft furnishings, meaning that items wear out far faster than normal. There’s also a real potential for damp in homes that aren’t well ventilated. Lastly, think about the humidity prevalent in seafront homes. Sea air is warm and wet, which is highly corrosive to fixtures, fittings, and even electronics. There is a real potential for problems inside and out.

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Protecting Your Property From Environmental Damages

There are steps you can take to protect your property from harm that will safeguard your investment should the unthinkable happen. While we certainly wouldn’t want to discourage you from following your dreams it pays to be pragmatic, addressing issues as soon as they occur will prevent future heartache.

Protect Your Interests

At this stage it really does pay to do your research regarding the home you’re buying and the area it’s located in. Have there been any previous issues with erosion? Has the current homeowner had to do any extensive work in recent years? Are nearby properties affected by environmental damage? You must check building regulations, and ensure that they’ve been adhered to. It’s also a good idea to have a full survey carried out, in order to determine whether any work is likely to be required in the immediate future. Finally, you must get the appropriate insurance; Such a warranty will make repairs and renovations cheaper as and when they’re required.

Treat Fixtures And Fittings

The cost of keeping a seafront home is always going to be higher than that of maintaining an urban dwelling; there are certain environmental factors you’d simply not need to consider further inland. For this reason it’s a good idea to prepare your home for every eventuality. Be sure to use weatherproof paints and finishes on the property’s exterior, treat fixtures and fittings appropriately depending upon their material, and put covers in place on furniture so that the effects of environmental damage will be minimized as far as possible. You may also wish to purchase insurance and extended warranties for electrical items – just in case.

Prepare For Regular Maintenance

Above all, you should be prepared to maintain your property, and to address issues as they arise. Frequent weathering is something that will never cease, and issues such as damaged paintwork, rusting fixtures, and tired furnishings will only get worse the longer they are left. As far as you’re able, carry out regular routine inspections of all fixtures and fittings, repaint external and internal surfaces with protective paint and finishes, and address issues with flooring, and damp, as soon as you notice them. Some jobs may only take mere minutes, but they’ll lengthen the life of your home exponentially.

Owning a seafront property is the ultimate dream for many Americans, but there’s a lot to consider before taking the metaphorical and literal plunge; buyers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental issues that could cause them problems further down the line, while town and city developers are having to factor rising sea levels into regeneration and building plans. The truth is that there’s a lot to be done to protect properties from environmental damages, but it certainly does pay to be prepared for all eventualities.

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?