Owning a beachfront property can be a dream come true. The allure of stunning sunsets, tranquil waves, and a life filled with sandy beach trips is undeniably compelling. However, purchasing a beach home isn’t as simple as it might seem and can be riddled with potential pitfalls. To ensure your beach home buying experience is smooth and successful, here are some major mistakes you should avoid:
1. Not Sticking to a Budget
When buying a beach home, it’s easy to get swept away by the glitz and glamor of oceanside living. Buyers often overextend their budgets, purchasing more home than they can actually afford. Remember, the cost of owning a beach home isn’t just about the mortgage. You also have to consider the inevitable repairs and renovations that can come with owning any home, particularly a property that is constantly exposed to salty sea air and hurricane-force winds. Always look ahead and prepare financial outlooks for years 1, 5, and 10 of owning the property.
2. Counting on Rental Income to Offset Your Costs
Many people finance a beach home by mortgaging their primary residence, assuming that renting out the beach property will cover the mortgage payments. However, you can’t always count on rental income. Unforeseen circumstances like hurricanes, economic downturns, or a lack of renters can disrupt your income flow. Additionally, rental income is often reduced by the cost of property upkeep, which includes electricity, water, garbage, taxes, local licenses to rent, property management fees, and maintenance.
3. Forgetting About the Neighbors
It’s easy to be so captivated by the beautiful beach views that you forget about the surrounding community. Just like any other home purchase, you should research who your neighbors are and the local zoning laws. You also need to understand the culture of the beach location. Is it a party paradise during spring break? Or is it a tranquil town popular among retirees? Do your homework on the community before you buy.
4. Not Using a Compass
Knowing the direction your beach home faces is more important than you might think. For instance, west-facing homes are more prone to storm damage than south-facing homes. Also, the orientation of your home can impact the views you were hoping to enjoy. Make sure your dream of watching sunsets from your balcony isn’t shattered because your house doesn’t face the right way.
5. Skipping out on the Proper Insurance
Ensure you have the proper insurance for your beach home. If you plan to use your property as a short-term vacation rental, the right insurance is crucial. You should also consider disaster insurance. Depending on where your beach home is located, you might need to purchase homeowners insurance with supplemental hurricane coverage. Don’t forget about separate windstorm and flood policies. These may strain your wallet, but they will be worth it when disaster strikes.
6. Not Using a Coastal Home Inspector
Hiring a specialist in coastal properties for your home inspection is crucial. A regular inspector may overlook issues unique to beach homes. The coastal environment presents unique challenges such as corrosion that a coastal home inspector will be aware of and will examine during their inspection. For example, a coastal environment can completely break down galvanized joist hangers in decks and flashing on buildings, issues that a coastal inspector will be looking for.
Remember, buying a beach home is a significant investment. Avoiding these common pitfalls can help ensure your beach home is a dream come true and not a financial nightmare.
Please keep in mind, this article serves as a general guideline and is not exhaustive or specific to all regions. It’s always advisable to engage local experts and legal advice before embarking on a significant purchase such as a beach home. If you’re considering buying a beachfront home in Southeastern North Carolina, we invite you to reach out to us. We have extensive experience buying and selling beachfront homes.