Buying a Beach House: Tips and Considerations
When considering the purchase of a beach house, the first and perhaps, most important question that should be asked is, how does a beach house differ from any other house you may have bought or might buy in the future? If you are an avid beach goer, or even a casual beach goer with knowledge or familiarity with the type of vicinity in which a beach house will be located, you may already be aware of the differences that exist between beach houses and inland homes.
However, we begin with the similarities in order to establish a few inescapable facts. As a piece of real estate, improved by a habitable structure, a beach house in today's economy would have to be purchased using traditional mortgage financing like any other home; depending of course, on price and terms. So it is important to consult a lender or mortgage broker who is familiar with financing these property types. Also, this property type will be treated by most lenders as a second, or vacation home, thereby limiting the size – in terms of maximum Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio they will permit – of any money they lend.
While obtaining hazard insurance is a requirement for the purchase of both beach houses and inland homes, the policy you obtain for a beach house will need to be enhanced by a few extra protections, despite how careful you were in choosing a location. Inherent in a beach house, based solely on location, is its susceptibility to high winds and high tides (caused by storms and hurrances), which can often result in damage from flooding, roof damage or both; so the quality of any insurance policy you obtain is of the utmost importance.
Unlike an inland home, your beach house will be unoccupied or rented during long stretches of time. Such circumstances must be anticipated and therefore prepared for, but dealt with in different ways. If your preference is to rent the beach house during your absence, the quality of tenant you rent to will be as important as the vicinity in which the property is located; and if you intend to keep it vacant during the same period you should consider hiring a manager or other such person/company to maintain it, and protect it from squatters and other intruders.
Something that is of little or no concern when purchasing an inland home is erosion of the land on which your hoose is built; but as we have seen on more than one occasion during severe storms and hurricanes, beachfront properties have been destroyed and investments lost as the land/lots these houses were built on eroded. While you cannot control or prevent erosion however, you can determine the location of your property and therefore decide not to buy in an area that might be vulnerable to erosions. Having the locality of your intended purchase inspected by a geological surveyor or other such professional will help you make this determination.
The desire to buy a beach house is probably an indication that the buyer is a beach lover, or frequent beach goer who prefers to spend a good portion of his/her free time at, or close to the beach; and if this is true, comfortability becomes a very important factor. This is why, as stated in the article 'What to Look for When Buying a Beach House' which is published to the Buzzle website, “you will also have to ensure that it [your beach house] is not located in a completely isolated area or one which is overcrowded.” After all why buy a beach house if you are not going to enjoy every moment spent in it?