What to consider before buying a house near the beach

Living room facing the water

Owning a home near the beach is a dream. Aside from the views and the bracing ocean breeze, beach homes provide the perfect getaway from the pressures of urban living. Before you buy a beach house, however, you need to consider the following:

Test drive the location you’re eyeing

Are you keen on getting away from it all? Or do you want a beach home that’s right in the middle of the recreational action? Even if you do want a hideaway, consider your must-have amenities and the home’s proximity to airports, hospitals, and grocery stores.

If you want to know first hand about the fit of a potential location, rent a home in the area. Get a feel of the community. Soak in the sights and activities. Drive to the nearest town. And get to know your nearest neighbors – you may learn a thing or two about how it is to live in the area, whether you intend to buy a vacation house or become a permanent resident.

The home’s structural integrity

Homes that are right on the beach require specialized construction to withstand erosion from sandy ground, an open foundation to allow sea swells to flow safely beneath the house, and beams that are properly sunk into the ground to anchor the foundation and prevent the house from tilting. You may order a pre-purchase home inspection to make sure the home is sound, or you may look for signs of structural weakness such as rotting wood on the sides of the house, cracks, sloping floors, or jammed windows and doors.

Access to the ocean

Another factor you have to consider is the distance and accessibility of the property to the water. A home perched on a ridge and requires a steep flight of stairs to get to the water may be especially challenging if you have toddlers, are differently-abled, or need wheelchairs or scooters to move around. Are you willing to pay a little more for a home right by the water? Or, are you fine with driving some ways off to enjoy the beach?

Flood and wind insurance

Depending on where the home sits and its elevation, you might need to consider flood and wind insurance to protect your property. Evaluate the flood risk in your potential home by asking your real estate agent about the history of rising waters in that area and if it is located in a flood zone. You can also search online for information.

Upkeep and maintenance

Before making the big purchase, consider the cost of maintaining and keeping the home in the best possible condition. While your home may not be directly on the beach, salt from the sea air can still accumulate and cause corrosion on metal surfaces.

That’s why it’s important to consider the time and effort that will be spent on keeping your home in top shape. Keep this in mind when deciding on the size of the home you want to buy.

Homeowners Association

If your potential beach home is in a community with a Homeowners Association (HOA), be prepared to abide by their standards and follow all rules and regulations. Review HOA terms and conditions, and monthly fees before you buy. If you plan on renting out your beach home, check the HOA for policies on vacation rentals and whether they are allowed or not.

Rental opportunity

Beach homes also allow you to rent it out when it’s not in use. The extra income can go into paying off your mortgage or defraying maintenance costs. If you do plan on renting out your beach house, check the local rental market to assess the area and the average rental rates.

When it comes to Manhattan Beach real estate, there’s only one real estate agent to call. Get in touch with me, Marco de Longeville, at 213-675-0197 and I’ll help you find the beach home of your dreams.

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