For some of us, our favorite vacation memories are on the water — playing in the sand, jumping in the waves, swimming, and searching for shells along the shoreline. So why wouldn’t we want to enjoy those pastimes every day by actually moving to the beach?
It’s no secret that buying a beach house is frequently a real estate dream. And, fortunately, it can be achievable. But like any major life decision, there are certain aspects you need to consider before diving in headfirst.
Take a look at these common considerations to help you find the best place to buy a beach house — and exactly which type of beach home is right for you.
First things first: Where do you want to live (besides the shoreline, of course)?
There are sandy, picturesque beaches all across the nation. Your first priority is to decide exactly where in the U.S. you’d prefer to permanently set up that beach umbrella. Where is the best place to buy a beach house? Some cities and regions to consider are the East Coast along the Maine and Massachusetts coastlines. There’s also North Carolina and The South. Florida is a must, too, especially if you like warm weather year-round. And, of course, California and the West Coast are natural selections. Another great but often less thought of location? The Midwest. After all, a beach house can be anywhere there’s water and sand — whether it is an inland lake or a rocky shore — right? Regardless, you’re sure to get a one-of-a-kind view that takes your breath away.
What kind of beach do you want?
Speaking of different types of shores, what are you wanting just outside your door? Do you want perfect, white sand or are you ok with some rocks? Flat as far as the eye can see? Or sprinkled with dunes here and there?
Here’s another biggie: How popular do you want that beach to be? Does the flurry of seasonal activity get you excited, or would you prefer as much seclusion as possible? You may want to consider visiting a particular beach you’re interested in at different times to monitor the crowd level. If you can’t find a place to spread out a single towel among the oil-slicked tourists, you may want to look elsewhere for that beach house investment.
You should also determine if you want the beach right outside of your back door or if you prefer a view of the beach from across the street. Do you want a short walk to the beach? A bike or car ride to reach the water?
The biggest rule in real estate is “location, location, location.” You can always update the interior or exterior of a beach house, but you can’t generally move it to a better location. So think deeply about the kind of location that suits you and search in that area for a beach house that you’ll want to visit often or live in 365 days of the year — including the cooler months when the water isn’t as warm — for years to come.
Do you want sunrises or sunsets — or both?
When you think of a beach house, you think of a view of the water, right? Well, what about those beautiful sunrises and sunsets? Ideally, you would be watching the sunset over the water, so a western-facing vantage point is important when you’re searching for a home. Sunrises can also be important, but they are somewhat secondary in terms of home value when you go for resale. If you’re all about the sunrise, though, look for a beach house where you’ll face the water when the sun rises from the east.
|Q: Is buying a beach house a good idea?|
A: This is where financial planning and your own financial goals come into play. Yes, buying a beach house is a good idea — if you have the funds to purchase it, insure it, and maintain it. If it will be a vacation home, you’ll need to ensure you can get there on a regular basis. And if you’re going to live there year-round, then you need to know about nearby employment and access to amenities, like shopping for groceries. Some beach towns can be pretty isolated from major areas while others are in the heart of a larger city.
What should you know before buying a beach house?
Aside from assessing your budget for the purchase and knowing where you want the house, you’ll want to know how much it will cost over the long term.
Beach life, itself, is expensive, so you need to be prepared and think through the additional costs that you’ll have when you live there — like higher property taxes and the costs of beach house insurance, which can be higher when you’re closer to the water in many areas (think major flood insurance). Also keep in mind that some beaches charge tolls to access them, even for residents.
Another critical note is that places with beachfront property are often involved in natural disasters like hurricanes and floods, so you’ll also need to be prepared with an emergency fund to repair or rebuild if disaster were to strike.
How much does an average beach house cost?
Beach house prices run the gamut — from the $100,000s to easily climbing into the millions. How much does a beach house cost on average? That depends on where you’re looking. For example, in Delray Beach — a popular beach town in Florida — the median house price as of January 2022 was $312,890. The median price of a beach house in Santa Monica, California? Delray’s price doesn’t even compare. So that means, once you decide where you want to bury your toes, make sure the real estate is in the price range you can afford, as well.
Which is a better investment, a beach house or a beach condo?
Real estate prices tend to rise with time, regardless of home type, so that makes owning either a condo or beach house a good investment. However, you’ll need to take all costs into consideration, such as HOA fees, for example. You’ll also need to realize that, if you’re only purchasing this property as an investment, you’ll likely want to hold onto it for at least five or more years to really get some bang for your buck.
A bonus of owning a beach condo or house? Lots of people want to visit! You can share your wealth by letting friends or family rent or use the home when you are not there. And if the community rules allow, you can also rent your place out short-term as a VRBO or an Airbnb beach house. You may want to do additional research to see if this is a viable option for you. But if it is, it may actually help you with mortgage or upkeep costs for your beach house. Who could argue with that?
And ask yourself this: Would this investment be all about money, or would it benefit my mental and physical health, as well? People who spend more time on the beach and in beachfront communities tend to be happier and exercise more, which is part of the reason why they’re there in the first place, right? If you want to invest your money in real estate, you are ready to move, and you’ve found a place that may actually improve your health, then you have a good reason for making the investment.
Are you ready to make the move?
Pair your new laid-back, beachy lifestyle with a flexible moving option. With PODS, a portable moving container is delivered straight to your driveway and, when it’s ready to go, it’s picked up and taken to your new home. You can pack and load (and then unload and unpack) at your own pace — without a moving company’s rigid schedule or the hassle of dealing with a DIY rental truck.
Once you’re there, you may come to find your beach house doesn’t fit all your stuff. And that’s no problem! Moving with PODS comes with a built-in storage option, so you really can make your move as flexible as you need.
And when it’s all said and done, your next step? Kick off those shoes and relax to the soothing sounds of your new background noise: the water!
The decision to buy a beach house is a large one, indeed — even if you’re only looking at small beach houses or condos. But the benefits of such a purchase can be mighty, as well. A beach view can be serene but also humbling. It can reduce your stress, prove that your problems are smaller than you think, and give you a peaceful feeling about the world. There are so many reasons to invest in buying a beach house. If you’re ready to let go, jump in, and live your best life on the water and sand, check out the PODS Blog for help with moving tips, ideas for your beach house decor, and more.
Karen Dybis is a freelance journalist and a frequent contributor to the PODS Blog. Her work has appeared in Time magazine, U.S. News & World Report, The Detroit News, and more.