Buying a Beach House FAQs

Buying a Beach House FAQs

If you're dreaming of buying a beach house, you may have a lot of questions. We can help you with that! Not only does Century 21 Action Topsail Island and our agents specialize in coastal real estate sales, we also offer you a lot of free resources right here on our site that can be helpful in your search for coastal property. Just click on the Real Estate tab on the top of our page to see what free information is available to you right at your fingertips, 24/7.

As you daydream of stepping out onto the soft sand right from your doorstep while you listen to the crash of the waves and stare at the sparkling blue-green waters just ahead of you, be certain to research what you need to know about buying a beach house, so that your dreams can become a happy reality.

We've rounded up some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to buying a beach home, along with answers from experts in the field. Most likely, you've wondered about some of these very same things!

Beach House Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know where to buy?

A: Research, research, research.

Like any other important decision, it's imperative that you do your homework. Rent a vacation home for a few weeks in the location you are considering buying a home. Visit or stay at differing times of the year to get the full picture of the area and its seasons. Talk with your neighbors and those who have lived there long term. Get their input.

Pay attention to the conveniences that are important to you. Are you close to shopping, restaurants, movie theaters, schools, the hospital, or whatever places you and your family will be frequenting often? How will you be spending your time away from the beach home? Are you close enough to those places?

Q: Should I buy a beachfront or off-the-beach home?

A: It depends on your goals and budget.

Beachfront houses tend to be more expensive, of course, given their views and location. They also tend to appreciate more quickly in a growing market. They are usually more expensive to insure, too. There is also the risk of weather-related issues and concerns over time.

Off-the-beach houses usually offer more for your money and may only be a few streets or blocks from the beach. They still offer all of the things you love about living at the beach but may not have the immediate oceanfront views.

Q: Should I invest my money in a house or a condo at the beach?

A: It depends on your expectations, wants and needs.

Each has their pros and cons, so it really depends on what you are looking for. A beach house offers more privacy and land but also requires more work and maintenance. A condo has the convenience of maintenance included but may have other restrictions that you need to consider such as limited space, association fees and rules, and less land of your own. Again, do your homework and explore your options to see what best fits your and your family's needs and desires.

Q: What risks come along with buying coastal property?

A: Storm and weather issues, erosion and flooding are among them.

Like any other big purchase, it's good to be realistic and aware of the risks involved. Coastal property is no exception. Some of the biggest risk factors include an ever-moving property line if you have a house right on the beach, meaning the shoreline erosion rate, how it may change over time and how it affects your property. Weather and storms are risk factors, too, when it comes to living right on the beachfront. Higher taxes and insurances are also part of the package when buying on the beachfront and need to be factored in to the overall cost and investment.

Of course, wise beach homeowners know to research their options as to minimize as many risk factors as possible. That includes building or buying a home that is set high on pilings to avoid potential storm, wave and water problems, adding wind-resistant hurricane clips to the roof and installing storm shutters, just to name a few.

For more information on buying coastal properties and things to consider before you do so, read our Buying Coastal Property page for some great insight.

Q: Which experts are most important to consult when buying a beach house?

A: A local knowledgeable real estate expert, a qualified home inspector, and a geological engineer or land surveyor are all solid choices.

Let's start with local real estate agents who know and the work the area you're interested. They are your most valuable resource with knowledge of the ins and outs of where you're looking to buy during all of its seasons: peak, non-peak and everything in between. They know the history, weather patterns and community very well as they work it and live it every day.

Hire a home inspector to come in to assess the wear and tear on the house you're interested in, look for any signs of flood damage, while also checking the condition of the foundation, wood, electrical system and for signs of mold. These can become very costly issues, which you don't want when you're committing to an already large purchase.

Having a geological inspector, land surveyor or engineer come in to look at the stability of the shoreline, check for erosion, and study the tide and storm surges is money well spent in advance. It's also good to look at the land immediately around the house or property for signs of good drainage, healthy foliage and what is or is not growing. It's a good indicator of the overall condition of things and can be a sign of the bigger picture.

More Coastal Real Estate Resources

Your dream of owning a beach house can become a successful reality with the right planning, research, tools and use of local resources. As they say, knowledge is power! The more you know, the better you'll be able to make wise decisions on your investment. Before you know it, you'll be the proud, happy owner of the beach house of your dreams.

Here are a few of our other real estate posts related to buying coastal property that you may find helpful:

Have you dreamed of owning a beach house on Topsail Island? See what Century 21 Action in Topsail has to offer!

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