Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage Blog

5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Beach Home

Posted: March 02, 2016 by Kathy Alexander

Choosing the perfect beach home doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience, especially if you know which area most attracts you. Consider southeastern North Carolina, for example. With miles of diverse coastline features, zeroing in on the perfect locale can be a challenge. But a growing number of potential homeowners have decided it’s the perfect area for them, due in part to the long stretches of pristine sand and various, charming beach communities along the coast.

As with any home or investment property purchase, it’s important to figure out exactly what you want and need, in order to make smart decisions. For example, special considerations are necessary with beachfront homes, in order to ensure that your property will suit your lifestyle and let you enjoy the activities you love. Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect beach home for your needs.

Find the Ideal Beach

Most beaches offer a relaxing getaway for homeowners, but there can be significant differences between beaches and beach towns – so you should choose your home accordingly. Do you prefer quaint and unique communities with a family-friendly vibe or towns with a more vibrant night life and a lively seasonal tourist presence?

Spend some time in the area before choosing a home. Vacationing in an area a time or two really isn’t enough to know if you want to buy a beach home there. It’s important to do your research when deciding where to buy.

Talk to the Locals

Take the time to talk to people who live in the community or along the beach you like to get their opinions on what it’s like to live there. Long-time residents are excellent sounding boards about the pros and cons of both the beach and the community.

Speaking with potential neighbors can give you some great insight, especially if you’re considering a property in a gated community. Do they enjoy living in the community? Are there issues with the area or are there waterfront-related problems? In addition to your real estate agent, getting insider information from local residents is invaluable when deciding on a property to purchase.

How Will You Use the Property?

If you plan on living in your beach home full time, it’s important to choose a property that makes it easy for you and your family to enjoy your favorite outdoor pastimes and local amenities, while also taking into consideration winter weather patterns and available activities. Many beach communities offer various off-season amenities for residents to enjoy when they’re not spending the day at the beach.

Consider the must-haves you’re looking for: do you prefer a more isolated location on a private beach with a deep water dock for larger boats? Maybe you’d like a home with easy access to a yacht club, golf course or local restaurants and entertainment. If you’re interested solely in a vacation or investment home, finding one close to local amenities should narrow your search.

Besides ensuring easy access to your favorite activities, a beach property should meet your specific needs as well, including shopping outlets, schools, medical facilities or airports.

Looking at Properties

If you've chosen the perfect area for your property search, it’s time to look at specific properties and the houses built on them. Beachfront property is generally more sought after – as a result, it’s not unusual for the land value to significantly increase the total property value. Consider the location of the property, the amount of beach frontage it offers and the overall size of the lot or acreage – do you prefer privacy or do you enjoy having neighbors?

While 100 feet of private beachfront allows for some privacy, depending on the amount of natural and landscaped vegetation on the property, more than 150 feet can offer you the occasional illusion of living on a private island.  Always make sure each property already has an adequate seawall and a dock, as extending a dock or adding a seawall commonly requires going through a tedious series of red tape with no guarantee that your changes will get a green light.

Rely on the Professionals

With all of the considerations that go into buying a beach home, having a real estate agent who specializes in waterfront properties in your ideal area is crucial. Your agent not only knows the area intimately, he or she can help you sort through the complex issues and get you on the right track to finding the right home.

They can provide you with the most recent trends and help you through the entire home buying process, including deciphering the home inspection and providing information on property taxes and responsibilities. In addition to locating hidden problems or costs you may not have otherwise discovered, their experience gives them a great understanding of what a good local deal looks like.

For many people, buying a beach home is the ultimate real estate experience – often as much about the lifestyle as it is an investment in the future. 

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