Living Real Estate

What It’s Actually Like to Live in a Waterfront Home

The dream of having a waterfront home is something that a lot of people strive for. The lifestyle is always glamourized in movies and TV series as being peak luxury living. But it can also be an amazing financial investment. According to Zillow, having a waterfront property automatically brings up the value more than double of what the house would be worth anywhere else. 

All my life, I’ve grown up near or on the water. My parent’s home has a lake at the end of the road. And I spent every summer at my grandparent’s house where the ocean was a short drive away. It wasn’t until college that I realized this wasn’t normal, and that I am incredibly privileged to grow up this way. My parents and grandparents bought houses at a time where the home values are a tiny fraction of what they are today. Their homes are now worth 4 times as much as what they originally paid for them. Because of this, I have an insider’s perspective on what it’s like to own a waterfront home. So…Is it worth it? Here are some of the pro’s and con’s to the waterfront lifestyle.

If you have a waterfront property, homeowner’s insurance is going to be expensive. Credit: Pexels

9. Getting Homeowners Insurance is Expensive 

When it comes to waterfront houses flooding, it’s not “if”, but “when”. You could go years without any major flooding issues, only to be hit by one huge hurricane and have everything change. It would be wise to get a homeowner’s insurance plan with flood protection. However, if you live in a high-risk area, these plans are either going to be very expensive, or the insurance company will not be willing to take the risk at all.  Always do your research before you commit to buying a property, because you don’t want to be caught off-guard in the face of a natural disaster.

8. The Extra Moisture in the Air Keeps You Looking Young

For years, it has been said that living by the ocean is great for your skin and health. But it’s not just an old wive’s tale. There was a scientific study in Japan where researchers placed people in two rooms- one with 10% humidity, and another at 80%. They asked the people to smile, and paid attention to the wrinkles around their eyes. When sitting in the low humidity space, the wrinkles stayed on the face much longer, compared to the high humidity room where wrinkles began to dissipate. Hydration is a huge factor in keeping skin looking young. If this happened in just one sitting, imagine how much this compounds after living daily in a dry climate versus a wet one. 

7. Attempting to Balance Your Expenses With Rental Income Is Not a Good Idea, Especially In Today’s World

Years ago, buying a beach house could be financially managed by bringing in rental income. I had a friend who owned an oceanfront condo in Atlantic City. They were only able to go to their beach house two weeks every summer, because the house was booked solid with renters. All of the money they received went into management, cleaning fees, mortgage, and repairs. After 30 years, they essentially got a free million-dollar beach house. For a lot of people, this is a win-win situation, and it inspires them to try their luck doing the same. However, this story is the best case scenario. It doesn’t take into consideration that sometimes, rentals don’t do as well as you hoped because of local competition, economic recession, or a global pandemic.

Like many businesses, the pandemic changed everything. If your financial plan hinges entirely on the assumption that you can always rent your house to people, that is a huge risk, and a sign that you might not actually be able to afford it. Many beachfront bed and breakfast businesses are now being sold to private families who are rich enough to buy a 10-bedroom property. Ideally, I would recommend that if you buy a beach house, make sure you can pay for all of the expenses with your current income, even if the occupancy rate went down to 0. 

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