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.
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.
6. The Ocean Air is Great For Your Lungs
When I was young, my grandmother always told me that she retired near the ocean because it helped her breathe better. She had a lung condition all her life, so it was important for her to stay near the water. I remembered this, and always went back to spend a weekend at the shore whenever I felt sick. Sure enough, it always had a way of making me feel better. A cold that would have taken a week to heal at home took only 24 hours near the ocean. A scientific study by the New England Journal of Medicine proved that breathing in salty ocean air helps relieve sinus pressure, improves breathing function, reduces coughing, and thins out mucus.
5. Mosquitos and Other Bugs Can Be a Huge Issue
Unfortunately, mosquitos are a natural consequence of living in a waterfront home. Since mosquitos breed in standing water, it makes sense that they would make babies like crazy in the spring, summer, and fall. Here at InspiringHome, I have already written a guide on how to make a natural mosquito repellent at home. This can be manageable if you are diligent in pouring out standing water and treating your yard.
When you live by the water, you also run the risk of running into horse flies, also known as gadflies. Just like mosquitos, horse flies will bite you to drink your blood. Yikes. Usually, these flies breed in a dark, wet area. In my experience, they were most common on beaches that had a shadowy, wet area under a boardwalk or bridge overpass. Personally, I think these are ten times worse than mosquitos. So be prepared to potentially call an exterminator.
4. Your Friends Always Want to Come Over
When you own a house by the water, your friends inevitably want to come over to visit. This can be an amazing, fun thing to experience. And it’s often a motivating factor to why you would want to buy a waterfront home in the first place. Having a beach house can be an amazing way to create happy memories for your own family, as well as your extended family and friends.
However, navigating friendship and your shore house can sometimes make things complicated. Friends sometimes ask if they can borrow your house for their family- as in- a free vacation. This shouldn’t be taken lightly. Many waterfront property rentals go for $2,000 to $5,000 per weekend. You need to love someone a lot to give them a deal like that for free. Talk with your partner,and lay some ground rules as to who can come over, and when.