Beach Life – The Different Aspects of Owning Real Estate by the Ocean

Owning a house on the beach or near the ocean is a dream held by many. Oceanfront property is attractive because of the unique lifestyle it offers and the investment opportunities it can provide. Although not without certain drawbacks, owning real estate on the ocean can be extremely fulfilling either as a residence, investment property or both.

The positive aspects of actually living on the ocean are numerous. In general, it tends to be a very healthy lifestyle. First, there’s that giant natural swimming pool in the backyard. Water sports like surfing, body boarding, and simple swimming are some of the best full-body, low-impact workouts available. Walking or jogging in the sand naturally enhances our most simple and effective exercise, with amazing results. Geographically being near an ocean generally means easy access to seafood, which is a staple of a healthy diet. Living on the ocean is intellectually stimulating and very relaxing. The ocean serves as a giant movie screen displaying an endless IMAX film about the magnificent and truly awesome power of nature. It is an amazing environment to raise children, constantly engaging them both physically and intellectually. Though medical data may be lacking, no one can deny the benefits to one’s spirit and soul gained from a life on the beach. It’s no accident, according to one resident I spoke with recently, that “all of our neighbors have this happy, relaxed nature about them.” A little unscientific research lead me to a theory that the spiritual connection with water dates back to our early ancestors. Back when large bodies of water represented a lifeline for food and sustenance, the feeling of calm, security, and belonging that seems to come with living near the beach is deeply ingrained within us.

In terms of an investment, real estate near the ocean is a desirable addition to anyone’s portfolio. For all of the reasons listed above, people flock to the ocean, and the demand for a home near the beach is always very high. The age-old philosophy about land, “they’re not making any more of it” specifically applies to beachfront property. One could argue that due to erosion and/or climate change, that beachfront property is in fact diminishing, which naturally pushes up the value of existing ocean real estate. As a rental property, a home on the beach can be a great source of income in which the amount of rent you charge a tenant is limited only by demand, which during the on-season is very high. Beachfront property is generally known as a sound investment.

There are certain negative aspects that come with owning real estate on the ocean, both for investors and full-time residents. Just as the roaring ocean is the biggest draw to living on the beach, it also serves as its greatest threat. Nothing is more powerful than a storm coming in off of the sea. As anyone who has been in such a storm can tell you, it is a truly frightening experience. Immediate threats to one’s safety are the 1st to be concerned with, extremely high winds can wreak havoc on glass windows and weak foundations. If in the worst case scenario, the waters start to rise and flood your home, leave and seek safety immediately. Which leads us to the greatest threat: flooding. As recent current events have demonstrated, our weather and climates appear to be changing at a rapid rate. Personifying the fear of every beachfront property owner, harrowing home videos easily found on the internet have shown us how quickly rising waters can wipe a home completely off of the map. Many people are very uneasy with the thought that they could lose their home in literally the blink of an eye.

It’s not all a rosy picture for investors either. A beachfront property can command top dollar as a rental, but not necessarily year-round. An investor must take into account the seasonal fluctuations of demand. During the off season, there might not be a renter at all, leaving the investor to take care of maintenance and upkeep. If an investor simply assumes that rental property income will be a constant, they are in for a very rude awakening. Ah, the off season, where a beachfront community can seem like a ghost town. Granted some residents absolutely savor the peace and quiet, most consider the general shutdown during the off season a negative. It can be an isolating feeling when a once bustling beach town becomes quite desolate, where even basic local services and amenities can be hard to come by.

For some folks, living on a beach is like heaven on earth. For some investors, a home on the beach can be a cash cow. Drawbacks do exist, and a home by the ocean is not for everyone. However for an active family or a savvy investor, life truly is, a beach!

Dylan Taft is an experienced Hudson Valley real estate professional working in home sales and purchases. Visit Dylan’s professionally optimized website for more information on property taxes, and details on the Ulster County NY real estate area.

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