Moving to the coast is certainly exciting. You’ll get to relax by the waters and enjoy the natural environment delivered by different seasons. However, before making an offer on and ultimately buying a coastal home, you have to consider a few key points. Moving to the coast, whether east or west, is not for everyone and can be a big adjustment for you and your family. Take a look at these five points of consideration to decide if this is a move you’ll want to commit to making with your family.
While most coastal areas are accessible via bridge, some are not. In other words, if you’re buying a coastal property, you might be moving to an area that is accessible from the mainland by boat only. This setup is not necessarily a problem, but you do want to consider if this situation is reasonable for you. For example, in the event that you work on the mainland, you would need to be willing to commute via boat every day.
The accessibility situation may not be ideal for you in a few circumstances. If you do not know how to drive a boat and are not interested in learning, a coastal property might not be right for you. Additionally, if you or a family member has accessibility issues because of a disability, living on the coast could have some extra challenges associated with it that you might want to avoid. However, if you are willing and excited to face the challenge of accessing your home via boat (particularly during your big initial move), you will likely love the living circumstances.
Of course, a home on the coast is more prone to a flood than a dwelling that is entirely inland. Checking into the history of the area can give you a sense of how badly the neighborhood has been hit by floods in the past. Also, consider if the house has a basement and what the drainage systems are on the property. Having the right system can help to protect your property during floods and prevent major damage from occurring when rain levels are high and there is a risk of rainwater penetrating the rest of your home through the basement. While you can’t predict future weather conditions with a great degree of certainty, you can aim to be as prepared as possible.
An additional part of being prepared for floods is knowing what the community expectations are during flood season, what responsibilities you and your neighbors might have, and what you will need to do to the property to make it safer during flood season.
Another important step to take is to procure flood insurance. Your homeowners insurance plan does not necessarily automatically include flood insurance. Speak with an agent to find out how much more flood insurance would cost. When you see a great deal on a coastal property, do keep in mind that you should factor the price of this extra insurance into your monthly bills.
Depending on your mortgage, you may be required by your backer to purchase flood insurance. This is because if your home does flood, there is a chance that the damage done could cost more than what the home is actually worth. Check with your insurance company about what damages your insurance would cover as well, as some types of flood insurance may not cover damage post-flooding like mold and mildew.
You also need to have the house inspected for any previous damage, particularly as the result of a flood. Some of the damage might not be visible to the naked eye. For example, the foundation of the house could have started to rot. Mold is also a problem that can result from flooding. You would want to ensure that these problems are completely taken care of before you buy the house.
Take a home inspector with you before you close on a coastal home. They will be able to tell you what the existing damage is as well as what areas would be prone to damage in the future. If you are not interested in trying to DIY some repairs from coastal air and flooding, then a home in this area might not be the right investment for you right now.
Make certain you are aware of any restrictions that govern the house. Some houses in coastal areas might not be allowed to have basements. If you’re thinking about putting a pool in, you’ll need to see if this type of renovation is permitted. If you want to build a home rather than buy an existing one, you’ll also need to check about restrictions about how close you can build to the shoreline, if your home needs to be elevated, what areas are considered flood zones, and how high your home can actually be. It is important to make note of these restrictions in your home design so that the plans don’t get rejected by the city before you start.
Buying a coastal home might sound like quite a process for you to go through. It’s true that you’ll need to examine some additional factors, but the purchase can definitely be worth it in the end. Think about these considerations, and if you don’t mind a few of the extra precautions, a coastal home could be the right choice for you right now.