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How To Buy a Florida Waterfront Home

If your mind is currently set on buying a luxurious Florida waterfront home, you should know that there is a long, demanding, and highly stressful decision-making process ahead of you. There are numerous tasks you will need to complete before you eventually organize a housewarming party at the new address. As you might assume, professional ass

istance is a critical factor in this endeavor as a guarantee that your investment will not turn into a complete fiasco and a set of bad, unreasonable decisions. To help you understand what to expect once you set off on this mission, we offer you a brief guide to buying a luxurious Florida waterfront home.

Contact a lender first

When buying property, the first step is always to contact a respectable lender and prepare a pre-approval. The lender will help you understand the stages of the buying process and give you advice on how to select the best loan given your circumstances. Having a pre-approval is a sure sign for the sellers that you are serious about buying a waterfront property. Thus, you should receive preferred treatment over other potential buyers. On the other hand, a pre-approval shows clearly the price range you can afford and this significa

ntly restricts the list of properties you will be interested in. So, to conclude, before you even start looking for a luxurious Florida waterfront home of your dreams, consult a lender. 

Define the location you are interested in

When looking for a home in general, it is immensely important to find a balance between your requirements, needs, and wishes, and the reality of the real estate market. The sooner you realize you will have to compromise about certain elements the better. Make a list of top priorities you will not give up on, but also be aware of those qualities that are less important. 

When buying a luxurious Florida waterfront home is in question, there are a lot of options at your disposal. A growing number of people choose Hillsborough County as their new home location, not just due to its strengthening economy and continuous development but also 

because there are many Hillsborough County specialists to provide safe relocation of your household items. 

Hire a reputable realtor when buying a luxurious Florida waterfront home

Hiring an experienced and competent realtor is a crucial step in this process. Ideally, you need the assistance of a waterfront specialist who will be able to advise you on how to buy waterfront real estate that suits your needs and meets your expectations. Realtors who have spent years in this business are acquainted with the real estate market very well. They can suggest attractive areas and find a Florida waterfront home that will meet your needs and will be the best value for your investment.

When you meet your realtor for the first time, it is vital for you to define the main aspects of your cooperation. How often will you meet? How often will you get updated information on the real estate market and properties for sale? Request the information about the steps in the buying process, all the financing options available, and the necessary paperwork. Also, make your realtor well aware of what exactly you are looking for – the price range

, the size of the home, the locations that are acceptable, and your specific home feature requirements. This will significantly narrow down and shorten the search for your dream home.

Hire a professional to inspect the property you are interested in

Once you find a property that might be appropriate for you, we strongly advise you to hire a professional to inspect it thoroughly before you conduct the purchase and contact 

a business like bigmansmoving.com to relocate your possessions. Necessary repairs sometimes can add up a considerable amount to your expenses and be a very unpleasant surprise. When you get the inspection report, study it carefully with undivided attention, and make the final decision whether the property in question is the right choice for you. 

Do not neglect the importance of proper insurance

Waterfront homes are severely affected by the elements. Thus, under no circumstances 

should you neglect proper insurance of your new waterfront home. Make sure you have coverage for wind, flood, and general hazard insurance. Only this way will you be entitled to proper compensation in case your Florida waterfront home gets severely damaged.

What are you allowed to do with the property?

While it is true that you are purchasing a luxurious Florida waterfront home, chances are you will still want to introduce some changes and add a personal touch to your new living space. Hence, gather the information about what you can do with the property. For example, can you build a dock or a seawall? What kinds of alterations are allowed on the property you are considering? This will affect your purchasing decision and can add or detract substantially from the value of the home.

Understand a waterfront homeowner’s responsibilities

Finally, having a waterfront property comes along with a set of responsibilities on behal

f of homeowners. If you are a member of the Homeowners’ Association, you will have to gather enough information about the type of upkeep and maintenance that is required from you. Your realtor can provide you with more details on the subject and you can consult relevant websites.

A few more suggestions

Buying a luxurious Florida waterfront home is a serious investment and your chance to live the water view dream. When examining properties you like, remember to consider the whole property and not just the house built on it. For example, is the water is good for swimming? Do you like the views? Is the property secluded or might it lack privacy? What is the access to the water? Take your time and do not rush your decision. Then, you can be sure you will make the right choice.

Living the Water View Dream

Living in a waterfront or water view home is a dream for many. The privacy, the tranquility, and the fresh air are only some of the things that these homes offer in abundance. If you are a swimmer or paddleboarder, or you love sailing, living on the waterfront allows you to partake in all of your favorite activities whenever you want. This is the place where you can take full advantage of good weather and water proximity with no need for a long drive. Not only that, but waterfront properties are also great for entertaining and spending a lot of fun time with your loved ones. Life on the waterfront is slightly different than landlocked living, but these waterfront living tips should help you find your footing easily.

Want to buy on the waterfront? Here is what you need to know

Obviously, waterfront living is a pretty general term. It can include coastal properties by the ocean, or houses on lakes, rivers, ponds, and bayous. Each of these has its own specificities that should be considered.

Liabilities

Waterfront homes are disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change compared to other types of housing. One of the top 10 tips on waterfront property buying is to be aware of the high risk of flooding. This is especially true if the house is older. Newer homes nowadays are built differently in order to accommodate a certain amount of flooding which won’t ruin your home. Coastal homes are also at risk from storms, hurricanes, and rising sea levels. These are all events you should have contingencies for. One thing many people often overlook completely is how corrosive salt water is. So, if you are about to move to your new waterfront home in California, you want to bear in mind that its exterior and decks will probably require some extra maintenance.

Waterproofing

While waterfront homes are vulnerable to rain, wind, and flooding, even when the weather is fine, your property will still be in constant exposure to water. Whether or not it is saltwater, any amount can do damage. This is why one of the basic waterfront living tips is to waterproof everything. Heavy morning dew can greatly damage all of your outdoor furniture in no time. Covering all of your outdoor elements in a layer of waterproof paint or getting a cover to protect everything will pay off in the long run.

Boating

Waterfront properties are attractive to people with many different hobbies. However, they might be the most enticing for people who are into boating. Whether you already have a boat or you want to get one for your waterfront home, you have to make sure you know what size of boat your property can accommodate. Another one of the waterfront living tips is to pay attention to the regulations regarding boating and docking in your particular area. The size of your boat may not only be determined by the size of your property. It could also be impacted by the proximity of the neighboring properties.

Another thing to bear in mind if you are planning on buying a waterfront home in order to spend more time on your boat is the difference in bodies of water. As mentioned, saltwater is highly corrosive, so if you are moving to an oceanfront like California, your boat will require more maintenance. It will have to be rinsed with fresh water and its engine flushed regularly. Its life expectancy will also be shorter. On the other hand, a lake house or another freshwater-adjacent property will save you money on boat maintenance. No matter where you decide to move, though, you will want to pay special attention to the company handling the transport of your boat. Movers like Los Angeles Transfer and Storage will safely bring your boat to your new California home.

Secrets of waterfront living on a budget

When it comes to activities, if you do not already have a water-related hobby you are passionate about, you will probably find yourself trying out different ones at home. Now, many watersports can be expensive. Maintenance of your waterfront home could also be a big expense, so you do not need your hobbies to further drain your bank account. There are actually fun activities you can take part in without breaking the bank while still taking full advantage of your surroundings. Fishing equipment is quite inexpensive online. Stand-up addleboarding is a relatively inexpensive investment upfront and poses virtually no additional costs later on. Kayaking and row boating is a bit more expensive.

Safety

Safety is very important to consider in waterfront living. This is particularly true if you have children or pets. When it comes to children, living in a waterfront home will be as much of a dream for them as it is for you. Numerous outdoor activities available at a beach house will make it feel like an endless summer vacation. However, all of these perks come with certain dangers as well. Depending on your children’s age, of course, you will want to take certain precautions.

If your children are of age, you will want to have them take swimming lessons. All of your family members should be confident swimmers. In addition, make sure there are enough life vests on your boat and life ring buoys on your dock. If your children are very young, you will want to invest in gates and alarms. Gates should keep toddlers from accessing the waterfront unattended and the alarms on your door will let you know if any of them wander outside without you knowing.

There is nothing comparable to having a water view or waterfront home. Water you waiting for?

5 Reasons Why You Should Choose a Beach House for Self-isolation

All over the world, different measures have been put into place in an effort to curb the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. People have been self-isolating or quarantining for weeks now. No matter how necessary, the isolation has started taking its toll on individuals and families alike. People are trying to come up with inventive ways of easing their experience while remaining cautious and sensible. Most will have to satisfy themselves with conference calls with their loved ones and an hour or two outside from time to time, while others will be able to “go the extra mile”. Access to a beach house would be a good investment in the best of times, but right now, it may well be the golden ticket. However, if you are uncertain about heading for the coast, here are 5 reasons why you should choose a beach house for self-isolation.

The fresh air

The number one reason why you should opt for a beachfront home for self-isolation is obviously the ability to spend time outdoors more easily. Most of the advice on social distancing states the necessity of getting at least some fresh air. For most people living in cities, this means just going to the store a couple of times a week. Others will venture so far as to walk their pets or take a jog.

Having a yard is true luxury at this time, and having a waterfront property even more so. Simply imagine not being encumbered by wearing a mask and gloves or worrying about coming into contact with someone who could be infected. You could pretty much spend entire days outside. You’ll enjoy yourself however you choose – barbecuing, working out or simply lying on the beach with a good book. Getting some sun could also do wonders for your immunity. Finally, healthy ocean air will invigorate and refresh you.

Physical activity

Another obvious reason why you should choose a beach house for self-isolation is the myriad opportunities for being active. Not only will you be able to work out in the fresh air, but you will be able to do so whenever and however long you want. It could be the perfect time to develop some healthy habits. You could start a jogging routine or simply go outside for early morning stretching to start your day off right. In certain parts of the US, swimming will also be on the table. What better way to spend your days self-isolating than by doing what you would do on vacation?

Great for kids and pets

If you have children, you are probably at the end of your tether at this point in the pandemic. Even if schools and kindergartens are still open, it is hard to find ways to fill up your kids’ days. Once you are all together 24/7, it becomes almost impossible. In addition, getting used to spending so much time indoors will be quite an adjustment for most children. This is one of the top reasons why you should choose a beach house for self-isolation. It will provide you with an opportunity to let your children roam freely outside without too much supervision, assuming they are swimmers and old enough to be safely left alone. It will be much easier to organize their days if you can fill that time with outdoor activities.

Furthermore, if you have a dog, spending time at the beach would be perfect for your pooch. You could take your pet on runs with you, or enjoy a fun game of fetch whenever you want to. Your dog will feel much better if it could go in and out of your beach home instead of being holed up inside for hours on end.

Get some work done on your property

One of the reasons why you should choose a beach house for self-isolation is that you can find useful ways to fill your time. While not going to work may have felt nice at first, the novelty of it wears off fast. Usually, when you have a lot of time on your hands, you are able to fill it with pleasant activities like meeting friends for coffee or drinks. This is virtually impossible when everyone is self-isolating. We all end up with hours and hours of time on our hands. One of the ways to feel productive is to get some work done on your property.

For the majority of people, a beach house is a place they visit at weekends during summer and perhaps a couple of times in the off-season. When you do get to use your beach house, you want to use it to enjoy yourself and do something fun. However, waiting out the quarantine in your beach house would be a great opportunity to make it more valuable. The sky is the limit when it comes to the things you can get accomplished. Some people will keep themselves busy by making small improvements – a squeaky door here, a leaky tap there, maybe even pressure washing the house. Others will be more ambitious and take on projects like changing all of the light fixtures or doing a paint job.

A chance to unplug

The never-ending news cycle and the constant worrying about physical health take their toll on our mental health as well. Not having anything better to do, many people spend their days watching the news and checking social media. This creates a lot of noise that can cause anxiety, even if you are not someone who easily panics. 

Limiting your media intake is hard to do when you are holed up in your apartment. Things are quite different when you are at the beach and have some healthier options. Just being able to be outside for extended periods of time will unglue you from your phone and TV. This, in turn, will let your mind quiet down. As we mostly associate spending time at the beach with vacations, it will be easy for you to at least pretend everything is fine and enjoy yourself and your family!

12 Things to Consider When Buying a Lakefront Home

Buying a lake property does sound like a dream come true to a vast majority of people, but the process of choosing and eventually completing the purchase is often far from enjoyable. It involves a lot of calculations, conducting a serious search for the property that meets all your needs and requirements, multiple decisions, and analyzing the pros and cons of making this decision in the first place. If you still realize that you have made the right choice, here is a comprehensive list of things to consider when buying a lake property. Hopefully, it will not take ages to organize a housewarming party for your waterfront home from the moment you set off on your purchasing mission.

First, define the purpose of your purchase

Purchase-related decisions you make will depend on the reasons for buying the lake property you have in mind. For example, if you want it to be your primary home then you will need to hire top-quality movers like those at mod-movers.com to relocate your belongings as soon as possible, and you will analyze different parameters than when it is meant to be a vacation home or a rental property. However, certain factors are always important regardless of the purpose of your purchase. The lake property should be in the vicinity of a grocery store, a post office, and, ideally, a medical clinic as well. Otherwise, if you choose a remote, secluded location, you might get your privacy and peace, but spending time at your lake property may become stressful at times rather than relaxing and joyful.

Define your budget in the initial stages

Accurately determining the financial means at your disposal before buying a lake property is one of the critical factors in this process. The amount you are willing to spend will further influence the manner in which you prioritize the requirements. Bear in mind that this type of real estate is usually available at a higher price than the land-locked property. Also, know that the commission paid to a real estate agent is generally covered by the seller, but will be added to the asking price.  So, perform these calculations before you start and eliminate any doubt whether you can afford this investment.

Hiring a real estate agent is a must

You need an expert in the lakefront property market who can give you some useful advice and introduce you to all the crucial things you need to know when buying a lake property. An expert should help you buy waterfront real estate so that you can get the best value for your money, something that suits your needs and expectations. Also, this professional will provide you with an insight into the traits of the local area, water quality, lot characteristics, flood history, expansion possibilities and many more useful pieces of information you need to consider when making the final decision. Knowing how complex legal matters in a purchase of this kind can be, hiring a respectable real estate agent is surely an additional investment worth making.

Hire a professional to conduct a detailed inspection of the property you are considering

A detailed inspection of a lake property by a team of professionals is a must before buying it. The property that seems perfect on the outside can hide problems with mold and mildew or water intrusion inside. Also, it is important to check the quality of water, inspect elevation certificates, corrosion on your exterior and all those factors that might cause you problems or further expenses later on. 

Make sure you find out all about the hidden costs

Hidden costs can harm your budget considerably as soon as they emerge. Experts do not call them hidden without a good reason, because you become aware of them only after the purchase process has come to its end. Here is what you have to focus on:

Buying a lake property on a leased lot

It may happen that the lake and the shoreline that your lake property is situated on are owned by the local municipality, a public utility, or the state or federal government. What this means to your finances is that you will have to pay per month for the lease. Moreover, the lease can last from 20 to 100 years depending on the area you are considering. Understandably, these expenses can be a significant burden on your budget. 

High property taxes

Yes, your lake property will be subject to property taxes which can be sky-high if this is your second home. Furthermore, if your plan involves renting your lake home any time soon, bear in mind that then the rent becomes subject to income tax as well. Hence, it is of great importance to study all the local, state, and federal tax rules, or simply ask your real estate agent for an explanation, prior to completing the purchase.

How about insurance?

Considering the exposure to elements and various structures that can be present on your lake property, homeowner’s insurance can be very expensive. Do not forget to consider this factor as well when weighing the pros and cons of buying a particular lake property.

Repairs to HVAC and septic systems

These hidden costs can be avoided easily and completely if you conduct the above-mentioned thorough inspection before the purchase. You can also request that your real estate agent include a Homeowner Warranty as part of the closing costs so that your first year will be covered for certain repairs. Otherwise, you might suffer serious consequences in the form of costly repairs. 

Paying utilities at your lake home

Utilities at your vacation lake home can reach a very high price. If you want to avoid these expenses at least during a certain part of the year, “winterizing” your lake home during the winter months is prudent.

Homeowner’s Association dues

These are compulsory and are varying prices. Thus, it is a good idea to gather the necessary information on this topic in advance, either by using relevant sources online or asking the realtor for the details.

Final words

If buying a lake property has your unreserved attention and you follow the above-mentioned tips, you will be able to make the right investment, fix up your waterfront home before you move in if necessary and then finally relax and enjoy. While it is true that the whole process may stress you out, do not feel pressured and make the wrong choice or decision. Once the purchase is over, you will get the rightful satisfaction you deserve!

Should you invest in Los Angeles, CA waterfront homes?

Los Angeles waterfront homes s between a busy road and a beach

Los Angeles waterfront homes

The city of Los Angeles is among the world’s most desirable and widely recognized locations. In spite of its overvalued real estate market, it continues to attract renters and homebuyers year after year. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if we said The City of Angels is a safe bet for real estate investors. Buying a home in LA is a dream-come-true for many people, but buying a water view home in LA is a special privilege. However, that privilege isn’t without its downsides. If you’re wondering whether you should invest in Los Angeles waterfront homes, this article will help you decide.

Waterfront homes are always in demand

Although LA is a big city, the number of homes for sale along the shoreline is not unlimited. That means the demand is always high. This is both a pro and a con. Beating the competition and buying a good waterfront property is not easy, but the demand will always be there when you decide to sell or rent. With the help of experienced waterfront property real estate agents, finding buyers and renters should not take long. Besides, buyers are willing to pay a premium for stunning views and proximity to a body of water. Rents can be significantly higher as well compared to non-waterfront homes, which means covering your holding costs and even turning a profit should not be an issue.

The investment will retain its value for years to come

The value of waterfront homes rarely declines thanks to the high demand and limited supply. Thus, you can expect a great resale value. You can spend years and years renting your home or living in it without worrying about the impact of future housing markets. 

Living near the water is like an eternal vacation

If you decide to spend more time in your waterfront home, your life can be very exciting thanks to all the fun activities the water offers. Swimming, boating, kayaking, water skiing, and diving are just some of them. Few people can resist the relaxed vibe and vacation atmosphere in these neighborhoods. If you move here full-time, your life will be like a never-ending vacation. Just think about it – millions of people save money for months just to spend a few days close to the water. They pay to do all those things waterfront property owners can do practically for free. Investing in a Los Angeles waterfront home means investing in an extraordinary lifestyle. Owning a home in an area popular with visitors normally means having excellent amenities within easy reach. You’ll have access to great shops, bars, restaurants, sports and wellness facilities, among other things. 

However, the other side of the coin is the lack of privacy. As you know, many LA waterfront areas attract too many visitors. After all, Los Angeles is one of the most visited cities in the US. Hence, you could see lots of strangers in your neighborhood on a daily basis. 

Waterfront communities are very sociable

After buying a waterfront home and moving in, you will notice that the community you are moving into is not your average community. Waterfront communities are usually more tight-knit. They are known for organizing community celebrations and events and having many clubs and societies linked to water-based activities. Thanks to a strong sense of community, you’ll be able to meet your neighbors and get involved in their activities in no time. Waterfront communities are also great for families with young children. Parents who want to raise children in a fun, friendly environment and spend more quality time with them should definitely consider investing in Los Angeles waterfront homes. 

When you invest in Los Angeles waterfront homes, you invest in your health

You can enjoy several physical and mental health benefits if you invest in Los Angeles waterfront homes. Did you know that water can be therapeutic? This home could be your personal stress-free zone. You can escape to your waterfront home whenever the hustle and bustle of big-city life overwhelm you. This property could be your weekend/vacation home, but you could also ask for assistance when moving in LA area and move here full-time. In addition to being relaxing, waterfront areas that are more secluded are also less polluted and less noisy in comparison to other areas. Furthermore, a large body of water usually offers the perfect setting for various water sports. The outdoor activities we mentioned earlier are not only fun but they’re also healthy for you, so why not take advantage of owning a property so close to the water? 

Owning a waterfront home comes with higher expenses

Waterfront homes are more prone to damage caused by water and weather conditions compared to non-waterfront homes. Consequently, insurance for a waterfront home can be much more expensive. If the home you are interested in is in a flood zone or has been flooded, the insurance price will be higher. In addition to insurance, there are many other expenses you should take into consideration, the main ones being regular repairs and maintenance. Maintaining a waterfront home involves numerous expenses traditional home owners don’t need to worry about. 

Some waterfront properties come with strict rules

Local rules and regulations are some of the things you should investigate before you invest in Los Angeles waterfront homes. You might face some restrictions if you wish to renovate your home or increase its size, especially if it’s a neighborhood designated as historic. And some of the things you look forward to may actually be forbidden in your area. For example, you may want to have a dock or a boat launch, but are you allowed to build one on your property? The same goes for use of motor boats, wakeboards or jet skis. No one wants to pay a fine for enjoying their favorite sports and hobbies, so make sure you do your research before you start your search.

 

The Best Places to Buy a Winter Home in the U.S. 

Having a winter home sure sounds nice. A quiet little place where you can head off during those cold winter months. Now, you can go to a place in the mountains where you can enjoy skiing and hiking. Or, you might even choose to retire to a nice waterfront home and enjoy a year-long vacation. There are many reasons why you might want to buy a winter home in the U.S, and many places where you can do so. The only question that remains is which place is the best for you.

Figuring out where to buy a winter home in the U.S. is not easy. There are some important factors that you need to take into account in order to make a wise decision. These factors, which include your budget, your lifestyle preferences, and where you live during the rest of the year, play a major role in figuring out the best place to get a winter home in the U.S. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do about those factors, as they vary wildly from person to person. What we can do is look at the winter living conditions and the price of real estate in different places around the U.S. And, to keep things nicely spread out, we will limit ourselves to one place per state. This should give you a starting point for where to look for a fabulous winter home to buy.

St. Petersburg in Florida

When talking about U.S. states that have the best winter weather, Florida is usually the first one that comes to mind. After all, it’s hard to beat the Sunshine state when it comes to mild winters. So, it should come as no surprise that one of the most popular places to buy a home in the U.S. is St. Petersburg.

A lot of people choose to retire in Florida since both the weather and the lifestyle are so calm and mild. Mind you, there are a lot of places in Florida where getting beach property is a good investment. But, we feel that St. Petersburg stands out due to its comfortable lifestyle and affordability.


The people living there are quite friendly and welcoming which makes St. Petersburg ideal for
retirement and there are fewer tourists per capita compared to many other Florida resort areas.

Median home value: $154,800.

 

Mount Hood in Oregon

Mount Hood in Oregon is perfectly suited for people who actually like winter. If you’re a fan of
hiking through snow or going on adventurous camping trips, Mount Hood is the place to go.
The beautiful nature of Mount Hood will leave you breathless while you explore it. And, trust us,
with nearly 100 camping areas, there will be more than enough for you to explore for years to
come. Furthermore, if you are a fan of skiing, you will have a wonderful time in Mount Hood
Meadows.

Median home value: $288,900

South Lake Tahoe in California

South Lake Tahoe is a bit more pricey than the abovementioned places. But, we feel that it is
truly one of the best places to buy a winter home in the U.S., if not the whole world. The lake
itself is enormous. It has over 70 miles of coast which provides ample fun for its residents
throughout the year. During the winter you can enjoy skiing on its north end and hike all around the Lake.

Lake Tahoe is mesmerizingly beautiful, even during the winter months.

The nature surrounding South Lake Tahoe is well-preserved. This makes it ideal for any nature
lover who wants to escape the noise and the hassle of big cities during the winter months. So, if
by chance you are looking for a place to unwind, South Lake Tahoe is the place to go.

Median home value: $442,700 (we did warn you it’s going to be a bit expensive).

Beaufort in South Carolina

Winters in Beaufort, South Carolina are very mild. The temperature averages around 59°F
(15°C). This makes Beaufort ideal for anyone who wants to avoid standard winter weather.
There are plenty of things to do, including fishing, golfing, biking and visiting beaches so you are bound to find something to enjoy during those mild winter months. A lot of people even opt for getting a waterfront home as it can be quite nice to drink morning coffee with the sea air in your lungs. But, before you go shopping for waterfront homes, just know that you will probably have to invest a bit in fixing it up.

Median home value: $222,600

Ludlow in Vermont

The idyllic winter retreat is a warm place situated in a small town with the quiet snow falling while the sounds of nature surround you. Well, if this winter bliss sounds like something you will enjoy, then consider getting a winter home in Ludlow, Vermont. This little town has only about 2000 residents, which makes it ideal for anyone looking for a bit of peace and quiet. And, if you are up for a bit of adventure, you can head off to the popular Okemo Mountain Ski resort and enjoy some winter sports.

Median home value: $273,600

Keaau in Hawaii

If you are up for a bit of a change during your winter months, Keaau in Hawaii is the place to
go. Any person who enjoys warm weather will love it here since the average winter
temperature is around 77°F (25°C). Along with that, you will be able to explore flora and
fauna that you’ll never see in the continental US. We wouldn’t be surprised if you ended up
retiring here, as the place is quite calm with about 2700 residents and beautiful landscapes to
explore.

Median home value: $278,000

Florida’s Sinking Coast – Part 1

The earth’s ice is melting at an unprecedented rate, and sea levels are rising just as rapidly. According to a recent study, ice melt has caused seawater levels to rise nearly 7.8 inches in the last 150 years alone. With 2016 slated to become the hottest year on record, ice melt and sea-level rise show no signs of slowing down.

Many low-lying coastal areas throughout the world are routinely flooded, and many in the past century have become completely and irreversibly submerged. If global sea level continues to rise at this rate, coastal communities all across the globe may soon meet with a similar fate.

Coastal Florida is one such area. Parts of Miami, as well as other low-lying parts of the state, routinely experience flooding during high tides, and local governments throughout South Florida have already begun spending money on drainage improvements and pumping equipment. But how much will sea levels continue to rise? How quickly? How will this affect a Florida economy so dependent on coastal tourism? And what, if anything, can be done to prevent it?

Many scientists estimate that sea levels will rise somewhere between 3 and 6 feet by the end of the century. In certain low-lying parts of Florida, the shoreline is expected to move about 300 feet inland with each foot of sea-level rise. Some worry that such low-elevation Florida cities as Sarasota, Venice, North Port, Bradenton, Punta Gorda, Naples, and Holmes Beach will either turn into islands or become completely submerged within the next 100 years. The following image is a projection, generated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management, of how Miami-Dade County would likely be affected by a 3-foot rise in sea levels.

In addition to permanently inundating low-lying coastal lands, rising sea levels are also expected to cause a huge increase in storm surge and tidal floods along Florida coastland. Of the 10 urban centers in the United States that are most vulnerable to storm surge – temporary rise in sea level that is caused by storms – Florida is home to over half. Tidal flooding resulting from storm surge typically drains from the land in a matter of days, but the damage it causes is often substantial. Southeast Florida currently experiences an average of 10 tidal floods annually, but within the next 30 years, scientists estimate that the region will be forced to endure a staggering 240 floods annually.

In Florida, sea-level rise is not merely a science issue, says Boca Raton-based oceanographer John Englander, but “a real estate, finance and built-environment issue” as well. Should sea levels rise significantly within the next century, measures currently being taken to prevent coastal flooding – such as elevating infrastructure and buildings, building detention ponds, installing pumps, digging runoff tunnels, and improving storm sewers – will not be enough to keep the coasts above water, and people will be forced to evacuate many South Florida areas. This would inevitably lead to a spike in property value in higher-elevation, inland regions just north of the southern coast, like Highlands, Polk, and Lake counties.

So what does this mean for property owners along the Florida coast? Well, at this point much remains unclear. Those living in Florida – citizens and government officials alike – can’t seem to agree on the merits of the scientific evidence indicating that sea-level rise is real, or if the threat it poses to their coasts is legitimate. As a result, little has been done to prepare the state’s coastal communities for what potentially lies ahead.

Some folks – including builders, architects, realtors, and developers – are skeptical of the supposed dangers posed by rising sea levels, and view the whole thing as overblown. They point out that sea levels naturally fluctuate over time, and view the recent increase as just the current swing of a pendulum that will inevitably head back in the opposite direction.

Others very much believe the warning calls from scientists, and insist that we take heed. They worry that unless action is taken now, taxpayers will end up having to spend a fortune trying to reverse the problem later on down the road. But by then, some fear, it will be too late; much of low-lying Florida will have drowned, tourism revenue will have plummeted, and the state economy will have taken a nosedive.

So who’s right? And what does all of this speculation mean for Florida’s coastal real estate market? Stay tuned for Part 2, as we discuss how sea-level rise is already beginning to affect Florida’s coastal homeowners.

Unbeknownst to the average beachgoer or coastal tourist, privately owned land comprises a sizable portion of our nation’s public beaches. As shown in the above picture of a coastal town in northern Virginia, property lines for oceanfront lots frequently spill over onto adjacent beach land, sometimes even extending well into the sea. Private parcels such as these often contain within their boundaries strips of beach that are freely accessible to, and habitually used by, the public.

Owners of such parcels are often entirely unaware that their property lines extend onto the bordering shore. Owners who are privy to this fact tend to regard the overlapping land as belonging to the public, and they welcome public access (or at least accept it, however begrudgingly). Others, however, believe – and have been known to defend that belief, with varying success, in courts of law – that they are entitled to sole ownership of whatever portion of beach that falls within their property lines, and that public access should be restricted.

The relationship between public beach access and private property rights is a sticky, often complicated issue that has been the subject of countless legal disputes between private owners and municipal or state governments. The aim here is to clarify this confusing issue, to outline how public and private rights to beach access vary among states, and to demonstrate why an understanding of this matter is essential when considering an oceanfront purchase.

Public trust doctrine – the ancient legal principle stipulating that a government may retain and protect certain resources for public use – is responsible for establishing the common law right of state governments to hold in trust all beaches for public use. Today, each individual state is responsible for articulating, interpreting, and enforcing the particular guidelines that determine which beach land may be designated as public.

In most states, public trust doctrine affords the public unrestricted access to all beach land below what is known as the ‘mean high tide line’ – the average line on the shore reached by water at high tide. Citizens are free to use all land located below the mean high tide line – what is referred to as ‘wet beach’ – for fishing, boating, sunbathing, or simply strolling along the shore, and private owners are prohibited from owning this land. Private owners are typically free to own the beach above the mean high tide line, however – what is referred to as ‘dry beach’ – and are in some states legally allowed to restrict public access to that land at their own discretion.

In Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, it is the mean low tide line that demarcates the public from private land. In other words, only the land below the average shoreline formed at low tide belongs to the public, and private owners can own land all the way down to that shoreline. The public is allowed access to the wet beach, though it doesn’t belong to them, and they are generally barred access to the dry beach unless, as in some cases, the private owners allow for public access, or sell the rights to the public access to their local or state government.

 

At the other end of the spectrum, Hawai’i, Louisiana, and Washington grant the public unrestricted access to all beach land and prohibit private buyers from buying any shore property, period. In these cases, the beach is generally understood as the land spanning from the ocean water at low tide all the way to the vegetation line, or where the sand ends. In Oregon, Texas, and New Jersey, private buyers may own dry beach that falls within their property lines, but the public is still guaranteed unfettered access to that beach, regardless of its private ownership; wet beach belongs entirely to the public.

When it comes to the increasing public access to beaches, each coastal state faces a unique set of challenges. Different policy restrictions, economic limitations, physical barriers, and population needs all impact a state’s capacity to provide adequate public access to its seashores.

If you are looking to purchase an oceanfront property, an understanding of the public trust doctrine and how it relates to private property rights in whichever state(s) you’re considering is essential. If you don’t like the idea of tourists romping about on your beach property, and would prefer the solitude that private beach access affords you, you might confine your search to the five states in which beach access is more widely restricted to the public, and private beach ownership more feasible. If you are more receptive to the idea of a bustling beach scene just steps from your home and would prefer the friendly, communal feel of beachgoers from far and wide sharing the beach in your backyard, you might be more drawn to properties in the six states in which public access to beaches is most protected.