Tag Archives: waterfront real estate

Seven Tips for Buying Water View Real Estate

Buying a waterfront property isn’t just like buying a land-locked property. Owning a waterfront property has its perks but it also involves a set of unique requirements and responsibilities. Living in one comes with a unique lifestyle, too. We have seven useful tips that will help you decide whether waterfront property buying is the right thing to do, and prepare you for the process if you choose to go through with it. 

1 Come up with a financial plan early on

Getting a mortgage pre-approval is of the utmost importance when buying a waterfront property — or any property, for that matter. Many real estate agents advise their clients (sellers) to accept offers from pre-approved home buyers exclusively.

This leads us to the second important reason to make a financial plan as early as possible: there is a lot of competition involved The number of waterfront properties you can choose from is traditionally much lower than the number of non-waterfront properties. Due to fierce competition, when there are multiple offers, you may end up losing a property unless you have your financing in order. 

Other things to take into consideration before waterfront property buying include property inspection costs, insurance costs, renovation costs, relocation costs, etc. If you wish to secure yourself during relocation and be safe and comfortable in your new home, this is not the time to cut corners. 

2 Choose the right body of water

Remember that you’re not just buying a piece of real estate – you’re buying the water view, too. Waterfront properties can differ greatly depending on the body of water they overlook. Some buyers are only interested in lakefront properties, while others prefer the ocean, a river or pond. What do you prefer?

Some buyers are so enchanted by the spectacular view that they disregard other factors, such as ease of access to the water and privacy. Perhaps you’re already picturing yourself and your partner watching the sun sink into the deep, blue ocean every evening, not counting on the noisy powerboats and hordes of tourists passing by. And just like that, your romantic dream turns into a nightmare. Therefore, research the body of water thoroughly before making an offer. 

Water bodies come in different sizes, depths, etc. If you plan on using a boat, find out about the water depth requirements for different types of boats. The quality of water is another important thing to check before buying a waterfront property, especially if you like to swim. The water could be polluted, or full of weeds or dangerous creatures you should know about. 

Additionally, bear in mind that shores gradually move over time. Hence, learning about the shoreline’s history and future erosion should be on your to-do list. 

3 Inspect the waterfront property

Another obvious tip on waterfront property buying is having a property inspection prior to making an offer. Spending some time on the water as well as the property itself is crucial, but you should also have professionals take a look at the property. Inspection costs are minimal compared to the peace of mind they provide. 

Since the property you are interested in is located near or on a body of water, an inspector should make sure there are no water intrusion issues. Another important inspection to conduct is a septic inspection. Repairing or replacing a faulty septic system could cost you thousands of dollars, so definitely have it inspected beforehand. 

4 Talk to the locals

People who live in waterfront communities are often very close with one another, which means your neighbors will probably be a big part of your life should you decide to occupy the property full-time. 

Having conversations with the local residents is a great way to get some first-hand information on the area. Talk to your potential neighbors and ask them everything you want to know. The locals will help you make a list of pros and cons in no time. They should give you their honest opinion that will help you form yours. 

5 Learn about the maintenance of waterfront properties

When it comes to its maintenance, a waterfront home is not just like any other home. Waterfront property buying comes with specific maintenance responsibilities. You must maintain both the condition of your home and the surrounding land. Unfortunately, waterfront real estate is generally more susceptible to damage caused by weather conditions than other types of real estate. 

By taking care of trees and shrubbery growth, you’re not only making your property look better, but you’re also protecting its structure as well as land. Maintaining the frontage of your property is one of the most important maintenance requirements. Your home’s break wall or docks can suffer serious damage, especially if it is located near a body of water that tends to have rough waters. Other important maintenance tasks include roof, deck, and siding maintenance.

You must make sure your waterfront property can withstand the harsh conditions it faces. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with expensive repairs all the time. If the property you buy is durable, you won’t have to worry too much about rain, seawater or wind, and frequent repairs won’t be necessary. 

6 Learn about flood insurance requirements

Flooding is a common cause of damage to waterfront properties. Therefore, one of your insurance requirements may be obtaining a flood insurance policy. Since not all waterfront properties face the same level of risk, the cost of flood insurance varies. Naturally, if your home has a higher risk of potential flooding, the insurance cost will be higher. 

7 Hire an agent to help you with waterfront property buying

The number of real estate agents who can help you through the process of waterfront property buying is limited. Only agents who specialize in waterfront properties should be taken into consideration. Experienced agents know exactly which questions to ask and whom to include in the transaction. When interviewing potential agents, in addition to asking about their experience, ask them to provide client testimonials. 

Best Beach View Real Estate Investments for 2020

When you decide to invest in a waterfront vacation property, there are plenty of factors to take into account. But don’t worry – beachfront properties never go out of style, as everyone likes being near the ocean. Even if it turns out that you don’t like staying there, you’ll still be able to get a return on your investment through renting. With that in mind; we’ll take a look at the best places for such real estate investments in 2020.

Myrtle Beach, SC

While considering the best place for real estate investments in 2020, you’ll obviously have quite a lot on your mind. For example, if you want to have a valuable waterfront property that’s near an urban center, moving somewhere in Baltimore area may be what you want. On the other hand, if you want a true vacation home; have a look at this gem on the Atlantic coast – Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.

This place provides you with ample natural beauty, as well as a wide variety of different activities. Regardless of whether you want to go swimming with dolphins, do some deep-sea fishing, build sandcastles, or just relax on the beach; having a home here will do just fine. And if you choose greenery over sand – there are quite a few nice golf courses around. Plus, for those looking to invest in rental properties – there are great oceanfront homes here that will quickly net you sizable returns.

Panama City Beach, FL

Even if you’re not looking to buy waterfront real estate solely for rental profits, you will still want to consider places that are great vacation spots. After all, at the end of the day, the places where a lot of people go are the places that you will probably enjoy the most while on a vacation of your own.

With that in mind, we’re going to show you this huge stretch of pearl-white beaches – Panama City Beach, found in Northwest Florida. This is actually one of the most visited vacation spots by people from the Midwest and the South. And once you visit this place, you’ll realize that it’s one of the greatest areas for real estate investments in 2020, especially when it comes to waterfront properties. This area lends itself to both classic, historic appeal and an abundance of nature. If you’re looking for the quintessential American family coastal experience – buy a home here!

Gulf Shores, AL

Sure, there are plenty of reasons why Florida beach property is a good investment, there are also areas that are less obvious; like Gulf Shores on the Alabama/Florida state line! You’ll find that this place offers all the amenities vacation-goers need in order to be completely satisfied; in addition, it’s one of the best areas for real estate investments in 2020, at least among vacation home real estate. 

Many great day-trip destinations are situated within a couple of miles from this area, some of which offer unique family activities. Apart from that, there are numerous food festivals, concerts, and other interesting events that attract people to Gulf Shores; basically, it’s an all-year-round destination. And if you’re looking to invest in a rental property, that means one crucial thing – demand for bookings will stay high throughout the whole year. That’s something not a lot of shoreline properties can boast. The average home price is around $400k here, so take a look at all of the options.

Galveston Island, Texas

If you’re thinking of buying a home on Galveston Island, one thing is certain: you’d do well to learn the local lingo. There are IBC residents, or “islanders by choice”, and those Born On the Island – BOI. However, don’t worry – this is an extremely welcoming community, and while the locals have a lot of pride, they’re very pleasant to tourists and newcomers alike. 

While there are a few hotels in the area, most of the island is dominated by vacation rentals. And the local home prices are not so steep; meaning that this is a good investment regardless of whether you want to purchase a rental or a vacation home for yourself. 

Kauai, HI

Obviously, the merits of a vacation home in Hawaii aren’t such a huge mystery. This isn’t just a premier vacation spot for Americans; people from all over the globe flock here to experience the natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, along with the plentiful sightseeing opportunities and myriad fun activities. 

Indeed, the Aloha State is pretty much a dream come true for someone looking for a vacation home. But not many places on this island are quite affordable in terms of real estate; which is where Kauai shines. Especially if you intend on renting out your vacation home, you’ll find that the cap rates here are a little less than 5.5%. And sure, there are a few regulations to take into account; but you’re certain to attain a piece of real estate you’ll enjoy, and others will be happy to rent out if you want them to. 


As you can see, if you look hard enough; there are quite a few great opportunities for real estate investments in 2020, especially when it comes to waterfront areas. However, we advise you to take all the necessary precautions before investing some of your hard-earned money. Remember – regardless of how small the house is, you’ll find that real estate represents quite a sizable investment for any personal budget; something you don’t want to do on a whim. Do all the needed research to make an informed decision!

Natural Mosquito Repellents: What works best?

Reclaiming Your Backyard: Reviewing the Efficacy of 20 Popular Natural Mosquito Repellents

Mosquitoes can be a big problem for travelers, outdoor enthusiasts, and even homeowners. Once they get settled, they breed very quickly. Killing insects that only live for a week or two may feel like rearranging chairs on a sinking ship. However, mosquitoes are not just an annoyance. Their bites can cause significant short-term discomfort, and spread diseases that could turn into chronic conditions.

Adequate protection from mosquitoes is an important part of life during the summer in many areas, and year-round for people living in regions that do not dip below freezing. People can cut down on their exposure by wearing protective clothing and hats, but this can only be so practical in the heat. Most people turn to insect repellents as a way to enjoy the outdoors without all the bugs. Fortunately – since mosquitoes have been around for millions of years – humans have had a lot of time to test different options and see how well they work out.

Some plants have a long history as effective mosquito repellents. Sometimes it can be difficult to verify how useful they are and separate the myths from science. Looking at research helps homeowners to decide which natural repellents might be best for them. Many of the most popular known repellents feature in studies, particularly concerning the use of the essential oils. The results typically vary based on the concentration, and whether or not they are used with other oils. People who are starting to learn about essential oil benefits may want to start with tested products to ensure they achieve a safe/effective concentration and application. If you’ve just bought a waterfront home and want to find new and interesting ways to keep your backyard mosquito-free, the following plants and oils may help.

Note: Although essential oils are often marketed as totally natural and may seem to be perfectly safe, they are not appropriate for everyone. Applying undiluted oils directly to the skin can cause irritation, allergic reactions, or other significant effects. Some may choose to apply small amounts to see how their skin reacts before attempting a full application. Parents should consult with a doctor knowledgeable about these oils before using them on infants or children.


First Things First: DEET Has Its Place

Diethyltoluamide (DEET) is a manmade solution that has been used widely as an insecticide and repellent since the 1940s. It remains one of the most effective options people can use to protect themselves against mosquito exposure. Since its origin, people have wondered about the long-term effects of DEET exposure. This has led them to pursue natural repellents with variable results. At times, DEET may be the best option on the table. This is particularly true in areas where serious diseases run rampant and are quickly spread by mosquitoes. It may also be the best choice for older infants, children, and those who cannot use particular kinds of essential oils.

The most common side effect of DEET is skin irritation, not unlike many essential oils in higher concentrations. With prolonged or heavy exposure, DEET is associated with headaches, nausea, or dizziness. People may want to discuss the matter with their doctors to get relevant information based on their personal risk. For people who only need to minimize the annoyance of mosquitoes outside their homes for an hour or two at a time, natural repellents may be a viable alternative to try.



When people look for natural mosquito protection, citronella is one of the most common choices. Citronella is a combination of oils from different types of grasses. It can repel insects in a few ways. Most typically, its strong scent masks the location of certain foods pests might seek out. Unlike many components of insecticides, it does not kill mosquitoes.

As a popular part of insect prevention, citronella comes in a variety of products. These may include:

  • candles
  • sprays
  • pellets
  • lotions (often containing sunscreen)
  • products for pets

Some homeowners grow citronella grasses in the yard (typically more successful in warmer climates). People should keep in mind that proximity is key for citronella’s use. Burning a candle or placing pellets nearby might be effective in areas with low insect activity, but less so in regions with heavy insect involvement.

The length of time citronella lasts depends on its application. In some cases, people can buy a natural repellent spray with a concentration of oil of citronella that they can apply directly to the skin. Studies suggest that putting a small amount of citronella oil on human skin can be highly effective for about 1-2 hours. It is important to follow manufacturer guidance on application. Sprays may not be appropriate for infants, young children, or other vulnerable populations.


Comparative mosquito repellency of essential oils against Aedes aegypti (Linn.), Anopheles dirus (Peyton and Harrison) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say)

Repellent activity of herbal essential oils against Aedes aegypti (Linn.) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say.)

Essential Oil Repellents- A short Review


Cloves come from a tree that is often grown in Indonesia. The flower buds give off a scent that repels certain types of mosquitoes. Although the living plant has benefits as a natural repellent, it cannot thrive outside in any area that drops below freezing. Homeowners in moderate areas may be able to sustain it in a pot that can be brought inside for colder weather. Otherwise, the dried buds, known as whole cloves, and an oil made from them are widely available.

Clove oil is very strongly scented. Most of the time, people suspend clove oil in olive oil or coconut oil before putting it on their skin. Efficacy depends greatly on the concentration. Research suggests that clove oil is most effective as a 100 percent essential oil applied directly to the skin. This practice may act as a repellant for up to four hours. It is still highly useful at a concentration of around 50 percent, with the other half being geranium or thyme oil. One study showed that this combination lasted as long as 2.5 hours. However, people should take care of using clove oil at this level. They may find that concentrations above 25 percent could irritate the skin.


Comparative mosquito repellency of essential oils against Aedes aegypti (Linn.), Anopheles dirus (Peyton and Harrison) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say)

Repellent activity of herbal essential oils against Aedes aegypti (Linn.) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say.)

Repellency of Essential Oils to Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae)

Lemon Grass


Lemongrass is an herb that many homeowners like to grow in their gardens. It can only be grown as an annual in most regions of the United States. As a plant or oil, lemongrass may be a functional way to distract mosquitoes. Lemongrass and citronella oils are closely related, coming from the same family of grasses known as Cymbopogon.

Most research covering the efficacy of lemongrass relies on oil, not the whole plant. Specifically, people typically need to place the oil on their skin in some form to receive the benefit. One study noted that lemongrass in coconut oil was effective at preventing mosquito bites for up to two hours. There is evidence to suggest that combining lemongrass oil with other essential oils known for their repellent qualities may provide the best overall protection.

As with citronella, proximity, and quantity makes a significant difference. Many homeowners in the southeastern U.S. could grow lemongrass in their yards. When planted directly into the ground, it can reach a full height of 3-6 feet and offer a natural hedge against insects in the area. Generally, experts believe that the living plant is more appropriate for culinary use than mosquito prevention.


Comparative mosquito repellency of essential oils against Aedes aegypti (Linn.), Anopheles dirus (Peyton and Harrison) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say)

Repellent activity of herbal essential oils against Aedes aegypti (Linn.) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say.)


Lavender is an herb that has lots of possible uses, among them fragrant, culinary, and medical. Lavender may also be an effective insect repellent. Similar to other herbs, it can grow a few feet tall. When planted heavily and strategically, lavender can provide natural protection for homeowners’ yards and patios. The plant can be grown in almost any part of the U.S., but most varieties thrive best in a low humidity environment. This means that people who live in regions with high humidity may want to keep the lavender in a pot indoors or use lavender oil instead.

As a way to block mosquitoes specifically, people might consider a combination of oils in a spray or other direct application. Lavender oil is extracted from the pale purple flowers and is widely available at a variety of concentrations. The right concentration creates a notable difference in efficacy. Some research indicates that lavender oil with a low concentration (i.e. 5-10 percent) may not be effective against mosquitoes at all. At a 100 percent concentration level, however, it could repel certain types of mosquitoes for more than an hour.

People should remember that a widely-accepted and natural ingredient of many foods and health treatments may not always be safe. Lavender oil is generally regarded as safe diluted in another oil but can be a skin irritant at high concentrations. Consumption of lavender oil could be poisonous.


Laboratory Evaluation of Mosquito Repellents Against Aedes albopictus, Culex nigripalpus, and Ochlerotatus triseriatus (Diptera: Culicidae)

Essential Oil Repellents- A short Review



Thyme is another herb popular in cuisine that has certain properties to repel insects. People often plant thyme in the garden as a way to prevent specific types of insects (e.g. cabbage worms) from infesting their vegetable gardens. The thyme emits a toxic aroma that deters pests. For humans, thyme oil at a higher concentration can be very effective at repelling various species of mosquitoes.

Thyme is most useful as an oil applied to the skin. Specifically, 100 percent essential thyme oil garners the greatest benefit. Protection at this concentration could last up to four hours, depending on the type of mosquito. Homeowners might want to research the most common varieties near their homes, as this difference varies from 105-225 minutes. Using oil at less than 50 percent may not be particularly effective unless it is part of a combination of other natural repellents. Burning thyme can also provide a degree of protection nearly equal to oil, but only lasts up to 90 minutes.

Fresh thyme can be somewhat difficult to grow, especially from seeds. Homeowners may prefer to buy a plant to put in their gardens. The small shrubs can reach a maximum height of one foot. The soil temperature needs to be about 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the thyme to thrive, making it a seasonal or temperate climate plant.


Repellency of Essential Oils to Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae)

Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing


A member of the mint family, catnip has multiple uses for humans and pets. People may be familiar with catnip as a way to attract cats. Its strong scent can also work to repel mosquitoes and cockroaches. Some research indicates that catnip can be exceptionally effective at blocking mosquitoes. However, it is more useful as a spatial repellent than a contact repellent. Evidence suggests that catnip may outpace DEET with this approach. This means that catnip may be better for homeowners to grow and use as a proximity-based repellent in their yards.

Catnip oil is widely available for people to buy. However, researchers struggle to find ways to make the oil useful as a contact repellent. The natural chemical, nepetalactone, is very good at repelling mosquitoes. In a controlled environment, the plant may minimize mosquito bites for up to eight hours. Once converted into an oil applied directly to the skin, efficacy only lasts 1-2 hours. One study noted that catnip oil could be a practical topical repellent, but only in a specific combination with other oils.

As a highly-invasive species, catnip is relatively easy to grow but can be difficult to maintain. Planting in pots may help homeowners control its growth. Catnip naturally attracts cats, so people should factor this into the placement of the plant.


Repellency effect of forty-one essential oils against Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes

Comparison of Contact and Spatial Repellency of Catnip Oil and N,N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (Deet) Against Mosquitoes

Lemon Eucalyptus


Lemon eucalyptus has a reputation for repelling mosquitoes, but in a way people might not expect. The plant itself, though technically an herb, can grow up to 60 feet tall. This growth is ideal in its native Australia. The fresh scent makes the leaf and the oil a mainstay in many cosmetic and cleaning products. Homeowners can grow it outside if they live in the southern half of the United States, or otherwise keep it as an annual. The plant can serve as an effective spatial repellent, but the byproduct of the essential oil distillation is much more useful.

People may be aware that lemon eucalyptus oil is not known as a particularly ideal preventive for mosquito bites. This is because the oil only lasts for about an hour. However, researchers discovered that the leftovers from the oil’s manufacturing were far more effective. In fact, at a 50 percent concentration, PMD (the acronym for the byproduct) can provide 100 percent protection for 6-7 hours for one type of mosquito. For other species, a topical application could last 11 hours.

Keeping the plant in the yard gives up to 75 percent protection, particularly from occasional burning of the leaves. Homeowners who want to use PMD will likely notice a greater effect. They should confirm that they are applying the byproduct and not the oil itself, which has a much lower efficacy.


Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing


Like catnip, peppermint oil seems to be more effective as a spatial repellent than a topical one. As a moderately invasive species, peppermint can thrive almost anywhere. Homeowners should take care in placing it as it can take over other plants and herbs in the same area. Some people prefer to plant it using a wood mulch to minimize its growth or put it into a pot. When planted in full sun, the living peppermint retains most of its repellent qualities.

Although peppermint oil is widely available, it is not particularly useful on its own to block mosquito bites. Part of the problem is that peppermint as a contact repellent appears to be most effective at 100 percent concentration, but most people cannot tolerate it at that strength. When applied directly to the skin at this level, the oil can cause skin irritation. In addition, peppermint only prevents mosquito contact for about 45 minutes.

Peppermint oil does pose some interesting ideas for people who want to inhibit the spread of mosquitoes where they live. Mosquitoes naturally thrive near areas with standing water. This is the spot larvae grow into adult insects. Placing a small amount of peppermint essential oil into this standing water may prevent the larvae from hatching, and stop many adult mosquitoes from breeding in the area.


Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing

Larvicidal and mosquito repellent action of peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil

Essential Oil Repellents- A short Review



Oil from the neem tree can be particularly viable as a mosquito repellent and insecticide, but it may not be as available for planting. Neem grows naturally in India and reaches an average height of about 45-60 feet. The oil comes from the seeds and is quite bitter with a heavy scent of garlic.

Studies performed in India indicate that a low concentration of neem oil burned in a kerosene lamp can repel many types of insects. As an oil applied to the skin, it may be less effective but could last as long as four hours. Neem remains a questionable choice due to the lack of concrete evidence. People have been using neem for centuries as a natural repellent, but it has been more difficult for researchers to establish precisely how effective it is. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allows 100 percent cold-pressed neem oil for food uses, due to its generally low toxicity. However, application to the skin in undiluted form may cause contact dermatitis.

If homeowners can locate the seeds, they may be able to grow neem trees inside or outside. Neem oil is also available for purchase. Neem trees prefer a warmer climate that does not drop below freezing for extended periods of time. It grows best in regions with moderate humidity and regular watering and can be grown indoors.


Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing

Essential Oil Repellents- A short Review


Basil is an American staple herb, with a variety of subspecies that look, smell, taste, and function differently from one another. The essential oil of several different kinds of basil can provide adequate or even ideal protection as a spatial or contact repellent to mosquitoes and other pests. Both the plant and the oil are reasonably accessible.

Using basil oil offers the best protection against mosquitoes. Some studies suggest that 100 percent basil oil used with vanillin can provide several hours of mosquito repellent. In other studies, a lower concentration of oil seems to block mosquitoes for 1.5-2.5 hours. People might want to consider purchasing a natural repellent product to minimize health effects from the undiluted oil. Basil oil may contain natural carcinogens that could be harmful in excess quantities.

Basil is relatively easy to grow almost anywhere in the U.S. Although it prefers a warmer climate to thrive outdoors, homeowners often can grow it indoors with a great deal of success. The fully-grown herb can reach about 24” in height, depending on the type. It needs plenty of sun and well-drained soil. In certain areas, it may regrow from one year to the next. Otherwise, people can grow it readily from seeds or cuttings.


Comparative mosquito repellency of essential oils against Aedes aegypti (Linn.), Anopheles dirus (Peyton and Harrison) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say)

Repellent Activities of the Essential Oils of Four Sudanese Accessions of Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) Against Anopheles Mosquito


Evidence to establish the repellent ability of litsea is somewhat scant. As part of a combination of other oils, it may be helpful as a spatial or topical repellent. Drawn from the leaves and flowers of the litsea plant, litsea oil is widely available by itself or with other essential oils.

Research showing litsea’s effectiveness often relies on several oils, which may make it harder to discern its individual efficacy. One study noted that oil of litsea used with other oils provided 100 percent protection for up to eight hours, but was difficult to apply to the skin. Another claimed that low or moderate concentrations of litsea oil could serve as a very effective repellent placed near people.

Litsea oil comes from a shrub that can grow to be about 23’ tall. This shrub is found almost exclusively in East Asia. There is evidence to suggest that homeowners in mild climates with a sandy or loamy soil that is properly watered and drains could possibly grow litsea in their yards. It is not particular to the amount of sun required and could thrive in both full sun or part shade.


Repellency effect of forty-one essential oils against Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes

Excito-repellency properties of essential oils from Melaleuca leucadendron L., Litsea cubeba (Lour.) Persoon, and Litsea salicifolia (Nees) on Aedes aegypti (L.) mosquitoes



Geraniums are a lovely flowering plant that many homeowners like to keep in their yards. Geranium oil has noted abilities to repel several different kinds of mosquitoes. In most cases, it is the oil that can block mosquito bites, not the plant itself. However, there are many types of geraniums. Certain kinds, such as the lemon-scented geranium, give off a citronella scent that might serve as a minimal spatial repellent.

One problem that a lot of essential oils have for repellency is how quickly they evaporate off the skin. At high concentrations, geranium oil has some staying power. One study reflected two-hour protection for geranium oil at 75 percent concentration. When combined with clove oil, other research indicates that geranium oil at 50 percent concentration could act as a repellent for 1.25-2.5 hours. Geranium oil can irritate the skin in higher quantities, but possibly less so than other oils like clove or peppermint.

Although geraniums function largely as an annual in many growing zones of the U.S., people could bring them indoors in the fall and replant outside in the spring. This is likely to serve more of a design function than as part of a broader plan to prevent insects from invading the space.


Laboratory Evaluation of Mosquito Repellents Against Aedes albopictus, Culex nigripalpus, and Ochlerotatus triseriatus (Diptera: Culicidae)

Repellency of Essential Oils to Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae)


Anyone who is familiar with the strong scent of tea tree oil can appreciate the benefits of a close relative, the cajeput tree. Cajeput trees are natives to Australia and come from the Meleleuca genus. The essential oil is made from the twigs and leaves of the tree and is known to have numerous health properties. Cajeput oil is similar to niaouli oil because they come from the same genus, but they are not the same. People looking to buy these oils should confirm that they understand the difference between tea tree, cajeput, and niaouli oils.

Many mosquitoes are simply a nuisance, but others carry diseases that could harm or even kill humans. One study considered different oil combinations’ ability to repel mosquitoes carrying yellow fever, malaria, and encephalitis. Cajeput oil was one of the most effective and could last about eight hours if properly placed on the skin.

Although the oil may be useful for preventing mosquitoes from establishing a home in the yard or biting humans, evidence of the tree’s use as a spatial repellent is limited. Those who live in dry, desert conditions could possibly grow the cajeput tree. It features a spongy bark that comes off in sheets and may be considered an invasive species in parts of the U.S. Cajeput reaches an adult height of 20’-40’ and will grow quickly in almost any kind of soil.


Repellency effect of forty-one essential oils against Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes

Niaouli (Paper Bark Tea Tree)

Many people who were irritated when using tea tree oil to treat a sore or insect bite might want to try its gentler cousin, niaouli. Niaouli oil comes from the paperbark tea tree, from the Meleleuca genus that also includes tea trees and cajeput trees. This oil is fairly easily accessible and has some promising effects in the prevention of mosquito bites.

Since oils from Meleleuca trees are so closely related, studies often look at them together for efficacy. One study showed that niaouli oil ranked one of the highest in long-term mosquito repellent. Another compared a variety of related oils at a lower concentration, around 5-10 percent. When first applied or used as a spatial repellent, the oils were almost 100 percent effective. However, the benefits wore off rapidly after the first hour, as the oils evaporated. This may indicate that the method of topical application makes a significant difference in its overall usefulness. Since Meleleuca is a common allergen, people may want to test their reaction to it before planting it or using the oil regularly.

Originally found in Australia, the paperbark tea tree also grows very well in Florida. There, it is considered an invasive species. The paperbark tea tree can thrive in many parts of the southern U.S. It grows best in moist regions where homeowners can achieve a good balance of watering. Planted in full sun, it can grow over 40 feet.


Repellency effect of forty-one essential oils against Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes

Development of Melaleuca oils as effective natural‐based personal insect repellents



Essential oil derived from the violet flowering plant may be a useful mosquito repellent, but the plant itself might not. Some evidence suggests that the plant acts as a ground cover providing necessary protection for mosquitoes to thrive. As such, homeowners may want to take care when planting violets outside in large quantities.

Violet oil is easy to locate and buy in the U.S., but its repellent qualities have not been studied very heavily. A 2006 study showed that violet oil was one of the most effective essential oils used as a contact repellent, providing 100 percent efficacy for about eight hours. The oil may offer adequate protection, particularly when used in conjunction with other oils. This use may require a higher concentration, which could irritate the skin. Homeowners may want to seek out a skilled aromatherapist or ask their doctor about violet oil.

There are dozens of varieties of violets, and some may be more attractive to mosquitoes than others. Homeowners often like to grow violets indoors, largely because they need warm soil in which to thrive. Violets prefer lower or indirect lighting, making them ideal for an indoor or shady area.


Repellency effect of forty-one essential oils against Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes


When people think of patchouli, they may already have a memory of its unique scent. For centuries, cultures have used patchouli as incense, perfume, and an effective insect repellent. The strong, earthy smell is unlike any other and goes a long way. Using patchouli oil may be the most practical application, but the plant is also known to discourage mosquitoes from lingering.

Undiluted, patchouli oil alone may provide up to two hours of mosquito protection when applied to the skin. When compared to lower concentrations such as 10 percent or 50 percent, the 100 percent concentration lasted much longer. One study yielded a result longer than five hours for patchouli mixed with turmeric and Zanthoxylum limonella oils. However, patchouli even in very small quantities can be overwhelming. People should take care when putting it on, as the scent will carry some distance.

Fortunately, patchouli as a flowering herb can also function partly as a spatial insect repellent. Native to East Asia, it can grow to 2-3 feet with fuzzy leaves and violet-colored flowers. A member of the mint family, it needs plenty of space to spread out. It can thrive in a pot or anywhere in the garden that receives partial sun exposure.


Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing

Comparative repellency of 38 essential oils against mosquito bites.

Synergistic mosquito-repellent activity of Curcuma longa, Pogostemon heyneanus and Zanthoxylum limonella essential oils.


The technical classification of palmarosa is Cymbopogon martinii, making it a close relative of lemongrass and citronella. As such, it may not be surprising that palmarosa is useful as a mosquito repellent like its cousins. Its sweet, rosy scent makes it an ideal perfume or spray. The oil from the plant offers the best protection against mosquitoes.

Research is beginning to show that palmarosa can be effective against mosquitoes for hours longer than most oils or oil blends. One study resulted in 100 percent protection for up to 12 hours, far exceeding many other options. The efficacy seems to rely on a 100 percent concentration. This situates the lemon grasses as the most complete and longest-running protection that homeowners can use as an oil or spray. Some research indicates that palmarosa may be safer for human use at a higher concentration than other grass oils, and most essential oils in general.

Growing palmarosa at home may not be much more difficult than growing other types of lemongrass. It needs a mild, humid climate, but can thrive in a variety of soil types. Homeowners might like to grow palmarosa along with other grasses to act as a privacy screen or protection against insect infestation.


Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing

Zanthoxylum Limonella (Makaen)


Zanthoxylum limonella, more commonly known as makaen, is a tree that grows in various parts of Southeast Asia. Trees from this genus have many uses, among them spices and oils. Essential oil from the makaen tree could provide useful protection against certain kinds of mosquitoes for moderate periods of time.

Studies show that Zanthoxylum limonella oil can block mosquitoes for a variable amount of time, depending on its concentration and combination with other oils. For example, one study indicated that the undiluted oil provided 100 percent protection for almost three hours. Another study established complete protection at 20 percent concentration for about an hour and a half. When combined with turmeric and patchouli oils, it lasted more than five hours.

It is difficult to prove the effectiveness of the makaen tree’s efficacy as an insect repellent. However, it is a pleasing shrub that is relatively simple to grow inside or outside in a mild climate. Many people keep it indoors as a small shrub. The essential oil comes from the seeds. The berries can be dried and crushed to create the popular Sichuan pepper spice.


Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing

Comparative repellency of 38 essential oils against mosquito bites.

Synergistic mosquito-repellent activity of Curcuma longa, Pogostemon heyneanus and Zanthoxylum limonella essential oils.


It makes sense that vanillin is a major component of vanilla extract. It is only one component and can be somewhat difficult to derive from the vanilla bean. When used as a conveyance for essential oils known to function as a mosquito repellent, vanillin can make the effects last hours longer.

The major problem with a lot of essential oils that repel insects is that they do not tend to last very long. Once applied to the skin, they evaporate relatively quickly, leaving the wearer unprotected. In addition, undiluted essential oils pose a host of potential health risks, especially for people who are not very skilled or knowledgeable about safe applications. Vanillin can provide a viable solution. The size of the vanillin molecules requires longer to break down, allowing the solution to release the potent oils over a longer period of time. Depending on the oil used, vanillin can increase an oil’s efficacy from less than two hours to more than eight hours.

The availability and price of products containing vanillin tend to wax and wane based on demand for the vanilla bean. Vanilla beans are difficult to harvest and take years to cultivate. Recent shortages have driven vanilla prices up, affecting vanillin as well. As such, homeowners may not have a difficult time locating natural mosquito repellents using vanillin as a carrier, but they may have to pay more for it.


Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing

Coffee Grounds


Coffee can act a little like a sneak attack for mosquitoes. The brownish water looks somewhat like a leaf infusion, which can attract female mosquitoes looking to lay eggs. However, in strong quantities, coffee extract in water could actually repel mosquitoes or make the larvae less likely to develop. Burning coffee grounds could also work as a simple spatial insect repellent.

One study looked at coffee’s effects on mosquitoes that often carry dengue fever. Water sources that contained higher concentrations of coffee were less attractive to the female mosquitoes, and they were less likely to lay eggs there. Since coffee generates a significant amount of waste, this might pose possible solutions for people living in regions where mosquito breeding could spread serious or fatal diseases.

Homeowners looking for a way to discourage mosquitoes or other insects from building homes in the yard might consider placing coffee grounds around the garden. Coffee grounds are a natural byproduct of the coffee-making process, so they are usually easy to obtain for those who drink it. Using the grounds as a topping for the garden is safe for many plants. It creates a strong scent that discourages mosquitoes, ants, and slugs. Burning the coffee grounds should be done with care, but may also be effective. The smoke acts as its own repellent to mosquitoes, flies, and wasps. Burning increases the strength and the duration of the scent, which may keep insects at bay while people are enjoying time outside.


Coffee and its waste repel gravid Aedes albopictus females and inhibit the development of their embryos

Other Helpful Tips for Reducing Mosquito Populations Around the Home

Dealing with mosquitoes is a common problem for many homeowners, especially during the warmer months of the year. It may be less of an issue for some condo owners, but – even then – this knowledge can come in handy at some point in the future. Many mosquitoes are little more than a nuisance, but it is difficult to tell the difference between a mosquito carrying nothing and one carrying Zika or malaria. A few extra precautions can make a big improvement.

Homeowners should know that mosquitoes breed in standing water. Standing water means water that is not moving or filtered in some way. This means that people should try to avoid leaving standing water on their properties, especially in the summer. Standing water might include:

  • ponds without an effective filtration system
  • puddles after a rainstorm
  • wading pools and children’s water toys
  • open rain barrels
  • buckets used for watering or washing

Residents may not be able to eliminate these sources entirely, but they can minimize them. People can tightly seal water containers that they need to use on a regular basis.

Once the mosquitoes have established themselves in an area, homeowners might have to work a little harder to get rid of them. Most insect repellents operate by discouraging mosquitoes from coming near. Few natural options also function as an insecticide. Cinnamon oil may hold some promise to kill mosquito larvae before they hatch, but can be toxic at a high concentration. Products marketed as insecticides often contain artificial ingredients and poisons that could be harmful to humans as well as insects. People should take care when handling and applying them, especially around surfaces they use regularly.

Keeping mosquitoes outside mostly calls for attention to the home’s openings. Making sure there are no air gaps around doors and windows makes it harder for insects to sneak inside. Closing doors and windows allow the home’s cooling system to work more effectively. When windows and doors must be kept open for a time, homeowners can reduce their exposure by confirming that screens are in good condition.

As people explore the vast quantities of research out there about natural insect repellents, they may discover many more options not included on this list. Some claims may be harder to substantiate, even if certain cultures have been using them to prevent mosquitoes for thousands of years. As such, homeowners should take care to do their own research before assuming that any suggestions are either safe or particularly useful. Some of the most popular options to use as natural repellents, such as clove oil, require a concentration high enough that they could cause problems if applied incorrectly.

Products on the market can make it seem easy to use undiluted essential oils for a variety of purposes. However, people need to be wary of the way they use oils. Some options that are safe for humans may repel pets as well as insects. Others are only appropriate for uses that do not require direct contact with human skin. By gaining necessary information about the various oils’ efficacy and benefits, homeowners can find multiple possible routes they can take to cut down on mosquito bites and keep the pests off their properties.

How To Make your Waterfront Property Accessible

by Lucy Hudson

The total value of waterfront homes was $134 billion in June 2018, according to an article in Forbes. The same article indicates that due to changing climate conditions, changing tastes, and bounce back of non-waterfront homes, the overall average sales price of homes has gone down. However, waterfront homes are still the epitome of luxury and an enjoyable holiday retreat for people on vacation. So focus should be on making your waterfront home climate change proof and accessible so that it can be more comfortable for both you and potential tenants.

IoT technology for convenience

The easiest way to explain the Internet of Things (IoT) is that it involves smart devices communicating with each other in a network. Smart home devices come in the form of appliances, electronics, and speakers, which enhance independent living — especially for people with mobility problems and disabled people. For example, there are smart coffee makers that automatically start making coffee every morning, and window blinds that open and close themselves. There are also thermostats that adjust themselves automatically and learn your routines, and lights that go on and off without you touching a light switch. You can take control of these devices with an app on your phone, or simply use voice control to turn them on and off.  Personal assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home allow you to control various devices using voice control.

An entryway that is friendly to everyone

Placing a mat that says “welcome” at your front door will do nothing to help people with mobility problems get to your door or through it any easier. If a person using a wheelchair cannot access your home via the stairs, then ramps are a great solution. A modular ramp is great for all types of stairs and entrances. These ramps are usually made of high-grade aluminum, are semi-permanent, durable, and easy to maintain. However, if you want to make a ramp one of the primary features of your home, you can opt for a permanent wooden ramp. A permanent ramp is a better option for beachfront elevated homes. The ramps make it easier to get to the door but the entryway should have door frames that are at least 32 inches wide. If not, use offset hinges on the door to allow it to open wide enough to fit a wheelchair.

Don’t forget the bathroom

Accessible features that you can add to your bathroom include showers with rolling seats for people who cannot stand, and grab bars for balance. The shower should also be well lit and have a hand-held shower head with a 60-inch hose. To reduce the risk of slipping in the shower, install a non-slip floor and a walk-in tub. The soap, lotions and other stuff you use in the bathroom should be placed in an area that is easy to reach. In addition, install a riser on a toilet to make it easy for people to use who have trouble bending.

There are many other things that you can install or add into a waterfront home to make it accessible. However, it’s best to start by adding features that make movement in your waterfront home easy for people who are disabled or have mobility problems as they are the most in need of improvements.

An Office Desk With A Calming Water View

by Lucy Hudson

Stress is a significant problem in the modern workplace, and mounting evidence points towards thoughtful office design as the key to keeping workers relaxed, while enhancing productivity. The WELL building standard is created from the concept that the work environment itself can contribute towards stress, but by building an office with plenty of natural light, adequate air flow, green plants, and a pleasant view, this can enhance the mental health of employees. For those lucky enough to live on the waterfront, setting up a stress-free home office in such a peaceful location requires just a little effort.

A Dedicated Office

Separating work from home life can be a challenge, whether you live alone or with pets and kids seeking your attention. A stress-free remote work environment should allow you to take advantage of the benefits of flexible working, without succumbing to any overlaps with your personal life. Begin by setting aside a dedicated room in your home, preferably with that relaxing water view, which can be used solely for work. If you try “hotdesking” from your kitchen table to your living room couch, then you’re bound to run into difficulties.

Choosing Ergonomic Furniture

With this in mind, it’s important to invest in furniture for your home office that provides the best support for your posture as you work. As workers often sit for 8 hours of the day at their desk, the possibility of adopting a hunched position is high. Take care to put your health first and choose a desk and chair arrangement, such as a standing desk that reduces the physical stress on your spine and frame.

Securing Your Home Network

Few things cause as much anxiety in the workplace as the idea of a cyber attack. When you’re setting up your homework environment, you may not have access to an IT department in the same way that dedicated office workers do. Along with keeping your anti-virus up-to-date and following best practices for changing your passwords, take steps to secure your home network by installing a virtual private network connection to reduce the threat of potential vulnerabilities. You should also review your back-up strategy, whether to the cloud or to an external storage device to ensure that your sensitive data is kept 100% secure.

Establishing Boundaries

Make your family members aware of your working hours so that they understand the boundaries and know when you shouldn’t be disturbed. Equally, to prevent clients and other contacts from getting in touch outside of your regular work hours, you may consider using a separate cell phone for business purposes or even installing a business line.

Take Regular Breaks

Regular breaks are essential in relieving stress in any role, but some types of downtime are more effective than others. For example, snacking on unhealthy foods or using the time to vent about a work-related problem can contribute towards further fatigue. Conversely, an effective strategy is to carry out an activity that allows you to mentally disengage from your work-related tasks. As a homeowner with waterfront property, you have the perfect setting to help you enjoy a positive psychological break during the working day. You could choose to meditate, or simply take a walk outside to catch the breeze.

Your water view property is the perfect place to set up a home office. Put some planning into the initial set-up and all that’s left to do is to start working at your own leisure and connecting with nature during those relaxing breaks.

Make Your Waterfront Home Perfect for Your Pooch

by Lucy Hudson

There are very few dwellings that can compete with the sheer splendor of a waterfront home. If you own one of the nearly 69 million pet dogs in the USA, a house near the water can be especially appealing as many dogs innately love playing in the water, according to the American Kennel Club.  Even if your dog is not exactly keen on swimming, he or she can benefit from having a large, natural area in which to play. With the enormous joys of living in a beautiful waterfront home comes the responsibility, however, to make it as dog-friendly as possible. Luckily this can be easily achieved by combining a good dose of dog-owner common sense with a few handy additional tips.

Fresh drinking water is a must

Dogs, like humans, are very much dependent on fresh drinking water for their survival. When living near a large body of water many pet owners make the incorrect assumption that their dog can simply drink water from the stream, lake, or ocean when he is thirsty. Although a dog will inadvertently swallow some water while frolicking in the ocean, it is important to remember that salt water can be very dangerous to canines when consumed in large quantities. Always ensure your dog has plenty of fresh drinking water at his disposal, both inside and outside of your house, and take along a bottle of water and a suitable water bowl when planning to spend extended periods of time away from home.

Have a basic first-aid kit on hand

Living in a waterfront home is a true blessing. There are, however, also a number of hazardous situations that can present themselves to a dog owner, making it essential to be able to treat basic illnesses and injuries in an effective and timely manner. A trip down to the beach is a great adventure for just about any dog who loves to dig in the sand and rush into the water. While waterfront homeowners generally have great respect for the environment, not everyone shares the same sentiment. This sometimes results in the area being littered with a range of harmful objects such as broken glass and fishing hooks that can injure an unsuspecting dog. Or, if you live near the ocean, your dog could possibly incur a painful jellyfish sting which will undoubtedly require some medical attention.

Tiles are better than carpets

The flooring inside your home is a very important consideration if you are a pet owner.   If there is one lesson that living in a waterfront home will teach you, it is that a wet dog and carpeted floors are definitely not a match made in heaven.  As much as you undertake to keep your pooch out of your house when wet or dirty, any dog owner can vouch for that it is a lot easier said than done. A tiled floor is, generally speaking, a much better choice for a waterfront home as it is not just dogs that trample in sand and enjoy spending time in the water. It is important to remember that, although tiled floors are definitely a lot more practical, they can be slippery when walked on with wet feet.  Invest in absorbent mats to put outside your doors and keep a couple of towels nearby to dry both yourself and your dog off before entering the home.

Our canine companions are as deserving of safe, comfortable living spaces as we are. When the necessary precaution is taken to make your home as dog-friendly as possible, your entire family, including your beloved pooches can thoroughly enjoy living in a gorgeous waterfront home.

The Bird-Friendly Waterfront Home

by Lucy Hudson

Designing a Bird-Friendly Waterfront Home

Waterfront homes are worth $134 billion nationally as of June 2018 with transactions for these types of properties ranging between 0.4-06% of all real estate dealings. Living close to a body of water such as a lake, ocean or river commands a premium price with great views, access to the water and even gorgeous wildlife such as birds. Unfortunately, bird deaths are also substantial due to collisions and crashes.

Discourage Birds from Flying into Windows

There are about 300 species of birds that live on or near the sea including puffers, albatrosses, tropic birds and pelicans. Alas, collision with glass is not uncommon and each year, bird mortality is estimated to be between 365 million to 988 million. The reflection of the water on the windows make birds believe that it is an extension of the waterway, sea or sky.

Although new glass technology is available such as UV, patterned, translucent or opaque glass, not everyone can afford expensive window renovations to their waterfront property. Fortunately, there are several ways to minimize bird crashes and ensure that birds are safe. Putting decals on windows and applying window films warn birds not to fly into windows. Chimes around your glass windows also alert them of possible dangers. Drawing curtains partially during the day also helps, as well as installing internal shades and blinds. At night, avoiding lights near windows that attract birds reduces collisions and crashes. It also prevents dangerous conditions for night-migrating birds that may be drawn to the light and unable to break away.

Making Your Home Inviting and Safe

Keeping your waterfront home bird-friendly is an important consideration if there are substantial bird populations in your vicinity. At the same time, you’ll want to entice birds on your property and welcome them. Putting a birdbath in your garden, providing food and nesting shelter are great options to encourage them to stay for a while or make frequent visits. Flowers, shrubs and other plants that are endemic to the area are familiar to the local bird population. They will likely stop by for food and shelter when they see native landscapes.

In turn, birds control insect and rodent infestation and reduce the transmission of diseases, and regenerate habitats. For property owners, they get to bird-watch right in their own backyards.

Waterfront homes are simply divine. They allow access to the water, offer great views and other water-based recreational facilities. Wildlife is also fantastic with the presence of birds providing pleasure to humans. Keeping them safe by bird-proofing windows ensure that collisions and crashes are reduced.

Florida’s Sinking Coast – Part 2

Mounting recognition of global warming and its likely effect on the Florida coast has mobilized many people in the state to take action. Though some continue to doubt the existence, much less the severity, of climate change, many Floridians are actively engaged in efforts to mitigate the damage that global warming is expected to inflict on their coast.

The election of Donald Trump as next President introduces a new set of variables, however – and a heightened level of risk – to the situation. Trump has long been a skeptic of human contributions to global warming, and his stance does not appear to have softened at all since being elected. To head his transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency, Trump  Myron Ebell – a prominent climate contrarian – who is expected to help Trump deliver on his campaign vow to repeal the Obama administration’s climate change policies. Climate scientists fear that the Trump administration’s cavalier attitude towards climate change – and of the causal role played by humans – will significantly hasten the consequences of global warming, including the flooding of United States coastal regions.

Regardless of what ends up happening to Florida’s coastal regions, many predict that the publicity surrounding sea-level rise may very well cause property values in those areas to take a plunge.

Even now, Florida’s housing market is already starting to feel the impact of sea-level rise. Compared with a 2.6 percent increase nationally, home sales in high-risk flood zones in Miami-Dade County dropped about 7.6 percent this past year. In the past few years, areas most prone to flooding have had significantly slower sales than other parts of the county. This correlation is in keeping with a nationwide trend: throughout the country, median home prices in areas at high risk of flooding are 4.4 percent below what they were 10 years ago. This is due, in large part, to the astronomical cost of flood insurance. As flood insurance premiums rise, property values fall.

In addition to the increased publicity about the likely repercussions of sea-level rise in coastal Florida, people are also discouraged from purchasing homes in those regions due to the state’s lax disclosure laws. In some states, such as California, Pennsylvania, and Washington, state and local real estate agents are required by law to provide thorough and accurate disclosure of a property’s past history of flooding, as well as its risk for future flooding. In Florida, however, laws requiring real estate agents to notify purchasers about a property’s likelihood of experiencing natural hazards only apply to a limited stretch of the state’s coast. On top of that, there are no penalties for a real estate agent’s failure to comply. Potential buyers are given no guarantee, and no sense of assurance, that their new property won’t soon be underwater.

Localities across coastal Florida worry that if property values continue to fall, they won’t be able to fund the upgrades needed to protect their towns against rising sea-level. This is because much of their revenue is generated through property and sales taxes, and thus relies on having a large population of homeowners to tax. As concerns about coastal flooding continue to grow, and demand for coastal property continues to decline, these towns will fail to attract new homeowners and their current residents will relocate, causing their populations to shrink. Without sufficient tax revenue, they won’t be able to afford the projects necessary to combat the rising seas, and will thus be forced to flee to higher grounds.

Some owners will decide to unload their coastal property before rising seas render it unlivable or unsellable, and while its value is still relatively high. Others will stay put, and continue to enjoy the wonders of coastal Florida living. Whether dubious of the precipitously rising sea and the dangers it portends, or simply willing to take the risk and live with the consequences, they will keep on living the Florida waterfront dream, one day at a time.

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.

Paradise Found

For most folks, the appeal of beachfront living is the ability to open one’s blinds in the morning and watch the sunrise over calm waters just outside; it is the freedom to take a dip, a boat ride, or a stroll along the shore at one’s leisure; it is the luxury of enjoying a glass of wine from the deck as one gazes out upon the moonlit water below. For most folks, it is the myriad pleasures afforded by proximity to water that encourage them to seek out waterfront homes, rather than the actual homes themselves.

But every now and then, there comes along a home that manages to deliver on both fronts; a home that offers all the perks of waterfront living, yet also stands alone as an architectural masterpiece. The home found at 2-2680 E. Cliff Dr., #8, in Santa Cruz, California, is just such a masterpiece.


Designed by Patti Boe, a realtor, artist and jewelry designer whose pieces have been featured in exclusive New York City galleries, this home was masterfully created to provide an experience similar to what one would encounter in an underwater cave. Inspired by her trips to the Yucatán Peninsula, Belize, and Honduras, Boe sought to create a home that encapsulated the tropical feel of the Caribbean Islands. Every aspect of the home has been specially designed to embody the white sand, clear blue waters, and vibrant wildlife one would find while swimming in the Caribbean.


Smooth, undulating counters of polished concrete run throughout the entire house, giving the impression of sea cave walls; etched glass of light-blue suggests the swirl of underwater currents; bamboo floors awash with curving blue hint at tidal waters lapping a sandy beach. All walls, ceilings, and counters appear to melt and flow into one another, transforming the entire space into an extension of the beautiful beach setting just outside. A tropical fish tank designed and installed by John DiGarlamo – who helped design parts of the Monterey Bay Aquarium – further blurs the division between indoor and outdoor, contributing to the overall immersive experience of being underwater. Cool white walls adorned with original artwork, seashells scattered here and there – some fossilized and embedded around the glass bathroom sinks – and a large iguana statue further add to the beach ambiance. Transitioning through the home gives the impression of floating through an underwater grotto of crystal clear turquoise water. Ample windows and skylights offer constant sea breeze and sunshine throughout the entire interior.


From the bedroom, one is afforded an unimpeded view of the Pacific, all the way out to the Boardwalk. The Santa Cruz Wharf and Lighthouse at Steamer Lane are visible from the bed, and skylights overhead offer dazzling views of the star- and moonlit sky at night. Outside, a lawn and patio overlook the ocean, with 200-degree views stretching all the way to Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Lighthouse Point.


A 13-step descent via a hidden pathway brings you to the best beach in all of Santa Cruz, where whale and dolphin sightings are the norm. Seals and otters flailing by the jetties, seagulls lazing above, and pelicans diving down into the waves to find fish are an everyday sight. With two jetties on either side, the surf is great; it is not uncommon to find professional surfers less than a hundred yards out, sometimes with film crews capturing them on camera.


This home is every bit as breathtaking as the pristine swath of beach right in its backyard. As soon as you set foot in this livable work of art, you are transported to the clear turquoise waters of the Yucatán. Experience it for yourself, and make every day a Caribbean vacation!