There are numerous reasons why you might be thinking about purchasing a property on the coast; from the year-round vacation experience to the views, buying a house beside the sea is often seen as the ultimate aspiration for American property owners.
And what’s not to love? A seaside property will offer unrivalled views of the ocean, easy access to some of your favorite hobbies and pastime, and more than a few envious visits from city and country-dwelling friends. However, owning a home beside the sea isn’t without its issues.
Issues affecting seaside properties
We adore beachfront homes and waterfront properties, but it’s essential that anyone thinking of purchasing such real estate is realistic when it comes to the issues they’re likely to face. Have you considered how the environment, and surrounding landscape, could adversely affect your home?
Sun, sea, and sand
Properties located in hotter climes are subject to the effects of long periods of bright sunlight, which can cause external finishes to age prematurely. Sand blowing in from the beach, and salty sea air are likely to cause rusting metalwork, chipping and scratching to paintwork, and damage to mechanisms such as window latches. The damage caused by sand and salt is unavoidable. Finally, consider sudden tidal surges and waves whipped up by the wind. High waves and rising water levels can mean that gardens and home exteriors, and even interiors, can be damaged by floodwater.
Weathering and erosion
Waterfront properties are less sheltered than those further inland, so rain and driving winds off the ocean will do more damage than you might expect, battering homes and creating a need for frequent maintenance. Coastal erosion is also a great fear of many homeowners living close to the beach, as the shoreline gradually recedes towards properties. Such environmental action can greatly devalue a property – not to mention the concern and upset it will cause. The threat of rising sea levels due to global warming is a real one; during extreme tides seawater can flood land and homes, make access difficult, and affect electrical appliances. Water damage is a real issue for seafront homes, and must be taken into consideration if you’re thinking of buying a property in a particular neighborhood.
Issues affecting the interiors
Environmental damages don’t just occur outside; the frequent dragging in of sand and saltwater can scratch hard floors, sully carpets, and affect soft furnishings, meaning that items wear out far faster than normal. There’s also a real potential for damp in homes that aren’t well ventilated. Lastly, think about the humidity prevalent in seafront homes. Sea air is warm and wet, which is highly corrosive to fixtures, fittings, and even electronics. There is a real potential for problems inside and out.
Protecting your property from environmental damages
There are steps you can take to protect your property from harm that will safeguard your investment should the unthinkable happen. While we certainly wouldn’t want to discourage you from following your dreams it pays to be pragmatic, addressing issues as soon as they occur will prevent future heartache.
Protect your interests
At this stage it really does pay to do your research regarding the home you’re buying and the area it’s located in. Have there been any previous issues with erosion? Has the current homeowner had to do any extensive work in recent years? Are nearby properties affected by environmental damage? You must check building regulations, and ensure that they’ve been adhered to. It’s also a good idea to have a full survey carried out, in order to determine whether any work is likely to be required in the immediate future. Finally, you must get the appropriate insurance; Such a warranty will make repairs and renovations cheaper as and when they’re required.
Treat fixtures and fittings
The cost of keeping a seafront home is always going to be higher than that of maintaining an urban dwelling; there are certain environmental factors you’d simply not need to consider further inland. For this reason it’s a good idea to prepare your home for every eventuality. Be sure to use weatherproof paints and finishes on the property’s exterior, treat fixtures and fittings appropriately depending upon their material, and put covers in place on furniture so that the effects of environmental damage will be minimized as far as possible. You may also wish to purchase insurance and extended warranties for electrical items – just in case.
Prepare for regular maintenance
Above all, you should be prepared to maintain your property, and to address issues as they arise. Frequent weathering is something that will never cease, and issues such as damaged paintwork, rusting fixtures, and tired furnishings will only get worse the longer they are left. As far as you’re able, carry out regular routine inspections of all fixtures and fittings, repaint external and internal surfaces with protective paint and finishes, and address issues with flooring, and damp, as soon as you notice them. Some jobs may only take mere minutes, but they’ll lengthen the life of your home exponentially.
Owning a seafront property is the ultimate dream for many Americans, but there’s a lot to consider before taking the metaphorical and literal plunge; buyers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental issues that could cause them problems further down the line, while town and city developers are having to factor rising sea levels into regeneration and building plans. The truth is that there’s a lot to be done to protect properties from environmental damages, but it certainly does pay to be prepared for all eventualities.