You’ve been thinking about it. Owning a beach property. It’s been gnawing at you for a while now, and you’ve finally caved in and decided to invest in a beach house. But wait! There is a big question here first that needs to be answered.
There are definitely better times during the year to look for and buy beach properties that will give you far more favorable deals and rates than other times of the year. If you time your purchase right, you may walk away with the deal of a lifetime!
There are some essential factors to consider before you take that leap, so let’s look at the nuts and bolts and find the BEST time of year to buy your beach house.
Buying Your Beach House – The Financial Side
While the world is still recovering from the COVID pandemic, favorable financial conditions still abound. Low mortgage rates and an excellent deep pool of available properties lend themselves to the prepared buyer.
As with any investment home, you would be able to build good equity by making sound financial decisions regarding location and having a decent working knowledge of the location before you buy.
Some sound tips on the financial side would be :
- Having your pre-approval documentation and deposit ready so you can move swiftly.
- Stick to your allocated budget to make sure the additional mortgage and maintenance costs are affordable.
- Have a contingency plan to cover costs when rental income dips or dissipates.
- Monitor price listings over time and note which prices drop.
- Keep in touch with properties you were interested in and see if the sellers would be willing to negotiate as the season ends.
- Include a minimum 30-day home inspection contingency clause to allow for proper inspection and advice on any repairs that may be required. If these details cannot be successfully negotiated, you can cancel and recover your deposit.
Beach House Acquisitions And Taxes – A Quick Catch Up
If you are planning on renting out your property and then using it as a family vacation home, you need to know that if you rent it out for less than 14 days per year, there is no tax payable on that revenue.
However, if your goal is to rent it out in less than 14 days, the tax would be payable on the earned rental income. But it’s not all bad news as far as tax goes , as any associated costs of maintenance, upgrading of appliances or amenities, building, insurance, and property management fees can all be deducted as business expenses.
Again, a planned and clear strategy regarding the purpose of purchasing your beach property would go a long way to both generating revenues and cutting some of your tax bills.
Having got the ugly stuff out of the way, let’s move on and explore the best time of year to buy a beach house, and it may NOT be the time you might think!
When It Comes To Buying Vacation Homes, Fall Is Your Best Friend!
That’s right. Fall, not summer, is the optimum time to buy your beach house! Labor Day signals the onset of the cooler seasons, and it’s at this time, post-peak, that you can grab the best bargains!
Many homeowners are locking up their beach homes after peak season, and quite a few may be looking to dump their properties as well. This is because beach homes have seasonal value and many owners know that once the summer is done, they are looking at the dry season when renters and rental revenue dry up!
Across the US, labor signals a drop in search demand for properties, and this is prime time to grab some brilliant beach house deals! A lot of inventory becomes available now, and with your financial tools in place, you could find yourself walking away with an absolute humdinger of a buy!
Savvy buyers wait until September / October to see whether the property they are keen to buy will drop in price. After an entire season of being on the market and high competition and no natural movement from buyers, many sellers would opt to drop the price to stimulate interest.
It’s a bit of cat n’ mouse here, but patience will win out in the end. This price drop can be as much as 5%-10% to create renewed interest in the property, and if you get such an opportunity, best you are ready to hop in your car and go!
The Great Summer Property Search Slowdown
As the summer comes to an end, the property search slows down considerably. This may dip by 18% in some areas, with many coastal locations such as Florida, North and South Carolina, and Texas dropping by 11%.
This trend continues and increases well into winter, with property search activity dropping as much as 25% as the depth of winter approaches around Christmas.
This means that significantly fewer people are looking for coastal properties from Fall through to Christmas and presents a prime opportunity for the intelligent investor to step in and make a killing.
Because there are now fewer buyers around this time of year, sellers will feel that pinch, so the advantage shifts to the buyers. They say, “Money talks and BS walks,” which is never more true for buying coastal properties than in the early Fall months.
Why Pre-Peak Season Could Be Another Prime Time
While the early Fall is the optimum, many property owners may look to sell just before peak season hits, and all the renters come flooding in. While not as fertile a buying market as Fall, with a flood of properties to the market, this may also be a great time to snap up great deals.
Another aspect to consider here is that many of these homes may have been standing empty since the previous season and could be easily viewed and inspected with no inconvenience.
Not only that, but you may find that owners have done maintenance work and upgrades during the off-season and then decided to release the property for sale in the hope of getting a better price.
Again, very much in favor of the buyers here as you could pick up an upgraded home and not have to fork out nearly as much for it as you would have in higher competition times.
Look For Bargains Around Large Resort Developments
While this may, at first, seem counterintuitive, it makes perfect and logical sense. Where they are large resort developments going up, these often draw buyers away from existing properties for sale.
As such, many sellers in these areas would be willing to drop prices to lure ‘on-the-fence’ buyers away and back to their properties with the promise of a better deal.
Also, not everyone wants to be in the latest modern developments as they lack character and history of more established properties. A bargain beach house may be far more attractive for buyers looking for a more homely feel.
Before You Buy A Beach House, Do Some Research
Buying your dream beach home can be both exciting and exhilarating as the thought of spending time with the sound of the ocean waking you up and long lazy days spent on the patios enjoying food with friends and family.
But some fundamental pillars need to be in place before any of those dreams come to fruition. Here’s a list of some of the recommended due diligence processes to do before putting your money down.
1. Go And See The Property You Want
You would never buy a car without seeing it first, and the same applies to buying a beach house, especially if it’s your first one. You will be investing a substantial amount of money, so it is good practice to go and see it before you buy.
If you can’t get out there, then have someone you trust do it or even get a coastal inspector to take a look. While that may cost, the objective opinion of a specialist can be worth its weight in gold.
There can be a few reasons why a coastal home hasn’t sold, especially if it’s been listed for a while. There may be hidden cost-traps that you may not pick up on but that an experienced inspector would.
Even better would be to spend some time in the area you want to buy in, so you get a first-hand experience, and you can be sure that this is a place that you and your family would be happy to return to year after year.
2. Talk To The Local Agents
Having first-hand intel about the property you want and others in the area can give you valuable insight into the seasonal demand fluctuations, rental revenue, buyer demand, décor, design, and market trends in that area.
Having an area specialist in your corner has several other benefits as well. These people know this market and the area better than anyone and can advise for or against purchasing properties in some locations over others.
Secondly, they will know and have relationships with local inspectors and builders and could guide you to reliable and cost-effective solutions should they need to be resolved in your property of choice.
3. Spend Time And Get A Feel For The Area
Take the time to view open houses and chat with the people and area specialists to come away with a good solid view of all the different aspects of the property and the location to make an informed decision.
Engaging with sellers and property owners in the area would be a significant investment, especially if you don’t know the area. It will give a good feel for the area and social elements like shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.
Being around in peak season will also give an insight into the activities and amenities located in the area. Sports like golf , nature walks, water sports, hiking, and riding are excellent marketing information that you can use later on.
If you can, go there in the off-season, so you come away with an all-year-round perspective. While you may want to rush in and buy, remember that this is a significant investment and not be entered into lightly.
What’s The Best WEEK Of The Year TO Buy A House?
A research report done by Realtor.com in 2019 looked to establish the best week of the year to buy a house, and that date turned out to the September 22nd! The number of active buyers dropped by 26% during this week compared to other average weeks during the year.
At the same time, the average number of available homes had increased to 6,1%, with the average price down by 2,6%.
The Best DAYS Of The Year To Buy A House?
That same study revealed that December 26th and December 31st were the best days of the year to close a home purchase. This was due to the distraction of the holidays and a lack of interest in real estate.
Closing the deal on these dates allowed buyers to achieve noticeable discounts and start the new year with a great Christmas gift! Compared to purchasing in June, where buyers would be paying around a 7% premium!
There is some truth to holding off transactions until month-end as real estate agents have targets to fill, and under pressure to do so, they may accept your offer!
So diarise the week of September 22, and 26th December, and December 31st for the best week and days to make your move on your dream beach house!
As you can see, there are some very definite advantages to employing an effective strategy that may take a little longer to complete, but it is worth the time spent in the long run.
Taking the effort to inspect and view the property you want and others in the same location in both peak and off-season would be invaluable for your final decision.
Meeting local agents and people and getting a sense of the area economy, buyer and renter demand, and other relevant factors provide the whole picture so you can buy your dream beach house with confidence.
There has never been a better time to buy beach property as the variety of inventory and low lending rates appeal significantly to the savvy buyer.
Regardless of whether it’s for the additional revenue or the family time and memories, you now have an inside track into the best time, week, and day to buy your beach house!
With this information at your side, it could be a great Christmas after all! Happy Hunting!