What does LOCATION really means in Port Aransas? Here’s the inside scoop!
We’ve all heard about the first three rules of real estate: location, location, location, but when buying property in the South Texas resort community of Port Aransas, what all does that entail?
Since most people buying houses or condos here want rental income generation from their property, buyers must consider zoning. Although there was talk in the Texas Congress about changing the rules, as of now, only properties zoned R-2 can be used for nightly or short-term rental. Some neighborhood put additional restrictions on that to mandate rentals of a minimum of 14 days. Even if a buyer primarily wants the home for their own family’s use, they should probably consider buying in an R-2 zone to rent occasionally or if their needs change. Also, these properties are usually easier to sell.
The majority of the rental income is generated during the hundred days of summer—roughly from Memorial Day through Labor Day, plus a few days before and after. During the off season, the rates go down and many of the properties will be rented by Winter Texans on a monthly basis.
If a buyer wants to move here permanently or know for certain that they’d never rent their home, then R-1 zoning is the way to go unless they don’t mind the constant influx of renters. A few neighborhoods like Channel Vista, Palisades Drive and Island Moorings are zoned R-1.
Many buyers prefer to buy within the boundaries of the original area of Port A known as Old Town, which is anything north of Avenue G. But those properties usually command a higher price. Since there are no laws governing what type of houses can be placed where, this area is a hodge-podge collection of older homes, new homes, mobile homes, businesses and fishing cottages. But it is quaint and some people consider this area more prestigious and desirable.
EAST vs. WEST
Since many locals and vacationers prefer to get around town on a golf cart, and no golf carts are allowed on state highway 361, many buyers choose to buy on the east side of the highway towards the beach. Certain crossing areas are allowed, but this limited access hampers owners from using their golf carts somewhat. With the increase in accidents caused by golf carts, the local police are cracking down on drivers who violate this local law.
For more info on golf cart usage, click on these links:
Since Port Aransas is at the coast, it is basically sea level–which necessitates the purchase of flood insurance which is regulated nationally by FEMA. If someone buys their home with cash they can choose not to purchase flood insurance. Lenders require it. Most condominium complexes cover exterior insurance—including flood and wind—with the HOA dues they collect from owners. But the elevation varies slightly, so even a few feet of difference can mean a huge difference in cost. To find out the flood rating on a specific property, see this link:
Contact a reputable insurance agent to get a quote on insurance before making a final decision. I heartily recommend my friend, Stephanie Waterman at Farmer’s Insurance.
When it comes to neighborhoods with a Home Owners Association, there are pros and cons. Most condos and townhomes have an HOA, but some single family home neighborhoods do, as well. They often cover big expenses like wind and flood insurance and other expenses like exterior maintenance, pool maintenance, landscaping and parking. For houses, they can, but don’t always, regulate the type of building materials and colors that can be used as well as other architectural restrictions that serve to maintain the integrity and congruity of the neighborhood’s appearance. But for some, those restrictions are too intrusive and owners chaff at the idea of additional expense of home ownership. Occasionally the HOA plans a special assessment whereby the huge expenses like a new roof for a condo will be distributed among the homeowners. As soon as they are aware of this, they notify the owners. If a condo is for sale, usually the seller will pay this assessment or make arrangements to do so before it closes.
PROXIMITY TO WATER
Obviously, homes closer to the water cost more. Sand dunes surround the coast here, so there are almost no homes that are actually on the beach. Dunes are environmentally sensitive areas and cannot be removed or altered without great cost and complications. It’s rarely done even for a walkway or a driveway. Homes built directly behind the dunes have a beach view provided they are built up enough or will have a view from upper stories. However, the closer a property is to the ocean, the higher the toll it from salt. There is another way to get a water view—purchase a home or condo located near the shipping channel or in an exclusive neighborhood like Island Moorings that have canals behind them.
Since most people come to Port Aransas for the beach, having easy access is a plus. Many condo complexes and neighborhoods have wooden or vinyl boardwalks that allow you to easily walk over the dunes in Port A. Some even are made extra wide and sturdy so that you can drive your golf cart across. Those are only accessible to the owners and guests of those neighborhoods. Since the dunes are environmentally sensitive areas, it is forbidden to walk over them. Besides, they are full of stickers and rattlesnakes, so that’s not advisable anyway. If there’s no nearby boardwalk, having a beach access road nearby is the next best thing.
CORPUS vs. PORT ARANSAS
Several years ago, a portion of Mustang Island south of Port Aransas was annexed by the city of Corpus Christi. The county appraisal district lists those properties as being in Corpus and they are taxed accordingly (2.4% as opposed to 1.82% in Port A). Interestingly enough, the zip code is 78373—which is the Port Aransas zip code. (Crazy, huh?) The cut-off point is the La Mirage condominiums located at 5317 State Hwy. 361. Anything south of that is Corpus—for better or worse.
Although crime is negligible here, being in a gated community does offer an added layer of security for a home owner. This is particularly important for buyers who only stay at their home occasionally and fear for the safety of their property when it is sitting vacant for much of the year. Several areas have security gates: Beach Walk, La Joya and Village Walk and others.
As in all real estate ventures, LOCATION is the number one factor in a purchase. Knowing what that means in a unique resort market like Port Aransas is super important to beach house buyers. Knowing who to call when you get ready is the easy part—call me! I’ll make it easy for you to buy a little slice of paradise on the Texas coast.