When considering buying a vacation home in Port Aransas, whether for family use and/or vacation rental, there are many factors to consider. Other than the first three rules of real estate: Location, location, location…. what’s number 4 and 5?
Topping that list, of course, is price. Talk to your lender to see what you can qualify for. Better yet, check your cash reserves and see what you could purchase outright. As Dave Ramsey says, “Cash is king!” You can usually drive a better bargain with cash; the closing costs are much lower and the time to close is much quicker.
If buying a property for rental income, get your hands on a rental history.
Keep in mind that you’ll only see the “Gross Rental Income.” Your smile may fade somewhat when you start deducting fixed costs such as management fees, property taxes, interest paid on mortgage, opportunity cost, HOA fees, insurance and maintenance. (More on that in my next blog.) If the property is zoned for short-term or nightly rentals (R-2) but has not been in the rental pool, try to obtain a rental projection. You can usually get one for free or a nominal cost from a local rental management company. Ask your agent for help on this.
AGE OF THE PROPERTY:
Once that’s decided, consider the age of the property because newer properties have less wear and tear from other renters/owners. Modern construction methods and materials are better. Salt is a killer corrosive and takes a heavy toll on any metal surfaces outside, including screws and bolts, door hardware and garage doors. Exterior surfaces covered in Hardy Plank® siding or stucco stand up better in the briny air than wood. While brick is a good option, it often doesn’t convey a “beachy” feel to your coastal home.
When it comes to roofing, choose galvanized steel, aluminum or tile. It’s more expensive than composite shingles but lasts longer and stands up to the punishing ocean winds. The AC unit takes a beating in salt air, so newer properties’ AC will be in better shape.
Instead of pressure-treated wood trim, decking and railings, newer properties use vinyl railings and Trex® decking. Both look great and last longer because of sun and wind resistance and don’t attract termites and other wood-destroying insects.
Properties built before 1978 have the possibility of the use of lead-based paint and the seller must verify that either it’s been repainted since then (!) or that they have no knowledge of the use of such paint. Contemporary homes and condos use impact-resistant windows that can withstand high velocity winds and flying debris. They are usually vinyl or vinyl-clad and are more energy efficient.
Besides the practical matter of better technology and building materials, newer homes look….well…New! They use pastels or intense cheerful colors that fit the tropical theme and architecture, especially here in Port A which is distinctively coastal–as opposed to colonial, modern or traditional. Port A’s style isn’t trendy, though. It’s been around for the past 10-20 years because of its timeless good looks. And if the current building boom is an indicator, it’s a style that will persist.
Newer properties usually have more modern interior features such as open floor plans, low-entry tile showers, granite tops and stainless steel appliances, glass tile backsplashes and nickel or bronze finish plumbing fixtures. They employ other up-to-date design features like wood-look ceramic or vinyl flooring. Many are finished out with shiplap siding on the interior walls and/or ceiling. This not only looks great, but can stand up to the heavy wear and tear by renters much better than sheetrock.
Although carpet is warm, cozy and quiet, it’s not a great choice at the beach. You just can’t keep the sand out! So most newer homes use little or no carpet, instead opting for hardier flooring such as ceramic, laminate, or vinyl strips.
Another trend is emerging in Port A, especially in the luxury market: living areas on upper floors. Since the price of lots is expensive, larger homes go vertical which best optimizes your slice of the ocean or marsh view. The kitchen, dining, and living areas are typically on the second floor, and if there’s a third floor, that’s where you’ll find the master suite. Guest rooms and storage are on the ground floor. If the home is really high-end, you can access those upper stories via your own personal elevator!
Because of the threat of flooding, many newer homes are built on stilts. They may or may not have garages or storage rooms on the ground floor. Otherwise, there’s a parking area under the home which also serves as outdoor living area that’s shaded. If the ground floor wasn’t originally finished out for living space and you enclose it later, it (and its contents) may not be covered on your insurance policy.
Older properties are more expensive to maintain in the short run and in the long run. If you buy a condo, house or townhome with a Home Owner’s Association (HOA), you might find higher dues to keep the property in good shape, especially those older properties nearer the water’s edge. Also, thumb through the “sticky pages” of the deeds and covenants package and ask your real estate agent to find out if there’s an “assessment” planned. To cover major renovations like new roofs, exterior painting, pool updates or parking resurfacing, HOAs bill the owners. Depending on how old the property is and how long they’ve deferred these maintenance issues, this assessment could climb to $5000-$10,000 or more per owner. Usually but not always, when a property is sold, the seller pays for some or all of this cost. Bottom line—-consider the age of the property! …..It’s a thing.
For more buyer tips: http://myfavoritebeachproperty.com/index.php/buyers/
To read my Zillow reviews: https://www.zillow.com/profile/lisahood25/#reviews
Why choose Keller Williams? http://www.kw.com/kw/mvvbp.html