Keep your cool on coastal property

Coastal climes beckon to many upcountry holidaymakers at this time of year, and the euphoria they feel while enjoying their sun-soaked vacation can result in an impulsive property purchase.

But, says Homenet CEO Martin Schultheiss, potential buyers should think very carefully before arbitrarily deciding to move to the coast.

“Holidaymakers should keep in mind that they are probably visiting the area when it’s at its best, when the weather is just right and the beaches are full of happy visitors. “However, coastal weather by its very nature can be quite unpredictable and beaches quickly empty when it rains for weeks on end or becomes uncomfortably hot, humid or windy.

“More importantly, work opportunities on the coast may be thin on the ground in the off-seasons and the ability to establish or sustain a business may be severely curtailed.”

Schultheiss advocates the use of cool, objective logic. Potential buyers should visit the area at various times of the year, for a few weeks at a time, he says. This will provide a realistic picture of whether or not it really does offer everything envisaged.

“And a similar premise applies if you want to buy a holiday home. If you intend to utilise the property for a few weeks or months at a time and lease it for the rest of the year, than you will need to check the demand for accommodation outside peak holiday periods.

“Buyers should also remember that empty stands don’t generate income. As romantic as the idea is of building a home at the sea, the reality is that in tough economic times such as these, it would be better to invest in an existing home which at least would ensure some kind of income stream. “

Locality also plays an important role, says Schultheiss. Properties close to the beach, although picturesque and more profitable in terms of resale value and “rentability” are also more expensive to purchase and maintain.

“Municipal rates on such properties are usually higher. Furthermore, these types of homes tend to weather far quicker than inland properties and ‘landlubbers’ need to be aware of this.”

Lock-up-and-go type homes in gated communities on the coast are in vogue at present. Demand for such accommodation has increased greatly in recent years with many seeking convenient, secure coastal living.

“But buyers also need to do their homework on such properties,” warns Schultheiss. “Always check what maintenance plans are in place for common and shared facilities, and that the security protocols are in fact up to your expectations, otherwise your coastal dream home could quickly become a coastal nightmare.”

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