The 4th of July weekend marks the real start of summer here in coastal RI and the return of all seasonal beach house renters that flock to our beautiful shores. And in the real estate world, today’s renters are tomorrow’s buyers. A vacation can be a great time to start or continue a search.
While some buyers focus on an expansive, generational compound, many are simply looking for a small, simple property near the water. “Beach shack” conjures up different things to different people, but here in coastal RI, it often means a cedar shingled (preferably pre-weathered) one bedroom cottage with ocean access by foot or bike. It’s a romantic notion, but also an achievable objective. If you see yourself as a “beach shacker,” here are a few things to consider in your search:
Many beach cottages are strictly seasonal – generally May to October – and cannot be occupied outside those months. So, if you have a fantasy of escaping to the beach in the winter, this situation likely would not appeal. If you’re satisfied with a simple summer beach retreat, you’ll be happy to find that seasonal properties like these often come with a much lower price tag.
Seasonal cottages are often in communities on leased land, so you might expect to pay a small annual fee to lease the land in addition to an HOA fee. There can also be restrictions on who can use the house. It’s not uncommon for beach communities to allow only owners (no renters, no visitors) to occupy the house. If you are buying as an investment and want to offset your mortgage through rentals, you won’t have that option. And you can expect restrictions on renovations and building to preserve the integrity of the community.
Not all beach cottages are located within communities – many are single family homes that allow owners the flexibility to do what they’d like with the house (within each town’s building and residency regulations, of course). You’ll definitely pay a premium for a stand-alone property, but they are still to be had.
Always consider how close your property is to the water and whether you are required/want to obtain flood insurance. Your agent can help you navigate that and other specifics around buying a beach shack or any coastal home.
Check out our IG @coastalrihome for Beach Shack Saturday, where I present cottages new to the market each week. And www.CoastalRIHome.com for a curated selection of homes in coastal RI new to market, updated daily.
Michael Mosca is a real estate agent specializing in coastal RI properties with Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Michael.Mosca@mottandchace.com or 917-287-0950