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How to's and money-saving tips from resident homeowner and mortgage professional, Cathy West

4 new home tips on buying a coastal property

Coastal homes can be too attractive an opportunity to pass up for home buyers. The close beaches, ocean breeze and laid back life style of the coast can be downright irresistible. There are downsides to living there as well that those deep in the home buying process should look out for.

Various steps should be taken before purchasing a home on the coast, including proper research into insuring the house and some inquiries into it's structural integrity. While coastal living can be fun, it can also be costly, or even dangerous during hurricane season. It is important to understand everything about a coastal home before buying or you may be in for a plethora of home repairs.

A few things to keep in mind while searching for a coastal home include:

1. How close is the home to the shoreline?
Yes, it is located on the coast, but that doesn't tell the whole story. The United Services Automobile Association noted that, proximity to the shore can mean wonderful summers in the sun but it can also mean property damage and difficulty finding insurance. Especially if you are in a hurricane prone area, the location of your house will be very important.

The closer you live to the shore, especially in an area that sees hurricanes annually, the more you will likely end up paying for insurance. It is a good idea to keep in contact with your insurance company about the communities you plan to look at during the home buying process. When you begin comparing homes, get rate quotes so that you can suss out the difference in insurance costs, as this may prove important in the future.

2. How old is the property you want to purchase?
The age of the home is extremely important as weather conditions on the coast can often be more harsh than elsewhere. In some locations, regulators have recognized the dangers of coastal weather patterns and made efforts to compensate through stricter building codes, noted the USAA. In order to keep these communities alive, storm-proof homes have to be built. It is best to make sure that the property you're look at has some of these protections built in as future damage will be mitigated through a safer home.

3. Make sure the house is up to code
Speaking of building codes, just because they exist doesn't mean every home in a given community will meet them. Meet with professionals in order to determine what kind of materials work best for the specific location you are interested in.

Check windows, doors and any other opening you can think of and make sure that they have attached the appropriate, code-approved devices in order to protect the property from harsh weather. These may include impact-rated shutters or storm panels. Some of these protections may even qualify you for discounts or credits on your insurance payments, depending on where you live.

4. Find the best insurance for your coastal property
Insurance is important, but when living somewhere as beautiful yet volatile as the coast, getting the right protection is absolutely vital. According to LG Insurance Group, the factors most companies take into consideration when determining pricing form homeowner's insurance include size, proximity to coast, age, construction type and your credit.

The USAA explained that while in many areas a homeowner's policy is enough, in coastal areas you may also have to pay for flood, excessive flood and wind coverage on top of traditional homeowner's insurance. Average policies don't often cover floods, and a wind-only policy may be necessary – all of this depending on your the amount of risk inherent in your location.

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