Although very few beachfront properties will be able to meet all of the criteria that make an ideal location,it is good to have a clear understanding of what to look for. Then,it simply becomes a matter of comparing a variety of different properties to determine which one offers the best mix.
As a general rule of thumb,the farther a building site is from sea level the more protected it will be and the safer it will be during inclement weather. But when examining the elevation,remember that a step approach to the beach can also present accessibility issues. In most areas,an elevation of nine or ten feet above sea level is sufficient.
It is also important to consider a property’s degree of reef protection,as this is critical in stabilizing the beach and providing optimal conditions for enjoying the water. For example,if the reef is positioned too close to the beach,there may not be enough room to snorkel or swim,but if it is located too far away from the beach there is an increased chance of unwanted erosion. Reefs that are situated between 200 and 400 yards from the shoreline and at a height of at least five or six feet below the surface at high tide are generally considered to be ideal.
The amount of sand that exists on the beach is also a vital component,as it provides a foundation for the home and a cushion for your feet when walking along the beach. In most cases,three to four feet of sand over the bedrock is ideal.
Accretion beaches are always expanding as they accumulate everything the sea washes in. For this reason,professional investors generally consider them to be a favorable location for building,as it means the beach is not eroding as it would with an avulsion beach. An unkempt appearance often indicates that it is an accretion beach.
Avoid building a home on any beachfront property that has a berm saddle,which refers to lots that are lower than the lots situated on either side. These properties are subject to washing out in the event of a severe tropical storm. In addition,steer clear of building near the mouth of a river or stream that is entering a large body of water. Known as an alluvial plane,the silt that is deposited by the flowing water can make building foundations highly unstable.
If the beachfront property is located near a rip current,keep in mind that the undertow that is created can prove to be very deadly for swimmers. Look for swirling water as a sign that a rip current could be nearby and avoid entering the water in these locations. Rocks and other formations located under the water can cause this to occur,as can an uneven shoreline,jetties and tidal reverses,or bore tides in an estuary.
Also be sure to carefully review the zoning in the surrounding area before purchasing any piece of beachfront property. Zoning is important because it will determine what types of buildings can be built and/or operate nearby. This is a vital part of maintaining high property values throughout the neighborhood and will allow for maximum enjoyment of the home after it is built.
Finally,be sure to choose a property that is visually appealing,as there is truly no substitute for a beautiful piece of beachfront property. When you find the perfect location you will recognize that it is something special the minute you lay eyes on it. Remember to carefully weigh all of these criteria against one another when making a decision and try to choose the property that fulfills the most essential requirements first.