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Buying primary residence - coastal or inland?

Old 05-31-2012, 05:48 AM
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Default Buying primary residence - coastal or inland?

I'm trying to decide which to buy in the Tampa/St. Pete area. My internal struggle is now on try to find something on the GOM or stay more inland.

Two main concerns.

One is having to deal with the flooding that could be caused by tropical storms and hurricanes. To be real, it won't matter a whole bunch what part of the state I'm in if a Cat 4-5 comes blowing through. However, even Cat 1-3's push a lot of water. I've been flooded once here already and it definitely stinks. I guess I could keep my stuff 3' off the floor, but that does diddly for a 3.1" storm surge. Is a stilt house the answer?

The other part of equation is homeowners insurance in FL. From what I see, there is no predictability to the cost. I have first-hand knowledge of costs that went from $2800/yr to $9600/yr in 2 years. How can anyone make any kind of household budget with that kind of variability?

I'd be grateful to get comments on this "nice to have" dilemma and how others worked through this thought process...
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Old 05-31-2012, 05:50 AM
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Is it possible to buy a beach "shack" and have a nice house inland?
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnny Dreamer View Post
Is it possible to buy a beach "shack" and have a nice house inland?
Perhaps. I've got this bug about wanting to walk out my back door and go fishing. Two residences would make that tough.
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:10 AM
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You would do very well for yourself in this market if u were to find something reasonable on the water. They will never make any more of it! Prob is many of the best deals are gone. 3yrs ago every other house on the street in gulf harbors was for sale, many at fire sale prices. Now there are few listings with most of them needing a ton of work.

We have a small villa inland and a small 2br vacation rental on the Gulf that is split with family. The mortgage for both is approx what I would pay for a nicer pool home in north tampa. I keep wanting to get a bigger house inland and rent the villa but were usually only here for 4 days a week when the other house isnt rented. Crazy how spoiled you get with boating once you have the boat out back. Growing up we never hesitated to drive 2.5 hrs to drop the boat at the ramp to go fishing then load up, drive 2.5 hrs back home, unload, clean the boat, fish, cook, etc...all in the same day. Not any more..
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:26 AM
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My mind keeps going back to what "inland" Homestead looked like after Andrew. Or, a guy I was talking with that has a house in Coden, AL that's built in 11' stilts and he had 6'' of water in his 1st floor after Katrina.

I live 8' above sea level in one of the most Hurricane prone areas in the world (Google Cape Lookout, NC) and I don't have insurance, except liability. I also don't have a mortgage and I could rebuild this house for what 10 years of insurance would cost.

If you want to live by the water, you have choices to make and live with the consequences. My next house will probably be 100' above sea level and I'll drive to the dock (getting too old to deal with the repairs and possible loss).
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Old 05-31-2012, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by davedowneast View Post
If you want to live by the water, you have choices to make and live with the consequences. My next house will probably be 100' above sea level and I'll drive to the dock (getting too old to deal with the repairs and possible loss).
Yep, consequences can suck. Benefits can rock.

Your observation regarding repairs and potential financial loss is quite astute. I'm planning for this place to be paid off when I retire and be a nice, stable quiet abode to chill out in. Once in retirement, a big financial hit could be bad!

Now, with that said, I have a number of years to go before I retire and I've been known to ship around. Frequently. Perhaps this could be a "just for a while" residence. It would be good for the retirement funds if I could count on coastal property increasing in value above what I could realize from a well diversified portfolio. Perhaps coastal property should be part of my well diversified portfolio! So many questions, so few dollars...
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Old 05-31-2012, 08:34 AM
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there are still deals around IRB, and south.
Look at RDRE.com my friends web page he does soooo much foreclosure work in pinellas for the top lenders.
See if something strikes yer fancy or call his office and ask him what he has on the water.
He said 1.5 mil houses going for 750ish he said its still very bad on the upper priced homes.
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Old 05-31-2012, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by nevermind... View Post
I'm trying to decide which to buy in the Tampa/St. Pete area. My internal struggle is now on try to find something on the GOM or stay more inland.

Two main concerns.

One is having to deal with the flooding that could be caused by tropical storms and hurricanes. To be real, it won't matter a whole bunch what part of the state I'm in if a Cat 4-5 comes blowing through. However, even Cat 1-3's push a lot of water. I've been flooded once here already and it definitely stinks. I guess I could keep my stuff 3' off the floor, but that does diddly for a 3.1" storm surge. Is a stilt house the answer?

The other part of equation is homeowners insurance in FL. From what I see, there is no predictability to the cost. I have first-hand knowledge of costs that went from $2800/yr to $9600/yr in 2 years. How can anyone make any kind of household budget with that kind of variability?

I'd be grateful to get comments on this "nice to have" dilemma and how others worked through this thought process...
Buy the coastal home, you won't regret it. If you buy the inland, you'll always second guess yourself. I bought at home right on the ocean in the Keys and the sunrises and sunsets are worth every dime.

I'm not sure where you got the rate information, but it's probably a mistake. You need 3 policies, a homeowner policy, a Citizens Wind Policy and Flood. My premiums are $1,700, $2,200 and $600 respectively. The wind has a 5% deductible. The rate bump you are referring to was probably a Citizens rate bump due to a home not meeting wind load certifications. They do an inspection and give the homeowner a list of items that require fixing, like hurricane straps, shutters, etc. I'd need more information, but that first hand knowledge you have is probably a home that failed the inspection miserably.
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Old 05-31-2012, 08:48 AM
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Live where you dream of living. Life is really short.

Oh, and if you think you can plan where to live around mother nature -- you're dreaming. If you're worried about flooding go with pilings. If you're worried about wind, build it the best you can. But at the end of the day, if a Cat. 5 blows over your house, you're screwed.
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Old 05-31-2012, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by OldPete View Post
Live where you dream of living. Life is really short.

Oh, and if you think you can plan where to live around mother nature -- you're dreaming. If you're worried about flooding go with pilings. If you're worried about wind, build it the best you can. But at the end of the day, if a Cat. 5 blows over your house, you're screwed.

All very good points!
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Old 05-31-2012, 03:37 PM
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Don't live in Fla. but same principal applies. Given a choice of living on the water and not being able to afford a boat or buying the same house 15-30 minutes inland at 50-100 ft above sea level and having a nice boat at the dock, I'll take the second option any day. Of course 50-100 ft above sea level in Fla. may not exist.
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Old 05-31-2012, 04:28 PM
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You don't say if you're going to have a mortgage or not. If not, you have the option of not having insurance, but always have liability. If you do have insurance, after premiums, deductables, and pro rating, you still might have to pay for the repairs yourself.
On another note, the waterfront properties will appreciate sooner/faster than the "dry" properties will when the market comes back (and it will).
As someone said life is short, if you dream of having your boat at your backdoor, and you can afford it, do it.
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:55 PM
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I live in Madeira Beach. We built up so ground level is garage only. Flood is $250 and does not cover stuff in garage. Wind on the barrier islands is subsidized and not too bad. With these two items accounted for now the "normal" homeowners is rated as though you are not in hurricane alley. I will admit I am (at least for now) screwed by my home being under valued. You are not. Find a good deal on a nice elevated house on the barrier islands and live the good life. No regrets.
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