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My Beach House: An Owner for Ten Years

hand with sand

Ten years ago this week I spotted a cute, little, yellow beach house and made an offer on it. My husband and I spent a day weighing the decision and ultimately decided it made a whole lot of sense to purchase a second property. If I could go back in time I would definitely buy our beach house all over again. No-doubt-about-it!

The house has brought me more joy than I ever could have imagined. It is the place where my sons first swam in the pool, felt the warm sand and touched the ocean for the very first time. It will be the place where they learn to surf, ride boogie boards and sail.

It is the place where our tiny family of four gathers together with extended relatives; grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings. In this house we eat dinner together, share stories and watch young children play.

Did it make great financial sense. I’m not sure yet. I paid $620,000 for a house that is probably worth less than $500,000 today. But I have no need to sell it in the near future so it’s always possible the price will rise again.

My family spends roughly 3 weeks at the beach per year. Some of this time is spent fixing up the house, but we also carve out a fair amount of time for play each day too. Our house currently rents for $2500 a week, which means I may have spent $7500 per year on comparable rentals. Over the course of 10 years that adds up to $75,000 worth of rental money I didn’t need to pay.

As I’ve mentioned many times on this blog, not all decisions are purely financial. Whether or not we make money on this property I have loved just about every minute of owning it.

As I sat on the beach today I reflected on all that has happened since I first looked at this little yellow house. At the time I ran every calculation possible to ensure we could afford it. Now we pay the mortgage with ease.

Ten years ago I was in a very different place. I am grateful beyond belief for the place I stand now.


Sunday 5th of July 2015

We just returned from our annual family beach trip. This trip always leaves us beach crazy, dreaming of buying our own place. Financially, I think we could make it work with effort. Reading your blog makes me afraid that if we don't buy something we will look back in 10 years and wish we did! Seeing your list of expense items tells me I am not far off in regards to extra costs. I was wondering how much time you spend dealing with your property (daily, weekly, monthly). What percentage of the cost are you able to cover with rentals (25%, 50%, etc)? Do you really only go down 3 times a year for upgrades and repairs?

One Frugal Girl

Wednesday 8th of July 2015

We don't spend much time dealing with our rental property. The rental management company does most of that for us. We bought our house at the height of the housing market so unfortunately the mortgage is quite large and we aren't even close to covering mortgage costs with it.

On average we might earn $20,000 before expenses on the property for the entire year, but our mortgage is over $3500 a month. (We do have a 10 year mortgage on the property though :))

We have made a lot of upgrades to the property over the years. If you didn't make a lot of changes I would estimate a few days of maintenance on a property.

If you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask


Monday 8th of June 2015

Thank you for your posts. I came across these while searching for web opinion on owning a beach house in NC. Hubby and I are on the verge of making an offer on a beautiful oceanfront property (in Sanderling also in Duck) that we can technically afford, but may flatten our financial cushion slightly beyond my personal comfort zone. I appreciate your real world advice. We're there any mortgage or financial calculators that helped you project actual cost other than mortgage? So far, I have property taxes, HOA fees, annual incidentals, insurance, utilities (electric, water, sewer, cable/internet, phone).

One Frugal Girl

Wednesday 10th of June 2015

I sent you an email directly. Let me know if you have any questions though.

Judy Freedman

Wednesday 3rd of June 2015

I feel the same way about my condo on the corner at the Jersey shore. I bought it on my own right after my husband passed away. That was 7 years ago and I was very worried then that I could afford a second property. I so enjoy my time at the beach and yes, it too is underwater but I'm not worried now. I take each day as it comes and can't wait for this summer to create new memories at the beach.

One Frugal Girl

Wednesday 10th of June 2015

Thanks for your comment. I'm sorry for your loss. I always tell my husband our version of heaven would be the couch in the middle of our beach house. We often say "When the time comes I'll meet you there." It's a very special place for us. I hope you make many memories at the beach. There is something magical about that salt air!