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The Beach House question

So, I own a lot in Surf City. I figure it’s time to build or sell.

My initial thoughts are that the market is very hot and these melt ups never last, and that there are always meltdowns. This is the “pro” for selling the lot outright.

My contrary thought is that while the costs of goods may go up and down, they generally head one way or the other. Will I ever have a head start (a lot worth 3 times what I paid for it) that I have now? 

If I sold it, I would likely pay off my house, unless someone wanted to do some kind of exchange of collateral (since my impression is that the market is absurdly hot right now.)

Just looking for some thoughts from the group.


  • GsoPackBackerGsoPackBacker Posts: 1,073
    While I would normally suggest looking at your long-term financial picture, I would instead ask
    - do you plan to retire to the beach?
    - how much time will you spend at your beach house?
    -  will you want to rent it?

    Bottom line is to ask yourself the questions to determine what value you will get from it compared to the cost (money, time, headache)
  • AdventurooAdventuroo Posts: 2,793
    edited August 11

    What do you want to do?  If you enjoy going down there, then build on it.  You will not lose anything and you and your family will get years of pleasure and it will still be an asset....that appreciates.

    If you are not really “drawn“ to the area and your family is not thrilled, then sell it.

    Other option is to build a duplex and either stay in one side and rent out the other.

    Whatever you do, if you decide to build, don’t cut corners.  I have a BIL that owns a back lot on the Bogue Sound.  He paid 25% of what the front or waterfront lot was.  He is going to build there and he seems to be “frugal”.  Get a GOOD contractor and build a structure that more than meets the strictest NC Code on all aspects.  Example....the Miami/Dade roofing system is the best in the US.  Some counties have adopted it....some not.  So, spend maybe 25% MORE on the roof and you will weather the storms and no be restoring the interior, then that is a wise choice.  Same for the windows and doors.  If the area is prone to over washes and flooding....raise the sucker.

    I debated about a lot or condo at Myrtle Beach versus a MH.   My MH has NOT appreciated.  But, we have traveled the 48 and checked off so many bucket list items that even I am awed.  Other option....put in a pad and plant a k“permanent” RV on it.

    Don’t have blinders.  See what fits your lifestyle and your needs.  Fortunately, purchasing a nice MH and not caring if it was worth zero was an option that did NOT impact our lifestyle or our finances or our kid’s inheritance.  So we did that.  DW said that she did not want to be “tied” to a home on the coast or in the mountains....

    No magic answer.  Keep your options open.  You will find the best solution.

  • choppack1choppack1 Posts: 1,845
    2 things changed really my perspective...
    1) the new bridge
    2) covid 

    I have always been drawn to the beach. I am the type who likes routine..I love to travel, but when I find a place I like, I want to return. I had always thought when I did a good bit of telecommuting that it was be nice to live there at least part time. 

    In general, I am a pretty happy dude, liking where I am and where I am going. None of this helps does it:).

    I did entertain the thought of renting from Memorial Day to Labor Day to pay for it. Wouldn’t want to build a mansion, 3 BRs, 3Baths, common kitchen living room area...big old screen porch.
  • Fastback68Fastback68 Posts: 863
    So who owns “In Sea State of Mind” or “The Pack House”.
  • choppack1choppack1 Posts: 1,845
    Good names, but if I am on vacation, I may want to get away from N.C. state sports for complete relaxation.
  • whitefangwhitefang Posts: 13
    Build it. Topsail Island is a great place. Spent a good bit of my summers there as a kid. 
    I’m in to 2nd homes. As I drift closer to retirement, I want to travel, but I also want to spend time in different places where I have “clothes in the closet.”
    16 years ago my wife and I bought a place high up on Beech Mtn. I really feel now we’re beginning to appreciate it. Kids are on their own. we’re working on it making it a more comfortable place for those in our “3rd trimester of life” to enjoy. It isn’t depreciating, nor is yours. You or your kids will get your money or more out of it IF you want to sell.
    Recently bought hunting & fishing land (and large house) on the inner banks with my sons and a few close friends. 
    My vision a year or 2 away is a few weeks in the mtns, a week or 2 in Hky, and a week or 2 in Hyde County on the water in a boat.
    Do it!
  • choppack1choppack1 Posts: 1,845
    White fang - that’s an awesome description. I often struggle with the idea of loving the mountains, the beach, WS and my church. I like your approach!
  • GsoPackBackerGsoPackBacker Posts: 1,073
    Chop, do I ask what your wife is thinking on this? 😬
  • AdventurooAdventuroo Posts: 2,793
    whitefang said:
    Build it. Topsail Island is a great place. Spent a good bit of my summers there as a kid. 
    I’m in to 2nd homes. As I drift closer to retirement, I want to travel, but I also want to spend time in different places where I have “clothes in the closet.”
    16 years ago my wife and I bought a place high up on Beech Mtn. I really feel now we’re beginning to appreciate it. Kids are on their own. we’re working on it making it a more comfortable place for those in our “3rd trimester of life” to enjoy. It isn’t depreciating, nor is yours. You or your kids will get your money or more out of it IF you want to sell.
    Recently bought hunting & fishing land (and large house) on the inner banks with my sons and a few close friends. 
    My vision a year or 2 away is a few weeks in the mtns, a week or 2 in Hky, and a week or 2 in Hyde County on the water in a boat.
    Do it!
    We have the same vision or perhaps mine was the same,  We had a solid plan for my retirement.  I ran Grand Daddy Daycare for about 5 years and DW continued, in a PT manner with health insurance, to work.  We had a TS with 2 weeks in Myrtle Beach.  

    OPPS....the following is Herb Sendek’s FAULT....or maybe I should send him a thank you note.  We went to the 2006 ACCT and all our friends were there in their MH.  We had camped for almost 20 years, on and off, all up and down the east coast in three different pop ups.  We had also travelled to the west and tent camped in many parks back when the airlines had no restrictions on luggage.

    OK.  State, as usual, lost on Friday and we sold our tickets and spend the night in High Point and headed back to Raleigh....but...WHY NOT LOOK AT A NEW POP UP?  We hit the G’boro lots.  Nothing exciting, except my DW took a fancy to a used Airstream motor home.  RIGHT....I’m gonna put THAT much into an RV?

    So, in mid March, we set out to buy a Pop Up and after a week of owning a compact Travel Trailer that I was able to “return”, on June 24, we bought a used Gasser MH that was about 3-4 times our budget for a New PU.

    We enjoyed that so much that when the economy tanked in 2008, we bought a New 40 ft Diesel Pusher that was a real deal as we paid slightly over 50% of the MSRP.  But that “sales” was almost TRIPLE what we had paid for our 2 YO as NEW and a DEAL...gasser.

    Fate stepped in.  My wife’s company or “firm” saw that recent grads had very few job opportunities.  She was a “para professional” with years of experience.  The firm was going high tech and eliminating paper and planned on OCR data entry.  They dangled the word “partner” and the can’t get a job college grads lined up.  The firm RIF’ed the senior para’s as they also got OT.  The kids would work 80 hours per week during crunch time with no OT.  Therefore in April 2009, DW came home for good. 

     We had to “rethink”.  So, we set some goals...  6,000 miles per year.  2 months on the road.  That was in addition to the 2 weeks of TS in MB with the GK.  

    Rest is history.  I came close at the end of 2008.  We were a smidge under my optimistic miles and nights out,  We drove the MH in 48 states.  Camped in 47 states.  Hit 6 Canadian, Eh... provinces.  Spent 58 nights out, average.  We had our GK’s with us for 28 Weeks.... or 7 months.

    We spent a LOT of time Planning our trips.  We repeated a LOT of the places when the GK’s were older....seeing and reliving their excitement is priceless.  They have been to over 35 states and the same 6 CND provinces and in countless NP’s and major cities.  Been on top of the Empire State Building and the CN tower.  Been in all the top NP in the West.  Been further North than 1% of the US population and seen the Northern Lights from the Cabot Trail in NS...list goes on.

    We’re fortunate In that we planned financially and could do it and not have any concerns about “spending” their inheritance.  Even if we did, we would probably have done it as well...

    GO FOR IT.   
    Hey Chop...here are my 2 cents, maybe because that is all I have left.  I have done the following set ups, had an RV at a beach front park, owned a condo at Ocean Isle, owned a house on the waterway at Ocean Isle.  Each had their perks and downfalls.  I'm a beach person, love salt air, fishing on the pier, being on the beach, fresh sea food and checking out the different boats moving around.  With my house I had to rip off 2 story deck, tear off the sun room and completely rebuild due to faulty construction, wear/tear, corrosion...60K later thought it was re-built correctly, still had some issues...another repair and sold the place, was just burnt on that whole ordeal.  Having the open access to take family to the beach whenever you want is a sweet deal.  Some amazing memories already stored away.  The combo of salt air, sun, wind, sand being blown, rain...can be really hard on a home.  I agree with previous comments, if building take extra measures for highly wind and UV rated materials...set up a reserve account for maintenance and the unexpected issues, because insurance does not cover everything that will happen.  Life is so short and ever changing, go for it but be smart.  I'm hoping to purchase a little town home at North Topsail myself, small but easy to maintain.  The duplex option is pretty smart, if you build it right, the other side will help absorb cost of your total expense...just get your zoning approvals in place.
  • Fastback68Fastback68 Posts: 863
    Well damn, we just closed on an OIB house last Friday.  Where’s Mrs. Chop?  Put her in front of the keyboard.  
    Fastback congrats on the house at OIB, that market is really shot up the past few years, prices are soaring
  • Fastback68Fastback68 Posts: 863
    Thanks.  We debated OIB vs Kiawah for years.  I think Kiawah is a better financial investment but it might be like Donald Osborne on Jay Leno’s show where I’m just wrong.
  • oldwolfoldwolf Posts: 136
    We have been a part owner of a place at Salter Path for 40+ years. My parents went in with their family and we had it every 3 weeks.  I inherited part of their share.  My siblings and took out our share and got a place right across from the family place.  This is in a mobile home park in which we own the land.

    We have raised our kids with having a place to be at the beach almost as often as we want.  Now our kids and grandkids enjoy it too.

    we have loved the beach life, including the sand/water, fishing, seafood, and just looking over the water.

    as others have stated, having your own place provides a different experience than the occasional rental.

    However, maintenance is an ongoing experience down on the coast.  The salt air and storms require more care, but we have found it totally worth it.
  • GsoPackBackerGsoPackBacker Posts: 1,073
    The more I thought about all of my friends and family that have a second place, the ones that seem the happiest with their decision are the ones whose kids (teenage and adult) enjoy it with them.  I'll even throw in extended family there too.  I think Roo's RV is a great example.

    I have a sibling who bought a beautiful place in the mountains, but after a couple of years it was like pulling teeth to get his teenage kids to go as they had other interests.  His youngest is off to college this fall and since he has finally seemed to convince his wife that they can enjoy time there alone, I think he's enjoying it much more now.  The problem was that a primary driver to purchase was to create family memories.  In the end there were a lot of years of stress because that didn't happen. 

    I guess my point is make the decision you and your wife think is best for you both and will make you happy versus the happiness of others.
  • choppack1choppack1 Posts: 1,845
    Well aware of those maintenance issues. My FIL lives in Oak Island so I see the toll. The big debate between my wife and I is the “well, we will have dad’s beach house. Of course, she has a brother who also has a family and that just has “conflict” written all over it.

    The advice here is good. I appreciate the different viewpoints.
  • AdventurooAdventuroo Posts: 2,793
    edited August 12

    Thanks for the comments and such....this is a fascinating discussion.

    What WE did, worked for us.  That was the point.  We wanted to wander.  We enjoy the mountains and the beach and when we had a boat and the Kids were younger and loved to ski....that was our lifestyle.  BUT, as many point out.....your LIFESTYLE may change  OR  You don't do enough "What IF" or practical scenarios that you play out.

    We were NOT of the clan that had to GO TO the mountains every year or to the coast.  We have a BIL that bought a nice condo in Boone.  Was gonna rent it and make out like a bandit and also get to use it.  His wife's Father bought one first.  So, they did...  BUT, since his wife's Father was NOT married to his first wife anymore, that was a bit..."STRESSFUL".  My BIL's wife and sister would go up when their step mom was out spending their inheritance and their dad was up there alone.  That was GREAT.  BUT, he passed on and they totally lost interest in it and it became a drag and the rental income was not as GOOD as they had planned.  SOLD IT...

    Next up.  Maintenance.  I have helped on my wife's family farm when it was operating since we got married in 1965.  My two BIL's are not exactly "The TOOL Guy".  IF we had purchased a second home....then by drawing lots and such, we could have easily divided up the time.  BUT, my time would always have been...."Gee, Roo, while you are up there, the XXXX doesn't work.  We don't want to call a repairman to save us ALL money...".  That was the real world, so we never even considered it...

    The comments about the lifestyle changes are critical and how folks try to create memories and end up with painful nightmares.  We boated and camped with our kids from when they were born until they were almost in college.  We did OD on skiing as they all like that....so the boat made sense.

    BUT, after I lost my two best drivers....it was not as much fun.  DW and I DID spend a lot of peaceful and enjoyable evenings at Jordan and watched the sun set....and I skied....but that sort of got old.  

    Then, we got the MH's and the boat was a drain.  SOLD IT.

    As to the decision to BUILD or BUY.....don't build without doing a LOT of reference checking and talking to neighbors and looking at the area.  The comments about not scrimping on the Roof and the Windows and Doors and the exterior stuff (garages, decks, porches, etc.) seem simple....but when you trust a builder and he burns you....you are FORKED....  Know the CODES.  I would NOT attempt to put a roof on a house at the coast without having my OWN inspector, that shows up from time to time.  I know a few....and I spent over 25 years in  facilities and probably approved over $20 - $25 Million on new or tears offs and such.  I have a friend that is one of the top rated in the country.  He pulled together the Dade County spec and my BIL just scoffed at it....  It will be interesting to see how his "Frugal" house stands up....

    If you BUY.....then hire at least one or two professionals and get the house inspected.....like never before.  There are two kinds of inspectors....and they are as different as night and day.  The BUYER's inspector needs to be a horse's @$$.  He needs to nitpick and be as anal as anyone your ever saw.  He needs to spend 3 X the time on the structure and go over it from stem to stern.  He also needs to make sure that EVERY upgrade or repair was PERMITTED and inspect it himself.

    The OTHER inspector is the Seller's.  Quick Time Teddy is their man.  He almost does a drive by and tells the buyer....NO PROBLEM MAN....this is a sound structure.  Every Realtor worth their salt knows WHO they would get if they were going to buy the property for an INVESTMENT (Rental)....and that is who I would want.

    Bottom line....What floats my boat will sink others.  I grew up going to MB with my family for summer and in the fall for fishing.  That was FOOD STOCKING fishing.  We hit the Spots and had the back seat OUT of our 1954 Bel Air and loaded with lard tubs and ice.  We cleaned fish until midnight.  We were the first on the pier in the morning and then cleaned when the early run was over.  We took them home on Sunday and stayed up almost all night wrapping and finishing cleaning and freezing them.  We fried them and ate them all year.

    SO.....I love MB, despite that.  I have great childhood memories of the Pavillion.  I started my GK's there at a nice TS and that is VACATION for them.  When we quit wandering....we will spend more time there....and they will, even in college, tag along....  but, I DOUBT that I will ever buy a place down there.....
  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 2,233PFN Referee
    Chop: PM me and I’ll share my experience and some finances on it.  Your mileage may vary.
  • PackPACPackPAC Posts: 396
    So who owns “In Sea State of Mind” or “The Pack House”.
    Don't know who owns it by there is a Pack House on Oak Island.
  • PackPACPackPAC Posts: 396
    Roo I could be one of your GKs!!  I grew up going to Kerr Lake with my grandparents in their motor home, was skiing by myself at age 5.  Then we were off to Lake Gaston where we continued to camp in a friend's yard until my grandparents bought a lot and put in a double wide (still using it today).  We made yearly trips to Florida at Easter pulling the boat so we could ski while we were there.  Stayed in the same RV park in Winter Haven every year.  Easter Sunrise service at Cypress Gardens (must have seen that ski show a thousand times!), a day each at Disney and Sea World, the rest of the days on the lakes around Winter Haven.  When my grandfather retired we loaded up the RV and drove to Kenai, Alaska, we spent 6 weeks there and back seeing all sorts of amazing sites along the way.  The next summer it was a trip out west and back, about 4 or 5 weeks.  I know you probably already know but those trips with the GKs will be memories that they will treasure forever.  So awesome that you can do that with them!!  I've had my own boat since 2003 and I treasure every second I can get at the lake house.  A few years ago I got my granddad's favorite ski down out of the rafters on the boat dock, took it apart and restored it to display it at the lake house.  Even though he's not here anymore I can look at that ski when I'm at the lake and remember all the great times we had all over the country. My 16 year old doesn't enjoy the lake as much as she did when she was little but I'm hoping she'll come back around as she gets older or at least remember all the fun we had there when she was little.  Just awesome you were able to do that with DW and the GKs.
  • AdventurooAdventuroo Posts: 2,793

    Thanks for sharing.   I never got my GK’s, much to my regret, into skiing.  They were not as “adventurous” as you.  Pulled them on floats.   Your skiing @ 5 reminds me of the differences in how a child develops.  I have a Great Nephew that will be 3 in Oct.  His parents were never athletically inclined.  They got married and had the reception @ Poole .  I will guess that they weighed, combined, just slightly north of “20 squared”.  One day my nephew’s wife got a personal trainer....that was in 2011.  They had been married in 2008.  Next thing, my nephew joined her.  In 2013, they started running....think Forest Gump.  

    They are both Triathlon athletes now and have been to Europe to compete.  They lost an “average person” as they probably weigh, combined...around 270.  They bought two Triathlon bikes that are unbelievable....engineering and $$.  Got a picture from them in July.  My Great nephew is tooling along with them on a bike with NO Training wheels.  He was barely 2 1/2....

    I had to bribe and threaten and cajole my 8 YO GD in 2014 to get rid of her training wheels...

    Remember your adventures and do the same for your brood and future broods.  We have a digital frame with around 750 images...which will soon be expanded to 1,000.  It is packed with memories.  We have my daughter the same frame with a little different mix of photos, but all the ones of the GK with us traveling.  They comment on remembering the photos or ask about pictures that they were a little too young to have a full recollection.

    Good Stuff..  BTW, your GF was a real adventurer....  I decided that AK was a “bridge too far”.  Did that on tour.   My wife has a bucket list item.  We heli-hiked the Rockies in British Columbia on one of our 5 star jaunts.  She wants to take the whole brood and do that.  Had it not been for Covid, we might have done that this year...
  • PackPACPackPAC Posts: 396
    Can't get my daughter into skiing either she prefers to just cruise around on the boat, swim and ride the tube.  I still like to ski when I have a boat driver.  The AK trip definitely took a lot of planning but it was so worth it, amazing country.
  • Fastback68Fastback68 Posts: 863
    My son caught a black drum right at night fall. He just left to go back to school.  If it turns into a s—- show, he can always come back to fish.
  • We've had this debate in my household. I personally like the mountains more than the coast now that I've gotten older, but the wife is a beach bum. Our kids are young now, and vacation doesn't really feel like vacation anymore, so I'm holding out hope that the parents will buy something on the coast or mountains, and make our decision a little easier. Growing up spending more time on the NC coast and outer banks, my wife has now converted me to a SC coast person. I think they do a much better job with their inland waterways (did anyone see the recent lawsuit by NC recreational fishermen and guides against commercial shrimpers/fishermen and NCDENR?)
  • choppack1choppack1 Posts: 1,845
    GHG - I have had a similar experience to you. I like the mountains more as I get older. Here’s where I mention that the mountains have done a great job of developing businesses and leveraging their outdoor sporting activities, to really make these places more appealing than they once were.

    But then again, as soon as I went over that new bridge into Topsail, it rekindled the old beach house dreams.
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