20 Best-Life Secrets From Beachfront Bargain Hunters

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Live smarter by the beach with these budget-friendly tips.

Reset your watch for “island time.”

Beachfront communities lack a certain urgency that bedevils the rest of the world; letting one’s schedule bend and stretch a bit is good for the soul.  

Nothing beats local eats.

Trendy farm-to-table restaurants and newcomers to the “slow food” movement are getting on board with what chefs in the tropics have always known — that is, that fresh grub harvested and produced nearby is far tastier than packaged-and-preserved imports. (Bring on the coconut and tropical fruit, please.)

Tags: 
  1. snow cones

Photo By: Andrew McGary ©© 2015 HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Gadgets are overrated.

A decade ago, almost no one could check in with work from a phone on the beach. Wasn’t that a marvelous time to be alive? 

Photo By: Anna Bryukhanova

A signature cocktail is a must.

It’s probably possible to lean back in a deck chair and watch the sun set over the ocean without a beachy drink in hand, but who wants to find out? Whether you’re clinking glasses at a casita on the Gulf of Mexico or at a condo in Miami, a good host has a house specialty (and can whip up a pitcher of it in no time flat). 

Make This: Sol de Flare Cocktail

Workouts aren’t work on the shore.

It’s a lot easier to get your Surgeon-General-recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day when they’re in the sand or the boardwalk.

Coastal style keeps summer going all year long.

Crisp whites, breezy curtains and tropical details can perpetuate June in any room you choose — even when it’s November on the other side of the front door.

Photo By: Christopher Paul Luker

Scenery is all the artwork you need.

In a home with a priceless view, that view can take center stage — no embellishment necessary. (If you just happen to have a big vintage surf poster collection, of course, it’d be pretty odd to leave it out of your beachfront home. Otherwise, don’t worry about a gallery wall.)

From: Barry Dixon

Photo By: Photo Credit: Edward Addeo © Gibbs Smith, Barry Dixon Interiors, Brian D Coleman, Edward Addeo (photographer)

Home doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be welcoming.

Large and luxurious spaces are nice, but cheery and humble ones are just as fun. If you’ve got a well-stocked fridge, you’ll be fine without granite countertops — promise.

Go green.

Nothing says “Hey, did you notice this fabulous natural setting?” like setting some fabulous nature around your home; both lush foliage and flowers from the local farmers’ market can make a space bloom.

No, seriously, go green.

Beach dwellers have front-row seats for the results of everything from manmade pollution and coastal erosion to climate change and extreme storms; the rest of us would do well to keep an eye on how our environment affects us (and vice versa), too.  

The ocean really does lull you to sleep.

The whooshing sound of waves registers as a non-threat that tells our brains “don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t worry,” according to a sleep researcher from Penn State. No wonder white noise machines with “ocean” settings — and bedrooms that face the sea — are so popular.

The beach is a place and a state of mind.

Studies have shown that just thinking about an upcoming vacation has a positive effect on our happiness. That’s a perk that beachfront property owners get to enjoy on a permanent basis. Well played, beach house buyers. 

Photo By: Photolyric Stock Productions (Kl

Think outside the “hot spots.”

The easiest way to sidestep the inflation, overcrowding, and tackiness of popular destinations is, well, to sidestep those destinations. Prices and the odds of having to fight for a spot on the beach often drop when you’re willing to look past resort towns and keep going a few miles down the road.

Photo By: JOSH_HODGE

Life is full of compromises.

In some cases that means a five-minute walk to the shore instead of a budget-busting vacation home right on the water; in other cases it means agreeing to a move-in-ready property because your spouse has subtly indicated that too-ambitious DIY projects will land you in marriage counseling. Happily, the beach is worth it. 

If a fixer-upper isn’t your thing, let it go.

A savvy bargain hunter knows when a property needs a little love and its price might come down accordingly. A really savvy bargain hunter knows when he or she doesn’t have quite that much love to give and keeps on walking.

Getting enough water is essential.

Hydration is key, of course, but swimming, snorkeling, and sailing are equally vital. The best thing about a house on the beach is leaving it behind and making a beeline for the waves. 

Photo By: Photolyric Stock Productions (Kl

Put your home to work.

An occasionally unoccupied home can help pay for itself if local authorities are comfortable with you renting it out when you’re not in town (and you’re comfortable with sharing your stuff with strangers). Given what that revenue could add to your budget, sharing your stuff sounds pretty good, no? 

Photo By: Paul Piebinga

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Buyers with an eye on the beach are willing to forgo details that some of us hold dear in order to realize their dreams: who cares about a private bathroom or a washer-dryer when the ocean is right outside? “Nothing is better than simplicity,” Walt Whitman once said. He also said, “to me the sea is a continual miracle.” Coincidence?

Details should be fun.

Beachfront homes are all play and no work, hopefully; shouldn’t they be full of things that make you smile? Come to think of it, shouldn’t all living spaces function that way?

Paradise is even better when you share it.

When you find your favorite place in the world, it’s only natural to want to introduce it to your favorite people. (You might want to consider a spare bedroom or a sleeper sofa.)

Photo By: Mihailo Milovanovic

Budget Beach Houses? Yes!

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See how these buyers found their oasis by the shore for a steal.

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About the Show

Each week we follow a family making their beachfront living dreams come true — on a budget! We'll follow them on the house hunt as we discover some of the most surprisingly affordable beachfront locales that prove you don't need to be a millionaire to live right on the beach.
Season 4, Episode 12

Bargain Hunting Puerto Vallarta

Brad and Scott are in love with the cultural atmosphere of Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. Real Estate Agent John Swanson will show them four potential properties. Come along as they search for a beach home with lots of space that's steps from the beach all for under their budget of $275,000.

Sunday
Dec 7
2:30pm | 1:30c
Season 4, Episode 3

Emerald waters and white sands on the shores of Blue Mountain Beach, FL

Having vacationed on Blue Mountain Beach for almost 20 years, Chrissy and Dino are ready to look for the perfect beach escape on the Florida Panhandle. With big dreams of having emerald water views and quick Gulf shores access, the couple reaches out to local real estate agent, Clayton Bonjean, to help them find their ideal beachfront getaway without busting their budget of $350,000.

Sunday
Dec 14
9pm | 8c
Season 6, Episode 6

Battling Budgets in North Myrtle Beach

Vinny and Frenia agree on the idea of a vacation home in North Myrtle Beach, but they are finding out that their differing budgets may come between them. They have enlisted the help of real estate agent, Jason Moore, to play referee between Frenia's urge to splurge at $250,000 and Vinny's more conservative outlook of $185,000.

Sunday
Feb 1
8pm | 7c
Season 6, Episode 7

Galavanting around for a summer home on beaches of Galveston, TX.

Houston couple, Erica and Stew, love spending their summers on the beautiful beaches of Galveston, TX. Tired of renting various beach homes year after year, the couple decide it's finally time to buy a beachfront home of their own. With a tight budget of $350,000, the family enlists local real estate agent, Carol Miller Odorizzi, to help them find the perfect summer abode.

Sunday
Mar 15
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season 5, Episode 3

A home on the Grand Strand in South Carolina.

Jason and Jessica hunt for the perfect beachfront home to help unwind from their busy workweeks. Having vacationed on South Carolina's Grand Strand most of their lives, the couple is ready to turn in their hotelkeys for home keys. Having a budget of only $150,000, the couple meets with local real estate agent, Kim Goyer, to help them find their dream vacation getaway.

Sunday
Apr 5
3pm | 2c
Season 3, Episode 8

First Time Bargain Hunting on St. Thomas

David and Tiffany met, fell in love, and started their family on the gorgeous island of St. Thomas. They want a home they can put their own touch on for under their budget of $350,000. Real Estate Agent, Kerstin McConnell, will show them four potential properties along the aqua waters of St. Thomas.

Saturday
May 2
4:30pm | 3:30c
Season 7, Episode 3

Northern Beach Retreat on the Outer Banks

Scott and Tamera Forshaw are from Richmond, Virginia, and have been married for 30 years. Ever since they first met, their favorite vacation destination has been the magnificent, unspoiled, Northern Beaches of the Outer Banks. With day-to-day life at home being very busy, both Tami and Scott want to find a beachfront getaway where they can relax and spend quality time with loved ones. They both agree that the beaches along the North Carolina coast would be the perfect place to build lasting family memories. With the help of real estate agent, Kelly Dean, the Forshaws hope to find a beachfront retreat for under $300,000.

Sunday
Jul 12
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season 8, Episode 2

A young couple yearns for a new life in beautiful St. Croix.

Matt and Liz, a young couple from Pittsburgh, found each other by fate, but hardly have time for one another. Fed up with living in a crowded downtown Pittsburgh environment, they pack their bags for the openness of beautiful St. Croix. But upon their arrival, they discover they have not the slightest clue on how to navigate the island. If local real estate agent, Kim Lucas, can find a charming home with incredible sweeping views of the coral blue water for under $300,000, then Matt and Liz will begin the next chapter in their storybook romance.

Sunday
Aug 16
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season 4, Episode 8

An hacienda on Mexico's island of Isla Mujeres.

After 11 years of vacationing in Mexico, Ashley and Todd look to find a second home on the beautiful island of Isla Mujeres. With a tricky wish list and limited island inventory, the couple looks to real estate agent, Jim Botaish, to help navigate them through the house hunting process.

Thursday
Feb 11
4:30pm | 3:30c
Season 8, Episode 13

Crashin' on the shores of Crystal Beach, TX

Debbie and John have set their sights on the shores of Crystal Beach, Texas. After renting for years, they're ready to dive in and find a beachfront base of their own. From off-roading on the beach to skimboarding in the waves, Crystal Beach provides the family atmosphere the Crismans crave. Formerly competing coworkers, this couple will team up to find a beachfront home for their family of four. With the help of real estate agent, Cody Hammond, Debbie and John are wheelin' and dealin' for a home away from home.

Monday
Feb 29
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 6, Episode 11

Searching the Sandy Shores of Big Texas for an Island Getaway on a Little Budget.

Scott and Trudy have been saving for years to buy their dream family vacation home on the shores of South Padre Island. Finally ready to make the leap, they're searching for a place in the sand for both family and renters to enjoy. In a multi-million dollar market with a budget of only $250,000, the Bristers are hoping not everything has to be bigger in Texas.

Sunday
Jun 5
2:30pm | 1:30c
Season 10, Episode 11

Countdown to Cape Canaveral, Florida

Rob and Katy are from Merritt Island, Florida and have three kids. Even though they only live fifteen minutes to the beach, they've always dreamed of owning a place right on the water. With Rob working in aerospace technology, Cape Canaveral is the perfect spot for their coastal condo. With the help of real estate agent, Caroline Rowe, they hope to find the perfect beachfront property for only $199,000.

Friday
Feb 3
7pm | 6c
Season 13, Episode 4

On the Road to Renewal in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Brent and Tracy have been married for 25 years and live in a suburb of New Orleans. For as long as they've been together, the charming community of Bay St. Louis, MS, has been their ideal setting for a relaxing weekend getaway. While Brent and Tracy always dreamed of someday owning a home along the brilliant bay shores, they never thought it was actually attainable. But now after a disciplined period of saving, they've hired local real estate agent Holly Lemoine-Raymond to find the perfect vacation home while staying within their budget of $325,000.

Thursday
Jun 1
5:30pm | 4:30c
Season 16, Episode 1

Spontaneously Buying a Beach Home on the Island of St. Croix

Fed up with the rising costs of vacations, a couple sets out to make their dreams of owning a beach home a reality. The couple decides that St. Croix, the largest of the US Virgin Islands, would be the perfect place for a retreat along the Caribbean Sea after only one visit. Aware of the affordable housing market but unsure of where to start the house hunt, the couple uses an agent to help find their ideal private oasis while staying under budget.

Sunday
Jul 23
8pm | 7c
Season 15, Episode 2

It's Game Time in Galveston, Texas

A football family of four lives a busy life of sports in Katy, Texas. They'd like to find a vacation house in Galveston, Texas, to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and spend more quality time together. With the help of a local real estate agent, they hope to find the perfect beachfront home for under $399,000.

Sunday
Jul 23
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season 16, Episode 1

Spontaneously Buying a Beach Home on the Island of St. Croix

Fed up with the rising costs of vacations, a couple sets out to make their dreams of owning a beach home a reality. The couple decides that St. Croix, the largest of the US Virgin Islands, would be the perfect place for a retreat along the Caribbean Sea after only one visit. Aware of the affordable housing market but unsure of where to start the house hunt, the couple uses an agent to help find their ideal private oasis while staying under budget.

Monday
Jul 24
3am | 2c
Season 15, Episode 2

It's Game Time in Galveston, Texas

A football family of four lives a busy life of sports in Katy, Texas. They'd like to find a vacation house in Galveston, Texas, to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and spend more quality time together. With the help of a local real estate agent, they hope to find the perfect beachfront home for under $399,000.

Monday
Jul 24
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 15, Episode 7

From Turkey to the South Jersey Shore

Sevket and Selim work long hours at their business in Jackson, New Jersey. Growing up in Turkey, the brothers were landlocked, so they've always dreamed of owning a house on the beach. Now, they are looking for a home their entire family can enjoy. With the help of their real estate agent, Sevket and Selim hope to find the perfect beachfront property for under $399,000.

Sunday
Jul 30
8pm | 7c
Season 16, Episode 13

Destin-ation Florida

Chase and Anna Claire grew up vacationing in Destin, Florida, and want to purchase a property to give their kids the same experiences. The couple also wants to rent the property when they're away, so they enlist a local real estate agent to help them find a condo overlooking the emerald waters for up to $350,000.

Sunday
Jul 30
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season 15, Episode 7

From Turkey to the South Jersey Shore

Sevket and Selim work long hours at their business in Jackson, New Jersey. Growing up in Turkey, the brothers were landlocked, so they've always dreamed of owning a house on the beach. Now, they are looking for a home their entire family can enjoy. With the help of their real estate agent, Sevket and Selim hope to find the perfect beachfront property for under $399,000.

Monday
Jul 31
3am | 2c
Season 16, Episode 13

Destin-ation Florida

Chase and Anna Claire grew up vacationing in Destin, Florida, and want to purchase a property to give their kids the same experiences. The couple also wants to rent the property when they're away, so they enlist a local real estate agent to help them find a condo overlooking the emerald waters for up to $350,000.

Monday
Jul 31
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 14, Episode 8

Quest for the Best of Westerly, Rhode Island

Catherine and Andrea live in Meriden, Connecticut, and are soon to be married. But before they walk down the aisle, they're hoping to find a weekend getaway in the coastal community of Westerly, Rhode Island. Catherine spent her childhood vacationing along the shores of Westerly and feels there would be no better place to relax and unwind after a busy week. Andrea loves the idea of a beach house but isn't so sure they'll be able to find a property within their budget of $375,000, so they enlist the help of a local real estate agent to aid in their search for an affordable seaside retreat.

Friday
Aug 4
1pm | 12c
Season 13, Episode 7

The Kids Agree on Siesta Key, Florida

Richard and Christine are from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and have three kids: Alexandra, Madison and Leah. After Christine's parents purchased a condo in Siesta Key, Florida, a few years earlier, the whole family fell in love with the area. After years of renting, they are finally ready to purchase a place to call their own.

Friday
Aug 4
1:30pm | 12:30c
Season 12, Episode 12

Flockin' to Rockport, Texas

Jim and Pam are college sweethearts from Houston, Texas and have two kids, Will and Abigail. While Pam has been coming to Rockport since she was a child, Jim only recently discovered the wonders of this charming fishing community. With all of the amazing outdoor activities that Rockport has to offer, they think this is a great place to create some lasting family memories with the kids. With the help of real estate agent, Phyllis Kline, they hope to find the perfect beachfront home for under $250,000.

Friday
Aug 4
2pm | 1c
Season 11, Episode 11

Hunting for a Hidden Gem on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Jim and Melissa are from Hunt Valley, Maryland, and have two daughters, Ariette and Aubriel. They own and operate a catering company that requires working grueling 20-hour days and combined with the girl's hectic schedules, it's tough for them to find time to spend together as a family. But one benefit of the catering industry is the off-season, which allows Jim and Melissa to have a few months of downtime each year. They've decided the best way to optimize these breaks would be with the purchase of a beachfront vacation home on the private, resort island of Hilton Head, in South Carolina. With the help of local real estate agent, Tammy Moody, Jim and Melissa hope to find a peaceful sanctuary in the sand for under $275,000.

Friday
Aug 4
2:30pm | 1:30c
Season 10, Episode 6

Cashing In On A Casa In Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Curtis and Linda are from British Columbia, Canada, and have been married for over thirty years. With day-to-day life at home becoming increasingly hectic they would love to find a beachfront getaway where they can relax and spend quality time with their friends and family. Having vacationed south of the border in the past, Curtis and Linda agree that the tropical shores of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico would be the perfect setting to escape the frigid great white north and build lasting family memories. With the help of real estate agent, Nick Fong, they hope to find a seaside oasis under their tight budget of $250,000.

Friday
Aug 4
3pm | 2c

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