20 Best-Life Secrets From Beachfront Bargain Hunters

See All Photos
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!

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

BUDGET-FRIENDLY BEACH HOUSES
BUDGET-FRIENDLY BEACH HOUSES

Beachfront Bargain Hunt Full Episodes 0 Videos

Dreaming of a beach getaway? See how these savvy Beachfront Bargain Hunt buyers found their dream property for less.

Watch Full Episodes Now

From Our Blog

Get the latest beach living news from our blog.

The Perks of Spending the Holidays at the Beach Dec 27, 2016

It’s hard to beat curling up with a mug of hot cocoa and watching the snow fall — but it’s not impossible.

After the Bargain Hunt: 10 Things I Learned at My Friends' Beachfront Bungalow Jun 17, 2016

What happens after those "congratulations on moving to paradise!" toasts at the end of TV shows? My husband and I finally found out.

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.
Monday
Dec 29
12:30am | 11:30c
Season 3, Episode 10

A family of five searches for their vacation escape on the Emerald Coast of Florida.

Gidge, Brody and their three children are looking for their perfect family vacation escape. Brody and Gidge have their hearts set on a beachfront property in Destin, Fl., a town they've been in love with for years. However, they soon discover that beachfront condominiums in Destin may be well above their budget of $310,000. With the guidance of local real estate agent, Tim French, the family looks at properties in Panama City ?a part of the Emerald Coast they have yet to discover.

Sunday
Jan 4
5:30pm | 4:30c
Season 6, Episode 12

Beach living on the shores of Barrington, RI.

Having grown up on the beautiful shores of Barrington, RI, Mark Piccerelli is ready to give his daughter, Isabelle, the same beachfront lifestyle he had the privilege of knowing as a child. With a plan in mind and a lengthy wish list, Mark enlists the help of local real estate agent, Carolyn Nolan, to help him find his dream waterfront home near Narragansett Bay for only $315,000.

Sunday
Jun 21
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season 6, Episode 10

Waking Waretown Dreams on the Jersey Shore

Steve and Christine may live inland, but big dreams of a boating and beach bum lifestyle lead them to Waretown, searching for a vacation home on the Jersey Shore. Steve is anchors away when it goes to snagging a lagoon front home where he can dock his fantasy boat, but Christine may not be on deck with any plans to exceed their $350,000 budget.

Monday
Jun 22
3am | 2c
Season 5, Episode 10

A gem of a home on Emerald Isle, NC

Jenny and Michael want to give their two children the same childhood summers they grew up enjoying. Having a deep love for North Carolina's beach town, Emerald Isle, they set out to find the perfect weekend getaway. They enlist the help of local real estate agent, Amy Berger, to find them home away from home, all for under $295,000.

Sunday
Jun 28
8pm | 7c
Season 4, Episode 6

A single mother and her two daughters search for a beachfront property in Biloxi.

Elizabeth and her two daughters live in New Orleans but love the beach. After vacationing in Biloxi for many years, they feel it's finally time to purchase a vacation home there. Trying to please two daughters and find the perfect condominium for under $215,000 is not an easy task. With the help of local real estate agent Beth Mandal Tyson, Elizabeth and her daughters hope to find the perfect Biloxi beachfront bargain.

Sunday
Jul 5
2:30pm | 1:30c
Season 2, Episode 1

A Savannah Couple Searches for Their Dream Oceanfront Home

Stacia and Ryan did not grow up with vacations on the sand, and they have always dreamed of living on a beach. Realtor Betty Lou Futrell will show them four potential properties on the shores of Tybee Island, GA. Will they be able to find a place that feels like a vacation home, has room for family, and is close to activities all for under their budget of $250,000?

Sunday
Jul 5
3pm | 2c
Season 1, Episode 2

A Florida Couple Searches for Their First Home Right on the Beach

Newly engaged Florida natives Lauren and Erik are searching for their first home together. They've grown up near the beach, and now they hope to find a bargain on Clearwater beach. But with a first-home buyers budget, finding a single-family home within steps of the sand, is no easy task. Realtor, Mike Godwin shows them three great beachfront deals.

Sunday
Jul 12
12:30pm | 11:30c
Season 2, Episode 8

A Miami Man Searches the Shores for Beachside Living

Stephen Wechsler is a project manager in one of America's hottest beach towns. With help from real estate agent, Alon Oami, Stephen hopes to finally live his dream of owning a piece of property right on the water. The two hope to accomplish this goal for $300,000 or less.

Sunday
Jul 12
1:30pm | 12:30c
Season 5, Episode 10

A gem of a home on Emerald Isle, NC

Jenny and Michael want to give their two children the same childhood summers they grew up enjoying. Having a deep love for North Carolina's beach town, Emerald Isle, they set out to find the perfect weekend getaway. They enlist the help of local real estate agent, Amy Berger, to find them home away from home, all for under $295,000.

Sunday
Jul 12
4:30pm | 3:30c
Season 7, Episode 13

Yearnin' for Chuburna Puerto, Mexico

Baphu and Christine have known each other since they were in elementary school. During a game of spin the bottle, Christine even became Baphu's first kiss. As teenagers they moved away and drifted apart before reconnecting several years later. Now with four kids and one on the way, they're looking for a weekend getaway, a refuge where they can relax and enjoy spending time together as a family. After moving from Canada to Merida, Mexico, Baphu and Christine have set their beachfront sights on the quaint nearby fishing village, Chuburna Puerto. While they both agree that living on the beach is top priority, Christine is willing to break the bank for the home of her dreams while Baphu wants to stick to their budget of $200,000.

Monday
Jul 20
3am | 2c
Season 8, Episode 11

My Heart-a Belongs to Puerto Vallarta

Linda and Mike live in Vancouver, Canada, and have been married for 19 years. They first vacationed in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on their honeymoon and quickly fell in love with the city's tropical beach lifestyle and rich culture. Linda and Mike continued to visit numerous times over the years and found that each trip became longer and longer. Now they've decided it's time to ditch the hotel reservations and travel itineraries and find a beachfront oasis they can visit whenever they need to get away. They've enlisted real estate agent, Josie Gonzalez, to help secure a seaside refuge for under $300,000.

Sunday
Dec 27
8pm | 7c
Season 8, Episode 8

Passport to Rio Hato, Panama

Troy Bell fell in love with the sand, sea, and sunshine after his first trip to Florida as a teenager with his parents. After this life changing experience, the native Canadian vowed that when he grew up he was going to move out of rainy Vancouver and into his very own tropical beach house. Now after several trips to Central America, Troy has his sights set on the shores of the Coclé Province of Panama, in the town of Rio Hato. The fabulous sandy beaches, glistening turquoise water, and incomparable climate, are the perfect setting for a seaside sanctuary. With the help of real estate agent and fellow ex-pat, Eldon Spears, Troy hopes to fulfill his beachfront dreams for under $200,000.

Friday
Jun 24
3pm | 2c
Season , Episode

Sunday
Jan 21
8pm | 7c
Season , Episode

Sunday
Jan 21
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season , Episode

Monday
Jan 22
3am | 2c
Season , Episode

Monday
Jan 22
3:30am | 2:30c
Season , Episode

Sunday
Jan 28
8pm | 7c
Season , Episode

Sunday
Jan 28
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season , Episode

Monday
Jan 29
3am | 2c
Season , Episode

Monday
Jan 29
3:30am | 2:30c
Season , Episode

Sunday
Feb 4
8pm | 7c
Season , Episode

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

Monday
Feb 5
3am | 2c
Season , Episode

Monday
Feb 5
3:30am | 2:30c
Season , Episode

Sunday
Feb 11
8pm | 7c

You Might Also Like...

See All Shows

Hawaii Life

Sundays at 8|7c

Caribbean Life

Consult Program Guide

Amazing Water Homes

Consult Program Guide

For House Hunters Fans ...

See All Shows

House Hunters

Weeknights 10pm | 9c

House Hunters International

Weeknights 10:30pm | 9:30c

House Hunters Renovation

All New! Saturdays 10p | 9c