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 2

A second home with room to grow on Puerto Rico's island of Vieques.

A couple searches for a second home on Puerto Rico's island of Vieques. While both Jolyon and Sarah agree that there needs to be room to grow, the couple is faced with the dilemma of choosing between a turnkey home and something the family can fix up. They look to local real estate agent, Thom Denton, to hunt down the ideal vacation home for only $250,000.

Monday
Oct 20
12:30am | 11:30c
Season 5, Episode 8

A home to grow in Nags Head, NC

Mary and Jason grew up spending their summers by the beach in Nags Head, NC. Fond of all their childhood memories, the couple wants to give their three sons the same unforgettable summers. With the help of local real estate agent, Randy Nance, the couple begins the search in hopes of finding a vacation home right on the sand, all for under $325,000.

Saturday
Feb 28
4:30pm | 3:30c
Season 4, Episode 5

A tropical nest on Pine Island, Florida.

Tim and Jen hunt for the perfect waterfront home to extend their boating season year round. With a love for summer weather and exotic wildlife, the couple want to make Pine Island, FL their second home. Having a budget of only $200,000, Tim and Jen meet with local real estate agent, Janet Scarpello, to help them find their dream vacation home.

Sunday
Jul 12
3:30pm | 2:30c
Season 7, Episode 9

In the twinkling of her eyes, a woman brings her hopes of living beachfront to Amelia Island, FL

With a personality as big as her heart, Beverly seeks ocean, sand and serenity in a beachfront home on Amelia Island. But there is no way that her son and daughter-in-law will allow her to take on such a task by herself. Luckily, talks with a local real estate agent have already produced some great options. If this agent can lock in on Beverly's truest desires for a beachfront home, while staying under her budget of $350,000, then happiness on Amelia Island will be a stone's throw away.

Sunday
Aug 2
8:30pm | 7:30c
Sunday
Aug 23
2:30pm | 1:30c
Season 10, Episode 13

A Future on Fripp Island, South Carolina

Todd and Kristy have been married for over four years and are expecting their first child in just a few months. Between their hectic workweeks and constant preparation for the baby, it's hard for them to find time to unwind. In an effort to ensure they'll have a break from the daily stresses of life, they've decided to scour the remote shores of Fripp Island, in search of a vacation home. Just a short drive from their hometown of Bluffton, South Carolina, Fripp Island offers a laid back coastal vibe, the ideal setting for a weekend getaway. Shopping with a strict budget of $350,000 they're not exactly sure what type of property they'll be able to afford but they're hoping real estate agent, Wayne Zerler, can find them a house right on the water.

Sunday
Jan 24
8pm | 7c
Season 10, Episode 2

Placencia: It's un-BELIZE-able

Dave and Laura are from Cleveland, Ohio and have been married for 5 years. They are both tired of the cold Midwest winters and are looking for a place where they can be outside more than two months out of the year. They are looking for a home, but also a location with room for a beachfront business. They love Belize and feel like this is the perfect time to make the move. With the help of real estate agent, Chris Appelbe, they hope to find the perfect beachfront property for only $350,000.

Sunday
Feb 21
8pm | 7c
Season 9, Episode 10

Finding a Castle on the Coast in Fort Pierce, FL

Ramiro and Liz are looking to find a family vacation home in the Sunrise City of Fort Pierce, Florida. With Ramiro often on the road for work, they are looking for a place where they can relax and spend precious time together. Liz has her heart set on a condo, while Ramiro pictures himself in a home. With the help of real estate agent, Delila McKenna, this couple will compromise on a castle on the coast for under $250,000.

Sunday
Mar 20
8pm | 7c
Season 6, Episode 1

Searching for a Sun Worshipper's Spot in Virginia Beach

A single woman and her sister search for a spot along Shore Drive in Virginia Beach,

Sunday
Jul 3
4:30pm | 3:30c
Season 12, Episode 1

Surfing the Shores of Topsail Island, North Carolina

Greg and Sherrill currently live in North Topsail Beach, North Carolina. Greg works in the military and met Sherrill while he was stationed outside of Dallas. They later moved to Topsail Island when Greg was relocated there. While they've been renting for a few years, they've finally saved up enough to buy their dream home on the water. With Greg being deployed, it's up to Sherrill to lead the search. With the help of real estate agent and friend, Jenna Morton, they hope to find the perfect beachfront condo for only $199,000.

Sunday
Aug 21
8:30pm | 7:30c
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
Sep 18
2:30pm | 1:30c
Season 12, Episode 13

Small Living on the Puget Sound, WA

After a cross-country road trip with her husband, Andy, Katie fell in love with the rough and tumble beaches of Washington's Puget Sound. Traveling with everything they needed in the back of the car, they realized that tiny living was enjoyable and could open up their possibilities of owning the beachfront property of their dreams. Tucked away in the northwestern corner of Washington, the area provides endless shoreline, wildlife around every corner, and is perfect for their outdoor lifestyle. With Andy away for work and Katie's son at school, it's the perfect time for a girls' trip with her daughter, Caroline, to search for a small sanctuary on the sands of the Puget Sound. With the help of local real estate agent, Susan Henry, this pair will look to avoid paying a small fortune and take a big leap toward a tiny house for under $375,000.

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

Monday
Jan 9
3am | 2c
Season 14, Episode 13

Making a Splash in Ocean City, Maryland

Andrew and Erin are from Phoenix, Maryland, and have two daughters. With all the kid-friendly attractions Ocean City has to offer, they decide it would be the ideal place to spend some quality family time together. With a boat in tow, they hope to find a place right on the water for under $325,000.

Sunday
Feb 19
8pm | 7c
Season 14, Episode 7

Making More Memories in Manahawkin, New Jersey

Danielle, Michelle and Mike grew up renting summer houses with their family in Manahawkin, New Jersey. As a gateway to the resort destination of Long Beach Island, Manahawkin has a residential feel with close proximity to an area booming with family fun. With Danielle living in Boston and Michelle and Mike living in Northern New Jersey, the shore is the perfect place for these siblings to get together, return to their childhood roots and find a family vacation home for under $350,000.

Sunday
Feb 19
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season 14, Episode 13

Making a Splash in Ocean City, Maryland

Andrew and Erin are from Phoenix, Maryland, and have two daughters. With all the kid-friendly attractions Ocean City has to offer, they decide it would be the ideal place to spend some quality family time together. With a boat in tow, they hope to find a place right on the water for under $325,000.

Monday
Feb 20
3am | 2c
Season 14, Episode 7

Making More Memories in Manahawkin, New Jersey

Danielle, Michelle and Mike grew up renting summer houses with their family in Manahawkin, New Jersey. As a gateway to the resort destination of Long Beach Island, Manahawkin has a residential feel with close proximity to an area booming with family fun. With Danielle living in Boston and Michelle and Mike living in Northern New Jersey, the shore is the perfect place for these siblings to get together, return to their childhood roots and find a family vacation home for under $350,000.

Monday
Feb 20
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 12, Episode 3

Deciding on Dauphin Island, AL

Kellie and Duane have their sights set on a family vacation home on beautiful Dauphin Island, Alabama. With an abundance of budget friendly activities like crabbing, shelling, and biking, the area is perfect for the entire family. Plus, at 14 miles long and less than 2 miles wide, the water is never more than a short walk away. With the help of local real estate agent, Dot Small, Kellie and Duane will search for a seaside home steps from the sand for under $250,000.

Sunday
Feb 26
8pm | 7c
Season , Episode

Sunday
Feb 26
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season 12, Episode 3

Deciding on Dauphin Island, AL

Kellie and Duane have their sights set on a family vacation home on beautiful Dauphin Island, Alabama. With an abundance of budget friendly activities like crabbing, shelling, and biking, the area is perfect for the entire family. Plus, at 14 miles long and less than 2 miles wide, the water is never more than a short walk away. With the help of local real estate agent, Dot Small, Kellie and Duane will search for a seaside home steps from the sand for under $250,000.

Monday
Feb 27
3am | 2c
Season , Episode

Monday
Feb 27
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 14, Episode 5

Savings on Washington's San Juan Islands

Sybil and Travis live and work on the San Juan Islands, an archipelago off the coast of Washington. They previously owned a vacation property in Cabo San Lucas, but making trips to and from Mexico on a regular basis was problematic. Sybil and Travis decided there would be no better place to find a new family getaway than right in their own backyard, so they are looking for a San Juan sanctuary within their firm budget of $375,000.

Sunday
Mar 5
8pm | 7c
Season 14, Episode 6

California Dreamin' in Morro Bay

Paul and Shelly live in Morro Bay, California, and love spending time at the beach. However, they currently live far from the water and are looking to move into a new house within walking distance. With West Coast prices climbing out of reach, they know finding a property within their budget will be tough, but they hope to find the perfect beachfront home right on the water for under $375,000.

Sunday
Mar 5
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season 14, Episode 5

Savings on Washington's San Juan Islands

Sybil and Travis live and work on the San Juan Islands, an archipelago off the coast of Washington. They previously owned a vacation property in Cabo San Lucas, but making trips to and from Mexico on a regular basis was problematic. Sybil and Travis decided there would be no better place to find a new family getaway than right in their own backyard, so they are looking for a San Juan sanctuary within their firm budget of $375,000.

Monday
Mar 6
3am | 2c
Season 14, Episode 6

California Dreamin' in Morro Bay

Paul and Shelly live in Morro Bay, California, and love spending time at the beach. However, they currently live far from the water and are looking to move into a new house within walking distance. With West Coast prices climbing out of reach, they know finding a property within their budget will be tough, but they hope to find the perfect beachfront home right on the water for under $375,000.

Monday
Mar 6
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 10, Episode 3

No Shirt, No Shoes, Nosara, Costa Rica

Glenn and Linda met through friends, quickly fell in love and have been married for over 20 years. They've vacationed all across the globe and the one place they've really connected with is the small surf town of Nosara, Costa Rica. Glenn and Linda love the active outdoor lifestyle Nosara offers and feel it's time to finally settle down and purchase some beachfront property of their own. Glenn is a licensed real estate agent and he has compiled a variety of homes to show Linda within their budget of $375,000.

Friday
Mar 10
1pm | 12c

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