Work-Life Balance - the benefits of owning a beach house.
Sixteen years ago, my wife and I discovered that we were expecting our third child. This came as a bit of a surprise as our current family already consisted of two children aged ten and twelve years. We had also thought our reproductive days were well behind us.
Once the initial shock had subsided, my focus turned to determining the best way to cope with two different generations of children living under the one roof. We had to consider a solution where we could blend family life, a balanced lifestyle and finances into an enjoyable and beneficial outcome. My solution, being a builder, was to create two roofs. The second in the form of a beach house.
The main objective of creating a beach house was to ensure the family had a place to retreat and escape the everyday chaos of urban life. We set out exploring most of the Mornington Peninsula, and decided that Shoreham was the favoured location. After some research, a lot of luck, and some decisive action, we successfully purchased a one-acre bush block in the old part of this delightful seaside Hamlet.
A combination of six months of design and permits and ten months of building, we moved into our new beach house. This was to change our lives forever.
Building a beach house has become one of the best decisions of my life. My extended family and close friends use the house throughout the year, and it has become the meeting point and focus of our family life.
Now that we have had the privilege of owning and using the house at Shoreham for over fourteen years, I fully recognize the wide-ranging benefits of the long term ownership of a holiday house in a desirable location.
These benefits can be categorized into three main areas as follows:
Now that our older children are 25 and 27 years of age and both have long term partners, we have become a family of seven. It is a family ritual to come together multiple times a year at Shoreham. We celebrate many of the long weekends, traditional holiday periods and significant birthdays together as a family, over three or four days, in our beachside retreat.
Members of our extended family as well as several close family friends are also frequent guests. At times the resident count expands the group to around 14 or 15 under the one roof. They can all be comfortably accommodated thanks to the five bedrooms and four bathrooms.
This was the main reason for extending ourselves 16 years ago, to create an environment which could accommodate as required. It was also the main focus when originally designing the beach house, and is still the primary motivation for owning the property for many years to come.
It has also served as a much nicer alternative venue for ‘schoolies’ week for our older children and their friends.
Owning a beach house is one of the best ways to promote and reinforce a healthy lifestyle for your children. There is no better way to disconnect them from the world of technology and social media than offering them active alternatives such as the beach, swimming, surfing, horse riding and even bush walking.
In addition, our family’s social circle has greatly expanded since owning the beach house. We are blessed to have neighbours at Shoreham that have become lifelong family friends. Many other local families we now consider as valued friends as well.
For me personally, Shoreham has become my favourite remote work location. For several years I have worked from Shoreham each Friday and the benefits to me as well as for my business have been significant. Getting out of the city and away from the office is something I look forward to each week. My focus and productivity greatly benefits as a result.
Some other less obvious lifestyle benefits are my renewed love of gardening, tending to the veggie patch and zipping around on my ride-on mower. Our dog loves being at the beach house and gets lots of long walks on the beach. We all sleep incredibly well at Shoreham and even after one day or night only, we return to the city relaxed and energized.
Owning Shoreham has turned out to be a very good long-term investment. Over the last 16 years, land value in the Shoreham area have more than tripled. One of the main factors contributing to this growth in values is the local planning regulation that prohibits any further subdivision of land on this part of the Mornington Peninsula. Therefore, the supply of new properties for sale is very low, but the demand is high.
The other main financial benefit for us has come from the rise in the popularity of holiday rentals on the Peninsula. We have always viewed the beach house as an investment and have consistently rented it out during the peak summer holiday season. These summer rentals generate very attractive returns for relatively short-term stays. (ie 3-4 weeks)
This holiday home income has allowed my family to travel overseas for a largely subsidised cost.
We have also benefited financially over the years due to significant tax deductions from negative gearing and depreciation write off, as per any investment property.
The overriding benefit of owning a beach house, which isn’t financially quantifiable, is the fact that you tend to take holidays more often. And all these holidays are at a greatly reduced cost.
When these factors are averaged out over many years, the accumulated financial and lifestyle benefits are lifechanging. Owning a beach house offers a multitude of benefits for all. Whilst some benefits may be immediate, there are other benefits and opportunities that identify themselves over time.