Things to Know When Buying Galveston Texas Beach Front Property

Real Estate Agent with HomeLife Southern Properties



When buying a beach front home on Galveston Island, there are a few special things you need to know.


1.  Base Elevation – One of the first things to understand when purchasing property in or around Galveston Island is the base flood elevation (BFE).  The base elevation is measured from the sea level to a point above the earth.  On Galveston Island the lowest of zero to the highest of 15  feet.

 2. Is the property you are planning to buy ‘Firm’ or ‘Pre-Firm?’  Firm =the official FEMA mapping of a community determining special hazard areas and the risk premium zones for that community.  Pre-firm = those buildings built before the effective date of the first flood rate map for that community. You may hear these buildings referred to as “Grandfathered” as the flood management rules do not apply.  The year established as Firm in our local area is 1974.

 3. Understand the building requirements for each area.  Firm homes can have no active living space on the base floor.  All air-conditioned living space must be elevated according to the base flood elevation for that area or community. This rule again depends on the special hazard area and flood zone the property stands in.

   4.  When buying on the Galveston Texas beach, it is of vital importance to understand the vegetation line and what that means to your property.  After Hurricane Ike many of the beach communities and homes, due to the erosion of the beach, were now considered to be sitting on public property.  Be aware of the line that marks your private property from public beach.

 5. If you plan on purchasing your home with a mortgage, be aware that you must carry three types of insurance coverage.  Hazard / Fire, Texas Windstorm and Flood.  Seek out premium quotes from an agent who knows how to write on the coast before you fall in love with that home.  You may be astonished at how much those policies can cost you!


The Galveston Texas Gulf Coast Beach is a wonderful place to live, but as with other waterfront and coastal communities there be many details to doing it properly.  Be certain when you choose a REALTOR® to represent you, like me they are a Coastal & Waterfront Specialists.



Posted by


Deb Jamail, GRI, E-Pro  

Broker / Owner

HomeLife Southern Properties

Direct: 832-671-0998

Office: 409-935-9156

Galveston Homes For Sale 

Bayou Vista Texas For Sale




"When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life or in the life of another." ~Helen Keller~











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Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Very good advice for home buyers in your area.

 The colors of winter in Maryland. Life is good!

Feb 04, 2011 03:50 AM #1
Deb Jamail
HomeLife Southern Properties - Galveston, TX
Galveston County Real Estate

Thanks Roy for the comment!  Stay warm:)

Feb 04, 2011 08:37 AM #2
Kim Dean - McKinney, TX
d + b real estate, McKinney, TX REALTOR Broker/Own

Deb - AWESOME post about buying on the coast. On my trips down there my husband and I always wonder how much the insurance on those places must cost! Buyers and residents in your area will really find this area helpful!

Feb 04, 2011 02:07 PM #3
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Deb Jamail

Galveston County Real Estate
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