Beach Hut Viewing Tips by Heather Hilder on September 15, 2021 “Beach Huts” Beach Hut Viewing Tips How long does it take to view a beach hut? Five, ten or twenty minutes? If you answered “5 minutes”, I’d hazard a guess that you’re not truly taking as much time as you should! How long does it actually take to view the interior and exterior of a 6 x 6 shed? When you purchase a licence for a Beach Hut in Brighton & Hove, you will spend a minimum of 3 years visiting and enjoying your property on the prom. Don’t live to regret your plot on Brighton & Hove promenade! So follow my beach hut viewing tips, before you buy! Heather’s Top Tips for Viewing a Beach Hut Is the hut easily accessible? If you live close enough to walk to your beach hut, then this question is irrelevant. But if you have to park the car, or catch the bus, do you live in the same Parking Zone, and is the bus stop close enough to walk to your hut and how frequently do the services run? Does the hut have signs of damp and mould? Giveaway signs are obvious – a mouldy smell, flaky paint, ‘spotting’ on the walls. Is the current owner keeping wetsuits in the hut which haven’t dried out? Is the flooring solid – if you step on it, do the floor-boards ‘sink’? Check that the hut has air vents to freshen the air. Is the beach hut structurally sound? Brighton & Hove City Council stipulates the specification and paint details for beach huts. They suffer summer sun, winter winds, salty seas. Basically, they can take a bashing throughout the year. Repairs and maintenance are essential, particularly before the winter months and coming into Spring. Flaking paint, rusty locks, mouldy roofs – not a pretty sight – but they could also mask other problems. Check to see if sea or rainwater has penetrated under the doors, is wood rotting, are locks falling off? Ask before you buy – when was the last time the hut was repainted, rebuilt, refurbished? You may take little notice if your intention is to rebuild to your custom specification. But you certainly don’t want to pay a premium only to find you must spend £thousands to bring it into good repair. Does the beach hut have shelving and storage? You may wish to customise the interior of your new hut and prefer to buy a hut as an empty canvas. Shelving and storage space is useful for ‘beach paraphernalia’ – bottles of suntan lotion, oil for the locks, deck-chairs, beach toys, plastic cups and saucers … Orientation? It’s safe to say that in Brighton & Hove, beach huts have a ‘favoured’ north/south orientation, allowing the viewer to watch the sea in all seasons. In summer or in winter, fling open the doors and you’re facing SOUTH – generally bringing sunshine. At other times watch the clouds play on the ocean and make the most of some spectacular photo opportunities! Building a brand new beach hut? Check the specifications from Brighton & Hove City Council. Beach Hut Staging? Not quite as ‘du jour’ as staging carried out in residential properties – but mirrors, storage cupboards, rugs on the floor and the smell of fresh paint can camouflage areas needing maintenance in a bold attempt to make a hut more appealing. Remain objective in that the price reflects the location, condition and demand for beach huts. Security matters? The condition of the beach hut indicates how seriously the current owner has invested in repairs and maintenance. Check how solid the structure is, that the locks are strong (I generally recommend 3 locking devices). Another good security measure is having a lamp post in the vicinity spreading light over the huts in autumn and winter gloom. Original, refurbished or rebuilt? I generally estimate spending between £500-1000 per annum on repairs and maintenance. If there’s any money over, put it in the beach hut kitty for the following year! Replacing the roof, sides and doors can be expensive – especially with the increase in materials since July 2021. Painting adds to the expense. What about electrics and plumbing? You don’t have to worry about electrics and plumbing in the private beach huts in Brighton & Hove! No checking the water pressure! You might like to see if there is a water tap or a shower close to your hut though. Lighting can be very atmospheric with LEDs, but there are no electric sockets to worry about. Sound-proofing? No, I’m not talking sound insulation. But your neighbours may be party-animals, your hut may be near an area where lots of activities for children and adults take place – if you’re looking for a quiet corner, then take note! What condition are the neighbouring huts in? If you’ve bought a property in the past, did you notice next door? Were the properties in a good condition? If your neighbouring huts are in a poor condition, this could affect the value of your own hut. The neighbours may not visit often (see sound-proofing above) but do you want to be surrounded by flaky paint, rotting timber and masses of weeds? Viewing in the Right location? Think about the facilities and amenities you want, before buying your hut. Are you close to a café, pub or restaurant for breakfasting, lunching or dining al fresco, or sipping a coffee before whilst spending the day at your hut? Do you have direct access to the beach, or do you have to negotiate steep steps? Is there a tiny sliver of space between the beach hut and its neighbours or a gap? Does the beach shelve steeply, or is it totally safe for bathing? Are there lifeguards in the vicinity? Will you have sea views, or does a solid wall spoil the view? Are there bin stores nearby (emptied regularly?) Are you near a busy café or restaurant that makes it impossible to relax and have quiet time? What if you’re ‘caught short’? How far are the Public Conveniences? How much time will you spend at your beach hut? Tastes change, as do habits and responsibilities! Life moves on… Children become teenagers. They grow up and find other things to interest them. Family and home-life may affect your ability to spend time at your hut. Lockdown ends and UK and overseas travel becomes ‘normal’ again. One thing is certain – throughout all the above you need to check your hut’s condition regularly to avoid spiralling costs. And finally I always recommend viewing a beach hut at different times of the day – activity during the week or at the weekend may give way to a whole new host of day-time/evening/night-time activities depending on the location of your hut. Take a friend or family member with you to scout the surrounding area – they might just notice something you didn’t if you were wearing your rose-coloured glasses!