OK, this is a little scary …

The wife and I have a healthy dose of beach-house fever. We know where we”d like to buy; we know the kind of place we”re looking for – and if we shed some of our Atlanta properties, we might just be able to swing it.

So yesterday the wife sent me a listing she found. It”s right where we want to buy, just what we”re looking for and in our price range. Thus I set to work on the due diligence – crunching expenses and likely rental income – to come up with a prospectus for this highly-theoretical purchase.

And along the way, I came across the county tax assessor”s website and was surprised to find that this backwater little Florida county has all its property records online. So I know how much taxes are, what the place sold for two years ago, etc.

Also on the site are plat maps and a nice little aerial photography overlay. Clicking around, I noticed something strange – and more than a little scary.

Witness the plat map (I”ve marked the unit that”s for sale – but take note of the building I”ve put the purple box around. That one is closest to the beach on the plat map):

Now notice what the street looks like when the aerial photography is overlaid:

Holy Jesus! What the hell happened to the two buildings that used to be beachfront? They”re freaking GONE.

This, of course, begs the question of the future fate of the unit that”s for sale.

I wrote the listing agent to ask what happened to the buildings that used to be the beachfront ones, and got this answer:

To answer your questions in regard to the other buildings, yes they went into the ocean. It was about 15-20 years ago the buildings were washed out into the ocean due to a hurricane.

The duplex now located at the end is Gulf front until the next hurricane takes it off. These were built too close to the gulf.

Apparently they were built just a tad close. But the kicker was what the agent told me about the house there that”s currently for sale:

This is actually one of my listings and is under-contract with a back up offer as of now.

It seems folks are standing in line to drop $310,000 for a place that”s a stiff breeze away from being driftwood.

That”s not nearly as good of a deal as the guy who paid $147,000 in 1984 for that purple square got.

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