Category Archives: Buyers Info

Golfers Delight at The Village at Nags Head – 5 BR, 4.5 Bath Home priced at $479,000

5311 S Chippers Court - exterior

This delightful home is located in the center of the Nags Head Links golf course in The Village at Nags Head.  The location provides exquisite sunset views over the Roanoke sound while being just steps away from the lush greens and fairways on the course. Nestled in a quiet cul-de-sac, this 5 BR, 4.5 bath home is 2,865 sq ft and has something to offer for every member of the family.  The home is attractively priced at $479,000 and located at 5311 S. Chippers Court, Nags Head NC 27959.

5311 S Chippers Court - sunroom

The home is ideal for enjoying the outdoors with 3 levels of decking at the back of the house and two covered deck areas at the front. 

There is a cozy porch or sun room, finished with wood walls, on the upper level that is just begging you to lounge with a good book or break out the game board for a round of Monopoly.

5311 S Chippers Court - kitchen

This home is bright and airy everywhere you look.  The classic white kitchen has an abundance of cabinets and counter space to please every chef in the family.  There is a separate pantry and an island bar area with seating for 3. 

5311 S Chippers Court - dining room

The open concept floor plan includes the generous dining area, with seating for 10, and living room, with couch and loveseat conversation area.  The living rooms has a cozy gas fireplace with TV and media above as the focal point. 

5311 S Chippers Court - living room

It is tastefully decorated throughout with selected coastal details and shades of blue.  Furnishings are comfortable and sturdy with the wood of the furniture matching the window and floor trim in contrast with the clean crisp white walls.

5311 S Chippers Court - foyer

5311 S Chippers Court - master bedroom

Simple design details, like ceiling borders from the bedroom carried over into the bath for a cohesive look and flow.  Four bedrooms have sliders for access to the decks and to take in the outdoor views.

The lower level of the home has a game room with pool table.  The futon provides a relaxing place to sit while watching a match and extra sleeping for additional guests.

5311 S Chippers Court - game room

The hot tub is located on the lower level deck with privacy provided by the oleander foliage that stays green year round but has flowering blooms in the summer.

5311 S Chippers Court - view

Built in 2001, this home has been lovingly maintained and is clean, bright and airy.  Perfect as a 2nd home or a vacation rental with available amenities to entertain every member of the family. 

There are 2 sound accesses and a private oceanfront bath house.  Membership to the Nags Head Golf Links course / clubhouse and the Oceanfront Beach Club with community pool is optional.  

5311 S Chippers Court - ocean

Call today to schedule an appointment to view this terrific property. 

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3 Steps to Buy an Outer Banks Vacation Home

3 Steps to Buy an Outer Banks Vacation Home

Buying an Outer Banks vacation home is easier than you may imagine.  From Corolla to Hatteras and everywhere in between, we have all types of property available.  In fact, the Outer Banks of NC, affectionately called OBX, is one of the best values on the East Coast for vacation homes or investment properties.

Step 1 – Know what you are looking for

A one bedroom condo may be ideal for the retired couple who would like to travel to other locals throughout the year.  There are townhomes, small 2 bedroom beach bungalows and 23 bedroom “mini-hotels” and event locations.  These vacation rentals are perfect for destination weddings and corporate retreats and large extended families. 

One of the hardest steps to complete is to narrow your search and define what you are looking for and why.  This is one of the most important steps.  Without clearly defined goals and objectives there is just too many competing locations and properties.  The choices can prove to be over whelming if one does not have a clear check off of investment priorities.

Reason for Purchase

Your reason for purchasing an OBX home should drive the types of homes you consider. 

A second home only used by the immediate family will only need to include those items to appeal to the family.  Empty nesters may consider a smaller home that can also be used as their eventual retirement home.  An elevator or ground floor living may be desired for aging in place.

A second home used by multiple generations may include more amenities with wide appeal.  A private pool and hot tub may be a necessity in one family but a community pool available would be perfectly fine for another family. 

A legacy home for current and future generations to enjoy is another reason to purchase.  A home in this category is less about fads and amenities and more about family bonding experiences.  It is about quality materials that stand the test of time.  It is having something for each generation to create lasting memories from toddlerhood to grandparents.

An investment property, not intended for personal use, will require having the amenities in demand with vacationers.  It used to be that families came to the beach and creature comforts like air conditioning were not required. 

A game room, theater room, outdoor kitchen are other common amenities one should consider and rank prior to beginning your search.  Creating a list of must have items can reduce confusion after viewing multiple homes with lots of different features and amenities.

For many folks today, renting a vacation home allows them to enjoy comforts not afforded to them at home.  A private pool, hot tub, elevator, game room, outdoor kitchen and bar area at the pool and home theater are only a few of the luxuries sought after.  A modern kitchen with full appliances, washer/dryer, flat screen tv’s, video games are almost considered commodities these days.

Self-manage or hire property manager

The amenities included in your vacation home or investment property should be carefully considered.  Purchasing a home with added amenities not only has an upfront cost but has an additional weekly or annual cost for cleaning and maintenance.  As more amenities are added the complexity of self-managing increases especially if you live remotely. 

Even if you will hire a professional property manager to manage the home, the cost of additional features can negatively affect your bottom line.  One home, I recall, had such a sophisticated smart home system with all audio and visual electronics connected and multiple control points that is was overwhelming for most guests or visitors to operate.  The property management company received a call to re-set the system almost weekly and the home owner incurred higher costs without increased guest satisfaction.  Eventually, he “dumbed” the system down to make it easy for guests to understand and reduce maintenance costs.

Location, Location, Location

Most investors will want to select a location that is within a comfortable drive from their permanent home for their vacation home or investment property.  Locations within 3 – 5 hours are practical should you want to spontaneously visit or should something require your attention. 

For maximum appeal to potential renters or future buyers, look for a place within three hours’ drive of a major metropolitan area (and where you live).  Locations, like Ocracoke Island, that require a ferry to get to the island can limit your accessibility in bad weather or when ferry schedules are reduced.

It is helpful to be familiar with all the towns on the Outer Banks before narrowing down your location.  Each area has its own character and vibe.  The Outer Banks has areas that range from a small town with few vacationers to sleepy fishing village to resort with high end amenities; we have an area that will fit the vibe you are looking for. 

Consider how an area changes with the season

Keep in mind that each of these towns or areas can be very different in the summer compared to winter.  Some of our towns remain vibrant in the off season due to the number of year round residents.

While others can go from thousands of visitors in the summer to a few hundred residents in the winter.  As a result, restaurants do not remain open all season and even the grocery store may not be stocked with your favorite items.

Within each town are usually several environments.  On this barrier island that may only be a mile wide, there is the oceanfront, the sound front and in between. 

The area in between is usually sub-divided to east and west of route 158 or the by pass for locations in Kitty Hawk and South to Nags Head.  The homes located east of route 158, or “between the highways” are a short distance to the beach and a comfortable walk without crossing the highway.  Route 12 runs north to south along the ocean front in this area but is pedestrian friendly compared to the 5 lanes of route 158.

Hire a real estate agent and get out and talk to locals

One of the best ways to answer questions about location is your local real estate agent.  At Eillu, we have written blogs on the various locations in the Outer Banks to give you the inside scope.  You can call or chat with our agents’ real time to answer your questions or go out and visit the locations to compare for yourself. 

Get some unbiased insight from locals if you believe real estate agents just want to make a sale.  Even if you’ve been vacationing in the same area for years, venturing to other nearby towns may provide new alternatives.  Talk to residents while shopping, visiting restaurants to get to know the place from a locals point of view. What do they like about the area, how has it changed, what types of people are moving there and what it’s like off-season. Visit in the off-season and rent a home you are considering purchasing to “try it before you buy it”.  You should have a clear idea of how the area may change from season to season.

Step 2 – How much can you afford?  Get local financing

Financing is available for second home, vacation home and investment property purchases.  Some investors prefer the simplicity of a cash deal and a quick closing but a visit to a local mortgage lender will allow you to obtain a pre-approval and provide a second opinion of how much you can afford.

Typically, buyers will make between 20% to 50% down payment toward the real estate.  Debt payment for all mortgages should be less than 36% of your gross income.  However, rental income from the real estate being purchased can be included when calculating the ratio.

A local mortgage lender should be consulted as they are aware of market conditions, valuations and rental income estimates for the area.

Your Eillu agent will match what you are looking for to the best properties that fall within your budget. 

Understand cost to manage and maintain

Affordability does not only apply to the initial purchase of the home but also to the ongoing cost to maintain and manage the property. 

Make sure you have estimates from local providers for the following.  Do not base the cost of your home market for the same items as there can be significant differences in cost across geographic areas.

  • Utilities (water, sewer fees, cable, garbage, phone)
  • Property Taxes
  • Insurance (Homeowners, flood, wind & hail)
  • HOA fees
  • Winterization
  • Fees for Property Management (usually a percent of gross rentals) or VRBO / Airbnb listing fees
  • Fees for professional services like weekly cleaning, deep cleaning at beginning of season, pool and hot tub cleaning & maintenance
  • Security monitoring
  • Landscaping
  • property repairs and maintenance

The above expenses are deductible if you are renting the home out (your use is less than 14 days or 10% of rentals). 

You may also want to consider a new home.  A home warranty and increased energy efficiency will reduce you costs to manage and maintain while the newness will attract potential renters.

HOA

Understand the amenities offered and the particular rules for the HOA (Home Owners Association) for any vacation home under consideration.  Costs can vary dramatically from one community to the next and you want to make sure you are getting a good value and management team for your dues.  Take note of the condition of the property and ask about any special assessments that may be under discussion or recently approved.

The rules of the HOA will also impact your decision.  Some HOA’s have strict rules regarding materials or colors used when owners are maintaining or improving their home.  These rules can be advantageous to make sure homes conform to a look and style or, depending on your taste, a limit to expressing your personal style.  The rules of the HOA may also limit parking for boats, recreations vehicles and trailers on your property or on community property.  Understanding the HOA rules will let you know if the community is a good fit for you and your family.

Tax Planning – 14 day or 10% rule

You may rent your place for up to 14 days a year and pocket the rental income without having to declare it on your tax return. This is ideal if you want to allow immediate family to enjoy your vacation home and use it as a second home for your family.

If you rent out the home for more than 14 days a year, you must report the income, but you can deduct certain expenses.  You may also depreciate the real estate itself and a separate, accelerated depreciation of personal property such as furnishings.

If your personal use is more than 14 days a year or more than 10% of the time it is rented, whichever is greater, then the home is a personal residence.  If your use is less than 14 days or 10% then it is a rental property.  This distinction is important for tax considerations.

Collect the tax exclusion twice

Vacation home owners whom sell their primary residence can qualify for up to $250k (single) or $500k (married filing jointly) exemption from taxes on the profit from the sale. 

Next, if they make their vacation home their primary home or retirement home after the sale of their primary residence, they may collect the tax free profits again.  They are required to have the vacation home as their primary home for 2 of the 5 years before the sale and the sale must occur more than two years after they previously claimed the exemption.

Step 3 – Buy the best match

Get the Sale Comps and Rental History

Your Eillu real estate agent can provide listings for you to consider based on your investment criteria and your budget.  In addition, your agent can provide recent sales comps for you to compare to any properties you are considering purchasing to assess how good an investment it may be.  Vacation homes in a property management program typically have a rental history to provide an estimate of income and expenses for the property. 

Eillu has over a 20 year history of serving the Outer Banks market and will offer expert advice regarding which property should perform best over time and meet or exceed your investment criteria.

The location of your vacation home is the most important consideration for rental performance, long term appreciation and your families enjoyment.  The location counts more than any other single factor. A vacation home should be a special place with — a view of the ocean, a dock on the sound, or a peaceful deck with the smell of salt in the air.

The Outer Banks rental market continues to be strong to provide income from the investment and enjoyment for the family for years to come. The Outer Banks has been named a top beach destination every year.  For more information on buying Outer Banks Real Estate or to learn more about the Outer Banks in general, please contact us and check out our blog.  We are here to help you make your dreams come true.

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Live The Dream: What is Year Round Living Like in the Outer Banks?

year round living in OBX

I have often heard from vacationers to the Outer Banks how they would love to be able to live here and not just visit on vacation.  Their vision includes a leisurely cup of coffee on the deck while the ocean waves makes music soothing to their ears.   

I also am aware of a few who moved here without understanding what it was like year round and didn’t stay. 

The Outer Banks is unlike any other place in the world.  I will venture to say it is really two places:  the summer place where 250k visitors arrive (and leave) every week and the winter place where 35k residents enjoy the change of seasons.  But, like any location; there are advantages and disadvantages. 

You have come to the right place to get the real scoop.

The Seasons

The summer and winters on the Outer Banks are very different.  Summers can be challenging due to the traffic and number of visitors.  Winters are milder than other nearby locations due to the proximity of the ocean and sound but tend to be very windy. 

Winters do tend to be sunny with a Carolina blue sky that can’t help but to make you smile.  This is contrasted with gray winter skies common in northerner locations.

Average temperatures in the Outer Banks are in the low to mid 50’s during the winter and go up to the high 80’s in the summer.  Ocean breezes in the summer are refreshing.  While northeast wind in the winter can be bone chilling. 

Some folks find winter long and boring.  It really doesn’t get cold until December.  January through March can be difficult for many folks once the holidays are over. 

However, the off-season is when residents get to spend time with each other.  Restaurants are uncrowded and sponsor events, activities, festivals and fundraisers.  The area has some of the best restaurants in the world and it is great to be able to enjoy them without a wait or being rushed.  Entertaining friends at home is fun and helps to pass the winter with lots of laughs.

We do occasionally get snow.  Usually, only a dusting or a few inches.  It is magical and transforms the island beautifully.  From viewing the ocean with snow covering the sand to seeing skiers on Jockeys Ridge or the forested areas covered in snow is just magical.  The snow doesn’t usually last long as the sun or salt makes it disappear within hours or a day. 

Although, I do remember one year when we got more than a foot of snow.  Most towns do not have snow removal budgets or equipment so school was closed for almost a week.  Even the kids were tired of the snow that time.  Generally, Outer Bankers are not good drivers in the snow (but don’t tell anyone I said so).

There are always a few teaser days in the winter where temperatures get into the 70’s and it feels like winter may be over.  They have to be seized when they occur as it is fleeting.  I can also recall a December day where temperatures reached the 80’s and I actually went swimming in the ocean.  These days are gifts to be cherished.

Many people that work and live in the Outer Banks year round do not get to the beach that often in the summer.  It is the busy season and most are busy working.  Even if you are not working, it is likely that your friends are working.  Living here and working here year round means you don’t get to enjoy the summer as much as you expected.

While you may not get to enjoy summer as much as you thought, you do get to enjoy and appreciate the other seasons.  A winter walk on a deserted beach is very peaceful in a zen sort of way.   Winter sunsets and stargazing is absolutely spectacular.  Being able to view and appreciate all the wildlife and beautiful scenery that is the Outer Banks is a gift that never fails to delight.

 It is the slower pace off-season where one can take the time to live in the moment, recharge and appreciate the beauty that is this barrier island.  There is a different rhythm to living year round on the Outer Banks.

Fall is a favorite time of year for many locals.  The weather tends to be warm without the high humidity with nights cooler.  I frequently turn off the A/C for the fall months and enjoy the moderate temperatures and gentle breeze.  The ocean temperatures are still warm enough for swimming.  Summer visitors have thinned and locals can take a breather from long summer working hours.  There are lots festivals, events and activities. 

Spring is a close second for a favorite season for most locals. There are a few days where the pollen becomes thick and will cover furniture with a layer of the yellow stuff if you keep your windows open.  I learned this the hard way after spring cleaning and throwing open the windows. 

Working or Retired

Employment opportunities are limited in the Outer Banks.  If you are self-employed or can tele-commute than you are truly blessed. 

Many positions are seasonal.  As you can imagine, many jobs revolve around the tourism industry and related services.  Having a year round job is a privilege. 

If you are lucky enough to have a year round job, consider the location of where you live carefully to account for summer traffic and commute time. 

Most jobs here are not highly paid.  Many people will hold down 2 jobs to make enough to survive.  It is a tradeoff for quality of life.

Most year round residents live on the west side of the island.  Vacationers tend to prefer oceanfront so most of these are in a weekly rental program.  Many oceanfront or Oceanside homes are empty in the winter and full in the summer.  If you are living there year round, your “neighbors” will change each week and some may play music loud or have a party. 

Many residents prefer to live where other year round residents live for a community vibe and to get to know their neighbors.  Real estate and rents tend to be lower on the west side of the island with the exception of sound front locations.

If you are retired, you will have lots of opportunities to volunteer or be involved in the community.  No matter what your interest or skill, there are lots of volunteer opportunities in OBX. 

Schools

If you are locating to the Outer Banks with a family that has school aged children, then the school system is very important to you.  The Dare county schools system is highly rated.  Students from Duck to Nags Head and Manteo attend Dare County Schools.  Families with school age children tend to reside in Dare County.

Corolla and Corova are located in Currituck County.  The County schools are located on the mainland and requires a very long bus ride.  There is a Charter School located in Corolla.  Water’s Edge Village School serves students in Kindergarten to 8th grade.  The school has just completed its 5th year and may expand to higher grades in the future.

Location

Location is an important consideration; not just for schools.  Some areas on the Outer Banks are more isolated in the winter than others.  Generally, Duck to Nags Head has more stores, restaurants and activity year round than does Corolla or Hatteras Island.  Manteo is the County seat and has a robust community and year round population.

Cost of Living

Housing is the most expensive factor for the cost of living.  Oceanfront real estate tends to be most expensive.  Communities on the west side of the island are an affordable alternative and still places residents only minutes to the beach and the plentiful beach accesses. 

Year round rentals are sometimes difficult to find.  Some vacation home owners will rent their homes as a winter rental but this requires the occupant to move prior to the summer season.

Insurance is more costly than inland areas.  Property taxes tend to be lower than other areas.  Groceries, gas and other essentials may be marginally more expensive.

Shopping

The Outer Banks has some nationally known shopping available like Wal-Mart, K-mart, Home-Depot, Lowes and Belks.  There are numerous boutique stores for almost any niche.  Nags Head also has an outlet mall featuring top name brands. 

Of course, today in the age of the internet, shopping online and having an item delivered to your home is much more common. 

Some residents prefer to visit Norfolk/Virginia Beach area for shopping or a Costco run.  This is about 1.5 hours away but has a selection of stores and shopping that includes most anything you would need or want.

Healthcare

The Outer Banks Hospital is located in Nags Head and is part of Vidant Health and Chesapeake Regional Healthcare.  It provides urgent care services as well as practicing specialists.  It is also affiliated with the Outer Banks Medical Group which has facilities located from Southern Shores to Manteo and even Avon for convenient access to care.  For even more choices, Virginia is only 1.5 hours away. 

Crime

The Outer Banks has a low crime rate.  While many areas have a place where it is known not to visit after dark, there is no place on the Outer Banks that I would be afraid to visit at night and alone. 

Pollution

Most people who come to live in the Outer Banks have a love of the ocean and the natural environment.  We wish to protect this environment for future generations. 

Talk of drilling for natural gas, repealing the plastic bag ban or anything that will negatively affect the environment are a sure way to rally public opposition. 

There is not any heavy industry as a source of pollution.  Run off from farms inland has been a concern for the purity of the sound and measures have been put in place to reduce the run off and any negative effects.

Community

The community of residents of the Outer Banks is one of the most supportive I have ever been privileged to know.  Young and old alike are friendly, with a smile or a wave.  Once the crowds thin out after summer, most of the locals are familiar faces around town.  While not all year round residents know each other, I would venture to say we are probably only 2 degrees of separation between any locals with reference to the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.

It is common to see a post on social media or from a local restaurant sponsoring a benefit for a resident with a disease or who has suffered in an accident.  The community rallies and everyone does what they can.

The community is resilient.  Neighbors help neighbors without being asked.  After the recent power outage, folks in the northern beaches looked for ways to help the residents of Ocracoke and Hatteras recover their losses.  After a storm or other event, it is likely people will just show up to help.  They may provide labor in the cleanup, food for the workers or supplies. 

The Outer Banks is a small town with small town values.  If you are looking for cultural sophistication, the Outer Banks is probably not for you.  With that being said, there are plenty of artists and musicians that call the OBX home and their contribution to the community is immense. 

The Outer Banks still retains an innocence from another time; it still resembles Mayberry (especially Manteo) where the late Andy Griffith resided.  From the annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade to fundraisers like the Festival of Lights, there is an active and vibrant community that cares about each other.  I think this is becoming rare in most places. 

The Outer Banks of NC has a different rhythm and pace over the course of a year.  It is not right for everyone but it is perfect to us that call it home.  I am happy to have raised my kids here and I know the spirit of the ocean will always be with them. 

I know that no matter where they choose to live the sweet carefree days at the OBX beaches will always be pleasant memories.  I hope to stay here, retire and be able to provide the same kind of memories for my grandchildren. 

 If you are considering purchasing a retirement home, an investment property or a permanent move check out how OBX compares to other resort areasSchedule an appointment today to visit available homes or get familiar with each neighborhoods unique vibe to find the best place to locate for the good life!

Eillu relocation guide to Outer Banks


How Much Real Estate should be Included in Your Portfolio?

Diversify Investments – How Much Real Estate should be Included in Your Portfolio

With the stock market recently reaching a record breaking level at 22,000, you may be looking for other investment alternatives.  Real estate is an important element for a diversified portfolio.  Most individual investors do not consider real estate when allocating assets among investment alternatives.  However, North American pension funds, insurance companies and high net worth individuals allocate from 8.5% to 24% of their portfolio to real estate assets.  Globally, the allocation of real estate is higher at 32%.

Real estate has low correlation to stock market

Real estate is an important element for a diversified portfolio.  It is relatively stable and has a low correlation to the stock market.  Real estate is part of a long term strategy for investment performance.  Typically, holdings should be kept for 5 years or more.  Real estate is not as liquid as stock investments but is more stable over time.

How about REIT’s?

Real estate investment trusts (REIT) are one form of real estate investments that are more liquid since some REIT allow redemption prior to the fund being liquidated in 5 to 10 years.  Many experts would argue that REIT are more a component of your stock portfolio than holding real estate since they behave and correlate more like a stock.  I would suggest these investments more appropriate for an investor that seeks a more passive real estate investment.

Millennial’s & Home Ownership Rates

The American dream of home ownership is alive and well.  The US Census released the 2nd quarter 2017 home ownership rate at 63.7%.  Households ages 65 and older have the highest rate at 78.2% while households under 35 have the lowest at 35.3%. 

The under 35 age group is one of the largest age groups in recent history and will likely drive demand for housing in the decades ahead.  The Millennial generation (75.4 million) has overtaken the baby boomer generation (74.9 million) as the nation’s largest living generation.  The millennial generation is projected to peak at 81.1 million in 2036.  This group is increasing purchasing real estate and has generally skipped purchasing a starter home to find a home they can hold for a longer period of time. 

What about your personal residence?

Most experts agree that your personal residence does not count as a part of your real estate allocation for your investment portfolio.  The main reason is it is not disposable.  Should you sell, even if you realize a large gain, you will still need to most likely reinvest the gain in a new home to maintain the same standard of living. 

A vacation home that is treated as an investment can be considered part of your real estate allocation for your portfolio.  The operating income from the vacation home provides partial liquidity and appreciation can be a significant portion of your total return.

Seller gains highest since 2007

According to ATTOM Data Solutions, homeowners who sold in the 2nd quarter 2017 gained an average price appreciation of $51,000 since purchase.  This is the largest average price gain for home sellers since the recession. The last time appreciation was this high was 10 years ago when sellers made an average profit of $57,000.

Time to rebalance and diversify?

Now that the stock market has reached a record high level, it may be time to look to re-balance your portfolio and include more real estate.  Like the saying goes…”buy low and sell high”. 

Selling excess stock assets to create the proper portfolio balance can fund the down payment required for a real estate investment.  Add this to a mortgage on the property to leverage “OPM” or other people’s money will magnify your returns. 

So, if you put 20% down and the price appreciation on the real estate is only 3% per year, you realize a 15% cash on cash return.  In only 5 years you can double your equity.  In addition, the operating income you receive from the rentals will push your returns higher. 

Vacation rental property also has some favorable IRS tax rules for deductions that can complement your tax planning efforts.

Vacation rental demand

Real estate markets are very local.  The Outer Banks market is a strong vacation rental market.  Many investors continued to hold investments through the downturn and had a full summer of bookings.  For some folks, the summer beach vacation is as necessary as breathing.  While an investor could add real estate to his portfolio with purchases in the same market where his primary residence is located, diversifying to an outside market area provides a better hedge and less exposure to a single market.

Tangible asset

Investing in a vacation home is real and tangible.  It is a source of pride, a place to visit and a place to make lasting memories with your family and friends.  Stocks are not nearly as satisfying; even when increasing.  After all, you don’t even get a stock certificate any more.  It is just blips on a computer screen or digital device. 

Real estate investing also provide a level of control and self-direction not realized in stock investments.  You are the master of your own destiny and your actions will have an impact on your success.  What improvements will you make to the property and what amenities will you include to attract guests? As a stock investor, you have little control over the direction and decisions made by the management of the companies you invest in.

Technology improves vacation rental management

Technology and new platforms like VRBO and Airbnb allow vacation rental investors to have more control over their investment without the use of a property management company.  Smart home technology, like keyless entries or HVAC monitoring, can provide peace of mind even when the owner is a distance from the property.  Of course, vacation rental owners can still employ a property management company to be more hands off and passively manage the investment. 

What percentage should real estate occupy in your portfolio?

Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic number or percentage of what should be invested in Real Estate for every investor.  It will vary by age, risk tolerance and the degree to which you are willing to work the real estate. 

Gains can be impressive and one should at least have a nominal percentage of assets, like 10%, in real estate not including their primary residence.  For investors who are more aggressive and will actively manage their vacation rental properties, up to 30% of their investment portfolio should be in real estate to maximize gains.

The Outer Banks has a diversified group of vacation rental housing and even commercial properties.  Homes available range from 1 bedroom condos to 24 bedroom homes and everything in between.  There are also co-ownership homes and time shares, town homes, patio homes.  The barrier island features the sound to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, so every location is just a short distance to the water and recreation.  The Outer Banks has consistently been named in “top beaches” lists year after year.

Let Eillu Real Estate Agents help you find the perfect Outer Banks investment property.  Find the best neighborhood for you and your family, investment objectives or vacation rental.  Wiggle your toes in the sand and get positive cash flow from Outer Banks investment property.  Best of all, create memories to last a lifetime. Schedule an appointment today!

vacation home locations compared from Maine to Florida; charts and statistics


Case Study: New Home Sold and New Homes for Sale in Corolla, NC

Corolla new homes sold and currently for sale 2016 to 2017

Overview of Corolla New Home Sold 2016 – 2017

Viewing recent sales of new homes in Corolla that have sold reveals some interesting facts.  There were 14 new homes sold in 2016 and 2 in 2017.    The average new home sold price over this period was $761,288 with a median sale price of $421,450.  On average these homes were 5.5 bedrooms and 4.6 baths.  The average cost per square foot was $231.43 with a median cost at $191.  These homes spent an average of 115 days on the market before they were sold. 

Villas at Corolla Bay – Sold Out

Digging a little deeper reveals a slightly different picture. 8 or half of the total sales were in the same community of the Villas at Corolla Bay.  This gated ocean side new community in Corolla was a hit with buyers and just hit a sweet spot.  Each villa was 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths.  The quaint community boasted an amenity area with a swimming pool, bath house, shuffleboard, basketball court, horseshoes and a picnic area for large gatherings.  Each villa has its own courtyard, some with private pools and hot tubs.  The villas are a short walk to the beach and popular as vacation rentals earning approximately $42,400 per season.  The average cost of the villa was $412,950 with half selling for $399,900.  The villas ranged from 2,231 square feet to 2,270 with a cost per square foot averaging to $181.  Buyers certainly recognized what a value these villas are nestled in this charming community.  On average the homes were on the market for 143 days.

Whalehead Sold

Whalehead is an older established community in Corolla with 3 main streets that run parallel to the oceanfront.  The community has public beach access but no community amenities or association fees.  This community is popular for vacation rentals and features generous lots with many homes having a private pool and hot tub with only a short walk to the beach access.  Even today, there are lots available to develop your dream home at the beach. 

At the other end of the spectrum compared to the Villas at Corolla Bay, there were 3 homes sold for well over $1m in the Whalehead community of Corolla. Two of these homes were located on the oceanfront street of Lighthouse Dr and sold for $2.3M.  All 3 homes were almost 6k square feet had 11 bedrooms and 11 baths and a private pool.  Cost per square foot ranged from $308 to $393.  Only one home listed annual income at $252,230. 

A summary of the Corolla New Homes Sold Statistics appears in the chart below:

Corolla New Homes sold 2016 to 2017

New Homes for Sale in Corolla

There are currently 17 new homes for sale or under construction in Corolla.  12 of these listing are on the westside contrasted with only 3 listings in the sold group located on the westside as discussed above. 

The average price of all homes is $902,776 with the median value at $649,900.  The average square footage of new homes is 3,051 with the median square footage at 2,625; the average cost per square foot is $269 with the median cost at $232 or approximately a 16% increase in cost compared to last year new homes sold.  The average number of bedrooms has increased from 5.5 in the sold group last year to 5.7 this year, and bathrooms increased from 4.6 to 5.1. 

Villages at Ocean Hill

There are 4 new homes for sale at the Villages at Ocean Hill.  This well-established community at the northern most end of Corolla has loads of amenities for vacation rental guests and owners.  There is a fitness center, swimming pools, basketball and sports playground, tennis courts, snack bar, and beach rentals. Not limited to the westside of the island, enjoy days at the beach with your very own private parking lot and 7 beach access walkways.

Learn why Villages at Ocean Hill is such a great value in our earlier post.  These Villages at Ocean Hill new homes are 3 to 4 bedrooms with 1,514 to 2,409 square feet. Prices range from $349,800 to $455,000.

Monteray Shores

There are 3 new homes in the Monteray Shores community.  This distinctive community provide a dash of color to Corolla with the French Caribbean design style and you can read more about it here and here.  It has a well-managed HOA with plenty of amenities for vacation rental guests and owners to enjoy.  Monteray Shores new homes available range from 2,087 square feet to 2,809 with two listings having 4 bedrooms and 1 with 7.  Prices range from $399,900 to $795k.

Soundfront at Corolla Bay

A brand new community located on the Sound front in Corolla is the Soundfront at Corolla Bay.  This exclusive and prestigious community will have only 76 large, private sound front and semi-sound front home sites where homeowners will be amazed at the breathtaking sunsets over the Currituck Sound.

The community features soundside piers, sidewalks, street lights and an Oceanside beach access with parking and a bath house. Click here to view a map and details on the community.  There are currently 2 new 5 bedroom homes available at $649.9k and $799.9k.

Currituck Club

Probably best known to golfers, the Currituck Club is not only about golf.  This community is all about outstanding amenities and providing an upscale experience to both owners and vacation rental guests.  To find out more about each community within the Currituck Club, the amenities and cost, read this post and see how it compares to other communities in the area. 

There are 2 new homes available in The Cottages portion of the Currituck Club and one in the main community.  Prices range from $429k to $749.5k for 1,917 square foot to 3,310 square foot.

Ocean Side Corolla New Homes

There are 5 Oceanside new homes in Corolla in 3 different communities.  One is in Pine Island and you can read more about this community here.  Two are in Whalehead and two are in Ocean Sands.  Prices range from $859 in Pine Island to $2.699k in Whaleshead.  These homes have from 6 bedrooms to 12 bedrooms with just over 3,045 square feet to 6,000 square feet.  Cost per square foot ranges from $282.10 to $449.83.

A summary of the Corolla New Homes for Sale Statistics appears in the chart below:

New homes for sale in Corolla, NC

Schedule an appointment today to view Corolla New Homes for sale.  There are many homes and communities available and one may be the special one you have been searching for.  Call 252-491-9999 today to view any available property.  There is time to close and enjoy our wonderful fall season.  These homes are perfect for a second home or vacation rental investment!

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New Homes vs. Existing Homes: Which is better for Your Vacation Home?

New Homes vs. Existing Homes Which is better for Your Vacation Home

The Outer Banks is one of the most popular vacation destinations on the East Coast.  Our beaches are regularly cited by “Dr. Beach” as one of the best in the country.  Our recent beach nourishment projects will ensure they remain there in the future.

Our low crime, family friendly atmosphere and resistance toward over development keep vacationers coming back year after year.  It is not unusual for multiple generations of the family to gather in a vacation home to savor a slower pace and reconnect with each other.  Memories are made this way and continue for generations. 

Many vacationers stay in the same community and neglect to see the great variety other Outer Banks communities have to offer.  One recent visitor who has spent their annual vacation in Kitty Hawk for the last 20 years, never ventured as far as Corolla.  Once they did, they decided to pursue a vacation home purchase in one of the beautiful resort communities in Corolla. 

Unlike Nags Head with a history of visitors for more than a century, Corolla has only recently been developed.  Not too long ago, the paved road did not even go to Corolla.  As a result, the communities in Corolla have a more gracious layout and shared amenities to make one feel like they are in a resort while on vacation.

Perhaps you have rented a vacation home for years in the Outer Banks and wonder if you could buy your own place in the sand?  Corolla is an ideal location for your vacation home.  There are new homes being built in new developments as well as new homes in established developments with well-run home owner associations (HOA).

There are advantages for both building/buying a new home or buying and existing home.  Which alternative is best for you depends on your particular preferences and lifestyle choices.

Energy efficiency

One of the most attractive features of new homes are their energy efficiency.  Our Corolla new homes have modern appliances that are more energy efficient than even appliances only a few years old. 

New construction has a tighter envelope with improved insulation and efficient windows to eliminate drafts and even resist fading from the sun.  The reduced cost in utilities over time is a big gain for the homeowner.  Saving on utility cost with your vacation rental keeps more income in your pocket.

Maintenance

New homes and new building materials can reduce the need for continuous maintenance.  A new home will provide years of carefree enjoyment before any major systems fail.  This will save you money even if you have your home managed by a property management company.  Fewer maintenance request by guests will keep your management fees to a minimum.  Homeowners who manage a VRBO or Airbnb vacation home will especially be pleased to not have to scramble to find maintenance assistance.

An older home that has not been properly maintained can cost thousands in unplanned repairs that may not be discovered during the inspection process.  An older home may appear more dated to vacation renters and prompt nuisance and unnecessary calls to the property management company or owner.

Visiting your vacation home should be pleasurable.  If the time spent at your vacation home is all about work and no play or relaxation, then it is not going to be an experience you look forward to.  Buying a new home in Corolla will provide you and your family and friends a delightful escape full of fond memories.

Hazardous Materials

Hopefully, any inspection of an existing home will uncover issues with lead paint or asbestos.  However, even mold can be hazardous and trigger asthma attacks or odor complaints with sensitive guests.  An existing home could have undetected leaks leading to an undiscovered mold issue.

New homes tend to use low or zero volatile organic compounds in paints and building materials that improve the air quality.  This will provide a better experience even for sensitive people.

Technology

Smart home technology will make managing your vacation rental from your primary residence as easy as using your phone.  Keyless entry is appreciated by guest checking into your vacation rental rather than making an additional stop for keys after a long trip.  You can control and review the access to your home for any service providers and not have to worry about decreased security from lost keys.

Automated thermostats can improve the efficiency by setting an upper and lower limit or even shutting off the A/C when a door is left open for a prescribed period.  Water leak detection will provide peace of mind in the off season when the home may be vacant for longer periods and potential damage would increase exponentially if undetected.

Remodeling an existing home to make it smart is an option for buyers but older homes are usually not equipped with the wiring and installation may not appear as seamless as when installed with new construction.

Warrantee

All of our Corolla new homes come with a 4 year American Home Shield Warranty and a 1 year Builder Warranty.  You will rest easy knowing there won’t be any financial surprises and you can have confidence in your budget and projections. 

Prior Renovations

Some existing homes may have had renovations that don’t meet current building codes.  New homes constructed today meet or exceed the building code standards.  Construction codes are updated frequently.  So, for example, additional hardware tying the roof to the structure may be missing from an older home but is important for windy conditions. 

Location

In most locations, existing homes have an advantage over new homes with prime locations.  Fortunately, in Corolla the established communities have not been completely built out and desirable lots are still available. 

There are also a few new communities being developed, like Soundfront at Corolla Bay, which still has waterfront lots available.  This community also has beach access so you enjoy the best the sound front and ocean have to offer.

Floor Plan

A new home allows you to get exactly what you want in your homes layout and design.  You get to pick all the finishes and colors to reflect your style and preferences.  Even pre-built new construction can allow the buyer to upgrade or change some finishes and select colors and preferences. 

New homes are typically designed with open floor plans to reflect how families use homes today.  Kitchens are larger and open to the living room to invite conversation. Great rooms and larger bedrooms and bathrooms are common in newer homes.  Closets and storage areas are well thought out and useful.  Check out our open and airy floor plan for our new home in Monteray Shores.

Landscaping

Landscaping is another consideration when looking at new homes and existing homes.  Established communities tend to have landscaping in place and mature trees that provide valuable shade and help with utility costs. 

A new home allows you the flexibility to design a landscape with the plants and colors that reflect your style.  You can establish a landscaping plan that requires very little maintenance.  Ideally, a vacation rental home should have an attractive natural landscape that does not require a lot of maintenance.  This minimizes any disruption to your renters from enjoying your home during their stay. 

An existing home may have mature trees or can be an overgrown mess that requires expensive services to remove undesired vegetation.  Planting a new landscape can be expensive and it may take many years before it is fully established.

Time

Buying an existing home is usually quicker than building a new home when you can close in less than 60 days.  New home construction on the Outer Banks takes about 5 to 7 months.  So, with proper planning you can have your new vacation home ready before the next rental season.  At Homes by Eillu, we have some homes already under construction, so the time delay before you take possession can be even shorter.  Act now to select finishes and colors.

Cost

Typically, a new home costs more than an existing home if you only consider the purchase price.  However, if you take into consideration the energy efficiency and the reduced utility expense the difference in cost can be recouped in a few years. 

Furthermore, if the existing home you are considering will require a remodel or major maintenance and repairs than the cost of a new home can be even less than an existing home over the time of your ownership.

A new home allows you to take pride of ownership.  It is the embodiment of your style, decisions on colors and decoration, choice of materials and lifestyle.  Approximately 14% of home sales are new home sales.  However, if costs were the same 41% of Americans prefer a newly built home for the customizable options, less maintenance and modern conveniences.

The Outer Banks rental market continues to be strong to provide income from the investment and enjoyment for the family for years to come. At Homes by Eillu, we specialize in developing new homes and provide top notch service especially for our out of town buyers.  For more information on buying Outer Banks Real Estate  and earning a rebate or to learn more about the Outer Banks in general, please contact us or check out our blog.

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Title Insurance: This is Why You Need an Owner’s Title Policy

owner title policy prevents nightmare - edvard-munch

In the race to get to closing, most buyers fail to consider the importance of title insurance.  Title insurance protects the owner or lender against loss of the property or financial damage they may incur due to liens, encumbrances or defects in the title to the property.  A seller can only sell you the interest he has in the title. If the seller did not have free and clear interest in the title, he can only sell you the interest he has.  How do you know if a long lost heir can claim an interest in the property you are purchasing?

Lender’s Policy & Owner’s Policy

The most important item to understand is there are two types of title policies: lender’s policy and owner’s policy.  A lender’s policy will only protect the lender while the owner’s policy protects the owner’s interest.  While the lender will require you to obtain a lenders policy, the owner’s policy is optional.  I strongly suggest you purchase both policies.  Purchasing both policies from the same company is usually less expensive as the title research applies to both policies.  Compared to the potential financial loss the cost of title insurance is rather small.  A buyer purchasing real estate for cash should protect his interest with an owner’s policy.

A simple example will illustrate why both policies are needed.  Say a relative from a previous owner proves a valid claim of ownership. Perhaps, documents were mis-filed or a will was out of date and left an interest in the property to another party.  The lenders policy will reimburse the lender the amount you owe under the mortgage.  However, without an owner’s policy, you could lose the home, lose the amount of your down payment, principal payments and other costs.  The owner’s policy will cover your financial losses even if a successful claim for ownership is made and you must move out of the home.  It also covers the legal cost to defend your interest.  While this example is extreme, mistakes do happen.  It is important to have coverage in place to protect yourself in even this rare event.  

You may be tempted to save the cost of an owner’s title policy when purchasing a new home since you will be the first owner of the home.  However, keep in mind the land may have changed owners many times.  Also, suppliers and subcontractors could place liens on the property for payment of products and services. 

How is title insurance different than other insurance?

The first major difference is you only pay the premium for title insurance one time at closing.  The policy will continue to provide protection for as long as you or your heirs own the home or until you refinance.

The second major difference is most insurance protects you from unknown future events, like a car accident or death.  Title insurance protects you from any defect in the chain of title based on past events. 

For this reason, an examination of the chain of title will be conducted going back many years.  Any anomaly found will typically have to be cured before a policy is issued.  So, if the current owner did not pay taxes and has an outstanding tax lien, this would need to be paid by the seller and released.  Similarly, any mechanic liens for work done to the property. 

Who pays for title insurance?

Typically the buyers pays for title insurance for the lender and the owner’s policy.  Every deal is different and open to negotiation.  The cost for title insurance is about $500 to $1,000 in the Outer Banks market (about $3.50 per $1000 of purchase price for title insurance).  Rates and policies are standardized in NC, but like other insurance, riders and additional coverage can also be included or added.

Title search & insurer

Your attorney will assist you in obtaining title insurance.  Under RESPA, you have the right to select the insurance company.  Since your policy could be in effect for decades before any potential claim, it is important to check the financial stability and A.M. Best rating of the insurance company selected for your policy.  You are not required to select an insurance company recommended by the seller, real estate agent, lender or attorney.  However, the lender’s interest is aligned with your long term interests and should be considered.

The title search involves going through the public records or extracts regarding the property.  This includes past deeds, wills, trusts, divorce decrees, bankruptcy filings, court judgements and tax records.  Known easements for power lines or the like are usually excluded.  Any clouds or defects discovered after the preliminary search are the responsibility of the seller to clear.  As many as 1/3 of all title searches reveal a title problem that requires fixing before the transaction can close.

Title problems

Let’s face it people make mistakes.  A document can get filed in the wrong location.  A mistake is made with a name or the legal description of a property.  The list goes on; missing heirs who come forward after your closing, forgeries discovered after the fact, previous liens.  Don’t let a prior small mistake make a huge nightmare out of your dream of home ownership.  A lender requires title insurance for a reason.  You have less resources than a lender to cover a loss affecting your home when title insurance can protect your interest as long as you own the home.  Over the years of ownership, the premium or fee is a small price to pay for peace of mind.  Title insurance coverage also includes litigation cost to defend your property interest.

In the race to get to closing and to preserve your pocketbook, don’t overlook your long term interest by foregoing owner’s title insurance policy.  Like all insurance, one hopes they never need to use it, but are forever grateful they have it when needed.

IMO additional risks from the sheer number of foreclosures after the most recent recession and lack of scrutiny over the details to perfect the foreclosure could impact future buyers that may not be detected or challenged during the title search or perhaps years later.  Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC) can also cause nightmares for sellers as these lines of credit often revolved, were not recorded by banks and the number of banks merging and changing ownership has created a document nightmare.  Now, more than ever, buyers need the protection of an owner’s title policy to protect their long term interest.

From seasoned veteran to first time home buyer, Eillu is here to help you navigate the home buying process.  With over two decades of experience in the Outer Banks market, we have experience with the issues coastal properties may face; we can help you with any questions and guide you every step of the way for a smooth buying experience.  Our exclusive buyers rebate will save you money without sacrificing service.  Schedule an appointment with an Eillu Agent today.

 

outer banks buyers guide cta


Plants for Your Outer Banks Landscape: Tried & True Recommendations from Ocean to Sound

OBX planting guide

For some folks, an empty yard is an open canvas waiting for them to plant lush foliage and a tropical paradise.  For other folks, an empty yard is a nightmare destined to spawn more devil weeds.  The Outer Banks is a unique environment that requires some understanding before one embarks on a landscaping plan.  It has unique opportunities and challenges, unlike even relatively geographically close areas, like Virginia or even more distant Mid-Atlantic states.

Sometimes it is the opposite issue, weeds and other plants volunteer and want to take over your yard.  It is hard to keep hacking back invasive plants determined to take over your yard.  A plan of attack is needed.

Make a Plan

If you have recently purchased an Outer Banks home, as a second home, vacation rental home or permanent home, take some time to make a landscaping plan.  Whatever you do, do not visit a big box store in spring and select all the pretty flowers and believe your task will be complete.  Most will be annuals and may not even make it through the season.  A consultation with a nursery or landscaping professional can be very helpful.  They can discuss your plans and wish list and point out drainage issues or hardscape choices to make your vision a reality.  Many are amenable to performing a project in stages so it can be completed over time.

Install Hardscape

Just like your home, a garden should have good bones.  If your hardscape or retaining walls are disintegrating, you should fix or establish the bones before you start planting.  If you are installing a pool then this work must be completed before you start on the planting.  Completing any construction or improvements needed to the property before doing the landscaping.  Even painting and power washing can damage tender young plants.

Examine Your Conditions

The location of your home and even the direction it faces will impact which plants will thrive there.  The oceanfront and nearby may have more wind and salt spray while the sound front and surrounding areas have more shade and woodlands. 

While you may be anxious to begin your landscaping right away, taking a year to understand how the environment and sun movements change during the year can be very beneficial.  Generally, your Outer Banks home will fall into one of 4 zones: oceanfront, dune, marsh or maritime forest.

Take into consideration what plants are growing and currently thriving at your home and which plants may be struggling.  Also, check out your neighbors to see which plants you like that are thriving.  Chances are good, that it will also perform well in your yard due to similar conditions.  Identify possible causes for desirable plants in your yard not performing well; too much or too little sun, shade, wind or water, perhaps?

Follow HOA Rules

Trunk of Toothache Tree
Toothache Tree

For a plant you want to keep, determine if there is another location that it could be moved and be happier.  Some HOA associations have restrictions about removing vegetation so be sure to check your documents before you remove any trees, foliage or hardscape materials.  There are also some rare plants, like the toothache tree, that while may be “ugly” are rare and should be preserved.

Other Resources

Visit Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo to get more plant ideas and to see them in a growing environment.  This page will list the bloom season for many popular plants for the Outer Banks.  This list can help you select plants to keep a vibrant landscape year round.  You can also purchase plants there and they do have sales around Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Design Considerations

It is helpful to think of plants according to their growing conditions, color, height and width when making a plan.  You also must consider what conditions the plant grows best with regard to sun/shade, dry/moist, wind, soil nutrients and flooding.  Match the plant to the conditions present in the area in your yard that you want to create interest or a focal point.  Groupings of odd numbers work best and having a tall plant, medium plants and low plants create a sense of balance.  Lining up plants in a straight line like soldiers is not as effective as creating curves and island groupings.

Obviously, trees can get very large, there are various bushes and midlevel plans as well as ground covers and creepers.  All serve a function and create balance but be careful to allow room for all to grow to full size without planting too close together.  While this planting may appear sparse at first, it will make for a happier environment in the long term.  Grouping colors, both foliage and blooms, that harmonize and sometimes contrast is recommended.  But color is a matter of taste and if you want to have all the colors mixed together, go right ahead, it is your prerogative.

Annuals & Perennials

It is also important to know if a plant is an annual or perennials.  Annuals are plants that only last a season.  Most flowering annuals will bloom through the entire season.  Some annuals will either volunteer or last through a mild Outer Banks winter.  Snap Dragons, Begonias and Petunia’s are annuals that have returned for me several times. 

Hibiscus is flowering perennial
Hibiscus plant

On the other hand, perennials will come back year after year but typically have a shorter bloom period.  Hibiscus, Hydrangea, Hostas and Irises come to mind as examples of perennials.  Some patience is required with perennials.  They may take up to 3 years to settle into their new home; the first year they sleep, the second year they creep and in the third year they leap.

Zones & Micro-Climates

My garden is on the sound side in a maritime forest; it is more difficult to control the plants that I do not want to take over.  Plants like the sea oats, naturally grow on the dunes and are appropriate for the oceanfront and nearby locations but can be invasive on the sound side. 

The Outer Banks also has sandy soil (no surprise here since it is a barrier island), is subject to flooding and has a large deer population that will eat your landscape overnight.  Choosing deer resistant plants is recommended if your area has a large population of deer.

The Outer Banks USDA Hardiness zone (1990 map) is listed as 7b – 8a but I have pushed the envelope and found that I can get plants outside the recommended zone to grow.  The revised map for 2012 shows 8a or extreme minimum temperatures of 10 /15. 

I think part of the reason I am successful with plants rated outside the zone is the microclimates in my yard; with raised beds, south facing walls that give off additional heat and wind blocks I can create pockets for plants that require the next higher zone.  I enjoy experimenting in the garden and have even kept bananas and artichokes growing for a couple of years.  I also had a ponytail palm and jelly palm last for many years but succumbed after a particularly cold winter.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map 2012
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map 2012 – By USDA-ARS and Oregon State University (OSU) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

When to Plant

Even though garden centers and big box stores are full of plants in the spring, the best time to plant trees, shrubs and your permanent landscape is the fall.  In the fall, we still enjoy mild temperatures for root development,  good rainfall to encourage the roots to go deep and a longer period to become established before the hot humid (sometimes dry) summer season. 

Proven Plants to Consider for Your Outer Banks Landscaping:

Fig Trees 

fig tree outer banks landscaping
Fig Tree

 

These trees withstand saltwater flooding, high winds, and sandy soil.  Fruit is edible and the deer enjoy the fruit as much as humans so make sure you get to harvest first.  Give the fig tree plenty of room to spread out.  While they can be cut back rather drastically, I prefer a more natural shape.

 

 

 

 

 

Oleanders 

Oleander Outer Banks landscaping
Oleander

 

These bushes or shrubs will take ocean and sound flooding and produce lovely blooms (red, pink or white) through most of the summer.  The dark green narrow leaves remain through winter and are an excellent choice for winter interest over other deciduous plants.  The plants are poisonous when ingested; so, be aware should you have small children or curious pets.

 

 

 

Crepe Myrtles 

crepe-myrtle OBX landscaping
Crepe Myrtle

 

These long blooming trees flower from June to September with red, pink, lavender or white clusters of blooms that are a lovely addition to any landscape.  They tolerate the occasional flooding or even periods of drought.  Drive down just about any street in the Outer Banks and chances are you will see a multitude of Crepe Myrtles.

 

 

 

 

mimosa outer banks landscaping
Mimosa tree

Mimosas 

These trees have a wonderful canopy shape with fern like foliage and feather-like pink blossoms in spring.  Very attractive to butterflies.  I have had several trees volunteer in my yard.  However, do not plant the tree over a drive way or any location where the blooms will drop onto vehicles or painted surfaces as it may discolor them.

 

 

 

Azaleas 

pink-azalea-outer banks plant selection
Azalea shrub

 

These ever green shrubs perform well in the shaded protection of other tall trees and prefer more acidic soil.  The lovely spring blooms are a sure sign spring has arrived.  There are several varieties which also bloom in the fall.  Wide range of bloom colors to choose from.

 

 

 

 

dogwood tree OBX landscaping
Dogwood tree

Dogwoods 

The white blooming dogwood tree has been on the Outer Banks for a long time.  Southern Shores Dogwood Trail is named after them and is a beautiful sight in spring when the street is lined with them.  I believe there has been a pest or disease that has thinned them out recently.  I’m not sure if nursery varieties are resistant.  The nurseries typically also carry a pink version.

 

 

 

 

Camellias 

camellia blooms in winter for your outer banks landscape
Camellia shrub

One of my all-time favorite shrubs for the large rose like blooms which appear from October to April.  I just love having bushes blooming in the middle of winter.  There are many varieties with colors from red, pink, white and variegated; single blooms and double blooms.  They perform best in the shade or partial sun.

 

 

 

 

 

Succulents & Sedums  

sedum autumn joy outer banks landscaping
Sedum Autumn Joy

The Sedum Autumn Joy comes to mind for its vibrant fall blooms and usefullness in the front of borders.  There are so many varieties and shapes of Sedums, succulents and Catus to choose for your Outer Banks landscape.  They do well in the intense summer heat and dry conditions with little care, water or maintenance.

 

 

 

Cactus 

Prickly Pear Cactus OBX Planting guide
Prickly Pear Cactus

 

I planted a few Prickly Pear Cactus to discourage my dog from trampling through the terraced area of the garden.  It didn’t work, and any piece touching soil quickly rooted to spread.  These plants were not very friendly to work around during the course of normal gardening. However, cactus grow well in sandy, dry conditions and can be stunning and easy to grow without needing to water during dry spells.

 

 

 

 

sea oats outer banks planting guide
Sea Oats Grass

Sea Oats 

It was a mistake to plant these on the sound side in my garden.  While sea oats are admired for the wonderful seed heads that resemble oats, they volunteered all over the place and are difficult to stay contained in my sound side garden.  Beautiful and natural for the oceanfront especially how they sway in the breeze and the bronze color they turn in the fall. Useful for dune stabilization.

 

 

 

 

Japanese Maple 

japanese-maple-outer banks landscaping
Japanese Maple

 

These small trees are admired for the unique shape and delicate cut leaves.  They remain rather small for trees.  They don’t do well in full sun but enjoy partial shade and make a nice focal point in the garden. 

 

 

 

 

magnolia outer banks planting guide
Magnolia Tree

Magnolia 

This classic southern tree has large white blooms and large leathery evergreen leaves with a silvery undersides .  While I have a few in my yard that have volunteered, they have remained small, perhaps due to lack of space where they volunteered. Most will get rather large in a pyramid shape form.  There are hundreds of varieties; some are evergreen, deciduous or semi-evergreen.

 

 

Russian Olives 

Russian Oliver a common hedge plant in the Outer Banks
Russian Olive

 

These hardy shrubs are frequently used as hedges due to fast growth rate.  Personally, I think they require too frequent trimming as the spindly long shoots need to be frequently cut back to maintain a uniform shape. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wisteria vine outer banks planting guide
Wisteria vine

 

Wisteria 

This vine has wonderful lavender purple blooms in the spring that are just breath taking.  Unfortunately, the seed pods spread everywhere.  It grows so prolifically here, that it will take over a tree.  This was a plant that I inherited in my yard and have constantly struggled to keep in check and to remove all volunteers.  I grew Wisteria when I lived up north and it was not a constant battle like it is here.

 

 

Ivy 

English Ivy can be rather invasive in OBX
English Ivy

 

From what I was told, only a single sprig of English Ivy was planted in my yard before I purchased it.  I have spent 20 years trying to get rid of it.  It attaches to the siding, crawls up cement walls and refuses to die.  You may think it would make a good ground cover but it doesn’t just stay on the ground.  It grows up trees, the side of the house, just about anywhere.  While I would dissuade other from using it, there are many other varieties of Ivy that are not as invasive.

 

 

 

 

pampas grass-outer banks planting guide
Pampas Grass

Pampas Grass 

These tall grasses with seed heads that emerge in mid-summer appear to be low maintenance but do spread.  The leaves can be very sharp and cutting back in fall or spring sometimes requires a chainsaw and string.  Over time the center dies and the clump loses attractiveness.  IMO – just not worth the trouble.  There are other smaller grasses that perform well and do not require a lot of maintenance. 

 

 

Bamboo 

Bamboo is another plant that can be invasive in OBX
Bamboo

 

Most varieties are just too invasive.  While I am told clumping varieties are safe, I would confine to a pot or planter to make sure it does not take over your landscape.  Some varieties can even damage foundations.

 

 

 

 

canna outer banks planting guide
Canna flowers

Cannas 

These tall tropical looking plants have blooms and foliage in many different colors.  I planted only a small clump and within a few years it was over 50’ wide and as long.  Granted, it was over my septic field.  Best to plant in pots and place it around pools or in your landscape.  Plants can winter over in the pot.  Plants in the ground die back in winter and re-emerge in spring from the tuber.

 

 

 

Palm Trees 

ponytail palm and many palms are outside the suggested zone for OBX
Ponytail Palm (Pataelefante)

 

Many palms will not survive our winters.  The classic royal palm is one that does not survive here long, even when wrapped in the winter.  Other palms, like the Jelly Palm and windmill palm are more tolerant.  I recently lost a jelly palm after more than 15 years due to one overly harsh winter.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weeping Willow outer banks planting guide
Weeping Willow

Weeping Willows 

One of my favorite memories growing up (Mid-Atlantic) was a giant weeping willow in the back yard.  They are well suited to wet spots and will help with any drainage issues.  The reason they are on my not recommended list is they are shallow rooted and tend to blow over in windy conditions.  The Outer Banks frequently has windy conditions. 

Maintenance Requirements

The above lists are my personal opinion and based on my experience in my yard.  The conditions in the Outer Banks can vary dramatically between ocean and sound.  What works in one locale may not work in another.  It is important to consider your location and conditions to find the best combination of plants for the look you want and the life style you lead. 

One should also consider the amount of time for maintenance and upkeep.  If your Outer Banks home is used as a vacation rental or second home, then maintenance requirements should be minimized. Many homeowners install irrigation systems to ensure adequate water.  Frequently, well water is used but well water tends to contain Iron and will stain structures or concrete over time.  Minimizing the amount of additional watering required is good for the environment and our natural resources.

Mulch is helpful to conserve moisture and provides a neat and attractive appearance.  Typically, it needs to be reapplied each year.  Rock can also be used as mulch and does not require as frequent re-application.  Some herbs perform better with a rock mulch but selection is typically based on personal preferences.

Native Grass or Manicured Lawn

Lawns and grass are optional in the Outer Banks unlike many other places where it seems mandatory.  While some guests in vacation rentals prefer having a grass area to enjoy, this should be weighed against the additional cost and maintenance required to keep the lawn.  During periods where there has been a lot of rain, our grass needs to be cut two times a week.  There are many types of native grasses that can be used that do not require frequent cutting but do not create the same “lawn” effect.  Artificial grass is a trend on the west coast but not prevalent in the Outer Banks but could be an option to reduce maintenance cost and keep a pristine lawn. 

Implement Over Time

Your Outer Banks landscaping does not need to be elaborate to be effective.  A few selected plants can be complimented with potted plants to be cheery and welcoming.  Flowering annuals are inviting in pots near the front door.  The pool area can feel tropical with Elephant Ears planted in pots.  The Elephant Ear tubers can be dug up at the end of the season and placed in peat moss to be replanted the next year.  You can create an overall plan or vision for your landscape and implement a portion each year.

A smart landscaping plan will help to set your vacation rental above the competition.  Keeping maintenance requirements in mind will allow you to enjoy your visits to your second home without performing a lot of work or yard chores.  Investing just a little thought and money into a landscaping plan can bring you years of enjoyment and increase your return with improved curb appeal when you are ready to sell.

The Outer Banks rental market continues to be strong to provide income from the investment and enjoyment for the family for years to come. The Outer Banks has been named a top beach destination every year.  For more information on buying Outer Banks Real Estate or to learn more about the Outer Banks in general, please contact us or check out our blog.

Eillu relocation guide to Outer Banks

 


HOA Sticker Shock: How Much Are Association Fees for Popular Outer Banks Communities?

Outer Banks HOA's cost comparison and amenities included

An important consideration for locating your Outer Banks home is the neighborhood or community.  The community will impact your quality of life whether it is used as a second home, vacation rental, investment property or your primary home.  The neighborhood influences your social interactions, schools your children may attend, shopping availability and recreation facilities.  The community also impacts your pocket book.   

Many neighborhoods in the Outer Banks are designed as PUD’s or Planned Unit Development.  The concept includes common areas, sometimes open space or amenities like swimming pools, tennis courts and gyms available to residents and guests.  The home owner is responsible for the care and maintenance of his own property and pays dues to the Home Owner Association (HOA) to maintain the common areas.  The shared cost among residents for the community amenities provides an improved life style for each of the residents.

Depending on the HOA governing document or by laws, the association may be able to dictate certain aspects regarding the home owners’ property, like the materials used in construction of the home, paint colors and type of landscaping or hardscape for properties within the PUD.  This is to make sure the homes within the community adhere to an agreed upon standard.  This structure is believed to enhance property values and prevent surprises after purchase of your home; like when your neighbor decides to paint his house purple. 

A portion of the dues each home owner pays is also used to fund reserves.  Reserves are used to repair or replace items but are collected in advance to keep HOA fees level.  Otherwise, when a roof needs to be replaced each home owner would be assessed a portion of the expense.  This additional amount would not be planned by homeowners and could wreak havoc with their individual budgets. 

Prior to closing on your real estate purchase, you should read and understand the HOA governing documents to make sure you understand the rules and regulations that you will be expected to abide by.  Take the time to look at the common amenities and assess the level of pro-active maintenance and the current condition of the common areas.  Read the association minutes to determine if residents have issues with deferred maintenance or if there has been discussions requesting a special assessment.  Review the operating budget to make sure adequate reserves are being collected for the age and condition of the assets.

An estimated 54 million Americans live in some 274,000 homeowner associations, condominium communities, cooperatives and other planned developments.  Some of the popular communities in the Outer Banks have HOA and various levels of community amenities.  Only you can decide if the community is a good fit for you and your real estate needs.  Consider the fee charged for the HOA compared to the value to you or your guests for the amenities provided. 

The fees listed for the communities below are current and accurate as of the time of this writing but use these figures as a guideline and always request the documentation from the HOA or Management company prior to completing a real estate transaction. 

Currituck Club

The Currituck Club in Corolla is one of the newer developments on the Outer Banks.  Central to the plan is the lovely Rees Jones golf course with the same name.  The semi-private golf course was named “Top 10 Golf Course You Can Play” by Golf Magazine in 1996 and was rated 24th in the state of NC in 2000 by Golf Digest.

The 412 single family homes on 582 acres are graciously laid out around the golf course and the Sound to maximize the views.  Many homes have golf course, sound and ocean views. 

This community has several communities within the community that share the overall amenities and have amenities exclusive to the smaller community residents and guests.

The Currituck Club –$3,463 / year

AMENITIES

  • Clubhouse
  • Gated Community
  • Golf Course
  • Health Club
  • Ocean Access
  • Outdoor-Comm. Pool
  • Outdoor-Comm. Tennis
  • Playground
  • Common Area

ASSOCIATION FEE INCLUDES

  • Common Electric
  • Common Insurance
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Management
  • Pool
  • Road Maintenance
  • Security
  • Tennis Courts
  • Walkways

Windswept Ridge Condos – $9,636 / year

This 30 unit condo community has two three story buildings and is perched high to provide fairway and some ocean views.  There is a private pool and tennis court for the condo community as well as the main Currituck Club amenities.  Homeowner Association documents can be found here.

AMENITIES

  • Clubhouse
  • Gated Community
  • Golf Course
  • Health Club
  • Ocean Access
  • Outdoor-Comm. Pool
  • Outdoor-Comm. Tennis
  • Playground 

ASSOCIATION FEE INCLUDES

  • Building Maintenance
  • Common Electric
  • Common Insurance
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Management
  • Pool
  • Road Maintenance
  • Security
  • Tennis Courts 

Hammocks – $6,605 / year

The Hammocks include 71 homes with semi-maintenance free living since the HOA handles roof, siding and landscaping (not the area directly in each back yard).  There is also a separate community pool for residents of the Hammocks.  It was awarded the 2010 Small Resort Community of the Year by NC Chapter of the Community Association Institute.  Homeowner Association documents can be found here.

ASSOCIATION AMENITIES

  • Clubhouse
  • Gated Community
  • Golf Course
  • Health Club
  • Ocean Access
  • Outdoor-Comm. Tennis
  • Playground 

ASSOCIATION FEE INCLUDES

  • Common Electric
  • Common Insurance
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Management
  • Pool
  • Road Maintenance
  • Security
  • Tennis Courts 

Magnolia Bay – $5,663 / year

Magnolia Bay includes 61 home sites with approximately 1/3 located on the sound within the Currituck Club community.  There is a pool and tennis courts for the exclusive use of residents and guest staying in Magnolia Bay.


ASSOCIATION AMENITIES

  • Clubhouse
  • Gated Community
  • Golf Course
  • Health Club
  • Ocean Access
  • Outdoor-Comm. Pool
  • Outdoor-Comm. Tennis
  • Playground 

ASSOCIATION FEE INCLUDES

  • Common Electric
  • Common Insurance
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Management
  • Pool
  • Road Maintenance
  • Security
  • Tennis Courts
  • Walkways

The Cottages at The Currituck Club – $3,463 / year

The elevated lots for the Cottages are located at the first fairway at the main entrance to the golf course.  The elevation provides sound and ocean views as well as the sweeping expanse of the golf course.

ASSOCIATION AMENITIES

  • Clubhouse
  • Health Club
  • Ocean Access
  • Outdoor-Comm. Pool
  • Outdoor-Comm. Tennis
  • Park
  • Playground 

ASSOCIATION FEE INCLUDES

  • Management
  • Pool
  • Road Maintenance
  • Tennis Courts

Kilmarlic Golf Club – base $640 / year

Base amount applies to home or lot; plus additional amounts for swimming pool, tennis, golf and fitness center.

The Kilmarlic community sits on 605 acres of maritime forest and coastal wetlands on the mainland in Currituck County.  Many home sites have views of the championship golf course with the same name.  The community is almost next to the new H2OBX Water Park.  It is 4 miles from the Wright Memorial Bridge but only minutes from the beaches and attractions in the Outer Banks.   In 2004 and 2009, Kilmarlic Golf Club hosted the North Carolina Open. 

ASSOCIATION AMENITIES

  • Sound Access, Pier & Gazebo
  • Boat Dock
  • Park

Optional Amenities

  • Club House
  • Health Club
  • Pool
  • Tennis 

ASSOCIATION FEE INCLUDES

  • Common Electric
  • Common Insurance
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Management

Martins Point – $895 / year

This upscale gated community is located in Kitty Hawk at the base of the Wright Memorial Bridge.  It is centrally located and favored by year round residents and second home owners.  The community is built on a peninsula that juts out into the Currituck Sound and bordered on the other side by the Guinguite Creek affording many home sites water front views and access. 

ASSOCIATION AMENITIES

  • Gated Community
  • Boat Ramp
  • Boat Dock
  • Playground
  • Sound Access

ASSOCIATION FEE INCLUDES

  • Common Electric
  • Common Insurance
  • Road Maintenance
  • Security

Monteray Shores – $980 / year

Located in Corolla, Monteray Shores is a 369 acre community with French Carribean style homes on the sound front.  It is one of the only communities in Corolla with a launch for small watercraft.  There is nearby public access to the oceanfront with parking in the Whalehead subdivision.

ASSOCIATION AMENITIES

  • Clubhouse
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Tennis
  • Playground
  • Sound Access
  • Boardwalk

ASSOCIATION FEE INCLUDES

  • Building Maintenance
  • Management

Villages at Ocean Hill – $1664 / year

Another established community in Corolla, the Villages at Ocean Hill is located just before the four wheel drive area.  It has a well-managed HOA and abundant amenities for both residents and guests. 

ASSOCIATION AMENITIES

  • Pool
  • Tennis
  • Health Club
  • Clubhouse
  • Playground
  • Beach Access
  • Walkways

ASSOCIATION FEE INCLUDES

  • Common Electric
  • Common Insurance
  • Road Maintenance

Ocean Sands – $500 / year – (sections: D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, P)

$100 / year voluntary (Sections A, B, C)

Ocean Lakes in Ocean Sands $930 / year (Section O)

The communities in Ocean Sands were one of the first developments in the Corolla area during the 1970’s.  At that time, much of the roads were not even paved.  Ocean Sands Sections A, B and C, known as Ocean Sands South, were developed first and have their own voluntary home owners association (OSSPOA).  Ocean Sands Section D, E, F have a separate property owner Association.

ASSOCIATION AMENITIES

  • Tennis
  • Beach Access

Carlyle on the Sound – $500 (lot) $750 (home) /year

Located off Colington Road in Kill Devil Hills, this newer sound front community has 73 home sites with 45% reserved as a nature conservation area.

ASSOCIATION AMENITIES

  • Common Area
  • Sound Access

ASSOCIATION FEE INCLUDES

  • Common Electric
  • Common Insurance
  • Management
  • Road Maintenance

Carolina Club – $500 / year

The Carolina Club located on the Currituck mainland in Grandy, NC features a par 72 championship course that is open to the public.  Grandy, NC is located 13 miles from the Wright Memorial Bridge; so it is still close to the beach and activities of the Outer Banks. 

ASSOCIATION AMENITIES

  • Boat Ramp
  • Boat Dock
  • Outdoor pool and tennis
  • Sound Access

ASSOCIATION FEE INCLUDES

  • Common area
  • Common Electric
  • Common Insurance
  • Management

While the above list is just a few of the HOA communities, there are many communities that have no HOA or they have a voluntary opt-in for specific community amenities.  The Outer Banks has a diversified group of residential housing ranging from 1 bedroom condos to 24 bedroom homes and everything in between.  There are also co-ownership homes and time shares, town homes, patio homes.  The barrier island features the sound to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, so every location is just a short distance to the water and recreation.

Let Eillu Real Estate Agents help you find the perfect home, with exactly the community or private amenities you desire (or no community amenities at all).  Find the best neighborhood for you and your family, investment objectives or vacation rental.  Wiggle your toes in the sand and get positive cash flow from Outer Banks investment property.  Best of all, create memories to last a lifetime. Schedule an appointment today!

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Top Tips for Buying a Vacation Home in the Outer Banks

Outer Banks Vacation Home - its time

Have you considered buying your very own vacation home in the Outer Banks?  Perhaps, you have visited the OBX every year for decades and want to buy a home to enjoy with your family and friends before retiring to the area.  Maybe you just want to diversify your investment portfolio with real estate and maximize the rental income.  There are many vacation rental homes on the market that have positive cash flow.  Plus, the homes are likely to appreciate at a higher rate now that the recession is over and the market has picked up. Read the tips below to find the perfect vacation home for your family and your circumstances.

Can you get to the home easily?

Generally, your vacation home should be within 3 hours drive from your permanent residence.  This makes it convenient to travel to the home with little notice.  It also makes it more likely that you will use the home for your own pleasure.  Alternatively, scheduling commercial flights and ground transportation to arrive to the Outer Banks from across the US can be more time consuming and more complex than just jumping in the car.

The Outer Banks does have a General Aviation airport in Manteo, as well as several landing strips.  Air Charter Service directly to the area has recently been initiated which can be an option to Owners who live further away.  Also, flying to the area can be a viable option for a private pilot; but check ahead for availability of overnight parking of the aircraft.

How Much Can You Afford

Use our mortgage calculator to begin the process of budgeting for the vacation home and determining how much you can afford.  Generally, you will need to put down 20% and your total monthly expenses for houses and cars (debt) should be less than 36% of your income. Insurance and taxes are in addition to the mortgage amount and must also be factored in as well. 

Ideally, even though the vacation home will generate income and cover your expenses; life always throws surprises.  You should have cash flow and reserves to cover the cost of surprise repairs or replacement for an appliance that breaks.  It is far better to overestimate what the potential repair and maintenance cost may be then to get in a pinch and be short.  Your Eillu Agent can help with costs estimates based on performance of like homes in the Outer Banks. 

Get Pre-approval

Once you have completed your estimates, it is time to validate them and get pre-approved from a local lender.  Local Outer Banks lenders are knowledgeable about the area and are familiar with the issues that arise with coastal properties more than a familiar lender near your permanent home.

Who will use the Vacation Home?

Even if you intend to use the vacation home as a second home with occasional use for family and friends, it is a good idea to have a local contact who is able to check the property for you in the off season, be available for emergencies and perform any needed assessments after a storm.

If you intend to rent out your vacation home, there are more options than ever today about how to manage your vacation rental.  The Outer Banks has dozens of professional Property Management firms that specialize in vacation home rentals.  These firms can handle everything from reservations, payment disbursement, maintenance, emergency calls, cleaning and respond to guest inquiries.  It will cost you about 15% of the gross for their services, plus any fees for additional services. 

At the other end of the spectrum, you can use services such as VRBO or Airbnb to manage the reservations for your vacation home and secure the remaining services locally as needed.  Of course, this puts the responsibility on you to make sure there is a cleaner scheduled, pool / hot tub technician scheduled and the guest has their keys or working keyless entry code.  In addition, having a handyman or maintenance tech for any calls should also be planned for in advance. 

There are also hybrid choices where both VRBO and Property Management services can be combined at a lower commission rate. 

Managing a vacation home can be a wonderful rewarding experience but can also be challenging.  You should carefully consider how much time you have to dedicate to the endeavor before deciding which direction to go.

Vacation Home Location

Deciding where on the Outer Banks to invest is very important.  While the entire strip of Barrier Island is lovely, each neighborhood has a distinct vibe that may not be obvious at first sight.  Our guide to selecting neighborhoods will help you evaluate all the factors.  Also, you can read about each of the Outer Banks towns here.

On the one hand, if you intend to rent the home, you want to have strong demand for vacation rentals.  Corolla is a lovely resort area with great rental demand.  You truly feel like you are in a special place during the summer.  However, the year round population is rather limited and it can be isolating to be there during the winter.  As you can see, if you plan to eventually retire to the home, then this may be more difficult to satisfy all the criteria for both.  Obviously, a 7BR oceanfront home, while lovely to vacation at, may not be ideal for retirement with only a couple living there.  We at Eillu are here to help you find the perfect home to satisfy all your criteria.

The Outer Banks provides lots of choices for your vacation rental location.  Waterfront locations include the Atlantic Ocean and the sound.  In some places, the island may only be a mile wide between them. 

Generally, vacation rental homes on the oceanfront or oceanside have greater demand than soundfront or soundside locations.  Many soundside locations are considered a maritime forest and are wooded with fewer manicured yards.  Oceanfront locations have more sparse vegetation and can be impacted with blowing sand to require more frequent painting and upkeep.

Each town or community also provides background character to your vacation rental.  A “resort” community may have abundant community amenities but few year round residents as neighbors or friends.  In some areas, shopping and restaurants close for the winter months or after the fringe season.  In other locations, more businesses stay open year round to provide services to you or your guest in the off-season and provide potential rental income over the holidays.  It is always a good idea to visit the area you would like to purchase a vacation home in each season to see how the area differs through the seasons. 

Even if you have been visiting the Outer Banks on vacation for years, make sure to view the other areas before deciding where to invest.  Many families have come to the same beach town (and even the same house) year after year and never venture further. 

At the north end, there are areas, like Carova, where the homes must be accessed by 4 wheel drive that provide utmost privacy.  Carova also is home to the wild horses often seen frolicking on the beach that may be perfect backdrop for the “escape” you seek.  

Corolla is well known as a high end resort area and is perfect for summer vacations but becomes isolated in the winter.  Further south are more year round communities like Duck and Southern Shores, with both sound and oceanfront locations.  Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head are in the thick of things year round and have more shopping and restaurant options open.   

Manteo has a unique character all of its own, a quaint small town on an island (Roanoke Island), but with fewer vacation home rentals.  Finally, Hatteras Island and Ocracoke can be more isolated in the winter or after a major storm event and Ocracoke requires traveling on a ferry to get access.   Each area has its advantages but you must consider them all to know what is best for you and your investment goals.

Tax Implications

Everyone’s tax situation is different.  While your vacation home can be rented out and used as a business investment where your expenses are deducted, your financial advisor can be more specific to your exact situation.  Vacation home owners can use the property for two weeks a year and still maximize the tax advantages, like depreciation on the home and the furnishings.

The Outer Banks rental market continues to be strong to provide income from the investment and enjoyment for the family for years to come. The Outer Banks has been named a top beach destination every year.  For more information on buying Outer Banks Real Estate or to learn more about the Outer Banks in general, please contact us and check out our blog.

infographic map with cost and ratings for vacation destinations from Maine to Florida


Yes, You Can Expect More With Eillu!