Category Archives: Income Properties

Smart Homes: The Real Deal for Outer Banks Vacation Rentals

OBX Smart Home Technology

The Internet of Things (IOT) has been discussed for years; the connection and control of all kinds of devices through the internet.  It is now easier than ever to employ home automation in your Outer Banks home using a smart phone or tablet.

Vacation rental properties are an ideal application for home automation.  Precisely due to the distance most owners are from their property, the Internet of Things provides peace of mind that the property is safe and secure by being able to monitor the property remotely. 

Now, more than ever, technology can help remote owners’ manager their vacation rental as a VRBO without the use of a dedicated Property Manager.  As a home owner, there are many systems and platforms available to use to manage and monitor your home systems.  

OBX Smart Home Features

If your home is professionally managed by a Property Management Company, you will typically have to use most, if not all of the systems they use to allow them to manage all the properties from a central console.  If you do not use a Property Management Company then you have more home automation devices to choose from. Nevertheless, even if your property is actively managed by a company, they can’t be everywhere all the time.  Security and remote monitoring of your vacation property is a key benefit of these systems.  If you use VRBO, Airbnb or other vacation hosting services to rent to guests, being able to control the home remotely provides a key advantage.  You can adjust the thermostat right before the guests’ arrival, welcoming them to a warm or cool home while also saving energy.

Home automation can help your vacation rental stand out among the competition.  Guests that don’t have automated devices in their home are curious to try out the technology and are likely to choose your home over an unconnected alternative. 

There are several categories of home automation useful to the owner who manages their own property.  Many of these are also useful to an owner occupied home.  If you plan to automate several areas then you must select devices compatible with each other and connected to a hub, like Wink Hub2 or Apple’s HomeKit platform that provides voice control through Siri.

Keyless Entry – Smart Locks

A keyless entry system is essential.  Your guests will appreciate not having to stop and pick up keys.  You will appreciate the simplicity of generating a code rather than arranging delivery of keys for an afterhours check-in.  Many of these systems work with wifi, so you should have reliable internet to avoid any Snafus (or a backup key for emergencies).  A keyless entry system also allows you to control entry for cleaners, maintenance technicians and any other service personnel.  Many will also create a log showing entry and exits.

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats will save you money.  One of the leading products available at big box stores is Nest.  These systems are designed to achieve the preferred temperature in the most efficient manner.  You can set a range of values allowed to provide comfort to guests without exceeded a reasonable temperature.  These systems allow you to turn down the setting when the home is not occupied and turn it up to welcome guests before their arrival.  Many systems will monitor the humidity levels and allow you to check the status of the system remotely.  No longer will you wonder if the cleaner remembered to re-set the thermostat once they finished cleaning.  They can also prompt you to perform maintenance like changing filters. 

Sensors

Sensors are used to monitor a range of conditions.  For example, a sensor on a doors or windows can trigger when left open to turn off the HVAC for heating or cooling.  How often do renters leave the door open with the A/C running full blast?  Often enough that installing a sensor to tell the thermostat to turn off after x minutes of the door being left open can save a significant amount of money.

Sensors can also be used to detect flooding or freezing conditions and will then alert you to the condition of the home after a storm or other event.

Some of these devices will also allow you to monitor noise levels, air quality and listen for smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.  This could alert homeowners that guests were smoking in the home or having a loud party.

OBX Smart Home Features

Smart Lighting

One advantage to smart lighting is being able to turn the lights on for guests who are arriving late.  These systems also allow guests to control the intensity, direction, pattern and color of the lighting.  One “gee wiz” feature is the ability to sync lighting to music. 

Home Security

Home security systems allow you to protect your home while it is vacant.  Crime and break-ins are more likely to happen during the off-season and having a security system can provide tremendous peace of mind to homeowners.  These systems usually require a hub and can also notify you when there is a fire, carbon monoxide leak, flood and other issues.

Video

Vacation home owners who rent their property should use caution when implementing video.  Many guests would object to being videoed while using the pool and other spaces.  Front-entry cameras are best for playing it safe.  State laws vary, but most have some type of “video voyeurism” laws ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony. One option is to remove the cameras during the rental season and re-install during the off season.  In most instances, you won’t have to deal with any trouble over a Front-Entry IP Camera.

More Devices

The smart home or home automation trend is quickly gaining traction.  New devices are coming to market every day with no end in sight.  Chances are, there is already a device out there to meet your need.

Smart switches can allow you to turn just about anything you plug into them to be “smart”.  You will have to use IFTTT (If this, then that) to create the automation script for items plugged in.

There are smart devices for cooking, like the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker or the Char-broil digital electric smoker to the Perfect Bake Pro.

There are devices for cleaning.  Robot vacuums have been around for a while but now provide prospects with quite the selection, including some that will even mop your floor. There are sprinkler controllers, even lawn mowers.

Increasingly, when shopping for replacement items for your home like garage doors, smoke detectors, or flood lights, you will be confronted with smart home options at almost the same price point as their non-smart counterparts.  As the technology advances and artificial intelligence is integrated, our devices will learn to adapt to our needs and learn about their environment for even more efficient operation.

Interested in a smart home but don’t know how to get started?  Don’t hesitate to contact your Outer Banks Boutique Real Estate Team at Eillu to discuss your needs and explore your alternatives.  All Homes by Eillu are built with the latest Smart Home Technology. We incorporate energy efficiency and smart home technology with timeless style for a home that will remain comfortable and elegant for decades to come. With the help of accomplished designers, engineers and an experienced construction team, we continue to develop and build the most desired homes in the Outer Banks. Exquisite style and taste are apparent in each home, distinctively designed and built with the care our clients deserve. All our homes are provided with construction warranties to give our customer “peace of mind” with their most important investment.


How to Buy and Customize a New Home Without the Hassle and Expense of Multiple Closings

New home construction outer banks corolla

Homes by Eillu has several new homes under construction in desirable Outer Banks neighborhoods

These Corolla listings in Monteray Shores, Corolla Light, Soundfront at Corolla Bay and Villages at Ocean Hill, are in demand by vacationers and are enjoyed by second homeowners.  If you act now, there is time for you to customize the homes and select the finishes you prefer.

These homes are fully funded by the developer.  This means there is only one closing after the home is complete.  This will save you money and it also allows you to avoid the stress that many buyers frequently feel during the custom home buying process.

Lot Loan

Buyers of a custom home will frequently select and purchase a lot.  The purchase of the lot can be financed with a loan. 

From a lenders point of view, this loan will be riskier and will tend to have a higher interest rate.  These loans are considered non-conforming loans and the bank can’t sell the loan on the secondary market. Corolla New Homes by Eillu

It is more difficult for buyers to qualify for a land loan than for a mortgage and the terms can sometimes be onerous.  Once the home is completed, the land loan amount can be included in the amount of the mortgage.

Homes by Eillu does NOT require our buyers to obtain a loan for the lot or land.  We already own the home site and fund all cost of construction while building your new home. 

Construction Loan

A construction loan is usually obtained by the buyer to begin construction for a new home.  This is a short term loan used to fund the project with disbursements as the project progresses.  Buyers typically pay interest on the loan over the course of the building, but the entire balance including principal is due when the home is complete. 

Typically, the construction loan balance is incorporated into the final mortgage loan once the home is completed.  This ‘interest only’ construction loan is cash out of the pocket of the buyer while the building progresses.  If the amount is not rolled into the mortgage then the buyer will be paying closing costs for both loans.

At Homes by Eillu, we do NOT require buyers to take out a construction loan.  This adds up to thousands in savings for the buyer. 

Earnest Money

A custom home builder usually requires a higher earnest money deposit than typically required for a resale home.  They do this to share some of the risk with the buyer.  A buyer may select some finishes that do not have wide appeal and would make it more difficult to sell to another buyer should the deal fall through.

At Homes by Eillu, we require a 5% earnest money deposit at the time of signing the contract for purchase and another 5% deposit once the roof is complete. 

The buyer should have a loan approval letter at the time of signing the contract for purchase and a commitment letter from the lender within 30 days.

One Loan – One Closing

At Homes by Eillu we believe in making your new home purchase simple, stress free and an enjoyable process.  Once your home is complete and a certificate of occupancy is issued, only one purchase money mortgage is used to finance the home.  This saves buyers Corolla New Homes by Eilluthousands of dollars in cost.  Only one closing means there are no duplicate loan application fees and other transaction costs.  It makes the entire process more efficient without the extra burden of scheduling draws and arduous paperwork for the buyer and the builder.

Customize Your Way

We currently have several homes under construction.  The earlier you act, the greater the opportunity to customize the home with your selections.  The process is very simple.  You can also visit one of our completed homes, to visualize some of the finishes and to inspect the quality construction methods employed.  See completed home pictures here.

Select Quality Products

The New Construction signed contract includes an attachment with the specifications for your new home.  Some items, like the 50 year Corolla New Homes by Eilluwarranty LP siding with sofit and facia and Pella windows and doors, are included in the specifications.  Roofs are  CertainTeed Architecture Shingles.  Even the paint is specified to PPG (Pittsburg Paint & Glass) rather than a builder’s grade paint that will likely need to be re-painted too soon.  All are quality products to produce a quality home.

Other suggested finishes and products include granite counters, LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile), Viking Vinyl pool (12×24) and Whirlpool stainless steel appliances.  A buyer can simply select a color palate, bath and related fixtures and use all the specified products for a unified and well-designed home that will remain in style for decades. 

Substitute Finishes with Allowances

Alternatively, a buyer can customize the home to uniquely reflect their personal style with the allowance program.  Each allowance category has a dollar value and product substitutions that cost over the allowance will have the difference added to the final cost of the home and are paid at closing.  Any items selected that are below the allowance appear as a credit at closing.  The allowance categories are:

  • Vinyl Tile
  • Carpet
  • Ceramic Tile
  • Appliances
  • Lighting
  • Granite
  • Cabinets
  • Landscaping

Homes by Eillu include state of the art smart home technology.  This package works together with a hub to efficiency and easily control all connected devices.  The smart devices include:

  • Wired and wireless internet (for better streaming)
  • Alexa voice controlled assistant
  • WiFi Thermostats
  • Front Entry Camera
  • Door locks
  • 2 Wifi lights
  • Leak detectors
  • Indoor and outdoor speakers (Pre-wire)

Plus, when you are away from home, many of the devices are controlled and send alerts to your smart phone so you can monitor your beach home from a distance.  This is a huge benefit in the Outer Banks where many homes are used as second homes or vacation homes.  Imagine being able to control the temperature of your Living Room in the Outer Banks from your permanent home!

Also, all of our homes include a 1 Year Builders Warranty and a 2 Year (years 2 & 3) CHOICE New Home Warranty to ensure worry free enjoyment of your new home for years to come.

Currently, all of our new homes are centrally located in Corolla.  We have homes in several established communities; like Village at Ocean Hill, Monteray Shores, Soundfront at Corolla Bay and Corolla Light.  Each of these communities is sought after by vacationers for their abundant amenities, proximity to the Sound and the Ocean.  All are close to shopping, restaurants and local attractions. Our fun beach homes are perfect for a second home or vacation rental.

Homes by Eillu has many new home packages available.  Call today to schedule an appointment to view a completed home or visit our next project. 

New Homes in Outer Banks


Benefits of Buying Corolla Real Estate

Corolla Real Estate aerial drone shot

Buying Outer Banks real estate can be an extremely profitable and rewarding experience for families looking for a beach getaway. Choosing the right town on the Outer Banks to purchase your home can be the hard part. Each town has its own allure and amenities that make living and visiting the OBX so popular. One of the most popular towns is the northern beach town of Corolla. Corolla real estate provides many with the quintessential OBX town feel loved by so many. Learn why more families are choosing Corolla to purchase an OBX beach home more than ever!

Miles of Pristine Beaches

Let’s face it: the most alluring and desirable amenity the Outer Banks boasts is its untamed beaches. Corolla offers some of the most natural landscape left on the Outer Banks. Thanks to later construction and the miles of beaches preserved for the Corolla Wild Horses, Corolla has wide beachfronts that give you and your family plenty of room to enjoy the nature that you fell in love with.

Feel like You’re a Thousand Miles Away

Many who are looking for a beachfront home want the home to be their oasis away from the hectic lives on the “mainland” or their perfect retirement spot. As one of the towns farthest north on the Outer Banks, Corolla offers the peace and quiet you are looking for while still having access to necessities like groceries, shopping and restaurants.

Small Town Feel

Corolla provides the perfect location to be an active member of the community. Although thousands visit the town each year, the numbers that actually live in Corolla are drastically less. The town has a close-knit community of full-time residents who participate in area activities and programs to help promote Corolla, education and preservation of wildlife. If you’re looking for a slower-pace and friendly neighbors, Corolla is the perfect spot.

Excellent Rental Opportunity

Corolla has quickly become one of the most popular vacation towns on the Outer Banks. Owning a home in Corolla provides your family with the opportunity to enter a property management program and rent your home during periods where you will not be occupying the house. Corolla homes book extremely fast and often have families that become return renters each year to the home. This maximizes your return on investment and will enable you to quickly pay off your new OBX real estate.

Ready to search for your own slice of heaven? Contact Eillu’s team of real estate professionals who are ready to help today!

 

Click to Schedule an appointment with Eillu Outer Banks Real Estate


Soundfront at Corolla Bay: The Outer Banks Exclusive, Intimate Upscale Community

 

Soundfront at Corolla Bay New Community Homes by Eillu

The Outer Banks has a variety of wonderful communities in which owning a home comes with a long list of various benefits. However, none can compete with all the luxuries that Soundfront at Corolla Bay has to offer.

The Soundfront at Corolla Bay is a lovely soundside community featuring 36 large, private soundfront and semi-soundfront homesites where homeowners marvel as the sun melts into the calming waters of the Currituck Sound. For starters, the peacefulness and secluded feeling within the community will have you feeling worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the island yet it is centrally located to everything historic Corolla Village has to offer, and just steps away from the Oceanside beach access.

Speaking of beach access – the choice is yours when it comes to walking or driving, and without having to worry about parking. Homeowners have easy access to guaranteed parking and a bath house directly at the beach access so you’ll never have to worry with fighting the crowd. For the vacation home owner, a waterfront location with easy access to one of the prettiest stretches of beach along the east coast makes for excellent income production potential. Every soundfront lot within the community also offers the option of having your very own private pier.

Lucky owners in The Soundfront enjoy a brand new, just completed soundside community pier with sidewalks leading the way from each homesite. Ospreys and bald eagles are just a portion of the surrounding nature and wildlife that can be seen on a regular basis, Soundfront at Corolla Bay New Community Homes by Eilluadding to the tranquility within while still having easy access to nearby shopping centers and a variety of local stores and restaurants for your pleasure.

 

Nearest Community to Planned Bridge

The mid-Currituck bridge is planned to land just to the south of the community to provide easy access for travelers or vacationers to the community. This bridge has been hotly debated for years. Clearly, it will provide quicker access to the Currituck Outer Banks from the Virginia area and for visitors from areas north of Virginia. Without the bridge, visitors need to travel further south and traverse north through Southern Shores and Duck before arriving to Corolla. The bridge can eliminate almost 40 miles of additional driving, so you will arrive to your home quickly.

Mid-County Currituck Bridge Plat

Low HOA fee

The Soundfront at Corolla Bay Homeowners Association fee is set at a low $1,000 annual rate. This allows for the maintenance and landscaping for all the common areas. Some of the amenities include the pier and gazebo but also sidewalks and streetlights.

 

 

Here at Eillu, we don’t think you should have to choose certain amenities over others when deciding which Outer Banks community is best for purchasing a home. That’s why we undoubtedly feel The Soundfront at Corolla Bay is the top choice without regrets. If you’d like to visit this luxurious community or have any questions, don’t hesitate to call or contact us at Eillu, your trusted Outer Banks Boutique Real Estate Team.

1013 Cruz Bay Lane Soundfront at Corolla Bay New Homes by Eillu

Check out available properties in Soundfront at Corolla Bay here.

 

Click to Schedule an appointment with Eillu Outer Banks Real Estate

 


Homes by Eillu

Check out these 5 beautiful Homes by Eillu

Homes by Eillu

1013 Cruz Bay Lane, Corolla New Homes by Eillu

1013 Cruz Bay Lane
Corolla, NC

This lovely to-be-built home will have UNBELIEVABLE views from this semi-sound front location.  The Soundfront at Corolla Bay is an elegant intimate community located in the heart of Corolla.  Close to all shopping, restaurants and local attractions.

The home will be built with latest products & style and filled with smart home features. Great floor plan with 4 Bedrooms, 3½ Bathrooms, recreation room and a private pool.

Community offers sound front gazebo, pier, kayak launch ocean access with parking and more.  This fun beach home is perfectly suitable for a second home or a vacation rental.

 

1085 Hampton Street, Corolla New Homes by Eillu

1085 Hampton Street
Corolla, NC

This beautiful semi-soundfront home, currently under construction, is located in the award winning Corolla Light community in Corolla, NC.

This home is being built with the latest building products and filled with smart home features. Great floor plan with 4 Bedrooms, 4  Bathrooms, recreation room, garage, landscaping and a private pool.  

Corolla Light has one of the most extensive community amenities of any community in the Outer Banks.  You and your guests can use the tennis courts, swimming pools (indoor and outdoor), fitness center, basketball court, volleyball court, racquetball court, soundfront pier, trolley and more.

This home is only few minutes from the Currituck Lighthouse and the Whalehead Club.  Located in the heart of Corolla with Soundfront Oceanfront amenities. Close to all shopping, restaurants and local attractions. This fun beach home is perfectly suitable for a second home or vacation rental.

 

853 Seascape Court, Corolla New Homes by Eillu

853 Seascape Court
Corolla, NC

This beautiful New home is located in Monteray Shores, a centrally located community in Corolla. Home is being built with latest products & style and filled with smart home features. Great floor plan with 4 Bedrooms, 5 Bathroom, recreation room and a private pool. Community offers many amenities such as Tennis Courts, Community Pool, Clubhouse with lounge area, Basketball Court, Playground and Soundside Pier. Only few minutes from the Sound and the Ocean. Close to all shopping, restaurants and local attractions. This fun beach home is perfectly suitable for a second home or vacation rental.

 

 864 Ivory Court, Corolla New Homes by Eillu

864 Ivory Court
Corolla, NC

This beautiful semi-soundfront home, currently under construction, is also located in the central community of Monteray Shores in Corolla.

This home is being built with the latest building products and filled with smart home features. Great floor plan with 4 Bedrooms, 4  Bathrooms, recreation room, garage, landscaping and a private pool.  

The community offers many amenities such as Tennis Courts, Community Pool, Clubhouse with lounge area, Basketball Court, Playground and Soundside Pier. Only few minutes from the Sound and the Ocean. Close to all shopping, restaurants and local attractions. This fun beach home is perfectly suitable for a second home or vacation rental.

 

1257 Crystal Lake Court, Corolla New Homes bu Eillu

1257 Crystal Lake Court
Corolla, NC

This beautiful home is being built on a lot located in a quiet cul-de-sac on the sound side in Villages at Ocean Hill. Very close to the community amenities including a fitness center, tennis courts, playground, basketball court, ocean and Lakeside pools and pedestrian walkways throughout the community. Snack Bar is open in the summer and offers cold treats as well as beach equipment. The fitness center includes cardiovascular and combination equipment and free weights.

 

 

Home comes with 1 year Builders Warranty and 2 Year (years 2 & 3) CHOICE New Home Warranty.  If you find yourself falling in love with the Outer Banks like we did, don’t hesitate to call us! We are dedicated to making dreams become reality and happy to answer any and all questions you may have about Homes by Eillu. Don’t forget to check out all of Eillu’s featured listings.

 


Renting vs. Owning a Vacation Home on the Outer Banks

Renting Vs. Owning A Vacation home on the Outer Banks

 

Every vacationer to the Outer Banks has considered, if only daydreaming – what it would be like to have their very own home in paradise;  A beautiful destination for a family retreat or perhaps a home with a view to eventually retire and start the next chapter in life.

Consider this: Instead of spending your hard earned savings every year on a weekly rental near the beach, you could put that money toward a condo or beach house to call your own.

Buying a vacation home provides an endless number of getaways stretched out in front of you and making that dream a reality. No matter where you live, getting out of town is energizing. Even more so, it’s almost meditative being able to relax in a space that’s all yours without the hassles that come with hotels or having to abide by another homeowner’s rules. Plus, you don’t have to worry about any of those unexpected costs since you are already at home, especially if you end up using that beautiful kitchen.

There are several things to consider when deciding if owning a home on the Outer Banks will be of greater value to you rather than simply renting a home on the Outer Banks. Owning a second home should be pleasurable, not the source of constant financial strain. Smart decision making is key, and always remember to know your limits when it comes to big decisions that will impact your future. When done right, the advantages of owning a home on the Outer Banks can far surpass the disadvantages, so we’ve gathered some information to help those who are trying to determine what’s best; to Rent or to Own?

Vacation Home Turned Money Maker

Food for thought: Not everyone wants to buy a vacation home, but no one turns down the chance to visit someone else’s.

Realistically, you will be renting your investment home during the prime season as well as any other time of the year you feel is necessary to generate a good return on your investment. A good vacation rental property has the potential to cover your mortgage payments plus generate a healthy additional profit. Any week that is not rented is yours to enjoy! Keep in mind vacation rental properties are more sensitive as the seasons fluctuate. You will obviously have more renters during summer months rather than winter. Make sure you maximize the availability of renting your property during these popular times for your guests, to avoid becoming financially exposed if you suffer a lack of booking revenue during those winter months. The months of May and September, as well as holiday weeks such as Thanksgiving and Christmas have become increasingly popular rental opportunities on the Outer Banks. That still gives you plenty of weeks to enjoy your dream home at the beach. 

The general rule of thumb is that the yearly rental income should be 10% or more of the purchase price.  Be sure to do some research before making your investment by checking out other nearby vacation rental listings in the neighborhood or area that you’re considering for your investment. Rental history or projections are a very big factor to help you gain insight on rental properties by helping to keep your expectation of rental numbers more realistic. Using an online short-term rental service like Airbnb/VRBO makes it convenient to manage your rental property. Their website interface makes pricing, marketing, and communication with potential guests quite straightforward and easy. In addition, Airbnb/VRBO will oversee the billing process for you.  The best reason for using these services is it takes away the Property Management commissions and fees, hence increasing the profit earned per week.  To do this, the investment owner must have the extra time to be very organized and also have vendors in place to take care of housekeeping, pool and hot tub maintenance, landscaping and even the little things such as a light bulb change.  At Eillu, we will be happy to measure the positives and negatives for you as to which way to rent your home; either through a property management company or a do it yourself service such as VRBO. 

Here in the Outer Banks, there are homes available to meet a wide range of budgets. The opportunities are endless – and now is the time to begin a search for your dream vacation house. For more information, don’t hesitate to reach out to our professional agents at Eillu, your Outer Banks Boutique Real Estate Team for a personalized experience. We value our clients and strive to create a lasting relationship with each and every person we come in contact with.

Things to Consider

As with any home (and really life itself) there is always the chance of unforeseen and unfortunate events happening. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard you try to prevent certain things by taking extra precautions, some things will always be out of your control. Investment Homes can be costly to manage, both in terms of time and money. Insurance will help cover certain instances involving renters, but even when your property is unattended there is a chance for the unfortunate to happen, such as a burst water pipe that may leak and cause damage. Since events such as these cannot be controlled, consider having someone check on your property when it’s not actively being utilized. Even if you don’t know anyone in the area, some rental management companies may work with you and offer such services without making you pay all the hefty fees for their full line of services.

If you are unsure that owning an investment home is right for you, do not worry! Here at Eillu, that’s what we are here for; helping you with every step along the way. An important thing to consider before you begin searching is to understand your financial situation. To begin your search, you must determine the price range in which you are financially comfortable. Research your credit history, your debt compared to income, and the amount you can handle for a monthly payment.

Whether or not it is worth dipping your toes into this form of investment is debatable and depends largely on your personal financial abilities and tolerance for risk. If you’ve decided to begin investing in Outer Banks real estate, contact Eillu for a unique and personalized boutique experience that you won’t find anywhere else on the Outer Banks. We guarantee it!

 


Most Desired Features in Vacation Homes on the Outer Banks

Outer Banks Vacation Homes

Thanks to mild weather changes, world-class beaches and great outdoor activities, the Outer Banks is a beloved vacation destination for thousands across the country. While many only visit the Outer Banks, some are lucky enough to own or purchase property on the beautiful barrier islands. The Outer Banks are not only an attraction for visitors, the long string of barrier islands also offer a strong appeal to investors. One of the top reasons for this is the increased income for owners due to the desirable location.

If you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to invest in an Outer Banks vacation home, then keep reading! We compiled some important information to consider and ultimately help you decide the best route to go for investing in an Outer Banks vacation rental home.

One of the most important questions investors should always keep in mind is, “How well will this house rent?” With so many choices on the Outer Banks, from luxury to rustic, it is easy to lose sight of what is most important to your target customers of your vacation rental home. Over 41% of travelers believe that vacation rental homes have better amenities than hotels. Every amenity must be carefully considered to make sure it is satisfying guests and not draining your pockets.  It is not necessary to have every amenity to get loyal guests and a fully booked calendar.

 

Location, Location, Location!

The lead attraction for visitors coming to the Outer Banks is the ocean, and understandably so. Proximity to the water, whether it be to the sound or the beach, will always be an appealing feature for visitors. Vacation rental numbers by area show Corolla as a lead choice for vacation homes. Corolla offers fun and relaxation for everyone in the family with an ideal combination of nature, activities and amenities; A rewarding location! 

 

Private Pool / Hot Tub

A swimming pool has a way of encouraging families to get together. In ground pools add to the value of a home and real estate agents say pools increase the market for a home and allow a seller to ask for about 10 percent more for the house.Outer Banks Vacation Home with Private Pool and Hot Tub A vacation rental home with a private pool is ideal when ocean conditions are not conducive to swimming.  You can beat the heat by cooling off in your swimming pool with family and friends.

A home with access to a community pool or other community amenities can reduce the cost compared to a private pool.  Private pools and hot tubs need to be serviced about 2 times a week in season and these fees can add up.

 

Gas Grill

While some may not consider it as important, majority of renters have it at the top of their must-haves. A vacation home without a grill leads to disappointment more so than not.  Some owners believe a charcoal grill is adequate but most guests will appreciate the convenience of gas.  The gas is usually included with the rental and the additional cost is minimal when compared to the level of satisfaction provided to guests.  Vacation and grilling just seem to go hand in hand.  Dad tends to fire up the grill so it gives Mom a break in the kitchen.  Be sure to locate the grill in a safe place and make sure guests do not use the grill on decks or enclosed areas.

 

Wi-Fi Internet

By far, having wifi internet at your vacation home is a must have for the majority of guests.  From entertainment, directions to local attractions and keeping in touch with work or home, internet access has become more a necessity than an amenity.  Vacation home owners can save money with plans only activated during the rental season.

 

Gourmet Kitchen

There is nothing like having a kitchen that offers all the appliances and space to cook for a large group. Custom kitchens are the best to maximize kitchen efficiency and storage capacity. The island in a fully stocked kitchen is like having a second kitchen in the middle of your kitchen. It has plenty of counter space; its own sink, cabinets and drawers for storage; and other features like additional ovens, microwaves, and a second dishwasher. An island with bar stools/chairs also provides an environment for easy conversation and gathering that your renters will certainly enjoy on their family vacation.  Many vacation homes are shared by multiple families with multiple cooks.  A large kitchen allows for multiple meals to be cooked simultaneously.

Top end appliances will not add value if you don’t have good quality pots, pans, glasses and dishes and cooking utensils.  Keep in mind all of the items needed to stock your vacation home kitchen as thoroughly as your permanent home kitchen.  Your guests will appreciate your attention to detail and thoughtfulness.  If you are missing a large pasta pot, your guest will never forget it. Outer Banks Vacation Homes Gourmet Kitchen Many homeowners include specialty items like slow cookers, wine coolers and a stand-alone ice maker.

 

Dining Area

The dining area of the vacation home should adequately seat all the guests enjoying the home.  After all, the guests came on vacation together to enjoy each other’s company and probably do not want to eat in shifts.  This is especially important if you intend to rent your home over the holidays where the meal is the focus of the day.

 

Washer / Dryer

A washer and dryer is a standard feature in most Outer Banks vacation homes.  There are few laundromats in the Outer Banks and no guest wants to spend precious vacation time in a laundromat.  Families with children view a washer and dryer as a necessity while on vacation.

 

Theater Room

A home theater room is a popular amenity in many of the large vacation rental homes.  These rooms, featuring high end video and sound, “lazy-boy” chairs and a popcorn machine is a thrill for young and old alike.  Gather all the kids on a rainy day for a Disney movie marathon.

If you are considering a home theater for your vacation rental home, keep the controls easy to understand and simple to use.  Otherwise, you can incur higher expenses from guest unable to use the equipment and additional calls for maintenance techs to re-set the equipment.

Frequently, just having large flat screen tvs in multiple rooms in your vacation rental will allow each guest to enjoy the type of entertainment they are looking for without the steep investment of a high tech theater room.

 

Pets

Accepting pets at your vacation home is a growing popularity by attracting more guests who just can’t bear the idea of traveling without their four-legged family member. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should adopt a pet friendly policy, consider alternating the amenity a few months at a time and OBX Pet Friendlycomparing the overall results of the two options. Did your home attract more renters with or without the policy?

 Before adopting a pet friendly policy, keep in mind weekly cleaning can take more time and cost more to make it ready for the next guest. On the flip side, you may increase your number of renters since many vacation homes have a no-pet rule. If you decide to go pet friendly, you can always implement certain pet rules for guests and their four-legged family members to abide by.

 

The Small Things

Sometimes the best way to make your guest feel welcome is in the small things that make them feel like home.  Books, Videos and games for the kids will provide hours or engagement when the weather is not nice and do not cost a lot.  Similarly, beach chairs, bikes and kayaks can be the icing on the cake when a guest is selecting from similar homes.  Toys for the beach and pool are a great thing for families with children and with no room to pack and travel with these items. 

The downside of providing these small items is the need for frequent replacement.  Sometimes, it is best not to advertise the small items and have guest be pleasantly surprised that they got even more for their money.  Also, this avoids guest complaints should something be missing or broken.

The best way to decide which amenities to offer is to focus on who you want your vacation home to appeal to.  If you have a theme, you can build you amenities around that theme and appeal to the clientele who will respond to the theme.  A home with a gourmet kitchen can appeal to “foodies”; add a gift of a local wine or pickled specialty to make a lasting impression. 

If you are in the market for a vacation rental home either as an investment or a second home, contact the pros at Eillu.  Each community on the Outer Banks has different rules and attracts a different demographic.  We will show you the different areas and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. 

 

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Essential Fall Maintenance for Your Outer Banks Vacation Rental Home

OBX vacation rental home fall maintenance puppy in leaves

Fall, in my humble opinion, is the best time of year in the Outer Banks.  I advise all vacation rental property owners to take advantage of the delightful fall season and schedule a visit before winter arrives.  My recommendation is to combine business with pleasure and take care of needed seasonal maintenance on your Outer Banks vacation rental home at the same time as any of our great fall festivals are scheduled.

Fall maintenance for Outer Banks vacation property owners will vary depending on if the home is rented as a winter rental, empty for winter or winterized for winter.  While there are some items you may want to have your Property Management Company or handyman perform, there are many others that are simple to do yourself.  At the same time, take notice of any changes since spring for items that had some extra wear and tear and may require updating or replacing before the next rental season.

Many guests staying at your vacation home will not report items to be repaired to the Property Management Company.  It is always a good idea for the owner to do a complete check of the property in the fall and spring.  This periodic overview also allows the owner to monitor the property for wear and tear from season to season and plan for updates and improvements.  Staying on top of your investment will improve the bottom line of your vacation rental home and prevent any surprise repairs.

Clean Gutters & Check Roof

The Outer Banks can get some dramatic ‘noreaster storms over winter and you will want to make sure your gutters are free of any leaves and debris.  Clogged gutters can back up and create water leaks into your home.  Flush out the downspouts to make sure they are free of debris.  A hose or pressure washer can be used to quickly remove the debris inside the downspout.  You will want to schedule this for when most or all of the leaves have fallen from nearby trees.  Downspouts should extend 6’ away from the home to make sure it drains clear from the foundation.

While you are cleaning the gutters, examine the roof for any damaged shingles and flashing.  Check the chimney for any cracks or damage and apply roofing cement (in caulking tubes) to any cracks. 

Alternatively, to get a good view of the roof area, hire a licensed and insured drone pilot to take video of the roof.  Keep a copy of the video with your insurance records.

Tree Maintenance

Examine your trees and identify branches or trees that are over reaching their bounds.  A branch hanging over the roof, or dropping nuts onto the roof surface, will wear the shingles faster and a storm could cause the branch to break a window or damage the roof.  Trimming the tree back is less expensive than having to make repairs to the home. 

Also, walk your property and check for trees with dead branches, holes in the trunk, strange growths or webs.  All of these are signs of disease or a dying tree and an arborist should be consulted to save or prune the tree before any further damage can occur.

HVAC

Even if you are turning off the HVAC unit for the winter and winterizing the home, it is best to have a tune-up performed on the unit by a professional to include inspection, servicing, and cleaning.  Replace air filters regularly.  This should be done monthly for optimal performance.

Windows & Doors

Check all the windows and doors to make sure they seal and lock properly.  Apply new caulking or weather stripping as needed.  This will help to extend the life of your HVAC units and save utility costs. 

Exterior Siding & Deck

Examine the siding and decking around your home for mold, algae and insect web or debris.  A good pressure wash now, will minimize the amount of growth and simplify getting your home ready for the summer season.

Make sure you check the deck for any loose or rotten boards and secure or replace them. Make sure you check the railings and the stairs to make sure they are solid.

Cleaning the exterior of the home will let you spot areas in need of paint or caulking.  Taking care of them now will prevent them from getting worse over the winter.

Plumbing & Water Heater

Fall is a good time to check all the plumbing in the home for any leaks in sink faucets and toilets.  Check the condition of grout for tiled areas and clean, re-seal if required. Secure all toilets to make sure they are not becoming loose.

Check around the hot water heater for any leaks or rust on the unit.  Now is a good time to drain the water heater to remove sediment buildup in the tank.  Draining and flushing the water heater will keeping it working at peak efficiency. 

Attic & Crawl Space

Check the attic for any signs of moisture on the underside of the sheathing to detect any potential leaks early.  Look around for any signs of pests (termites, carpenter ants, mice etc) and call a pest control professional should you discover evidence of any critters.

Grill & Deck Furniture

Store your grill and deck furniture over the winter to keep it in better condition.  Make sure to clean it and allow it to dry before moving it to a covered location.  If you don’t have a covered location, then covering the items can help to protect them.  Covered items should allow some air circulation to prevent mildew conditions.

Clean Dryer Vents

Lint build up in dryer vents is one of the leading causes of house fires.  Yearly cleaning of your dryer vent will keep your dryer running more efficiently and help it to last longer.

Smart Home Tech

There are many devices available to help you monitor your vacation home from a distance.  From HVAC control, cameras, water detection, Carbon Monoxide detector and smoke alarms.  Installing any of these devices will provide peace of mind and can save money on utilities or reduce potential damage in the event of a leak. 

Consider installing select devices and making sure all existing devices are working and have new batteries, where required.

Winterize or Heat

Many vacation rental home owners decide to winterize their property for the off season.  This allows them to turn off the heat and water and save utility costs.  However, the owner will incur the cost to winterize and de-winterize the property which reduces any potential savings.  In addition, a separate cost is typically required to winterize/de-winterize hot tub and pool and any landscaping sprinkler system.  The property can’t be used in the off-season without de-winterizing the home.

The Outer Banks typically does not have severe winters.  We do tend to have windy conditions and temperatures do occasionally get below freezing.  Many vacation property owners prefer to set the heat at 50 to 60 degrees to keep the pipes from freezing rather than winterizing the home.  The advantage is the home owner or other guest can stay in the home over the course of the off season.

Drain garden hoses and store inside.  Turn off outdoor water, close outer water values and flush to remove any water left that can freeze and break the pipes.

The Real Estate professionals at Eillu want you to get the most value and pleasure from your real estate investment.  We hope you stop by and say “hi” when visiting the area.  We are here for you for the long term should you have any real estate questions.  For us, real estate is not just buying and selling but staying connected in between with all of life’s milestones.  Stay up to date with Outer Banks and subscribe to our blog

New Homes in Outer Banks

 


Tax Reform Threatens the Holy Grail of Real Estate – The American Dream of Home Ownership and the Mortgage Interest Deduction

Tax Reform Impact on Real Estate

Most people would agree that the US tax code is too complex and should be simplified. Once you move from the general concept of simplification to the execution is where the difficulties occur. Personal self-interest favors keeping tax deductions one qualifies for while eliminating deductions of one’s neighbor.

Mortgage Interest Deduction

Tax deductibility of mortgage interest has been favored by the real estate industry for, what seems like, forever. Actually, it dates back to 1913 and most consider it sacred and not to be touched by any reforms. The current proposal leaves it in place, but ineffective or irrelevant, to all but the wealthiest Americans.

President Trump’s tax overhaul plan removes every deduction except for the home mortgage interest deduction and charitable contributions. Many experts argue, nonetheless, the plan effectively makes both these deductions irrelevant by doubling the standard deduction to $12k for single tax payers and $24k for married couples. No longer would state and local taxes be deductible. Effectively, over 80% of homeowner’s who itemize under the current tax system would see a greater benefit by taking the standard deduction under the new plan.

For example, a couple with a $500k mortgage (which is much higher than average) at 4% interest would pay about $20k in interest. That couple would then have to donate $4k to charities to match the standard deduction under the new plan. Fewer homeowners would choose to itemize deductions as the standard deduction would be more beneficial. This would effectively eliminate the incentive to buy homes and donate to charities. Many experts believe this could further decrease the US homeownership rate, which is currently 63% down from 69% in 2004.

Is the US destined to become a nation of renters?

The National Association of Realtors suggest most middle income homeowners who currently itemize would likely pay higher taxes due to the elimination of state and local tax deduction and dependency deductions that would be folded into the higher standard deduction.

A recent Fortune article states it a little differently, “The elimination of mortgage-related tax savings for most homeowners, and reduction for others, compounded with the loss of tax savings from deducting property taxes means the after-tax cost of home ownership will increase. A taxpayer in the 25% tax bracket with $11,000 in mortgage interest and $5,000 in real estate taxes would receive tax savings from these itemized deductions of $4,000, or $333 per month, under the current law. The elimination of the home-ownership tax subsidies means that the after-tax cost of home ownership will increase”.

Rental property owners will likely continue to enjoy favorable tax benefits.

Rental Property

While the proposal does not have all the details specified, it does not appear to reduce the tax subsidies benefiting owners of residential rental real estate.

Residential rental property owners and vacation rental property owners may continue to deduct mortgage interest paid to purchase the rental property and can also deduct state and local property taxes. These items are not considered itemized deductions but are deductions in computing net rental income.

Eliminating the state and local tax deduction under the proposal only applies to an individual taxpayer’s itemized deductions. Rental property owners will still receive the federal tax savings from both mortgage interest and real estate taxes. Clearly, the proposal creates a stark difference in the tax treatment and incentives between owner-occupied homes and rental properties.

Furthermore, rental property owners can also deduct the cost of maintenance and depreciation. When it comes time to sell, the rental property owner can use a 1031 exchange and avoid taxes on the sale and acquiring a like property. The proposals reduced tax rate of 25% for pass through will further benefit real estate rental industry.

Individual Tax Rates

Tax brackets under the new plan would also be reduced from 7 currently to 4. The top tax bracket would be reduced from 39.6% to 35%. Next, there would be a 25% and 12% bracket. The fourth bracket in the plan was not described in detail but would be for the highest income households and exceed the 35% bracket.

The alternative minimum tax and estate tax would be eliminated from the tax code.

The plan did not define tax treatment for dividends or long term capital gains, or the profit on the sale of one’s primary residence.

The gift tax was also not mentioned in the proposed tax plan. Gift taxes are payable on gifts of more than $14k annually. “Gifts” are commonly used by first time homebuyers.

Small Business

Changes in taxes for small or family owned businesses was included in the plan but not well defined. Some of these are organized as flow through businesses or pass through (sole proprietorship’s, partnerships or S Corporations) but it is unclear if all business structured as such would have a 25% maximum tax rate or if it would only be limited to an organization that meets criteria for “small” or “family owned”. It could also be defined with a revenue limit. Many legislators have previously indicated that “professional service” companies like healthcare, legal, accounting would not be eligible for the 25% maximum rate.

Corporate Taxes

The Corporate tax rate is to be reduced to 20% in the proposal. This is believed to work as an incentive to keep companies in the US instead of moving profits offshore. However, labor and raw material costs would have to be competitive to wipe out the incentive to operate globally in the most efficient manner.

Expensing Structures

The tax proposal would like to create incentives for companies to invest in new assets by allowing full depreciation or immediately expensing to lower taxable income. While all eligible assets were not specified, structures were specified, which is believed to mean buildings. If borrowed funds are used to purchase new assets and then the assets are depreciated immediately then the interest expense would not be deductible.

The tax proposal does keep the low-income housing credit to continue to provide an incentive to developers to build affordable housing.

Tax planning and preparation can be complicated, hopefully tax reform will simplify the process for most Americans. In the meantime, it is always best to consult with an expert in this area for specific advice that considers your exact circumstances. The Eillu team has decades of experience selling real estate on the Outer Banks and have insight to structure 1031 exchanges and more complicated deals. Schedule an appointment today to learn how to maximize the profit on the sale of your home with our low real estate listing commission.

MLS Monthly Outer Banks Market Report


September 2017 Outer Banks Real Estate Market Outlook and Current Statistics

Outer Banks Real Estate Market Outlook Sept 2017

The Outer Banks Association of Realtors released the September 2017 MLS Statistical Report – you can get the full report here.

Real estate sales for September 2017 in the Outer Banks increased slightly from August with 156 units to 158 units. This is almost the same as September 2016 sales of 159 units. Under contract units increased by 6% to 442 from August reported 419 units under contract. The average home price increased by 4% compared to 2016. The median single family home price has increase by 2% in 2017 while condos have increased by 5% in 2017. Some highlights from this month’s report follows.

Overall Market

Residential inventory decreased by 10% in September following last month’s 8% decrease both compared to last year. The inventory trend has continued downward for the past few months. Active residential inventory is 1484 units. The quantity sold increased by 11% following last month’s 11% increase; with volume sold up by 16% following the same increase last month.

Lots and land quantity sold increased by 6% after last month’s increase of 8%. The average sale price for lots fell by 191% and while the median price increased by 4%. Land inventory is down by 13% compared to last year.

Commercial unit sales are down by 24% following last month’s decrease of 20%. Only 16 commercial units were sold compared to 21 last year. The average and median sale prices have little relevance with such a small sample and appear skewed from a large sale last year. Commercial inventory is down 22% compared to last year with only 57 units active on the market compared to 73 units last year.

Distressed Property

Distressed sales increased in September and were 9% of all residential sales compared to 2% reported last month. There were 22 residential short sale units sold, compared to 24 short sales this time last year; an 8% change from one year ago. The average sale price decreased by 12%. The median sale price increased by 6%.

Sales for bank owned properties increased by 11% from 57 units to 63 units compared to last year. The average sale price for Bank Owned property fell by 8% compared to last year; while the median decreased by 1%.

Overall, the quantity of distressed property sold increased by 5% compared to the same period in 2016. The average price decreased by 11% and the median increased by 3%. Total volume sold is down by 8% compared to last year.

The effect distressed real estate will have on the overall Outer Banks market will continue to diminish as foreclosure and short sale inventory is depleted and the market returns to pre-recessionary levels of distressed real estate.

Residential

Single family unit sales increased by 13% slightly higher than the 12% reported last month, with 1275 units compared to last year 1130 units. The volume sold increased 17% with the average sale price increase by 4% and the median sale price increased by 2%.

Condos unit sales increased by 12% following last month’s 16% increase compared to last year. September condo unit sales were 151 compared to 135 a year ago. The volume sold increase by 10% following last month’s 14% increase. Median sale prices for condos increased by 5% compared to last year. Average sale prices fell by 1%, compared to last year. Unlike many other markets, the Outer Banks did not see an oversupply of condo construction during the boom years and current demand for condos has been strong in 2017.

Residential land unit sales increased by 3% in September. This follows the 5% YOY increase reported in August and a 19% increase reported in July. The average sale price fell by 11% while the median price was unchanged compared to last year.

Overall Days on the Market for the all residential properties is down by 39% in September following the reported 23% decrease in August. Days on the market is 124 versus 203. Upon closer inspection, for the 800 units sold since Jan. 2017 the average days on the market is a startling 46 days. Outer Banks properties are selling much faster; especially new inventory.

New Construction building permits are down by 16% with 184 units compared to 220 last years. Building permit value decreased by 21%.

Outer Banks Town Statistics

The September 2017 median sale prices for the towns in the Outer Banks and the percent change compared to 2016 appear below:

Sept 2017 OBX market report

Sept 2017 OBX market report data table

Corolla experienced the largest percentage gain of 13% compared to 2016. The next highest YTD increase was Hatteras Island at 8%; these towns are unchanged from June, July and August.

The Outer Banks real estate market is on track for a solid sales year. OBXMLS reports 442 under contract compared to 419 units reported last month. October is a great time to visit the Outer Banks and view real estate as the crowds have reduced and the weather is warm during the day but with low humidity and cool at night. Experience the colors of fall on the OBX; the marsh grass gets a pewter color, the sea oats rustle in the breeze and the deciduous trees change into the reds and golds!

If you have been thinking about an Outer Banks vacation home purchase, second home purchase or permanent home, now is the time to act. Purchasing power will decrease once the anticipated mortgage rates increase. Smart buyers and investors will lock in rates now before the increase.

Buy with Eillu and save more with our buyers rewards plan.

If you have considered selling your Outer Banks home, now may be the best time. The lower inventory levels will allow your property to be seen with less competition. The strong demand will sell your home with fewer days on the market. Our 1.5% listing commission will save you thousands of dollars!

The rental market continues to be strong to provide income from the investment and enjoyment for the family for years to come.

The Outer Banks continues to be named a top beach destination every year. Beach nourishment has recently been completed for a large portion of Dare County beaches and will ensure strong future appreciation for real estate.

Schedule an appointment today to find your vacation rental property, second home or investment property.

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