Category Archives: Moving Resources

Final Walk Through Checklist for Home Buyers and Home Sellers

Final Walkthrough Checklist for Home Buyers and Home Sellers

Home Buyers Checklist and Preparation before Closing

The final walk through for home buyers is the last chance to verify the condition of the property and verify that any repair work agreed upon has been completed.  The final walk through typically occurs just before closing.  Just because you are excited about closing on the property do not rush through the walk through.  Pay careful attention to the details to make sure you don’t suffer any surprises once the home is yours. 

We recommend to our buyers to bring this checklist, a note pad, and a camera or your smart phone.  You should also bring a copy of the sales contract, home inspection report and the seller’s disclosure form to carefully check off each item on the list.  You may also want to bring an electrical tester to check the outlets.  No matter how pressed for time, it is never a good idea to pass on performing the final walkthrough.  This is especially true if the house has been vacant for any amount of time or if there has been any severe weather since you last saw the home.

When you first arrive at the house, start the clothes washer, dryer and dishwasher through a cycle.  Continue with the checklist and verify the appliances completed the cycle and that there are no leaks.

 

 

Buyers Checklist Prior to Closing

 

 

 

Have all agreed upon repairs been made?

 

 

 

Have all the repairs required by the sales agreement been made?

Yes

No

 

Are all bills for repairs and applicable warranties given to you?

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

 

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are items purchased with the house where they are supposed to be?

 

 

 

Drapes, blinds or window treatments

Yes

No

 

Appliances (washer/dryer, refrigerator, ice maker, etc.)

Yes

No

 

Lighting

Yes

No

 

Furnishings

Yes

No

 

Hot tub or sauna

Yes

No

 

Play structures

Yes

No

 

Remote control devices for blinds, ceiling fans, alarms, garage doors

Yes

No

 

Owner’s manuals for appliances and home systems (HVAC, fireplace units, alarm systems, etc.)

Yes

No

 

Other:

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

 

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check window and doors

 

 

 

Do all the doors open and close properly?

Yes

No

 

Do all the windows open and close properly?

Yes

No

 

Do the windows latch/lock?

Yes

No

 

Are any windows missing screens?

Yes

No

 

Are there any missing storm windows?

Yes

No

 

Is there condensation in double-panned windows?

Yes

No

 

Are there any broken windows?

Yes

No

 

Do you have keys for all the doors?

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check for mold and water damage

 

 

 

Do the windows have signs of mold or rot?

Yes

No

 

Any signs of mold or water damage under the kitchen sink?

Yes

No

 

Any signs of mold or water damage in the bathroom?

Yes

No

 

Any signs of mold or water damage around the refrigerator area?

Yes

No

 

Any signs of mold or water damage around the washer/dryer area?

Yes

No

 

Any signs of mold or water damage around the water heater?

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check appliances and systems

 

 

 

Did dishwasher complete its cycle?

Yes

No

 

Does the thermostat work?

Yes

No

 

Test the A/C.  Does the system blow cool air?

Yes

No

 

Test the heat. Does it get hot?

Yes

No

 

Switch on overhead fans. Do they work?

Yes

No

 

Test the water heater. Is the water from faucets hot?

Yes

No

 

Does the doorbell work?

Yes

No

 

Does the alarm work?

Yes

No

 

Does the intercom work?

Yes

No

 

Does the garage door open and close smoothly and quietly?

Yes

No

 

Does the washer work?

Yes

No

 

Does the dryer work?

Yes

No

 

Does the stove work (check all burners and oven)?

Yes

No

 

Does the built-in microwave oven work?

Yes

No

 

Does the damper in the fireplace work?

Yes

No

 

Does the gas come on in the gas fireplace?

Yes

No

 

Does the fan work in the gas fireplace?

Yes

No

 

Does the garbage disposal work?

Yes

No

 

Do all the exhaust fans (bath and kitchen) work?

Yes

No

 

Do the smoke alarms work?

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check interior floors, walls, and ceilings

 

 

 

Are there any water stains on the ceiling (especially below bathrooms)?

Yes

No

 

Have any walls been damaged by movers?

Yes

No

 

Are handrails in stairways secured?

Yes

No

 

Have floors been damaged by movers or pets?

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check for leaks and plumbing problems

 

 

 

Flush all toilets. Do they run, empty slowly, or leak?

Yes

No

 

Check all faucets. Do they leak?

Yes

No

 

Fill the sinks. Do they drain properly?

Yes

No

 

Fill the tubs. Do they drain properly?

Yes

No

 

Do the overflows on the tubs work?

Yes

No

 

Do the tub jets work? (spa tubs only)?

Yes

No

 

Turn on all showers. Do they drain properly?

Yes

No

 

Look under sinks. Are there any leaks?

Yes

No

 

Check the basement. Look at the floor, walls, and any exposed plumbing. Are there signs of leaks?

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check electric

 

 

 

Turn on all lights. Do they work?

Yes

No

 

Check plate covers. Are they damaged or missing?

Yes

No

 

Check the kitchen and bathroom outlets. Are there GFCI outlets next to the sinks and other water sources?

Yes

No

 

Inspect the circuit breaker box. Are all the circuits labeled?

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check exterior

 

 

 

Is the landscape as you expected it? Any shrubs or trees missing?

Yes

No

 

Turn on the sprinklers. Do they work?

Yes

No

 

Check roof for missing shingles?

Yes

No

 

Is the siding in the expected condition?

Yes

No

 

Are the windows in the expected condition?

Yes

No

 

Are garbage and recycling cans on the property?

Yes

No

 

Are sidewalks and driveway in expected condition?

Yes

No

 

Does exterior lighting work?

Yes

No

 

Are downspouts clear of debris?

Yes

No

 

Is the pool and Hot Tub in working condition?

Yes

No

 

Is the outside shower and all outside faucets in working condition?

Yes

No

 

Are outside outlets GFCI protected and working?

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check attic and other storage places

 

 

 

Is it empty? Are there any hazardous materials?

Yes

No

 

Do you see signs of pests?

Yes

No

 

Is the insulation compressed, torn or compromised?

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check for cleanliness

 

 

 

Is the property clean overall?

Yes

No

 

Is all personal property not included in the sale removed?

Yes

No

 

Are there signs of pest infestations?

Yes

No

 

Is all debris removed?

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Sellers Checklist and Preparation before Closing

Many times home buyers and home sellers never get a chance to meet.  Sellers can facilitate a smooth closing by having the following checklist of items taken care of in advance of closing.  A good rule of thumb is to leave the home in the same condition you would want if you were moving in.  Leave the items out on the kitchen counter so the buyers will see it when they perform the final walk-through before closing.

 

 

Sellers Checklist Prior to Closing

 

Manuals, operating instructions and warranty: Leave manuals for appliances and mechanicals like the HVAC system on the kitchen counter for the seller to find.

 

 

 

Include security alarm codes and manuals

 

 

 

Include keys to the house and any outbuildings

 

 

 

Include remotes for garage doors, fans, blinds etc.

 

 

 

Window screens: If screens aren’t in the windows, leave a note indicating where they are.

 

 

 

Light bulbs: Replace any burned out light bulbs in the house.

 

 

 

Batteries: Verify batteries in smoke detector are still working or replace with fresh batteries.

 

 

 

Forwarding address and phone number: Even if you’ve submitted your change of address form to the post office, provide it to the buyer in case they need to forward mail to you or call you with questions.

 

 

 

Clean: Leave your home clean for the buyers and remove all trash.

 

 

 

Paint for touch-ups: It’s a thoughtful gesture to leave any paint cans marked with the rooms where the paint was used. The buyer can then do touch-ups later on if needed.

 

 

 

Service Providers:  Leave a list of service providers used at the home for the buyers to reference.

If there are any issues discovered during your final walk through, immediately contact your agent to discuss them.  Your Eillu real estate agent can advise you regarding appropriate courses of action.   Depending on the severity of the issue, several courses of action can be taken.  A minor item could be overlooked or you could seek financial compensation or repair by the seller.

If a major item or more costly item is revealed then your agent will contact the seller agent.  Closing could be postponed in order to investigate the issue or financial compensation from seller to buyer could be negotiated.  Keep in mind that the seller could refuse and you also have the option to walk away from the deal. 

Immediately communicating any problems you detect will make sure you’re appropriately compensated for any uncompleted repairs previously agreed upon or recent damage that may have occurred when the previous owners were moving out.

OBX relocation guide


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. 

Check out this post with 25 reasons to love living on the Outer Banks.

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.   Retirees also enjoy many tax benefits in NC; you can read more about that here.

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.  

Consider these items before selecting the Best Outer Banks Neighborhood for Investment, Retirement or for You and Your Family to Enjoy.

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. Check out these tips for shopping for Outer Banks insurance.  Learn about the types of insurance policies needed for coastal eastern NC.

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. A list of healthcare service providers can be found here.  This list of healthcare providers includes telephone and addresses and veterinarians.

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


Documents You Need When Applying For a Mortgage

beach6Applying for a mortgage is one of the first steps you take in the exciting process of buying a home. In order to be prepared when you meet with a mortgage lender there are certain documents that you need. You will need to provide you full name, birthday, and social security number when filling out the documents. It is important to have proof of up to date financial information including bank account balances and confirmation of payments on current loans. Having this information will allow your lender to run your credit report and have access to information regarding your credit score. You should also have proof of payments and contracts regarding the status of your current residence. When applying for a mortgage you will need to provide several documents verifying employment and income. In order to make the process of your mortgage application as efficient as possible you should have all legal documents prepared in advance. To learn more about documents required when applying for a mortgage download Eillu’s free guide.

mortgage-application-checklist-cta


How to Select the Best Outer Banks Neighborhood for Investment, Retirement or for You and Your Family to Enjoy

beach18The first thing to consider before selecting an Outer Banks neighborhood is your goals.  A neighborhood perfect for an investment as a vacation rental usually is not the best year round family home.  Take some time to write down your goals and then become a detective to find the best matching neighborhood.  Also, take some time to think about the things you don’t want or refer to our blog about features to avoid for maximum appreciation.

Year Round or Retirement Home

Schools

For most buyers, even without children, a location in a good school district helps to maintain the value of the home at re-sale.  While the quality of the school may not matter to someone who is retired it can make a difference when the time comes to sell.  The distance of the school can be a huge consideration for children who will be riding a school bus.

Parks & Recreation Centers

Consider the activities you like to do and select a neighborhood that has access nearby.  If you walk the dog daily, is there a safe and attractive place to walk the dog?  If the kids participate in sports, are the fields and facilities nearby?  Is there a park within walking distance?

Community Centers

There are many types of community centers – either affiliated with a church or other local group.  Check out the activities and the makeup of the group to see if you would fit in and if they have the kinds of activities you enjoy.

Type of Home – townhouse, condo, single family

Some communities only have a single home style.  Decide which type of home meets your needs at this stage of your life to narrow down the number of neighborhood choices.

Homeowners /Community Association

Determine the type of homeowners or community association.  While some are geared toward recreation or amenities; others can dictate what you are allowed to do with your home down to what color you can paint it.  Also, make sure to check the financial health of the association so you are not surprised by any new assessments.

Commute to Work & School

Get a clear idea of the location and the traffic at key times for places you need to go to every day.  A short commute to work, school or shopping will make these activities enjoyable instead of stressful.

New Community or Established

There is a community for every interest and every taste in the Outer Banks.  To get more details and a profile on each community, click here.  Are you looking for a new community where your home has the latest features and energy efficiency?  A new home is appealing to anyone who does not want to remodel or have a lot of home maintenance items to attend to during their free time. 

Or is an established historical neighborhood more your style?  Are you looking for mature trees or a maritime forest like Southern Shores or Buxton?  Perhaps, the unpainted aristocracy of the old Nags Head homes suit your taste.

Access to Shopping

Almost everyone has to go grocery shopping so be sure to check out the store nearby.  Does it carry the items you regularly use?  If you always start your day with a cup of coffee, is there a shop nearby that will allow you to continue the tradition.  Consider what other items you regularly shop for and make sure they are nearby or that you are willing to make the tradeoff.  Duck and Manteo have a lovely waterfront area with shops and restaurants that make it very attractive.

Walkability or Bike ability

If you like to walk rather than drive for your daily activities make sure the neighborhood you choose allows you to do so.  Does the neighborhood and area have bike paths or a greenway to make it pleasurable?  Corolla has been adding to a walking and biking greenway over the past several years and it just keeps getting better and better.  Of course, the Outer Banks has biking paths dispersed from north to south to making biking enjoyable year round.

Waterfront Access or Boating

A condo or home on the waterfront provides endless enjoyment of the sunrises or sunsets but can also be so much more.  If you love boating, fishing, kayaking or other water sports make sure the location is suitable for these activities.  A large boat may require higher depth for dockage, access to channels and clearance under bridges for flying bridges on the boat.  A kayaker may appreciate the canals and smaller waterways to get closer to wildlife rather than the open water.

Some Outer Banks communities have dock and boating access for homes that are not on the waterfront.  This will be more economical to purchase and still allow owners to be able to enjoy the waterfront and watersport activities.

Proportion of year round residents to vacation rentals

If you are looking to settle year round then the amount of vacation rentals in the neighborhood may be important to you.  A high percentage of rentals may mean your neighbors change every week in season making it difficult to make new friends.  It could also mean not having many neighbors in the winter months which could be a welcome change.  Some Outer Banks neighborhoods have a higher proportion of rentals by the oceanfront and a higher number of year round residents on the west side.

Doctors & Hospitals

If someone in the family has a medical condition then the location and proximity of hospitals, doctors and any specialist may have an increased importance.  This can be an important consideration for retirement homes, even if there are no issues at the time of purchase.

Elevations & Access

It is very important to know the elevation and the risk of flooding for a particular home you may purchase but it is also important to consider if your access though your neighborhood will be impacted due to flooding.  If there are low spots that typically flood you may not be able to leave or return to your home.

The Outer Banks is considered a barrier island even though it is a peninsula.  However, most people have to cross a bridge to get here.  Hatteras Island residents have been impacted when unable to use the bridge to get to or from the island.

Vacation Rental or Investment

Community Amenities

Vacation rentals homes with community amenities allows you to provide a larger variety of amenities to your guest than would be practical otherwise.  Some neighborhoods, like Corolla Light, are especially known for the superior and vast amenities provided for guests.  Of course, these amenities also come with a cost that need to be properly managed.  Make sure you understand the cost.  Alternatively, a community that does not have shared amenities may require you to provide them, like a pool and hot tub and incur the cost to maintain them even when vacant.

Location and proximity to ocean or sound

Many Outer Banks communities span from the ocean front to the sound front and each location attracts different visitors.  The ocean front has strong summer demand but maintenance costs may be higher due to windblown sand abrasion on painted surfaces and salt water corroding metal.  The sound is attractive to vacationers who enjoy boating, kayaking, paddle boarding and the like.  The sound side areas of the Outer Banks tend to have more trees, wildlife and natural vegetation.

Proximity to Attractions

The Outer Banks has a multitude of attractions for every interest.  From lighthouses and maritime museums to aviation enthusiast visiting the Wright Brothers Memorial the Outer Banks has attractions spread out from north to south.  Selecting a neighborhood near the attractions that will appeal to your target renter has to be considered before settling on a neighborhood.

Rental home performance in the community

Some resort communities in the Outer Banks are well known and attract many repeat guests from year to year.  Getting some numbers on the desirability of the community can be a decisive factor in targeting which neighborhood to select for your vacation home investment.

Regardless of whether you are looking for an investment property or year round property, there are certain elements to consider that both have in common. 

First impression

The neighborhood should have a neat and clean first impression.  Homes should be well-maintained and not falling into disrepair.  While you can always fix up the home you purchase, you are stuck with your neighbors and the way they either maintain or don’t maintain their home.  Are there abandoned buildings or graffiti evident or are there contractors working on remodeling and improvement projects?  Take the time to use all your senses.  Are there mature trees, birds singing, traffic noise or bad odors?

Visit at different Times, Days and Seasons

It is important to visit the neighborhood at different times of the day and different times of the year.  Does the neighborhood look warm and inviting at night with folks sitting on porches and walking dogs or do the neighbors stick to themselves?  Is traffic backed up on the weekends or at rush hour?  How does the population vary between the summer season and the winter season?

Walk the Neighborhood

Get out and walk the neighborhood and talk to residents.  Visit local establishments and strike up conversations to get the opinion of the “average Joe”. How do they like living in their neighborhood?  Would they have chosen differently after living here for a while? Is there any new developments, like road construction or a bridge being planned?  How will that effect the neighborhood you are considering?

The Agents at Eillu are local experts and can make answering the above questions easier for you.  If you Schedule an Appointment, we will gladly take you on a tour and give you the scoop on each neighborhood.  For more tips on selecting a neighborhood, download the offer below.

 


Final Walk Through Checklist for New Homeowners

pexels-photo-28620A final walk-through is an inspection by the home buyers that occurs anywhere from five days to a few hours before closing. A final walk through should done to make sure that the property is in the condition that you agreed on before closing. This is when the new home buyers have the opportunity to inspect the home to ensure that all repairs have been made and nothing has gone wrong with the home since you last looked at it. You should always do a final walk through before closing to guarantee that all terms included in your contract have been met.

Typically you should do you final walk through within 24 hours of closing, you want to see the home right before closing to make sure nothing changed the condition of the home right before signing the settlement documents. Once you sign these documents, any damages to the home is your responsibility, even if it occurred before you owned the property. It is recommended that if the homeowners agreed to make repairs, you should schedule two walk through. By doing this you can review your requested repairs and make sure that you are satisfied with status of the repairs. This will give you time to negotiate a solution to any issues without delaying your settlement and closing. You still want to make sure you do a final walk through just before closing to avoid any unwanted surprises before move in day. Don’t forget to take your contract with you to refer to during your inspection. So what should you look for on your final walk through? Below are a few items to check on a final walk through.

Final Walk Through Checklist

  • Turn all light fixtures on and off and make sure no fixtures have been removed
  • Check all major appliances
  • Turn on water faucets to check for drips and leaks under sink
  • Spot check walls, ceilings, and floors for damage
  • Test heat and air conditioning by turning it on and off
  • Turn on exhaust fans and garbage disposal
  • Flush all toilets
  • Make sure all debris has been removed
  • Check garage door openers
  • Open and close all windows and doors
  • Check screens and storm windows
  • Test all outlets with an electrical tester
  • Inspect the exterior of the home
  • Make sure previous owners haven’t left items in storage areas
  • Inspect the condition of the yard

What to do if you find a problem

If you notice during your final walk through that the previous owners have not made repairs or not followed all terms of your contact, your agent should contact the seller’s agent to negotiate a solution to the problem. If you notice new issues or minor repairs, you should consider whether the problem is worth delaying your settlement. For example, a burnt out light bulb is something that can easily be fixed without disrupting your contract. However if it is a major issue and you are unsure of the extent of the problem, you should discuss your options with your trusted realtor and consider the cost to you in delaying your closing or legal fees. Your realtor will guide you through the process and determine which issues are worth pursuing and which ones shouldn’t delay your closing.

Home buyers should always perform a final walk through to ensure the property has not changed since your last visit. You also want to make sure agreed-upon repairs have been made and all terms of your contract have been met. You don’t want to spend the first few weeks in your new home making unexpected repairs. Taking the time to inspect the home before closing a good investment of your time and money.

The home buying process comes with a variety of things to keep in mind. For more information on the home buying process or on Outer Banks real estate, contact Eillu today. Our team is prepared to help you with your questions on the home buying process!

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5 Things You Should Do Before Move-In Day

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Moving into a house is an exciting experience for any new homeowner. Whether you have just purchased your first house or are relocating to a new area, the home buying process can be a new adventure. There are key things to keep in mind prior to moving into a new house. Check out the list below for advice on purchasing and moving into your new home!

  • Create a savings plan and a budget. Before moving into a new house, develop a plan for the mortgage payments and ongoing expenses that you will be making once you officially purchase the house. A budget will help to keep you on track and determined based on your lifestyle. While creating the budget, other expenses to factor in include insurance, water bill, groceries, transportation, and food expenses. Being prepared will help make the move an easier transition.
  • Work with an experienced real estate agent or team. Eillu consists of a team of professionals on the Outer Banks, and our team is ready to help you with your Outer Banks real estate needs. Real estate agents are experienced in the local area, know the entire home buying process, and are able to assist you along the way with any purchasing questions.
  • Make sure your address and documents have been changed and that you inform the appropriate entities, such as schools or banks that your address has changed. Help make the transition easier and ensure that all of your mail is coming to the right address to avoid complications. At the same time, prepare to transfer household utilities to your new home to prevent electricity delays.
  • Research your new home and the community that will be relocating to. Also get to know your new neighbors and the features of your new neighborhood. If you’re moving into a completely new town, learn about where important places are located, such as the grocery stores, department stores, and hospitals.
  • Create a packing plan to help you stay organized throughout your move. Have several boxes set aside and labeled for essential items that you will need immediately. The basics should be in a handy location to make the process go smoothly. Clean your old house and discard items that no longer serve a purpose at the new house. Make sure the new house is move-in ready so you can start fresh and have a successful move in day.

The home buying process comes with a variety of things to keep in mind. For more information on the home buying process or on Outer Banks real estate, contact Eillu today. Our team is prepared to help you with your questions on the home buying process!

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Can You Run the Outer Banks?

obx-marathonOne of the most beautiful marathons in the country, the 10th Annual Outer Banks Marathon and Southern Fried Half Marathon is this coming Sunday, November 7. With activities and races for the entire family spread out over the entire weekend, it is a perfect time to visit the Outer Banks.

Here is a quick breakdown of the weekend events.

Marathon Runner’s Expo

The festivities kick off at noon on Friday November 6th with the Marathon Expo. Runners must pick up their race packets at the expo including race numbers and timing chips prior to race day. There will also be a running clinic led by Tom Leddy, the author of Southern Fried Running and co-founder of R.A.C.E., a non-profit that raises money for homeless animals.

The Expo is being held Friday, 12-7pm and Saturday, 9am-6pm at the Dare County Youth Center located at 602 Mustian Avenue, Kill Devil Hills NC 27948. A wide variety of vendors will also be exhibiting over the weekend.

Challenge Events

One of the unique features of the Outer Banks Marathon weekend are the challenge events. These races take place the day before the full and half marathons giving runners an added test of their abilities.

The Outer Banks 8K and Buccaneer 5K are both are out and back type races. Both will begin and end at First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills. The 8K starts at 7:30 am and the Buccaneer 5K heads out at 9:30 am this Saturday. Runners who complete a challenge event and the Marathon or Half Marathon will receive a special medal.

Super Saturday Events

You don’t have to be an experienced runner to take part in these family friendly activities including:

  • Family Fun Run – 1.2 mile Course, registration required
  • Diaper Dash – a free race for the smallest runners, ages 1-3
  • Pirate Display
  • Walk the Plank
  • Face Painting
  • Rock Climbing Wall

Pre-Race Pasta Party

Get your carbs on before the big race at the pasta party Saturday night. Held at the Beachside Bistro at the Sea Ranch Resort in Kill Devil Hills, runners can load up on bread, salad, and pasta. Tickets are required and there will be two different seating’s at 5pm and 6pm. Prices are $12 for adults, $5 for children 5-11, and free for kids under 5.

TowneBank Outer Banks Marathon

Known for its mixture of fast stretches and varying terrain along the coast, this Boston Marathon qualifying event has grown in popularity over recent years. Beginning in Kitty Hawk at 7:20 am, the race moves through Bay Drive and around the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills before moving into the Nags Head Woods Nature Preserve.

Here the race turns into more of a trails course with off-road conditions between miles 10-13. After finding the pavement again, competitors will move through Jockey’s Ridge State Park, the largest sand dune on the east coast. The Washington Baum Bridge around mile 23 provides a tough test for all runners before the race finishes in the town of Manteo on Roanoke Island.

Southern Fried Outer Banks Half Marathon

Probably the most popular race of the entire weekend, this half marathon starts at 7:00 am on Sunday in Nags Head. It follows the same course of the second half of the full marathon. Many people choose to run this race because it bypasses the tough off-road portion of the main race, yet still challenge themselves with the 35 foot high Washington Baum Bridge.

Southern 6

Beginning at 8:45 am Sunday at the Tanger Shopping Outlets in Nags Head, this race covers the last 6 miles of the marathon course.

Post-Race Block Party

After all is said and done, it’s time to party! All runners will enjoy free food including North Carolina BBQ and the famous Sweet Potato Fries from 9am-2pm. Food for purchase will also be available for non-runners. Jonny Waters & Company will be providing the entertainment with live music throughout the event. While the awards ceremonies for both the half and full marathons will take place at 10 am for the half marathon and noon for the full.

Registration for all events is still available here.


Introduction of Horses and Responsible Breeding Crucial to Survival in Corolla

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The Corolla Wild Horses are one of the biggest tourist attractions of the Currituck Outer Banks.  As many as 3,000 people a day take guided tours up to the four wheel drive area of Corolla in hopes of seeing them.  While many others use their own or rented vehicles to try and catch a glimpse or snap a photo. 

Unfortunately the days of seeing these animals in the wild may be numbered though.  The lack of genetic diversity, dwindling numbers, and involvement with man have put the Corolla Herd in greater danger than they have ever faced.

Background

Collectively part of the Banker Strain of Colonial Mustangs which includes the herd on the Shackleford Banks, the Corolla Horses are listed as a critically endangered species.  Only around 100 horses live on the 7,500 acres of sand on the Currituck Outer Banks today.  Whereas about 125 horses live down on the Shackleford Banks off Morehead City.  These are the only two herds of wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs left on the planet.

Genetically speaking however, the Corolla horses are all part of the same family as they have only one maternal line.  This means they all descend from the same mother.  As a result there are a lot of birth defects due to inbreeding among the herd.

When a foal is born with birth defects, it usually means removal of the baby and the mother from the beach.  With a decreasing gene pool, this will be a reoccurring problem that will eventually cause the herd to collapse upon itself.  Especially considering that when a horse is removed from the beach it is not allowed to return.

So what can be done to insure the survival of these animals that bring in millions of dollars in tourism every year? 

New Horse Introduced

Outer-Banks-horses-corollaLast November, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund (the non-profit organization that manages the Corolla horses) brought a horse from the Shackleford Banks to Corolla.  The four year old stallion named Gus was brought in to introduce some new blood, literally, into the herd. 

After genetic tests were performed by Dr. Gus Cothran of Texas A&M University, Gus (yes he was named after Dr. Cothran) was found to be of a different maternal line than the Corolla horses while still being a purebred Colonial Spanish Mustang.  When he finally produces offspring, those foals will be completely different than any other horse in Corolla, effectively beginning a new family tree.

So why don’t they just bring more horses to Corolla from the Shackleford Banks?  It seems like the obvious solution right?  Well, that’s where politics gets involved. 

Protective Legislation

The horses of the Shackleford Banks have federal protection as part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore.  But the Corolla herd does not have any protection other than a Currituck County Ordinance.  That ordinance prohibits touching, feeding, and approaching any of the horses inside a 50 foot barrier.

However, it does not address the genetic problem currently facing the herd.  A bill was introduced and passed the House of Representatives to grant federal protection to the Corolla horses in 2013.  But it has not passed or been voted on yet in the Senate.

The legislation would allow for the swapping of horses between the Corolla and Shackleford herds at little to no cost to the federal government.  Costs would still be covered by the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, as they are today.

New Limits

Another key component of the legislation is that it sets minimums and limits on the size of the Corolla Herd.  The current Currituck Wild Horse Management Plan lists a minimum of 60 horses.  Equine experts like Dr. Cothran believe there is not enough genetic diversity to sustain the herd at that level.

The legislation would set a new minimum of 110 and a cap of 130 horses in Corolla.  But how can you limit the number of babies born each year with wild animals?

Responsible Breeding

The answer is contraception.  Currently the Corolla Wild Horse Fund administers medication to make mares temporarily sterile.  The goal is to limit the breeding population to the healthiest of females in age or physical wellbeing.

The medication is also completely reversible and poses no harm to the horse.  By voluntarily administering this program, the CWHF hopes to demonstrate to government officials that it can effectively limit the size of the herd even with greater numbers.

New Babies in 2015

wild-horses-outer-banks-babiesJust this year, five babies were born in Corolla.  This is a drastic reduction in births compared to 2007 when 24 foals were born.  Born in the months of May and June this year, four of the five babies (pictured here) were born healthy.

Unfortunately, one of the babies was born with birth defects and had to be removed from the beach.  Thankfully after extensive medical treatment the colt was rehabilitated and is now awaiting adoption at the CWHF Rehabilitation Facility. 

Future

With current measures in place and the potential for new assistance, there is hope that the Corolla Wild Horses will continue to thrive on the Currituck Outer Banks.


Charter School is Bringing Families Back to Corolla

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Walking through Corolla Village is like opening up a window to the past of the quaint seaside town. Many of the early 20th Century buildings throughout the village have been carefully restored to their original splendor, but one in particular has turned back the clock and now operates in its original capacity once again.

History and Background

Originally built around 1890, the Corolla Schoolhouse has been home to the Water’s Edge Village School since 2012. WEVS is a publically accredited charter school open to any resident of North Carolina. The two room school focuses on project-based education while still following the Common Core Curriculum and all North Carolina Education Guidelines.

With 26 students enrolled, it is North Carolina’s smallest school, even with the increase of 11 children from the previous academic year. Three teachers and a master’s level special education coordinator provide a quality of education that is very enticing to parents living in the area. Especially over the alternatives.

A Needed Change

Prior to WEVS opening, parents in Corolla and the surrounding areas had few options when it came to education for their children. They could homeschool, try to traverse the Currituck Sound by boat, or place their children on a bus for a 90 minute commute to and from school every day. Now they have a student-to-teacher ratio unheard of in modern mainstream schooling. 

Today some families in areas where public education is more readily accessible, like Kill Devil Hills and Southern Shores, are now choosing to send their children to Corolla instead of their local school: a testament to the reputation and growth of WEVS in just a few years.

Different Approach to Education

Though the school looks like a relic or museum on the outside, inside it is full of cutting edge technology like Smart Boards and iPads. Homework and additional instruction is given through distance learning centers like Xtra Math and the Khan Academy as well.

Students are also not grouped together by grade, but by experience level instead. As a charter school, there is the freedom to challenge kids to learn with older students if they are able to handle the work.  On the other hand, if a child is deficient in an area, they can receive instruction more appropriate to their capabilities. 

Extended Campus

Teachers also utilize the unique features of the surrounding area to augment the education experience.  Gym class and recess is held on the grounds of the Currituck Heritage Park, the Corolla Public Library serves as the school library, and local landmarks like the Currituck Lighthouse and historic Whalehead are used as backdrops for teaching North Carolina history.

The Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education also works with the students on Marine Biology and other natural science classes. They even allowed students to witness the necropsy of a whale that washed up on a nearby beach. 

Community Involvement

While WEVS utilizes the surrounding area for instruction, the community itself also comes to help out at the school. Local artists and musicians volunteer their time to teach classes in their respective fields while parents and town residents offer tutoring sessions throughout the year.

The school also relies on financial involvement from the local community as well, as private donations from surrounding businesses and families are the only way that the school has been able to thrive since its inception. Money received from the North Carolina Department of Education is not enough to satisfy the school’s budget.

The Future

With the support of the local businesses and communities, WEVS has grown steadily in stature and ability since it began in 2012. There is even talk of expanding into the middle school grades in coming years. The luxury of a local school has attracted young families back to Corolla for the first time in decades. To make donations to the school, click: here.

The charter school in Corolla is one of the many attractive assets compelling more and more families to consider buying an Outer Banks home in the unique area of the northern beaches of the OBX!


12 Real Estate Terms Every Buyer Should Know

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If you are buying a home on the Outer Banks and a first time buyer, there are key terms the real estate industry uses that you must understand to navigate the process.  Fear not, here are 12 terms that will give you a head start on the process and guide you to home ownership.

  • Pre-qualification-A buyer is pre-qualified by a lender once a lender has considered his/her financial assets and liabilities and determines an amount that could be lent for the mortgage. The lender may obtain the information verbally and does not do additional investigation through the credit agencies.  Pre-qualification is the first step in the lending process and does not carry as much weight as a buyer who is pre-approved. 
  • Pre-approvalAt pre-approval, the buyer has provided a loan application and financial documentation to the lender and a mortgage underwriter has approved the documentation using a maximum loan amount, and assumptions for the interest rate, taxes and insurance for the property. The borrower is then pre-approved subject to the lender approving the property, once it is selected. The lender may issue a conditional commitment for a maximum loan amount, so you can look for a home at or below that price level. This puts you at an advantage when dealing with a seller, especially where they may be many buyers, as the seller will know you’re closer to obtaining an actual mortgage. 
  • Loan Commitment – The lender issues a loan commitment once it has approved the buyer and the property. The commitment is issued after an appraisal of the property to make sure the appraisal is equal or higher than the sale price.  
  • Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)The interest rate on the mortgage can fluctuate periodically according to a stated index.
  • Fixed-rate mortgageThe interest rate on the mortgage remains fixed over the entire loan term.
  • AmortizationOver the term of the loan, a portion of each payment is applied to interest and principal. In the early years of the loan, a higher amount of each payment goes toward interest and smaller portion to principal to pay down the loan.  In the later years, the reverse is true; as the interest amount decreases as the loan balance decreases until the full amount of the loan is paid (amortized).
  • PrincipalThe amount of each monthly payment that goes toward paying off the debt owed or the total amount of debt remaining unpaid.
  • Escrow accountAn escrow account is required by some lenders to pay taxes and insurance on the property. The borrower still makes one mortgage payment, but a portion of each payment goes toward, interest, principal, taxes and insurance.  The lender then makes the payment on behalf of the borrower once the tax and insurance amounts are due. 
  • Closing costsThe fees and cost to process your mortgage loan and purchase. Typically, the total closing cost are 2% to 5% of the mortgage amount.  There are “non-recurring” costs like appraisal, credit report, survey and title search.  In addition, there are “pre paid” items for insurance and taxes that are paid in advance at closing.
  • Appraised valueThe value of the property as determined by an appraiser; based on their knowledge, experience and analysis of the property and recent sales of comparable homes.
  • Assessed valueThe value of the property as determined by the tax assessor for the purposed of determining the amount of taxes to be paid annually for the property.
  • Fair market valueThe highest price a willing buyer would pay and the lowest price a willing seller would accept.

Let the experts at Eillu guide you to finding the best property for you to make your Outer Banks home a dream come true!


Yes, You Can Expect More With Eillu!