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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!


October 2017 Outer Banks Real Estate Market Outlook and Current Statistics

Oct 17 MLS market report - OBX in fall

Overall, single family detached home sales are up 13% and condo sales are up 12% for 2017.

The Outer Banks Association of Realtors released the October 2017 MLS Statistical Report – you can get the full report here.  This months report was delayed and did not include the same detail as the regular reports.  We expect the full report to be available for November 2017.

Real estate sales for October 2017 in the Outer Banks reached 165 units compared to 146 units for the same period in 2016.  Under contract units increased by 30% to 251 units compared to September.  

The median single family home price has increase by 2% in October; while condos have increased by 6% compared to last month. Some highlights from this month’s report follows.

Overall Market

Residential inventory decreased by 8% in October following last month’s 10% decrease; both compared to last year. The inventory trend has continued downward for the past few months. Active residential inventory is 1497 units while last year there were 1621 units.

The quantity sold increased by 11% following last month’s 11% increase; with volume sold up by 16% following the same increase for the last 2 months.

Lots and land quantity sold increased by 6% after last month’s increase of 6%. The average sale price for lots fell by 19% and while the median price increased by 4%. Land inventory is down by 11% compared to last year.

Commercial unit sales are down by 24% following last month’s decrease of 24%. 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 14% compared to last year with only 64 units active on the market compared to 74 units last year.

Distressed Property

Due to the shortened and delayed report from OBAR, details for distressed sales were not reported.  Overall short sale inventory remained steady at 1% of the active listings. 


Single family unit sales increased by 13%, the same as 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 12% increase compared to last year. October condo unit sales were 151 compared to 135 a year ago. The volume sold increase by 10% following last month’s 10% 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 8% in October. Considering all land, October had a 10% increase.  This follows several months of increases for lots and land sales.

The average sale price for residential land fell by 9% while the median price increased by 5% compared to last year.  Considering all land, the average sale price fell by 17% while the median price increased by 8%.

Overall Days on the Market for the all residential properties is down to 147 days compared to 162 days this time last year.   The MLS reported than DOM for lots and land sales was also dramatically lower but did not provide specific statistics for comparison.  Outer Banks properties are selling much faster; especially new inventory.

Outer Banks Town Statistics

The October 2017 median sale prices for the towns in the Outer Banks and the percent change compared to 2016 was not provided in the delayed report. 

The Outer Banks real estate market is on track for a solid sales year. OBXMLS reports 251 under contract compared to 192 units reported last month.

National Real Estate Trends

The Wall Street Journal reports purchases of newly built single-family homes rose 6.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685k in October from the previous month. Economists had expected sales to fall 6.4% in October to a 624k annual rate so the increase was quite unexpected.  Compared to a year earlier, sales of newly constructed homes increased by 18.7%.  October’s increase for new home sales follows Septembers 14.2% increase.  Click here to view new homes available in the Outer Banks of NC.

November is almost over but the holidays are a great time to visit the Outer Banks and purchase real estate. There are wonderful community events and a small town friendly atmosphere that you won’t experience any where else.  Purchasing at the end of the year provides for some significant tax benefits and provides adequate time to prepare for the summer season.

The crowds are reduced and it is easy to view vacation rental homes or investment properties available for sale.  Even after winter weather sets in, it is warmer with the gulf stream influence and the abundant warm water that surrounds the island.  

If you are lucky, you may get to experience the magic of snow in OBX; it doesn’t last long but makes the island and beach look like something out of a fairy tale.

If you have been thinking about an Outer Banks vacation home purchase, second home purchase or permanent home, now is the time to act. Buy with Eillu and save more with our buyers rewards plan. Schedule an appointment today to find your vacation rental property, second home or investment property.

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!

Eillu free custom market analysis

Kiteboarding and the Outer Banks


Kiteboarding is the newest craze for extreme sport lovers. It combines the thrill of surfing, wind surfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding and paragliding into one sport. You can ride waves, skim across the water surface or even launch into the air and “fly” up to 40 feet above the water. Kiteboarding can be done in the ocean or in freshwater, wind is the key ingredient for a successful kiteboarding adventure. And this key ingredient is what makes the Outer Banks, and in particular Hatteras Island, a hot spot for Kiteboarding.

Kiteboarding as a sport was developed over time as individuals attempted to use kites for wind power and in addition to skis and other sporting equipment, but most of its development took off in the 90’s. Kitesurfing is now more mainstream, making its way into the Olympics and different styles of Kitesurfing have emerged like course racing, speed racing, park riding, airstyle, wakestyle, etc.

Outer Banks Kiteboarding

The Outer Banks is known for world-class Kiteboarding. There are many spots along the sound and in the ocean where you can visit almost any time and see the many kites swinging through the air. Canadian Hole has been a famous windsurfing spot for decades that is now flocked to by kiteboarders and general water lovers alike. This destination can be found between Avon and Buxton, it has a large sandy beach with shallow water, lots of parking, restrooms and showers. Kite Point is another extremely popular spot for watersports, it was established as a kitesurfing destination as Canadian Hole became more crowded.

Learn How to Kiteboard

Kiteboarding may seem like an intimidating sport, but it is easy enough for almost anyone to learn. There are plenty of local watersport shops that offer lessons from beginner to advanced levels with simple hourly lessons to full-blown “camps” or multi-day instruction. If you are interested in taking a lesson or learning more about kiteboarding while you’re at the Outer Banks check out these local businesses:

REAL Watersports – Waves

Kitty Hawk Kites – Waves

Corolla Kiteboarding – Corolla

Kite Club Hatteras – Avon

Cape Hatteras Kiteboarding – Frisco

Outer Banks Kiting – Cape Hatteras

Kite Hatteras – Buxton

Rad Kite & Yoga – Rodanthe

The Outer Banks is one of the best locations to learn kiteboarding. It is only one of the many outdoor recreation activities we are known for.  Come visit and learn more about the Outer Banks.  Once you visit once, you will be hooked.  Contact Eillu to answer any real estate questions you may have.  Schedule an appointment to visit vacation homes or second homes available for purchase or to find a permanent or retirement home.

Attractive 5 BR Home in Ocean Sands for Sale with Vacation Rental Income

552 Trolling Lane Corolla exterior

You will want to have the “Sandbox” for your very own once you see it.  This 2,651 square foot, 5 bedroom 3 full and ½ bath home is located in Ocean Sands section D in Corolla NC.  It has been lovingly cared for and owner managed for vacation rentals but would also make an excellent second home.  It is listed for $469,000.

Swimming Pool at 5 BR Oceanside home in Ocean Sands listed for $469,000

A new addition of the bottom floor was added last year to create a great room adjacent to the private pool.  The new addition also includes a queen bedroom, bathroom and laundry room.  The 6’ deep large 14×34 private pool provides great entertainment and refreshment. 

Alternatively, the lifeguard protected beach is only a short 5 minute walk and does not require crossing any major streets.  For the tennis enthusiast, the courts are also a short walk away.  The Currituck Club, a premier Rees Jones designed golf course, is only a mile away.


The second level of the home has four bedrooms and two bathrooms.  There are two bedrooms with two twin beds in each to maximize flexibility; depending on guests.   The other two bedrooms have queen bedding.  The wood walls in the bedrooms and on the top floor evoke visions of being on a ship and create a warm and cozy atmosphere.

The great room on the top floor is open to the kitchen and dining area and features a cathedral ceiling.  The living area has a wood burning fireplace as a focal point with comfortable furnishings to cuddle and watch TV or gaze at the fire. 

The generous kitchen area has a spacious “L” shaped bar to invite guests to chat with the chef.  The wood floors with a scattering of area rugs invites you right in to relax.

The home has a good rental history and a loyal following of guests.  The current owners tend to be selective and have not maximized the rental income.  The home could generate $50k in cash flow and would pay for itself.  The Ocean Sands community is a popular destination for vacationers and is well known for generating rental income.

This home is located in the X zone.  This means purchasing flood insurance is not required.

Beach at Ocean Sands

This Oceanside home is centrally located in Corolla.  A short walk brings you to the new greenway walkway for a morning jog and makes it safe and easy to get around without using the car.  Groceries, shopping, restaurants are conveniently located.  The popular vacation attractions of the Currituck Lighthouse, Whalehead Club, museums’ and wild horses are nearby. There is off-street parking for 3 cars.

Call today to schedule an appointment to view this terrific property.  There is time to close and make it yours before the 2017 rental season arrives.  Enjoy the full amount of rental income for 2017 without the full year of expenses.

2017 Outer Banks Real Estate Market Outlook

2016 year end real estate statistics

Real Estate markets are local.  I remember before I moved to the Outer Banks in 1998, how much of a bargain the homes appeared when compared to New Jersey, Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic area coastal areas.  At the same time, Outer Banks locals and real estate professionals were not as enthusiastic toward their local market.  Sometimes, when something is right in front of you, you don’t notice…can’t see the forest for the trees.  In my mind, the value was apparent when compared to other like areas.

The efficient market hypothesis suggests that it is impossible to “beat the market” because prices already reflect all relevant information.  The hypothesis is usually applied to the stock market.  Back in 1998, the real estate market was less efficient because all relevant information was not readily available. 

Back in 1998, the thrill of the chase, to find the needle in the haystack bargain, was alive and well.  Granted, I focused more on the distressed side, before it was fashionable to do so.  Today, the market is more efficient; due to the internet and quantity and quality of information available.  Is it 100% efficient? No.  It is much easier today to research an area and a particular property than it was only 10 years ago. 

Aggregating the data and making sure all relevant information is included is still difficult from a distance.  As Seth Godin stated in a recent blog titled– You Can Look It Up,  “It still takes talent and time to find the right thing in the right place at the right time.” This is where the knowledge and experience of a local real estate Agent can save you time and provide relevant insight.

One cannot view real estate in a vacuum.  It is affected by local forces, politics as well as national policies.  With a new President in office, sympathetic to real estate interests, have a positive effect?  Increasing mortgage interest rates will impact the market depending on how fast and steep the rates increase.  Will the H2OBX Waterpark increase investment in the area?  For more information on “big picture” influences on our market, check out this post.

If I look at today’s Outer Banks market with the same eyes as when I was not a local, the recovery is similar.  The market is healthy, but not red hot.  Are there good deals to be had?  Absolutely!  Read below for some of the other insights revealed from the 2016 year end MLS statistics.  Download the Outer Banks MLS Year End report here.

Overall Market

The unit sales for 2015 compared to 2016 is almost identical.  New Listings during 2016 tracked below 2015 levels for all but two months.  Total new listing in 2015 were 4432 vs 4043 in 2016.  The gap between monthly sales and new listings is narrowing and should help drive the prices up. 

Outer Banks Unit Sales and Listings for 2015 and 2016

Distressed Sales

The amount of distressed inventory in the Outer Banks market has fallen significantly since the recession and returned to a more typical level. The number of short sales sold fell by 58%, and bank owned sales fell by 24% from 2015 to 2016. 

At the same time, the average sale price of short sales increased by 24%; while bank owned average sale price increase by only 1%.  The chart below shows the narrowing of the gap between distressed inventory and sales from 2015 to 2016.  The overall impact on the market from distressed properties has waned and is one of the signals the market reach bottom and has turned around.

Distressed property inventory and sales for 2015, 2016

Residential Sales & Condos

Single family detached unit sales were strong in 2016.  Sales in 2015, at 1539 units, was the second best year since 2005 with 1819 units.  Sales for 2016 were 1531 units tracking closely to the second best year.

redisential sales and median price for 2015, 2016

Total Condo sales in 2005 reached a record of 178 units and 2016 met the record sales level.  The break down by month for 2015 and 2016 with the median prices appear below. 

Unit sales of condos increased by 24% between 2015 and 2016 with a 32% increase in volume, 6% increase in average sale prices and 7% increase in the median sale price.  Unlike many other markets, the Outer Banks did not see an over supply of condo construction during the boom years and current demand for condos has been strong. 

condo sales and median price for 2015, 2016


There were 469 lots sold in 2016, which is the identical quantity as 2015; the total dollar value increased by 2%, a 2% increase in average sales and a 2% decrease in the median sale price.

Lots and land sold by type 2015, 2016

Average and median sale prices for lots and land 2015, 2016

Inventory Trend

The long term inventory trend for Residential, Land and Commercial is trending downwards.  As inventory decreases prices should make moderate increases.

Inventory by Type from 2007 to 2016

Price per Square Foot

The price per square foot showed a great deal of variability over the past 4 years but has leveled out over 2016, most likely reflecting the reduction in distressed property.  In some cases, during this period, the cost of new construction was far above these levels.

outer banks sales prices per sq foot from 2013 to 2016

Absorption Rate

The absorption rate in Jan 2016 was 62.38 weeks and ended the year at 35.9.  This is the number of weeks it takes to sell the current inventory at the current rate of sales.  This is further evidence showing the declining inventory and will likely begin to trigger increases in prices.  Over the last 4 years, the average Days on Market (DOM) has stayed in the 200 range.

Sales by Price Range

In 2015, 6.9% of total sales was in the price range above $749.9k; and in 2016 the average in this range fell to 6.6%. 

Number of sales at $750k and above for 2015, 2016

In 2015, 10.6% of total sales was in the price range between $500k and $749.9k; and in 2016 the average in this range fell to 9.5%. 

number of sales between 500k and 749.9k for 2015, 2016

In 2015, most activity was in the $200k to $499.9k range and represented 57.9% of total sales.  In 2016, this price range accounted for 64.4% of total sales and taking a larger piece of the pie.

number of sales between 200k and 499.9k for 2015, 2016

After Jan 2016, the number and percentage of the total sales for real estate below $200k was below levels in 2015.  In 2015, 24.5% of total sales was below $200k; and in 2016 the average was 19.3%.  The inventory and sales of real estate below $200k is eroding.  The reduction of distressed real estate in the Outer Banks market is likely to continue and fewer properties will be priced below $200k.

number sales under 200k for 2015, 2016

Sales by Area

The number of units sold in each area or town increased by more than 25% for Roanoke Island, and fell by more than 12% in Southern Shores.

units sold by area and percent change from 2015 to 2016

The 2016 median sale prices for the towns in the Outer Banks and the percent change compared to 2015 appear below:

median sale prices for outer banks towns and percent change from 2015 to 2016

median sale prices and percent change from 2015 to 2016

Building Permits

Estimated value of new building permits increased to $164,806,963 in 2016 from $150,918,527 in 2015.  There were 183 residential new construction building permits issued in 2016.


What will 2017 bring to the real estate market?  I predict steady and good long term growth.  There are local factors, like the mid- Currituck bridge and development of H2OBX Waterpark, that bodes well for infrastructure and commercial development; a good foundation for continued growth. 

Economic factors, like the anticipated increase to mortgage rates, will tend to put a damper on home price increases to maintain the same affordability level.  Financial media expects 4 mortgage rate increases in 2017.  This should create an urgency for purchase transactions to be completed earlier in the year. 

The vacation rental market remains strong as new inventory has not kept pace with market demand.  Prices for vacation rental property investments are stable but increasing.  Rents are adequate for covering expenses and more Outer Banks vacation rental properties are experiencing positive cash flow.

If you add up all of the factors, you will realize that Outer Banks is an ideal place to plant your “feet in the sand” and buy or build your castle.  You can design the beach house of your dreams or choose from the many beach houses already for sale.  Start making memories with your family in your own rental home while profiting from positive cash flow and other ownership benefits. 

If you live in the Outer Banks, learn how you can stop throwing your money away with rental receipts and own your own place for perhaps even less than you are paying in rent.  Learn how the tax advantages of home ownership can change your bottom line and earn equity for years to come.

For more information on buying Outer Banks Real Estate, or to learn more about the Outer Banks in general, please check out our blog.  The outlook for Outer Banks real estate in 2017 is positive.


It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane; No It’s A Drone To Market Your Real Estate

The unique beauty of the Outer Banks is breathtaking from the air. Drone videos of real estate for sale reveal the exquisite beauty of the barrier island. It astonishingly reveals the fragile nature of the island we live and vacation on. Even more surprising from the air is how much is undeveloped. Increasingly, hobbyist have used drones to share this view around the world. While many have committed no harm, and only have admirable goals; still others have done much to annoy the neighbors.

When-you-should-use-a-drone-to-market-your-property-for-saleAs of Dec. 21, 2015, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) requires all owners of drones (small unmanned aircraft), weighing between 0.55 and 55 pounds to register online before taking to the skies. This applies to all recreational users.

Drones that will be used for commercial purposes or those that weigh more than 55 pounds have additional restrictions and need to be registered using an older, paper-based system. Commercial users must also apply for an exemption.

Realtor & Commercial use of drones

Anyone using a drone for profit, including a realtor, wedding videographer, or any other for-profit purposes, needs to apply for an exemption under Section 333.

Does Your Broker Have an Exemption?

If your agent or broker does not already have an exemption to use a drone, beware that it could take months for a new exemption application to be approved by the FAA. Applying for the exemption is no guarantee the FAA will even approve it. Renting a registered drone is not a legal method to comply because one would still need the exemption to use it for commercial purposes. Even a hobbyist homeowner who used a drone to photograph their own property may come under the scrutiny of the FAA for using it to market the property. The details for the new law are not entirely clear.

In addition, in NC a Department of Transportation license must be obtained before using a drone and the user must pass a test before using it for commercial purposes. Other states have similar regulations. It is an evolving industry with laws and regulations trying to keep up. Currently, the FAA is pressing to control the skies and over-ride any state regulations. Having one set of rules will certainly make it easier to comply and quickly increase the use of drones for commercial purposes, like Amazon and other deliveries.

The FAA has issued a more than 500 commercial licenses across the country. They estimate that around 7,500 commercial drones will be in operation within five years. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) estimates drones will generate more than $13.6 billion in revenue and create more than 70,000 new jobs in the next three years of integration. It projects that tax revenues to states will exceed $482 million in the first 11 years of integration. Clearly, drones are here to stay.

Hire an Approved 3rd Party

Ask your Real Estate agent if they have an agreement with an experienced drone videographer like Drones I Vu (3rd party) to provide the service. Obtaining an FAA approved company is the only legal way to comply with the new rules. Ask the approved company to provide it’s FAA authorization number.

When Should You Use a Drone to Sell Real Estate?

There is no doubt the video shot by drones is captivating. Resembling a Hollywood movie, the sweeping views can be quite a sales tool.

Videos are increasingly being used across all channels to increase customer engagement. Drone videos have the advantage of showcasing a property from the air. This is especially effective for showing wide expansive views for a very large property, enticing waterfront views, unique elevations or relative proximity to attractions nearby. As you can imagine, it is quite a dramatic tool for the Outer Banks to illustrate the proximity of the sound to the ocean and other attractions nearby.

Drone video can also be quite effective for a commercial facility or large tract of rural land that are difficult to appreciate from the ground.

Another advantage of having access to drone photography for real estate is for insurance purposes. Should a storm event or hurricane occur, video from a drone could be used to begin the insurance claim process or to assess damage for a specific property and verify the access points are safe to travel to it.

How to Create a Great Drone Video

While some Realtors have a drone and the FAA exemption in house; it is important to use professional production techniques for a high quality finished product – worthy of an academy award.

Cast of Characters

Staging the right actors to play the homeowners or neighbors can provide the ascetic you are trying to capture for the finished video. You want potential buyers to be able to see themselves in the home, relaxing, entertaining and just making the space their own.

Create a Script

The most effective use of video includes a compelling script with clear objectives moving from scene to scene. You should try to touch an emotional chord with the audience.

Use a Cinematographer

While direction and having a story line is important to show the features of the house; it is even more important to find an experienced expert to shoot the video. The expert will have experience and know-how for finding the right perspective and lighting to create a unique experience for the viewer.

Use Editing Software

One doesn’t just shoot and publish or upload. To get the best results, edit with transitions, adding music and other effects to create a polished, finished piece.

General Rules for Drone Use:

  • Fly no higher than 400 feet and remain below any surrounding obstacles.
  • Keep your drone within your sight range at all times.
  • Remain clear of and do not interfere with aircraft operations.
  • Remain at least 25 feet away from individuals and property.
  • You should contact the airport and control tower before flying within five miles of an airport or heliport.
  • Do not fly in adverse weather conditions.
  • Do not fly when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Make sure the operating environment is safe and the operator is competent and proficient to fly the drone.
  • Do not fly near or over power stations, water treatment facilities, correctional facilities, heavily traveled roadways, government facilities, etc.
  • Check and follow all local laws and ordinances before flying over private property.
  • Do not photograph persons in areas where there is an expectation of privacy and without the individual’s permission.

Contact Eillu to visit the new homes under construction or recently completed to learn more about the benefits of owning an Outer Banks vacation rental or relocating for your retirement years.


4 Reasons Why You Should Retire on the Outer Banks




When people reach retirement age they often move to a new location to start a new chapter in their life.  For many, it is a dream to spend their golden years at the beach living a life of comfort and leisure.  The Outer Banks is rapidly becoming one of the premier destinations to buy a retirement home in the world.

Here are 4 reasons why you should retire on the Outer Banks:


One of the best things about retirement is finally having the time to do the things you love whenever you want to.  The Outer Banks is perfect for activities of all shapes and sizes.  There are numerous golf courses in the area for people to test their skills on.  Boating on the sound and in the ocean provides a tremendous mix of experiences and varying levels of conditions. 

Fishing is also one of the most beloved activities among all residents of the Outer Banks.  Whether you are fishing by boat, on the beach, or from one of the many fishing piers, anglers will find all kinds of challenges to discovering their next great fish tale.  Let’s not forget the numerous walking, hiking, and biking trails that provide miles of recreation up and down the Outer Banks.


Many people will say that any beach is a good beach.  But the Outer Banks is situated in one of the best locations in the country.  Several major airports are within easy driving distance allowing for easy visits to and from the children and grandchildren.  The Hampton Roads area airports are the easiest to reach with Norfolk International Airport usually providing the best rates.  But Raleigh International Airport is also just a few hours away.


Perhaps the best part of the location of the Outer Banks is the climate.  The summers are still hot but usually have an accompanying breeze off the water that keeps the days bearable and the night’s exquisite.  It doesn’t matter if the wind is blowing off the sound or the ocean to keep the weather mostly comfortable.  Winters on the Outer Banks are peaceful with temperatures usually in the 50’s and very rare occurrences of snowfall.

Volunteer Opportunities

Another great aspect of retiring on the Outer Banks is the opportunity to get involved in your new community.  There are numerous options for volunteering in different areas that you are passionate about.  If wildlife conservation is exciting to you, you may want to get involved with the Corolla Wild Horse Fund or Network for Endangered Sea Turtles.  If education is more of your passion, there are numerous schools and libraries that are always looking for volunteers to donate their time.  History buffs will find many attractions up and down the coast to give back to the community.

For more information on the Outer Banks, please check out our blog.


Volunteer Opportunities on the Outer Banks in the Off-Season


Ever wonder what people who have purchased property on the Outer Banks do in the winter once all the tourists leave and the pace slows way down? We volunteer! The sense of community that ties the people of the Outer Banks together is most apparent in the off-season (or after a hurricane). So, if you find yourself in your Outer Banks vacation home wondering what to do with your time and how you can help the community, we have some ideas here:

Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce

The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce website includes an updated list of volunteer opportunities under the job listings button; here you can find something from Rodanthe all the way up to Corolla.  The skills sought span from the lifesaving station to working with the wild horses. You can even work as a museum volunteer at the Graveyard of the Atlantic museum. No matter what your interest or your skill set, you can find a way to give back to the community here.

The Outer Banks Hospital 

Volunteers are always needed in both clinical and non-clinical capacities at The Outer Banks Hospital. Use your piano playing skills or previous experience in fundraising, for example, to support the hospital, patients and the community. The list includes something for everyone and the hospital only requires a 4-hour commitment per week per volunteer. There are even positions for student volunteers to foster a sense of community for our children that will last a lifetime.

Historical Opportunities

Perhaps you find yourself in the quaint town of Manteo looking to get involved and express your interest in the local history. Look no further than the Roanoke Island Festival Park for opportunities in several venues from the Elizabeth II, Settlement Site, American Indian Town and the Adventure Museum.

North Carolina Aquarium

Another unique volunteer activity to the Outer Banks is also in Manteo at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island. How would you like to be a volunteer diver and feed the sharks at the aquarium? Of course there are also other volunteer opportunities at the aquarium for those of us who are not so brave but are looking to help out at an excellent educational facility.

Involvement with the Arts

Is your interest to promote the Arts? The Outer Banks may seem far removed from the big city but has an active artistic community. Look no further than the Dare County Arts Council to get involved. There are committees and events looking for volunteers listed on their website.    

Nature Preservation

You can find a way to satisfy your love of the beach and the forest even after purchasing property on the Outer Banks. Where else will you find a maritime forest and get the best of both worlds – sand dunes and wooded forest! Nags Head Woods uses volunteers to help build oyster reefs as well as opportunities with other projects. For more information, click: here!

Food Assistance

It may be surprising to those recently buying a home on the Outer Banks, but approximately 15% of the county population is food insecure. The Beach Food Pantry has been providing assistance through volunteer support for over a decade. You can volunteer for a one-time event or on a continual basis by picking up donated items from local markets. Find a list of events and contact information here!

Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse Programs

If you feel a deep need to make a difference and reach out to those in need, consider volunteer opportunities at Hotline. Volunteers are needed to staff the 24 hour crisis intervention helping callers with problems ranging from substance abuse, domestic violence and isolation. Hotline also runs several thrift stores and volunteers are needed to work in the various shops, performing duties from sorting donations to pricing and ringing up sales. A unique activity for your creative skills is weaving – a spin off to Hotline through Endless Possibilities. Endless Possibilities uses the worn out donated items and re-purposes them through weaving, to create unique one of a kind items. There are many ways to help Hotline from babysitting, driving and court volunteers, as well.

It’s plain to see that Outer Banks residents enjoy lending a helping hand to one another, and the opportunities to volunteer in the community abound! So during the off-season, if you find yourself spending more time in your Outer Banks vacation home, check out one of these great organizations and give back to the community that brings us all so much joy in return!



So You Want to Eat Like an Outer Banks Local



You’ve just moved to town and you’re excited to try some local flavors but you don’t know where to go. Well, we first suggest asking someone who has lived here a while or, someone who has recently moved to the Outer Banks and is excited about trying new things. Most likely these active people will know of the best places to grab a bite or drink, depending on what you’re looking for. 

Day at the beach

Let’s hope you moved here for the beach or sound and all the countless outdoor activities these beautiful Outer Banks have to offer. If that’s the case, chances are you’ll be enjoying the surroundings so much you’ll forget about eating or be enjoying the beach so much you want something quick to grab and go. Don’t settle for fast food chain stores, the food’s not worth it and costs the same. Plus, support your local businesses! A list of quick eats near the beach.

  • John’s Drive In- Kitty Hawk
  • Country Deli- Nags Head
  • Coastal Provisions Market sandwich counter- Southern Shores
  • Stop N’ Shop- Kill Devil Hills
  • Corolla Village Barbecue- Corolla

Sit down but not fancy

You’re off the beach and you’re ready to eat. You don’t feel like cooking, but don’t feel like a really fancy place either. If you’re looking for restaurants with a relaxed vibe where you’ll fit in wearing jeans and a t-shirt with flip-flops, or something a little more business casual, these establishments dotting the Outer Banks are on the ‘must try’ list.

  • Tortugas’- Nags Head
  • Blue Moon- Nags Head
  • Wave Pizza Café- Duck
  • Food Dudes- Nags Head
  • Pok’s Asian Fusion- Kitty Hawk
  • Trio- Kitty Hawk
  • Art’s- Kitty Hawk
  • I Got Your Crabs- Kitty Hawk

Full Service

If you’re looking for a nice night out, one where maybe you need to escape a busy house or maybe you’re on a nice date, here are a few options to check out. For some restaurants we recommend calling ahead and placing a reservation while others operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Blue Point- Duck
  • Kill Devil Grill- Kill Devil Hills
  • Ocean Boulevard- Kitty Hawk
  • JK’s- Kill Devil Hills
  • Rooster’s Southern Kitchen- Kill Devil Hills
  • Urban Kitchen- Corolla

The Outer Banks culinary experience is geared towards seafood dishes, but there are options for just about anything you’re craving. From grabbing a salad, a burger, or a fish sandwich and taking it to enjoy on the beach to the fancier sit-down restaurants, the selection of restaurants along the Outer Banks provides food experiences to please everyone’s palette.

For more information about life on the Outer Banks, check out Eillu’s blog! Eillu is an Outer Banks real estate boutique helping people purchase Outer Banks property, whether that be a retirement home, an investment property, rental home or relocating to the Outer Banks permanently. Our team is here to help!

Community Pool vs. Private Pool, Which is Best for You?


On the Outer Banks, having access to a swimming pool can be a welcoming change from spending a day on the beach. Most people wonder why anyone would have a pool when they are so close to the beach, but a pool comes with many benefits. Even on the beautiful Outer Banks, a pool in the privacy of your home offers a place for a quick dip to beat the summer heat, a gathering place and entertainment for visitors, and you don’t have to battle with parking. The days of lugging all that beach equipment through the hot sand are over. The list of benefits to having a pool go on and on. But community pools also offer much of the same benefits without the ‘behind the scenes’ costs of maintenance and upkeep.

While there are many things to take into account, two main variables to consider about private pools are whether the home is your full-time place of residence or if you primarily rent your Outer Banks home to vacationers.

If you’re thinking about putting in a private swimming pool, the average inground pool costs about $22,000-$30,000 to install for a basic model. Just to build it. If you’re thinking about moving into a home that already has a pool (and if you’re building one) there are additional costs to consider for maintenance.

  • Filtration pump and associated costs
  • Weekly cleaning costs (yourself or hiring an outside service)
  • Annual repairs as needed
  • Pool vacuum and cleaning supplies
  • Energy cost if you’re looking to heat the pool
  • Insurance and taxes

Seems like a lot of work. But a pool can sometimes add value to your home if:

  • You live in higher-end neighborhood and most neighbors have pools.
  • Have a large enough lot so you don’t just have a pool.
  • Live in a climate that is warm year-round, or close to.

Having a pool, however, does not guarantee a return on your investment no matter where it is. There are many factors that play a role in determining the value of a pool come time to sell. The style, condition, age, upkeep, climate, are all factors that weigh on the buyer’s mind.

Vacation Rental

But what if you’re looking to buy a rental property on the Outer Banks? The climate is great nearly year-round, and there are a large number of beach vacation rental homes with pools. Purchasing an Outer Banks vacation rental home with a swimming pool can be a huge attraction for people on vacation who do not have a pool at home. In fact, for some people, the pool can be the main drawing point to rent one house over another. Typically, people who rent pools tend to have a larger number of guests, like a family reunion. A swimming pool is advantageous to a home owner if the weekly, monthly, and annual cost of upkeep can be covered in the rental costs. This includes swimming pool liability, maintenance, and insurance.

Year-round home owner

If you’re looking to relocate or purchase a home for the first time, a community pool can far outweigh the continual cost of owning a pool on your property. On top of that, it can be a huge selling point down the road because it could appeal to both people who were interested in a pool and those who definitely didn’t want one on their property because of the additional costs associated with pool ownership. A community pool is like having the best of both worlds. Add the beautiful beaches of the Outer Banks and the magnificent sunsets over the sound and you’re living the high life.

Pool ownership and getting a return on investment has too many variables to address in a broad-sweeping statement and it comes down to the owners, the location, and the perceived personal benefit of ownership.

Yes, You Can Expect More With Eillu!


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Kitty Hawk, NC 27949
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