The wait is over. You’ve arrived on the Outer Banks for a long-overdue family vacation, and that pristine stretch of shoreline is just a stone’s throw away. You stop into the vacation rental office to collect your keys or perhaps simply to say hello now that the beach house offers keyless entry, and a flier on the counter catches your eye… There’s an oceanfront home for sale. Now is the time to turn to your family with a playful smile and say, “Hey, we should buy this!” According to the professionals, it is not unusual for the buying process to start this way. Many vacation rental homeowners begin as renters themselves, most of whom have been coming to the Outer Banks for years and years. Abigail Hodgson, Marketing Coordinator at Corolla Classic Vacations, said, “You see a glimmer in their eyes. They think they’re joking at first, and then they realize that this is doable.”
While some homeowners have purchased homes or built up right away upon discovering the Outer Banks, many families find that they are in the market for a beach house after visiting the Outer Banks so often that it has become like a second home to them. Children have grown up coming to the beach, and now they bring their kids or even grandkids to spend a summer week on the oceanfront. In a way, buying a beach house just makes the most sense.
“I think the American dream has shifted,” said Hodgson. “It’s gone from having your little plot of America to having memories and experiences, especially when you love a place like the Outer Banks so much. It’s a chance to lock in and keep those experiences.” It’s worth a look, even if your plans don’t come together in the end. Most realty companies have homebuyers’ get-togethers you can sit in on that are fairly casual. (At the Carolina Designs Realty homebuyers’ chat, flip flops are required.) And there’s also the option of looking into foreclosures.
Once you’ve actually purchased the home, a lot comes along with transitioning from part-time vacationer to full-time owner. You’ll likely have a lot of questions when it comes to the finer details of renting out your new home, and Outer Banks property managers are fully prepared to help. There’s a lot of work that goes into owning a vacation rental home, especially when you consider the sheer number of people that will pass through your beach house’s doors. Whether your home has four bedrooms or 12, the floors, surfaces, and appliances are going to experience some serious wear and tear, especially when you consider that those appliances aren’t commercial-grade. Items intended for single-family used in a multi-family vacation home every week back to back in the summertime will need replacing faster than the ones back at home.
“Homeowners often don’t realize what they will have to put into their homes annually whether it’s replacing bedspreads or re-painting to keep renters coming,” said Hodgson. “They are surprised and sometimes discouraged when they discover that they have to spend that much money on details and replacements, but it makes all the difference.” The difference for guests and for homeowners, that is. Because one of the biggest perks of maintaining the beach house is clearly the extra time you and your family will be spending on the Outer Banks! Owners can choose which weeks they would like to stay in their home and which weeks they would like to keep it on the market for rentals. Generally, as long as they leave the weeks for renters that the rental in come really depends on, then they have the flexibility to come whenever they would like, whether that be in mid-summer or over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays (or all of the above).
Those key weeks for rentals can be determined by your realty company. Elaine Breiholz, Property Manager at Carolina Designs Realty, said, “Most companies give the owners rental projections each year so they are aware of the rental income they should be seeing based on that house’s performance in the past or comparable homes in the program.”
Speaking of the services offered by realty companies, it’s common for new vacation rental homeowners to explore the different property management services, sometimes trying out two or three companies during the first few years before finding that perfect fit. But, of course, a perfect fit the first time around would be ideal. Some area realty companies manage upwards of 500 homes, while others prefer to keep it small, and management styles and services can vary so it’s important to find the one that works for you. Brindley Beach manages an array of homes from Corolla to Nags Head that include everything from traditional beach cottages and condos to luxurious ocean and soundfront estates. They even offer homes in the 4-wheel drive beaches of Corova, where visitors may see the wild horses roaming. Their sales team handles homes from Corolla to Nags Head, as well as on the nearby mainland.
Carolina Designs Realty offers an impressive selection of upscale homes from Corolla to Nags Head that range in size from four to 22 bedrooms. The homes feature innovative designs and amenities including the new keyless entry locks. Carolina Designs also has a dedicated sales team, so you can start searching for that vacation rental or second home on the Outer Banks today.
Corolla Classic Vacations maintains around 250 vacation rental homes and prides themselves in being deliberately and selectively smaller. The homes are all located in Corolla. Under the same roof, the property manager’s sister company, Corolla Real Estate, handles sales not only in Corolla but south all the way through Nags Head.
Most realty companies will connect their homeowners with each other too with a special homeowners’ party or a weekend of thanks. Owners who have four or five homes or those who have been renting their homes out for years can share experiences and ideas with new homeowners. “They end up being friends,” said Hodgson.
“Sometimes they end up booking the same weeks to come down to vacation. It’s like a little family.”
While you’re speaking with fellow homeowners, a few of them may mention their plans of eventually moving permanently into the beach house. The Outer Banks sounds like a great place to retire, doesn’t it?
Lexi Holian was born and raised on the Outer Banks and cannot remember a time when she wasn’t writing. She can often be found planning her next trip abroad but will always find her greatest inspiration on the shores of the Outer Banks.