My wife and I are looking to purchase a vacation rental property in the Outer Banks. This will be our very first rental property. I have read a lot of books on the subject, but had some specific questions about the Outer Banks that I was hoping I could ask here.
The Outer Banks seems to have many property management companies. Given that we are from NJ and quite a distance away (7 hours), this seems to be the way to go. Does anyone have any recommendations for one, and do you think this hiring a property management firm make sense, or is it possible to do it from 7 hours away with good local contacts?
NC also has the "Vacation Rental Act". If we manage the property ourselves, is this something we have to get ever new renter to sign, or include as an addendum to a rental agreement for them to view? If the house has a strong repeat renter history, do I need to collect these documents from the current owner?
Any advice would be appreciated!
Joe Lamb Realty is one of the more highly respected management companies down at the Outer Banks. I would reach out to them, shoot your questions their way, and I imagine they will be extremely helpful.
We own vacation rental in Oregon, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Eventhough we live in Oregon we self manage Tennessee. We use VRBO. We do visit Tennessee at least once a year. It is difficult to cash flow using a management company.
Just my opinion and experience.
We own a Lake house that is on Lake Hartwell. We use Homeaway which is the parent company of VRBO. This site is awesome for communication with renters, accepting payments, refunding security deposits and maintaining an up to date calendar. We don't meet people at property. We use a lock box and I have WiFi thermostats that I can control temperature when no one is there.
If I moved further away I would just need to set up a cleaner and someone to maintain the yard and could still easily keep doing the property management.
Key is to get a good support staff in your area. Handyman/repair person, cleaning person and landscaper.
If you hired a local PM they would still be hiring these things out and still charging you about 10%.
You might be able to contact other vacation rental owners in your area and ask for recommendations on who they use for these tasks.
Also depends on what area of the OBX you want it to be. If you're going be in the 158 bypass area of NH, KDH, KH then I'd agree with the above post. Joe Lamb is a pretty big one around that area. There are a billion different management companies up and down the OBX and each have their specialty areas.
I've been vacationing at the OBX since I was a toddler (in my 30's now) staying everywhere from Buxton to Corolla. My mother's family has been going there since before there was a bridge to get there. My grandfather used to own two lots in Duck w/ ocean and sound views but sold them in the late 70's (they'd be worth a fortune now!). We've been staying on Duck Landing Lane in Duck pretty much every year since the early 2000's. We've used Twiddy, Brindley Beach, Resort Realty, and Village Realty for our rentals.
I would love to know how this works out for you. I'd eventually love to own a home or a few homes up there. My wife and I were even thinking about buying a lot up in 4x4 territory north of Corolla.
Thank you for all the replies and information!
@Will Norrell - thank you for the recommendation. Right now we are in the "gathering contacts" and planning phase so I appreciate it. I have added them to my list of recommended property managers to check out if we go that route.
@Bill Jacobsen - thank you for the VRBO suggestion. I told my wife about it, and she said she likes that web site a lot from research she has been doing. Yes, my Excel sheet is telling me it will be very hard to get positive cash flow in OBX, let alone by adding a property management expense on top of it.
@John Underwood - thank you for this suggestion too. I haven't heard of them, but am going to look into it. I am a huge fan of the WIFI connected devices. We use Nest Cams at our house and they send us notifications via text or email if it detects any movement. We would definitely want to put in the WIFI thermostats.
@Brad Woodall - Thanks for all the info, and the confirmation on Joe Lamb. My wife has been going down to OBX for 20+ years. I had never been down there until I met her. I went to Corolla for the first time last year when we went to see the lighthouse. It is really nice up there. We really liked all the privacy. We are definitely moving forward with purchasing a house down there, and most likely in the Kittyhawk area, as this is the area my wife grew up vacationing to with her family. Right now we are in "down payment savings mode", and will hopefully make an offer in fall 2016. I am hoping that I can give back to this community once we get the property, and will definitely keep you, or anyone else updated on how this all works out for those that are interested in seeing a newbie take the plunge!
Here is a real newbie follow-up question - Do you know if VRBO and Homeaway handle all the rental agreement and North Carolina Vacation Rental Act items with insurance, notifying them, etc? For example do your new renters have to fill out a rental agreement, and does VRBO/Homeaway maintain that documntation? Do repeat renters have to fill out a rental agreement each year even if they repeat? Any information on this topic would be greatly appreciated on the paperwork involved.
I'm interested in this topic as well. My wife and I are looking at Corolla for vacation this year.
@Travis Beal - We are already getting some great ideas and tips from this community. I will definitely do a "lessons learned" post on everything that went well, and anything that surprised us or didn't go so well when we get farther along with the purchase!
I'd do VRBO and set up some local team contacts (cleaner, maintenance).
@Adam Schneider - thanks Adam for the suggestion. I am going to check them out and HomeAway. All m calcs in Excel show it going to be very difficult to have positive cash flow with vacation home, so definitely going to go VRBO route.
@Mike Shemp How did you find an investor friendly realtor to work with. We vacation in OBX every year and are starting to think about purchasing a property in the coming years. Any recommendations on realtors or real estate companies?
Tagging onto this post - I love going to OBX but have stayed away from buying property because of the possibility it will not be there in 75 years and curious what people think about real estate in OBX because of the rising sea levels and the erosion that has been going on there over the past two decades.
Will it eventually effect real estate and when do people think it would start having a negative effect on real estate values
@Emily Du Plessis - We started working with a realtor, but she didn't seem to focus on investment properties and didn't get the sense she understood my questions or why I was asking them. We are no longer using a realtor, and are looking on our own and at for sale by owner properties.....so unfortunately I don't have any recommendations. What area are you looking in? We are looking in Southern Shores and Kittyhawk.
@Chris Seveney - I guess it will happen at some point in the future, but with all the businesses, homes, and economy I would think (hope?) that the towns would do what it had to do (beach replenishment, etc.) to prevent it from happening. What do you think?
Hi All, I actually live in Southern Shores, year round. Forgive my jumping in on your conversation!
Just a word of caution, you need to be very careful of what areas you want to look in. There are micro climate areas of different neighborhoods which change the real estate landscape widely. A small section along 12 (the beach road) you can get a Oceanfront for $250,000! But it is also in the same section where there is a washout(s) and destroys the houses and road every year.
I can help you steer around some local pitfalls (there are bunches, management companies, handymen, cleaners) if you want to reach out. I can also recommend 2 EXCELLENT realtors (1 as an investment realtor and the other as a vacation home realtor) that will listen and get you what you want depending on what you are looking for.
Just remember the areas that you are looking in has very different "personalities". Duck is high-end older, retired or family centric area, Kill Devil Hills is more the partier type (Mom & Dad rented me a place and I am going to trash it) Kitty Hawk (family centric and party areas) and Southern Shores is more year round residents (some retirees with nothing better to do then get in other peoples business). Think about the type of renters that would rent your house and how they would treat it. The horror stories I have heard!
It's hard being off island and keeping an eye on the houses. The management companies all have big issues with really maintaining the home as you would if you were here. It's impossible when they get that big to keep up and get to the houses on turnover day, (Fri, Sat, Sun) with the traffic when everyone else is trying to get to the same place on the only road in or out.
I think it's well worth the investment as I already own 3 (long-term rental) homes down here. So I can speak from a little experience. I think this will be here longer than 75 years. The towns do think ahead and spend a lot on beach replenishment (when and where needed) and protective measures. This will be a great area to hand down to my kids and it is sooooo beautiful as you already know.
@Lauren Van Riper - Thank you so much or all that great information! I really appreciate you taking the time. I have been going down to the Outer Banks for the past 10 years, and from what I know of the micro-climates, your descriptions seem to be very accurate! Right now we are looking around the Kitty Hawk area of Beach Road (not oceanfront, but oceanside in this area) as we have seen many of the empty spots where houses used to stand there. The reason we are thinking this location as it is not as expensive as Southern Shores price-wise, but doesn't have the partier-feel of Kill Devil Hills, but still close to everything. What are your thoughts on this micro-climate?
We were also considering the Corolla area. From what I know, the house are a little less expensive than Duck and Southern Shores, but a bit more remote. What are your thoughts on this section?
Thanks so much for the info!
I started this thread almost a year ago, and we are very close to making an offer on a property in the Outer Banks for a vacation home that we will rent out during the summer.
Can anyone recommend a good real estate attorney in the Outer Banks?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Brock Mitchell with Hornthal, Riley, Ellis and Maland.
@Will Norrell - Thank you so much for the recommendation! Also, I took your previous suggestion of Joe Lamb for property management. I call them about a month ago to start discussions and they were really fantastic, and gave lots of great information and tips. I will give Brock a call! Thank you!!!
@MikeShemp Your answer depends on what you are looking for, Rental or Personal Second home? What kind of area do you want, or do you want for your renters? Do you want to be in the heart of it? Do you want absolute pristine beaches? Corolla is beautiful, remote and you can have huge swaths of beach to yourself. The KH area is near all the dining but also near all the people. You need to ask what do you want or envision for you? I wouldn't buy Oceanfront/side in KH. There is severe beach erosion in that stretch, unless you have $$$ to throw out the window. If thats the case there are wonderful little mini-communities on the oceanside in KH. But be prepared to add in big money for beach pushes every year to get to your driveway, or trashcans, or grill. So to answer your question with a question I would need a bit more info as to your likes and wants list.
apparently this never posted, it just sat here... posting now for what it's worth.
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