Buying a home at the beach is an exciting experience. It may seem a bit overwhelming but the rewards are worth it. Time spent with family and friends and memories of those times are well worth the effort. Your Outer Banks home purchase will be different than a purchase out of the area. The unique Outer Banks coastal environment as well as the different nature of buying secondary and investment property require the additional knowledge and experience of a local Realtor. As your Outer Banks Realtor, we can help you save time and effort through this process. Here’s a brochure about Working with Real Estate Agents North Carolina published to explain how agency works in this state. Our goal is to represent you and help you find the right OBX property at the right price and in the time frame most convenient to you.
Where to start?
Every Outer Banks homebuyer has concerns about getting the right property at the best value. We realize buying at the beach is as much an educational process as a transaction process. Besides receiving a copy of Living the Dream, our OBX FAQs pages are a good place to begin this process. Also, here is a flow chart showing the entire home buying process. You can print this chart and refer back to it during the process. You can get a good idea of home values by signing up for an Outer Banks Market Reports. Let us know your area of interest and we’ll make sure you receive the latest information on listings and what other buyers have been willing to pay.
Finding the right property
Before you start looking at properties, make a list of must have features along with optional features you’d like to have. “Must-have” features are likely to include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll need to accommodate your visiting friends and family, location (if it is a second home then proximity to the beach is important, etc.), the size of the lot and special needs (handicapped access, etc.). Optional features may include the water views, architectural styling, age and condition of the property, landscaping, etc. Knowing those items you must have as well as those things a property must not have will save you time in your property search. Here is an OBX House Hunting Checklist that may help you best compare homes. Also, here is a web page showing specific things you should check while viewing Outer Banks homes.
Setting a Time Frame
Many variables affect the timing of the home-buying process. The time frame for buying at the beach is usually more flexible than buyers looking to relocate to the Outer Banks. Regardless of what type of property you are buying a typical home search process may take three or four months. During this time you will be comparing and evaluating properties, learning about market values and how the coastal environment affects property. Also the loan process may take 30 to 45 days. Scott Team Realty agents are here when ever you need us and will do our best to help you get into your new property at a time convenient to you.
The Lending Process
If you plan on using the Outer Banks property as collateral then it is a good idea to talk with a local lender. Not only do they have competitive rates but also they are familiar with all the intricacies of buying beach property. Here are a few Outer Banks lenders you may consider calling. The mortgage process, if not handled correctly can be intimidating and difficult. We can help you find the right lender regardless of the area you plan on buying. We know professional lenders in Corolla, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, Hatteras Island and everywhere in between. Getting several offers will allow you to compare loans and get the best deal.
When your credit is not what it needs to be to purchase, there are many ways you can prepare to make the process smoother. First you should get your budget under control – list your monthly expenses and income and make sure you are spending less than you are taking in. It is a good idea to pay off all credit card balances. You should also gather together documents needed for the loan process including W-2 forms, pay stubs, bank statements and income tax returns. Our OBX Lending FAQs has much more information on this subject.
Determining How Much You Can Afford
Purchasing a second home or a vacation rental home is different than purchasing a primary residence. Often second home purchasers qualify for much more debt than they feel comfortable carrying. Second home or vacation rental home buyers should look at their current budget and figure out how much money they feel comfortable putting into an Outer Banks property each month. Scott Team Realty can help you determine expenses and possible income for potential properties. Here is a link to our Vacation Rental Calculator page to help you get a real idea of the costs of Outer Banks ownership.
Buying an Outer Banks primary residence is a slightly different proposal. Home values here are higher than many areas due to the desirability of the Outer Banks lifestyle. Fortunately, our real estate taxes are lower than most places. Our ratio of school children to properties is much lower than most suburban areas. Mortgage payments should be about 26-28 percent of your gross monthly income. Existing debt is also considered in the mortgage process, and total debt payments (car payments, credit cards, student loans, etc.) should not exceed 40 percent of your gross monthly income. Click here to use this easy mortgage calculator to get an estimate of monthly payments.
Educating yourself about the home-buying process is key to getting a home you love and can afford. As your REALTOR®, we are here to answer any questions you might have and guide you through this process.