5 Tips On Finding The Perfect Vacation Rental Location!

houses on beach

When looking for a rental investment property you want to make sure that it is in a desirable spot for future renters. People flock to the Outer Banks each year and the destination is only growing in popularity.  Take a look at our 5 tips for finding the perfect home for you!


You have heard it before, Location, Location, Location. In real estate location is paramount, but the better it gets the more expensive. Oceanfront lots are worth more than lots located less than a mile away from the beach. Your Realtor can help you find the right location and work within your budget.

Each area on the OBX offers many wonderful perks but when you’re looking for the perfect investment home ask yourself what you want for the future and what renters are looking for! Are you looking to be part of the action and close to multiple restaurants and shopping venues or are you looking for something a bit more secluded and off the beaten path?

Corolla, Southern Shores, South Nags Head and Hatteras offer an off the beaten path, small town vibe. By having few, if any, chains and many unique restaurants the small town, simple life atmosphere is here. These locations have few public parking beach accesses which gives them a more private feel.

Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Duck and Nags Head are located a bit more in the heart of the OBX where most of the action and excitement is located! If you’re looking for more restaurant choices, more shopping experiences, a few more public beaches accesses, and a more active nightlife this is the area for you! Remember, each of these towns are only a few miles long and connect to each other, so going  from town to town is  easy and accessible within about 16 miles.

One of the main sections of the Outer Banks runs from Corolla to South Nags Head which is roughly 40 miles. If you continue further south you will venture onto Hatteras Island and the towns of Rodanthe, Waves, Frisco, Buxton and Hatteras Village. The Outer Banks Hospital is located at Mile Post 15 in Nags Head and each town is within a few short miles of a grocery store. Currently Kitty Hawk to Nags Head is home to 1 Walmart, 1 K-Mart, 5 Food Lions, 3 Harris Teeters, 1 Fresh Market and even 1 Publix for all your grocery shopping needs. Once you’ve purchased your new property you’ll be pleased to know that the OBX is home to multiple hardware stores; Lowes, Home Depot, 2 Ace Hardware stores, and locally owned Kellogg’s Supply are all here to help you keep your home in top shape!



When purchasing a home on the Outer Banks it is important to think of the future and make sure your investment is going to last. When looking for a home that you plan to put into a rental program and one day live in, most people want to have a water view. Most if not all water views do come with a bit of risk due to storm surge, but this risk can be minimal and manageable as long as you do your research and understand the risks and rewards. Homes near the ocean or sound generate more rental income than those farther away. If you are interested in purchasing a home on or near the water, make sure you look into the different types of flood zones and if you aren’t familiar with the area brush up on the history of the lot you’re interested in, ask the right questions such as;
When was the last time this area experienced storm surge? Is this area prone to flash flooding?

Each zone (X, AE and VE) has a different ranking which is based on its elevation and therefore risk.  Speak with your Realtor about the different zones and remember even an X flood zone on the OBX could experience flash flooding or storm surge. Elevation is a very important factor when looking to buy a home on the Outer Banks and it will affect the price!



The Outer Banks is growing more and more each year. Over the past 5 decades there have been many advancements in development including new roads, new schools, new businesses and many new homes and condominiums. It is important to research the history of the area you are interested in purchasing your home. The Outer Banks is somewhat unique in that the land the house sits on is often worth more than the house itself. The savvy investor knows this and buys an older house, tears it down and rebuilds a new beautiful home and hopes to recap the vacation rental income reward.



For an investment home that you plan on moving to in the future, choose the right neighborhood that matches your interests.  The OBX has many options when it comes to neighborhoods, some neighborhood areas offer community amenities such as tennis courts, bike trails, and community pools whereas other neighborhoods offer more serenity and a quieter atmosphere. It is extremely important to walk around the neighborhood, listen and observe your future surroundings. Are their others walking in the area? Are your neighbors keeping up their homes and lots?  Are you near a park or public beach access?  Are you in an area where locals live or are there many rentals? Find the answer to these simple questions before purchasing your home and make sure it is the right fit for future you and your future guests.


Not the most exciting topic but an important one for this area! Most of the homes located on the Outer Banks are on a private septic, but not every property is and that is definitely something to ask about when purchasing a home on the OBX. Make sure you know if your potential home is on private septic, community septic, non-conventional septic, or municipal sewer. It is important to ask your Realtor and do your own research online about waste water to make sure you are purchasing the right property for you! As the potential owner you need to know which systems require yearly inspections and which don’t, if you plan to put your home in a rental program you also need to be familiar with the NC state health regulation that requires a 2 persons per bedroom requiring a max occupancy for your home.  Your Realtor should be very familiar with these systems and able to answer any questions you have!

We hope our 5 tips for finding the perfect location for your investment have helped you! Where ever your journey takes you, we hope you find the perfect property to one day retire in! Whether it is soaking in the breathtaking sunsets on the soundside or smelling the salt air on the oceanfront we know that you are sure to find a spot you’ll love on this beautiful strip of land!

Contact our team at Joe Lamb Realty and we can start the adventure today. Our Realtors can send you available listings or if there isn’t anything that matches your criteria/ budget exactly we can set you up with our MLS system to receive new listings as soon as they are uploaded that match your criteria or if the price changes on that special home you’ve been eyeing for months.

Joe Lamb Realty has been helping folks invest in their futures for 50 years, let us help you too.

Turtle Watch

The Outer Banks is a rich ecosystem with many valuable components working together. As members of this ecosystem we play an important role in its success! From helping our community grow and flourish to taking care of the current members that need a little extra help. At Joe Lamb Realty we know how important marine life is which is why we strive to keep it healthy and thriving. Recently our Broker in charge rescued a beautiful 110 pound Loggerhead turtle that had beached itself in Corolla, NC and needed a ride. As a long time member of the organization NEST, he followed all protocols and immediately brought this stunning sea creature to the North Carolina Aquarium located in Manteo where there is a rehabilitation center for sea turtles, this center is referred to as STAR center (Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation ).

For all our loyal readers wondering what happened to Larry the lucky Loggerhead here is an update from Joe Lamb Realty’s Broker in charge ” The STAR center is currently evaluating the Loggerhead turtle, he is not yet eating and may have suffered from dehydration but he is in good hands and should be back to a healthy diet soon.”

We would like to encourage all of our readers to visit the STAR center located at the North Carolina Aquarium where they are currently rehabilitating 16 turtles!

Our community on the Outer Banks LOVES it’s marine life and we encourage all of our visitors and new members to jump on board and participate in organization that help to conserve and protect it such as NEST, STAR and even local beach cleanups!

Still craving more information? Take a look at this great article and video posted by the Outer Banks Voice featuring the release of 14 turtles that were recently sent to Norfolk  from the STAR center. These turtles were released into the gulf stream last week by the Coast Guard, check out the Outer Banks Voice:



Courtesy of Outer Banks Voice  | October 16, 2012

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