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Outer Banks Questions & Answers
What happens to the Outer Banks after Labor Day?
Each summer we get asked this question in multiple variations. There was a time when the shops would close up for the off season once Labor Day hit and everything would all but come to a stop. Not any more. The Outer Banks (OBX) has really become a 10 month resort with different groups coming at different times. There is the pattern as I see it.
June, July, & August:
These are definitely the busiest months down here with families getting away while the kids are off from school. They will often spend 6 hours traveling through 5 states just to spend another 2 hours covering the last 20 miles.
September & October:
The big families have all gone back home to work & school. Now you see many “empty nesters” coming down to enjoy a quieter, less expensive Outer Banks. The weather on the OBX is typically in the mid 70’s to low 80’s, and the many the atmosphere is more relaxing than in the summer.
November & December:
The Holiday season is a great time again for family reunions, but instead of it being the renters coming down, it is mostly the homeowners of the large rental houses taking time off to enjoy the homes themselves.
January & February:
This is the slowest time of the year on the Outer Banks, and one of my favorites. Before moving down here, my wife and I would come down here to vacation on Valentines week. I would joke that it was the only time of the year that I could rent an oceanfront house without inviting 10 other family members.J Sure you aren’t going swimming in the ocean or sunbathing, but you also didn’t look out you oceanfront window and see the beach in front of you packed with hundreds of strangers. Most of the store and restaurants were still open, and we never had a trip where it didn’t break 70 degrees at least one day.
March, April &May:
Spring is coming back around and you see two groups coming back to the beach. First you have the home owners coming down to get the houses ready for the summer season and get in another week or two before the house starts renting again. You also see the younger couples with children who are not school age yet taking advantage of the lower prices and milder weather.
Then Memorial Day hits and the cycle starts all over again.
The OBX has much to offer no matter what time of the year it is, and each year more & more people seem to realize that.
You can’t get flood insurance on the 4×4 beaches right?
That is very much not right. Then there is also the question “FEMA will not insure houses up there, will they?” This is closer but still incorrect. The NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) does not provideflood insurance to any new houses in the 4WD area. NFIP is the general public, low-cost, simple-to-obtain federal/FEMA flood insurance. There was a time when FEMA provided flood insurance for the “Off Road” beaches (a.k.a. Carova). Then later on they designated to whole area a CBRA Zone (Coastal Barrier Resources Act)
A CBRA zone (pronounced COBRA zone) is an area designated by Congress that prohibits all federal expenditures, including flood insurance, for residential and commercial development in such zones.
When Carova was designated a CBRA zone, FEMA did grandfather in any houses that could document that they were built prior to a certain date. I believe it was October 1st 1983, but I could be off. So there are some houses that are insured through FEMA. You can get flood insurance on the other houses, but you have to go to the private sector. Which can cost you a lot depending on the flood one you are in and how much your house is worth.
There are basically three flood zones in Carova: VE, AE, & X. In this scenario X is a good thing. It is determined to be outside the 100 and 500 year floodplains. If your house is in an X zone than now flood insurance should be required. I say “should” because a bank can still insist on one although I have never heard of it happening. Some lots are not entirely in one zone & it doesn’t have to be, but if even one piling is in an AE or VE, then the whole house is considered in that zone.
AE is inundated by 100-year flooding, for which BFEs have been determined. BFE stands for “Base Flood Elevation”. If your property is in an AE zone you can hire a surveyor to get an elevation certificate or do a Topographical Survey (TOPO). If this shows that if any of your property is above the Base Flood Elevation, then you can apply to FEMA for a LOMA (Letter Of Map Amendment). Again ALL of the house must be within the LOMA area. So if you’re in an AE zone you can get a TOPO to try and get a LOMA from FEMA. Confused yet?
Then there is VE. Some jokingly say that it stands for “Very Expensive”. VE is inundated by 100-year flooding with velocity hazard, BFEs have been determined. FEMA is not currently giving out LOMAs for VE flood zones. These are mostly the oceanfront and semi-oceanfront lots. I have heard of the flood policies on some of these costing $25,000 a year. But remember, these houses can run well over a million dollars in purchase price.
I hope that this clears things up.
What is Owner Financing?
Owner Financing is when the seller of a property essentially plays the role of the bank. Right now banks are offering very good rates but in many cases they will not loan the money. Many banks are not offering lot loans in some areas. Plus, the banks seem to only want to lend to people who work as an employee of a company. There are many buyers who are independent contractors and business owners. They may have good credit, and make plenty of money to afford the payments, but because they cannot provide bi-weekly paychecks many banks don’t want to lend to them.
Consequently, many buyers today are looking for “owner financing”. In that scenario typically the seller would get at or near their asking price, and they would negotiate with the buyers on the terms on the loan.
This would help buyer in a few ways:
– getting the payment into something they feel comfortable to afford.
This would help you in a few ways:
– better odds of getting the property being sold at full price
– better odds of getting it sold faster
– You would get some money at settlement
– You would get steady cash flow from the property
– You would not have to pay the taxes or utilities on the property any more (the buyer would be responsible for that)
– You would get the interest on the loan on top of the purchase price which would make the total amount to you even higher when everything is done.
Is Hatteras open to the public yet?
Yes. The temporary bridge connecting Nags Head to the northern end of Hatteras Island opened the rest of the island to the public on October 11th.