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Vacation home- Topsail beach NC
Old 08-04-2020, 07:04 PM   #1
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Vacation home- Topsail beach NC

Hi all,

My wife and I have dreamed of one day we would have a place at the beach and today that has come true. We closed on a single family home in Topsail Beach NC. We feel very blessed.

We plan in renting it out for a few months, mainly June, July and August but use it for our family the rest of the time.

Just thought I’d share and if anyone has any recommendations on things to do or not to do when having a second home, please feel free to share.
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Old 08-04-2020, 07:53 PM   #2
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Congratulations on your new beach home. DW and I bought a small home in Florida a couple years ago now, to use during the winter months. We decided, after giving it a lot of thought, to rent it out on AirBnB during the summer, when we are not there (we are in Michigan at that time). We have neighbors in Florida who were willing to be our property managers (they have another house in the area that they manage the rental for), and we knew they would do a good job. The rental has generally worked out okay for us (so far), although we have had a few bad renters who violated our house rules and did some things that cost us some $$ and some aggravation. No serious damage, but it's still not a good thing when you rent your house to a group of 4 (that is our maximum for our house), and 6 vehicles and 12 people show up (for example, and that is just one example). That creates a problem for our property managers (who get stressed out when things like this happen), and the extra cleaning cost us some additional $$ also. So........just make sure you think through these types of things before you rent your house out. The main thing is to have a really good property manager, on site, who you trust and who will deal with any problems as they arise. There will be issues that arise, anytime you rent your house out to people that you do not know well.
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Old 08-04-2020, 10:38 PM   #3
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If you are going to rent out your second home, have a plan for all your personal stuff.
It means there is a risk if you leave financial documents locked up, or statements that get mailed to your home. After all the renters will have days to snoop, pick at locks, etc.
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Old 08-06-2020, 03:36 AM   #4
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I have done many vacation rentals over the years.

If the rent is to supplement the cost of owning and not make a profit, fine. But if profit is a goal you have to be much more careful and usually need to live where the rental is and manage things yourself.

Assuming you are in the supplement category I think a key is to NOT get attached to the condition of anything: carpets, paint, dishes, sofas, lamps etc.

Vacation rentals take a beating. Best to view all these things as wear items to be replaced periodically.

Overall expect expenses not including principal and interest to be 50%+ of gross income. Maybe quite a bit more.
Example:
Gross income 70k
Commissions 14k
Cleaning: 5k
Utilities 7k
Insurance 4K
Taxes 3k
Maint repair and replacements avg 7k
40k expenses on 70k income. Haven’t even paid the mortgage yet!
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Old 08-06-2020, 06:14 AM   #5
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Congratulations on the purchase.

We have property in Emerald Isle, NC that we use in a similar way. Personally, I think spring and fall are the best seasons for NC beaches. So, it is a great setup for us.

When we first bought the place we wanted to make it as nice as possible for our renters. We bought lots of nice, new things. Big mistake. Buy nice stuff, but where you can don’t buy new.

Case in point, our first year, right before season we bought eight new board games. All we did was remove the shrink wrap and put them in the game room. Well, every single one of them was stolen within 6 weeks. Since then we go to garage sales and buy used board games that are in good condition, not one of them has been taken in the past 8 years.

To minimize theft, use a black sharpie and put the name of your house on anything that can be picked up and carried out. Don’t leave out anything that you are attached to. It will get damaged or stolen. Don’t get me wrong, 9 out of 10 renters are very nice and will treat your house with respect, but that last one...

On the money front, if you are going to use an agency to manage your property--between commissions, admin, laundry, cleaning and minor maintenance--expect their take to be about 1/3 of the overall rent.

When you get back into the house after season don’t be surprised at the new position of furniture throughout and where everything is in the kitchen cabinets.

Speaking of which, buy yourself a nice label maker. We put labels in the cabinets indicating what goes on each shelf—helps a lot. We also, labeled all the light switches—people have said how helpful that is.

Anytime you see cheap stemware for sale buy it. Every year wine glasses will be broken.

I know I’ve made this sound terrible listing all these problems. Let me close by saying, while other investments may be more lucrative, none have brought my family nearly the level of joy that our beach house has. For all the headaches, I could not imagine life without it.
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Old 08-06-2020, 07:49 AM   #6
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We also have a beach home on the NC coast, and I’d add a +1 to the prior posts. Most renters are likely nice and considerate, but not all.

They will rearrange your furniture and your cabinets without thought. They will spill drinks on your carpet and furniture. They will accidentally (or not accidentally) drive off at the end of the week with an umbrella, or some beach toys, or a laundry basket or a favorite coffee mug. They will accidentally break dishes, glassware and mugs. Oh, and a lamp, too. Most will never admit to the property manager upon check out that they caused any harm. In the last 10 years of summer renting, we’ve had only two occasions where a renter notified the agency and offered to pay for something they’ve messed up or broken. And, by the way, they’ll also crank your AC down to 70 degrees and then leave open the windows for the ocean breeze. You have to be able to mentally separate yourself from all of the above.

On the plus side... you are right that fall and winter and spring are absolutely delightful on the NC coast. Great times for biking and walking and beach combing. Lovely family reunions (in non-COVID times) in a relaxed setting. So nice to come to your own place and sleep in a familiar bed, visit your familiar restaurants and stores. And also nice to be able to offer the place to close friends and family in the off season.

Hope you enjoy your time on Topsail. It’s a nice beach!
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Old 08-06-2020, 09:48 AM   #7
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Certainly when purchasing dish sets, get some open dish set, so that when a plate is broken, you can buy a matching one.

Pray you don't get bedbugs.
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