Understanding the Outer Banks Real Estate Process: 10 Important Terms You Need To Know

Outer Banks Real Estate termsThe Outer Banks offers one of the most beautiful beach landscapes on the East Coast. Bordered by miles of pristine sandy beaches, the islands that make up the Outer Banks serve as home to many wildlife species, including the famous wild horses of Corolla. Almost 60,000 people also make their home year-round in the Outer Banks counties of Dare and Currituck, giving the islands a touch of small-town charm even in the midst of summer’s tourist season.

If you are ready to purchase your dream home in the Outer Banks, you have undoubtedly considered a beachfront property. Homes on the beach offer beautiful ocean vistas, breathtaking sunrises, and a front-row seat for some of the best scenery nature has to offer.

Important Considerations For Outer Banks Real Estate

As you consider available properties for purchase in the Outer Banks, you should become familiar with some of the common real estate terms you may encounter. Your realtor will help you consider each property based on the unique aspects of island living. Some of the terms you may encounter include:

  • Ocean Front—An ocean front property means that the home is situated on the east side of the island, facing the ocean with no other building or structure obstructing the view. These homes offer the best view of the ocean and many also offer private beach access.
  • Ocean View—An ocean view property means that you can see the ocean from the home, but there are other houses or buildings between the home and the beach.
  • Canal Front—A canal front home is located on one of the canals leading into Pamlico Sound. The canals offer wonderful fishing and watersports while still being near the ocean.
  • Sound Front—Sound front properties are situated along the beaches of Pamlico Sound. Pamlico Sound is the area of water between the Outer Banks islands and the main North Carolina coast. The sound measures about 80 miles long and 15 to 20 miles wide, making it a beautiful view for any homeowner.
  • Erosion—Erosion refers to the loss of beach area due to the continual movement of ocean water over the sand. North Carolina maintains erosion records to indicate how quickly erosion occurs in each area along the coast. Occasionally, a home in the Outer Banks may become available for an extremely low price based on current erosion.
  • Endangered Dwelling—If erosion becomes a danger to the structural integrity of the house, the house will be declared an endangered dwelling. While not a common occurrence, it is still a possibility you should be aware of as you consider various properties.
  • Flood Plain / Flood Zone—Because of its proximity to the ocean, the Outer Banks has been designated as a flood plain or flood zone almost in its entirety. The beautiful waterfront appeal of the islands necessitates the purchase of flood insurance to protect your property in the event of a storm or flood.
  • Flood Insurance—The federal government subsidizes insurance rates for homes in the Outer Banks that comply with federal regulations. However, homes that were built before the current regulations went into effect may not comply fully with some stipulations. Your realtor can help you determine which neighborhoods are more likely to have a majority of fully compliant homes.
  • Access—Beach access means that there is an access point directly onto the beach from the property. The Outer Banks includes many public beach access points, and many homes also have private beach access.
  • Dunes—Sand dunes can reach 100 feet tall and are composed completely of sand. They offer beautiful views of the ocean as well as a great place to participate in wind sports such as hang gliding and kite-flying.

When You’re Ready To Buy A Home

When you speak with a realtor about buying a home at the Outer Banks, he or she will walk you through these terms as they relate to the properties you consider. With a good grasp of the terminology and various options already in your knowledge bank, you will be a step ahead as you prepare to visit homes.

Living in the Outer Banks provides a uniquely tranquil and enjoyable standard of living. As you anticipate the beautiful ocean vistas, abundant wildlife, and opportunities for fishing, hunting and boating, take the time to understand the unique qualities of the homes available for purchase as well. As you consider homes and properties on the islands, you will be able to make a better decision if you understand the common terminology associated with each of the properties under consideration. By knowing how to evaluate the benefits of each home based on the descriptors you see in various listings, you can choose a home that will provide many years of the life you’ve always dreamed of.

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