Rental Property Furnishings

So you have done it.  After weeks, months or maybe even years of debate you have decided to jump into the investment property swimming pool and you aren’t quite sure what is in the water.  You know the numbers based on your dealings with your Outer Banks Blue Sales agent who has shown you the long and steady historical gain of owning property at the OBX, and the decision was obvious.  Congratulations on being an Outer Banks property owner!

The house you have purchased needs some work, but you have plans to make improvements and put it in a vacation rental company’s pool of properties (Outer Banks Blue we hope) to help with the bottom line on the investment.

Over the years I have encouraged vacation rental property owners to keep in mind how lucky they are to have a place to use themselves 9 months of the year to enjoy with their family, but the fact is you have opened up a business on the Outer Banks and you need to approach the ownership of your property in just that manner.  What will help my property stand out and gain repeat clientele?  What should I do with décor and equipping the house for my future guests?  In short, what is your why?  Why your property?!

I was reading an article recently in the Miami Herald where a designer gave some great advice when it comes to décor of your vacation rental property.  “Consider a design that reflects the area where your vacation property is.  Keep the décor universal and look at it as an investment.  This is not a place for fine art, irreplaceable family items or things like bearskin rugs or antlers.”

Amen sister!   I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone into a property and seen family heirlooms, high end art, or furniture that the owner would be upset if someone spilled something on.   As a property owner of a vacation rental you have to get used to the term “cost of doing business” when it comes to décor and guest experience.

Here are some other practical tips that I can pass along from 3 decades of managing properties on the OBX regarding equipping your property:

Rental Property Furnishings

Rental Property FurnishingsYou want furniture to be practical and durable (Cargo or This End Up furniture is neither).  With that said you also should think of style.   You want top dollar for your vacation rental, and just as I said you should not put items in that you get attached to, that doesn’t mean going the cheap route.  Today’s guests know when you cut corners and put inferior items in place.  Be sure you have enough seats for the amount of people your property sleeps, and don’t overcrowd rooms.  There are lots of flooring options, but the latest durable and practical products do not involve carpet.  Think LVT (Luxury vinyl tile that looks just like hardwood), tile or hardwoods.   Costs have come down, and you don’t have to worry about a spilled glass of punch.   Another thing to consider is “solution-dyed fabrics” popularly known as Sunbrealla fabrics.   They hold up incredibly well inside and out.

Rental Property FurnishingsDon’t Block The View

I can’t tell you how many times I go into a property and see potentially great views marred by either plastic vertical blinds (seemingly always with two or three slats missing) or ornate complex pull string/chain draperies on the sliding glass doors.   Keep it simple, but practical here too.  Large curtain rod with wooden loops holding fabric drapes are the way to go.   No strings to get tangled, no plastic blinds to break and fall out, and no instructions needed.

Sleeping Accommodations

The local health departments on the Outer Banks have a renewed emphasis on enforcing permitted sleeping capacity over the past couple of years (two people per bedroom unless your septic permit says otherwise).   No double bunk beds is the rule if you have a septic tank.  Don’t overload your house as it will directly impact the wear and tear on everything else.

There are lots more design and décor tips that we can share on this.   Be on the lookout for our next article on what items bring the biggest return on your investment.

Until then….all the best from the beach!

Contributed by Tim Cafferty, President of Outer Banks Blue.

Getting your Home Exterior into Shape

Full time residents and visitors alike will agree that the Outer Banks comes alive the second the weather even mildly resembles that of the spring. Children of the neighborhoods congregate and neighbors enjoy conversations sitting on the front porch with the nice breeze. With the spring weather comes spring cleaning. Spring cleaning should not just apply to the interior of the home. The exterior of homes should be considered in the process and a few changes can increase home value and curb appeal. Functional outdoor living space is a trend that is here to stay. Focusing on the outside of your home can not only increase the value, but can also create a wonderful and enjoyable space to entertain and relax all year long. With spring around the corner, now is the perfect time to consider making some changes to the outside of your home.

exterior beach style porchPeople often only worry about the interior of the home, but often the exterior could use a face-lift. A fresh new color outside or just pressure washing will make a noticeable difference. A fun bright color applied to the front door will add a pop of color to your home to make it stand out and increase the curb appeal. Front door hardware is another area which may be in need of an update and is often overlooked. To add a personal touch while also increasing curb appeal, update your house numbers. To make a home really stand out and look finished, consider adding shutters to the windows. By adding shutters, you can turn a drab and boring house into a polished home. While black or white will always work, choosing a brighter and fun color will make the home pop and stand out amongst all the plain houses around. Any or all of those ideas are worth considering this spring to give the exterior of your home a revamp.

exterior victorian landscapeNumber one on the to-do list for the spring is often landscaping. Having maintained and visually appealing yard shows that you take pride in your home and it is well cared for. Maintained yards also make homes look clean and tidy. Saving your money and your time can be done by investing in low maintenance vegetation. There are many options for hardy plants that require minimal upkeep. Edging walkways with flowers, rocks, or shrubs are very visually appealing. Lighting around the walkways link and extend of living to the outside space.

exterior mediterranean patioLinking the indoor living area to the outdoor living area adds additional functional living space to a home. Maximize your outdoor living space will create a wonderful place to enjoy and entertain. Adding a fireplace outside complete with comfortable furnishings is an area that can be enjoyed year-round. There are many options available for outdoor cushions and pillows that are mostly waterproof and can be easily cleaned. You can tie in the colors of the cushions and pillows with outdoor planters with coordinating flowers. A huge trend that is also functional is the outdoor kitchen and dining area. Imagine grilling out in your grilling area with food you prepared on your stone countertop in your outdoor kitchen. Many outdoor kitchens have their own refrigerators, storage, sinks, and even pizza ovens. Patios with dining areas are great for entertaining and really enjoying the wonderful weather of the Outer Banks.

Outside living is something that can be enjoyed year-round, so it is important to consider changing it up so you will not only extend your living area but create a visually appealing home that exemplifies pride and gratification. No matter how long the winter may seem, spring is sure to follow, so make this spring the one for revamping, redecorating, and renewing the exterior of your home.

Decor Ideas for Coastal Living

coastal living white nauticalWhether you live by the beach or just dream about it, you can bring the beach into your home with a few decorating ideas.  The underlying theme of a coastal home is comfort.  The elegant factor comes from the simplicity and the clean aspects of coastal living.

Buy pieces that are comfortable for sitting, dining and living, but also will be easy to clean and maintain.

Think crisp white living rooms with nautical blue pillows, airy light linen curtains, mix up various furniture styles, rustic, cottage or contemporary with rattan pieces.  Then carry out the nautical theme with accents like model sailboats, shell mirrors, coral-inspired chandeliers, sand filled lamps, wicker baskets and glass floats.  Mix and match textiles and tie them together with a common color or print and use them liberally throughout your home.

coastal living farm tableFor the dining area try mixing different colors of chairs and benches with a wooden farm table, or try a shabby white dining table and add hints of beachy colors.  Break out that shell collection to put on display on your hutch or side table.

Linens are a great way to carry out your theme in the bathroom too.  Think seashell prints or carry out the pops of accent colors you have chosen for other areas of your home. Bead board wainscoting can give your bathroom a coastal feel.

Be sure to break up the neutral palette by adding pops of accents colors in unexpected places, turquoise, blues, kiwi or ocean greens and corals.  This will allow your eyes to be drawn around the room.

Use rugs in coastal colors, yellows, blues and whites or sisal.

Pick end tables and coffee tables in unfinished natural shades, pickled or worn wood, or use a crab trap as a side table.

Keep schemes simple and choose accents carefully to maintain the easy effortless nature of beach-inspired décor.

Even if you don’t want a full beach inspired theme you can still coordinate with hints of seashells around your home.  Think of a stunning piece of coral on a table in your hallway.  Display your sea finds on the mantel even if it is only during the summer months.

Whatever you decide go with a relaxed look as that is what being at the beach is all about.

Is The Beige Bathroom Out?

beige bathroomThe neutral color scheme has been ideal, soothing whites and timid taupes.  Think white subway tile and Carrara marble and polished chrome or the beige travertine tile with light cabinets.  A neutral color scheme has been safe, desirable and resalable for bathrooms for several decades. But is the beige bathroom going out of style?

Recently, designers are seeing home-design trends shift.  The gutsier palette may reflect the confidence and strengthening real estate market.

The powder room traditionally has been the canvas for some decorating bravado.  The full bath remained a neutral zone.  Many homeowners today are choosing a more colorful palette.  Think full color on walls, pink and green tiling, not that we are likely to revisit the candy-pink sinks and toilets of the mid-20th century.  But designers today are introducing much more green, blues and soft matte blacks and grays into their designs.  Why some of these cool tones?  Cool tones offer an entry point for the color-shy.  For now, most sinks and toilets remain white but a few of the high end retailers are offering matte black faucets and swooping charcoal tubs, although neutrals remain the top sellers.  The tiles people are choosing are more bold and colorful from blues and greens, to browns, blacks and yellows.  New board-like porcelain tiles are also becoming very popular.  More consumers are opting for bolder paint colors than ever before.  Even if they opt for neutral sinks and toilets they are painting the walls blue and using dark cabinets.  If you use similar paint colors at least somewhere else in the rest of your home, entering your bathroom won’t seem like an abrupt swerve into “color land”.  Your home has a working palette, so draw from those hues.

Other tips from the pros:

  • Put samples of flooring, fittings and paint together, it makes the big picture easier to visualize.
  • Avoid pea greens and acid greens…they aren’t so great on the skin.  The color that is hippest right now is blush, because it makes you look beautiful
  • Don’t just rely on color from rugs and towels, even if you just use a strong border color it will update your bath.

Bathrooms are an ideal place to splash out a little.  They aren’t rooms you socialize in.  Success lies in finding the sweet spot between bland and over the top.

Keeping Your Garden in Harmony

Gardening on the Outer Banks

The residential backyard is starting to take on a different purpose all over the country. Backyard edible gardening is becoming quite the trend and hopefully will never fade out.  They are popping up all over the place from New York City rooftops and balconies to big downtown restaurants hanging on their upcycled wall towers.  In Coastal North Carolina, The Outer Banks is no exception.

Who would have thought that a coastal community where sand is one of the main elements and makes up many people’s backyard could have a successful garden? Over the years a larger number of residents and local restaurants have been trying their green thumb too much success and with the increase of new backyard gardens more people have joined in on what was mainly only done on large acres in farming communities.

Gardens attract one of the most important givers of vegetation….the Bee! Bees are sometimes regarded as a little bit scary by my children in the backyard. However they are almost always all buzz and no bite.  The truth is that bees are one of the most important factors to the productivity of your garden. Bees are considered the number one pollinator. I have spent many hours in my garden doing everything by the book for my fruits and veggies, but if bees do not visit….our garden is in trouble. Over the last two years I noticed a significant decline in the bees in our yard and also a significant decline in the yield of my garden from lack of pollination.  After doing some research and hearing from other gardeners I started to understand why they were disappearing….our pesticides!

In the name of profit with no care of the recourse or side effects large corporations have disregarded the harmony of our ecosystem and environment with the creation of neonicotinoids. This chemical is sprayed all over crops across the US in order to eliminate several types of pests. Unfortunately it is ingested by the Bee and has been reducing their numbers in the millions. If we plan on living in Harmony with Nature- our world needs to change the way we farm.

Let’s take Nature back on the Outer Banks and across the globe for our families and future generations.  Please look into the items you use in your gardens and yard to keep away pests and see if there is a natural solution…there almost always is.  Here is to a successful and high yield Garden!

Keep on Buzzing!

outer banks real estate teamFor more information about gardening on the Outer Banks or if you are interested in buying or selling real estate on the Outer Banks, feel free to contact Shane directly with the OBX Island Guys of Outer Banks Blue. Please feel free to call Shane (252) 202-1193 or email at