Here along North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks, we often get people looking for a vacation home or a second home. We are about six hours from Northern or Southwest Virginia, two and one half hours from Raleigh, and about five hours from the Charlotte area.
When you consider how many people live in the area, it is no surprise that the Crystal Coast might be a popular area. Our roads seem quite capable of handling the traffic that comes to the area. We do not have the huge crush of people that seem to make their way onto the two lanes of the Northern Outer Banks.
While the Northern Outer Banks is mostly two lane roads with a stretch of four lanes, we have a nice ring of four lane roads to handle our traffic to from the Raleigh area.
As my wife and decided where to live, we were very conscious of traffic. It is no fun getting to your vacation home if you have to sit in a couple hours of stop and go traffic.
A second home that close by is an interesting choice. It probably indicates that someone in the family liked to get away from the rest of the family on a regular basis.
It is not unusual for families to buy a second home smaller than their current home. Often they will use if for extended periods, and if everything works out it might end up being their permanent retirement home. Sometimes they wish they had started with a larger home, and once in a while they want an even smaller home. Individual situations vary.
Distance actually ends up being a little irrelevant. Some people don't mind hopping on an airplane for their trip to their second home. Others want a drive that can be accomplished in part of a day.
Second homes are a little like relatives. It they are just across town, your visits might be short and sweet, but if they are more than a day's drive away, you are more likely to have extended visits.
We used to live in Canada. We would come home to visit our parents In North Carolan and spend a week or two with them. We were often surprised that the time we spent with one set of parents was often viewed more positively than time spent by a sibling living less than one half mile away.
I think the simple explanation is that when you are at a distance from your daily cares and worries, it is easier to dedicate your attention to the situation at hand whether it is a set of relatives or a second home.
While many folks seem to think they need a beach home in order for it to be a true vacation home, we have many clients who decide that they would rather save some money, have a larger home, and live only ten minutes away from the beach.
In an area like western Carteret County, we have wonderful access to beaches. You can find a home under $175K under eight miles from the beach. It is also no trouble finding a home over $500K practically the same distance away. That is the neat thing about buying a home over on the mainland. There is tremendous variety in what you get and the price you pay for it.
Still if you want to walk the beaches every day, there is no substitute for living over on the beach. It will just cost you for that privilege. While you can get over 1100 square feet on the mainland for under $175K, that same space or less could cost over $400K on the beach, and it is likely the beach home will be older and on a smaller lot.
It really all boils down to what you need for your life style and what you can afford. There are a wide selection of homes on both the beach and the mainland. You can have a great time from either area.
There is plenty to do here in our little paradise year round, and if you end up loving the area like many of us do, it is a great place to retire. There is no shortage of services in the area.
So if whether you are looking for a place two hours away or across the continent, the Crystal Coast is well worth a trip. We have plenty of interesting homes available. You will likely be surprised how much house your money will buy.