I moved to the Outer Banks about 6 years ago, via the US Virgin islands. There was actually a "gap year" of sorts in between the two homesteads, which I'll share in my travel blog at some point. In any case, I arrived on this particular strip of sand, after the aforementioned well deserved hiatus, without really knowing anyone and without a job. Then I bought a house.
Listen, nobody has ever accused me of being practical. Or conventional. But here's the thing, practical is in the eye of the beholder....and besides, I can be conventionally practical when absolutely necessary. For example, I always take socks with me when I take my kid(s) bowling. To not would just be...gross. It as not as easy as you might think to remember to throw socks in your bag when you spend 80% of your time in flip flops. At the moment that's the only example of consistent practicality I can think of when it comes to my life practices though, so I best move on.
My point is this: you don't have to be practical to be successful. You just have to have a plan. So I spent some time educating myself about the real estate market in my new area- and by that I mean I asked about a million questions to a handful of good natured local folks and decided that if I bought in the right location and then hated the place or couldn't find a job, at least I could rent out my house and make the mortgage payment. I had been out of the country when the real estate market took a nose dive, but I knew enough to know that houses were no longer flying off the shelves in multiple offer situations- so if I wanted options and flexibility I was going to have to be creative. For some reason (most likely because I just didn't want to acknowledge that there might be a problem) I was surprised to learn that banks didn't want to loan money to my unemployed self. Boy had that changed from the late 90's/early 2000's, right? Alrighty then, owner financing it is. It turns out that I found a job and I like it here, but had that not been the case I'd still have a great investment that would pay for itself.
Years ago when the market was hot and I was wheeling and dealing in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, I once gave a $10,000 earnest money check to a real estate broker who had an apartment building listed that I really wanted to buy. As I handed him the check, I looked him in the eye and told him I didn't have enough money in my account to cover it. As the days passed and the negotiations were turning into written contracts, I knew that the check was going to have to be deposited into a trust account- and was still scrambling to get the cash together so it wouldn't bounce. When I called to talk to the broker and explain that I was still scraping things together he said, "I already put 10 grand of my own money into the account to make the deadline- sometimes you just gotta commit to the deal. You can reimburse me when you get it together."
I know that some people wait for all of the stars to be in perfect alignment to have babies and buy real estate. How many times have we all heard, "When X happens, I'll buy the house/propose/start a family"? I suppose I could have rented a little beach house when I got to the Outer Banks, waited until I had been working at the same job for over a year, gone with conventional financing; you get the drift. But sometimes.....you just gotta commit to the deal.
I currently live in this house during the school year and rent it out (roughly) Memorial Day to Labor Day- which provides me with some extra income and ya'll a great house to vacation in during the summer months. I do believe there's some practicality in that!
Now taking bookings for the 2016 summer season at my Contemporary Beach Cottage in Kill Devil Hills.