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Choose your lifestyle: housing opportunities at the Crystal Coast

Posted April 3, 2020 5:00 a.m. EDT
Updated May 5, 2020 3:43 p.m. EDT

This article was written for our sponsor, Linda Rike Real Estate.

Life on the coast is all about relaxation and recreation, and for potential buyers, the wide variety of housing options means it's possible to find a property that caters to whatever your lifestyle might require.

From homes on the waterfront with easy dock access, to open land with ample potential, the Crystal Coast market has it all — if you know where to look.

Brother-sister duo Wyatt and Kelinda Rike have called the Crystal Coast home for most of their lives, growing up along the waters of Beaufort and Morehead City. Now, the two work with their mother at family-owned Linda Rike Real Estate, using their decades of local knowledge to help buyers find their dream homes along the Crystal Coast.

"When I get buyers in the car and we go looking at homes, I'm listening to what they do, not just what they want. I'm asking them what they're going to use it for, what they intend to do, what they enjoy," Wyatt said. "Do you want to be down the road where you've got nothing around you, or do you want to be able to walk to get something to eat? Do you want a little community or to be close to town? Depending on what the buyer is into and what makes them happy, that's where we would suggest."

Since the water is such an integral aspect of life in the Crystal Coast, many communities and homes offer some sort of access to boat docks, whether it be assigned boat slips or a public neighborhood marina. Whether or not a buyer is willing to haul their boat in and out of the water is another distinguishing factor in choosing a neighborhood.

Aside from the variety of neighborhoods in the Crystal Coast, there are also a number of towns and cities dotting the coastline, each of which offers a different lifestyle — from Beaufort to Emerald Isle to Pine Knoll Shores. For many buyers, being able to access the highlights of their city without straying far from their front door is a top priority.

"The big trend has been walkability — and it's not just walkability to downtown, it's walkability throughout your neighborhood. A lot of people pick a home in a neighborhood where they can walk, ride their bike, walk their dogs, all that kind of stuff," Kelinda said. "Mariner's Point is a really good neighborhood from a walkability standpoint, as well as Blair Farms, Country Club Run, Brandywine and Beau Coast."

But there's more to living on the coast than proximity to the water. For those looking to get some distance from the ocean, homes further inland provide plenty of land to spread out, as well as close proximity to expansive natural areas like the Croatan National Forest.

If buyers are looking to dip their toes in the water before committing to a home, there are also some short-term rental properties for doing so.

"You'll find condos that rent by the week either with VRBO or one of the local rental websites. There's no problem finding a condo on the beach to bring the whole family down, get your feet wet, enjoy the area and begin the process of learning where you want and what you want from your own condo," Wyatt suggested. "Do you want to be in town and just five minutes from the water, or do you want to be able inhale the salt air from your balcony? That's your call, and a short-term rental can help you decide."

Real estate is, of course, all about location. So the closer you get to the water, the higher the prices tend to be.

There are, however, affordable options, like small condos directly on the beach for as low as $100,000.

For buyers with smaller pocketbooks, "condotels" may be another viable option, often selling for around $50,000. These condo buildings are made up of individually owned units that often operate like hotel rooms, complete with a registration desk, cleaning services and on-site amenities.

When owners aren't living in their condotel, there's often an arrangement made to rent the property out, with part of the income going to the owner and the other to the rental agency.

In Wyatt's opinion, buyers can go "as far as their pocketbook will let them," whether that means buying one of these affordable condos, or searching for multi-million dollar estates, or just buying a plot of land and designing a home to their exact specifications.

"If they wanted to build their own dream home, we've got places and waterfront available to build on — this is a blank canvas, if that's what you're looking for," Wyatt said. "We've also got a picture someone else painted that they can customize and make their own. If they're looking for the perfect place, this is where to go, either way."

While the Crystal Coast has long been known as a top retirement and vacation destination, as more jobs allow employees to work remotely, there's been a shift in demographics. With more traffic in the area, it's all about knowing where to look — another reason why it pays to work with a local expert.

"Mcginnis Point in Pine Knoll Shores is one of my favorites, because it's such a sweet little hidden gem and nobody really knows it's there," Kelinda shared. "They've got wonderful tennis courts, a private pool, boat parking and beach access on the other side. They also have a small boat ramp that gets you in the sound, as well as kayak racks. Plus, you could buy a direct sound front property in Mcginnis Point from the $300,000s.”

As the coast continues to grow in popularity, more new construction neighborhoods are becoming available, but inventory is still on the lower end of the spectrum, making the market notably competitive.

This article was written for our sponsor, Linda Rike Real Estate.

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