Column: The housing hitch

Published 8:07 am Sunday, September 29, 2019

As I sat at the Board of Commissioners meeting in Nags Head recently, I realized that I am definitely not the only one that has been affected by the real estate market here in the Outer Banks. I now know that the housing situation is a hot topic of conversation around here. My experience with available rentals started much before I actually ended up moving to the area.

My boyfriend and I were so excited when we found out we were both able to work in the Outer Banks. Although his job is down in Hatteras and mine is here in Manteo, we were willing to make it work. We would be flexible on the town to move into because we both knew it would be a temporary rental. Having graduated from college just a few months prior, money was tight. We needed something affordable, simple and, of course, on the island.

Never did I think finding a place to live would become the biggest hurdle in our moving process. We started in June, contacting Realtors, applying to apartment waitlists and even joining 10 different OBX local groups on Facebook. This all came to no avail.

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I was getting nervous. A month had gone by since I accepted my position with The Coastland Times at that point. I woke up at 5 o’clock one morning to check Trulia for anything new that had become available to rent. To my surprise, there was one new listing. I called the Realtor that day and booked myself an Airbnb for the weekend. By the end of the week we had signed the lease for our rental.

Thankfully, my housing situation worked out. At least for now. We only have a winter rental currently and I learned very quickly that the rental prices are tripled by the time summer rolls around. I am currently looking into rentals for the summer. I learned my lesson when it comes to finding something in a hurry.

Having been here only a couple weeks, I don’t have much say in what I think should be done within the communities. I have found out there are mixed feelings about accessory dwelling units, rental duplexes and Airbnbs. I cannot say I would be okay with having random people stay with me or rent to someone I don’t know. But I do know that if people hadn’t taken a chance on me, I probably wouldn’t be here today.

Danielle Puleo is a reporter for The Coastland Times. Reach her at