How to Buy the Perfect Beach House for You


There are a lot of factors to consider when searching for the perfect beach home for you and your family. You probably already have an idea of where you want to be, but after that—you’re not quite sure how best to proceed with finding the beach house that best suits your needs and wants. Let us help! Read up on these 8 beach house buying tips and then get started on turning your beach house dreams into a happy reality.

If you’re considering purchasing a coastal home or vacation rental in Topsail, North Carolina, Access Realty can help. We know and love this area and can give you the insider information you need along with all of the tools of the trade to help you find your Topsail beach house. We’re happy to help!

1. Rent before you buy.

One of the best ways to get to know an area before you commit to it full-time is by vacationing and spending some of your time in differing places near to where you are considering investing your time and money. Get to know what it’s like to stay on the ocean side, the sound side, and a few blocks in from the beach. From there, you may want to extend your stay by considering  a long-term rental to get a better feel for what it’s like to live there beyond just a week or two during your summer vacation.

On Topsail Island itself, you have three coastal towns to choose from so spending a little time in vacation rentals in North Topsail Beach, Surf City and Topsail Beach will give you a more intimate knowledge of these NC beach towns. If you can’t stay in each town, then be sure to spend a good amount of time exploring each of them—while also thinking about which one might be the best fit for you and your family.

2. Get to know the community.

The beautiful beach is one thing, but that’s only part of what you’re buying into. It’s worth your while to get to know the local communities and neighborhoods so you can make an informed decision. Scoping out the development plans, ecological and environmental issues, and other pertinent quality of life information is well worth your time and research.

Is the area family oriented? Are the communities safe? Are the neighborhoods geared more toward retirees or families with young kids? What are the advantages of living there? Are there any disadvantages?

Home ownership is a year-round commitment. You definitely want to know what the off-season months are like, along with the seasonal ones. Are you ready and willing to deal with the hustle and bustle of the beach season during the summer months? And are you happy with what the shoulder and off seasons have to offer you? These are really important questions to answer before you commit to buying.

3. Look for a home that fits your needs.

Of course you don’t want to break your budget, but you do need to know how many bedrooms and bathrooms you require for your family to be comfortable. Will you have family visiting and can you accommodate them? Exactly how much beach house can you reasonably afford?

Once you know that, you’re off to a good start. You’ll also need to be realistic about the maintenance and upkeep costs of a beach home and any renovations or special insurances you may need.

Are you going to use it as a second home? Vacation rental? Live there full-time? Whatever your intent, be sure it works with your budget and won’t strap you with too much financial strain and stress.

4. Consider homes a few blocks off the beach.

A beach house doesn’t always mean it has to be ocean front. Interior homes have many of the perks of an oceanfront beach home without the additional cost and with a little more protection from the coastal elements, making them a more affordable and budget-friendly option for many potential buyers.

It also costs more to insure homes that right on the water, whether it be the ocean or the sound. Know your costs before you commit and weigh whether that ocean view is worth the higher price tag.

5. Be conservative with your budget.

Unless you’re planning to buy a beach house free and clear, you’ll need a mortgage. If this is a second home or vacation rental, lending standards will be more strict considering you probably already own a home. If for some reason you would default on your payments, lenders will assume that you’d do that on your beach house first and not your primary residence.

The good news is that you’ll already have a good line of credit and higher credit score established. According to this article on, “Lenders are also looking for 6 to 12 months of payments banked. And they won’t include potential rental income in their calculations.”

Of course there will also be a downpayment, which is another expense you’ll have to be prepared to comfortably pay out. The standard is still around 20% down, but there may be lower options in the 5-10% range. Be sure to examine all the possibilities available to you.

The bottom line is that you don’t want to overextend yourself and your finances. Plan conservatively so that when unexpected expenses come up (and they usually do), you’ll be able to handle them.

6. Stay realistic about upkeep costs.

As any homeowner knows, the expenses don’t end with the downpayment and mortgage. There’s insurance and upkeep costs to maintain your coastal home, just as with any other home. Coastal homes are most susceptible to flooding and storm damage given their location, so special insurances are often required.

And then there are other considerations like storm shutters, generators, and other protective and proactive features that will be part of the expenses of owning a beach house.  Don’t be caught off-guard by these costs, but instead research and be prepared to factor them into your budget.

Finally, are you going to be able to keep up the maintenance and required upkeep for your beach house? Or will you have to hire someone to do it for you? You want to make sure you have the time and/or the money for either option.

7. Decide if it will be a vacation rental.

If you want to regain some of the money you spent buying your beach house, renting it out to vacationers is a popular option. That’s a factor you’ll want to weigh carefully before you buy because that means you’re not only buying a house that your family will love, but one that vacationers in the area will find attractive, also. Some properties are just better suited as vacation rentals than others.

Beach homes with more bedrooms and bathrooms are a draw for families and extended families who are looking for a vacation accommodation where everyone will have enough room to be comfortable, while all sharing the same space. Of course, the amenities your beach house has to offer are important too, since the vacation rental market can be pretty competitive.

If you are considering buying a beach house to use as a vacation rental, you’ll also have to decide if you will be managing all of that yourself or using a property management company to do it for you.

8. Consult the experts before you commit.

Before you sign on any dotted lines, you want to make sure you’ve consulted with the experts in the field to make sure you understand everything that’s required and what you’re committing to. From home inspectors to realtors, and everyone in between, you want to choose knowledgable and reputable professionals who have experience and expertise in coastal property in the area where you are looking to buy.

These professionals know the local laws, requirements and any special considerations specific to your potential beach house purchase. Don’t go it alone! You have to do your due diligence. It’s much easier to get help from those who already have the local knowledge and experience that you probably won’t yet have.


We hope you’ve found these beach home buying tips helpful! Did we miss anything? We want to know!


If you’re looking for local Topsail area real estate agents and professionals to help you find the perfect Topsail Island beach house for you, Access Realty’s Real Estate Sales Team is here to help.  They know the island and greater Topsail area, so they are a valuable resource to help you get familiar what you need to know about Topsail Island, NC and what it has to offer you. Whether you’re looking to buy a beach home in North Topsail Beach, Surf City or Topsail Beach, they’ve got you covered! 

Your Guide to the Best of What’s New on Topsail Island


Has it been a few years since you’ve vacationed on Topsail Island? Or maybe it’s your first time visiting our North Carolina barrier island shorelines. Either way, we wanted to fill you in on what’s new and exciting on our island. We’re highlighting some of the best new businesses, restaurants, and Topsail beach vacation rentals that you’ll want to know about before you’re next trip.

Click on the heading links to learn more about each of these amazing new Topsail places. Then be sure to tell your family, tell your friends—and by all means, go ahead and share this post!


Best New Topsail Businesses

Paradise Provisions

Topsail Island, NC

While having everyone together makes for the best memories, it can also make a lot of work. After years of renting houses on Topsail Island, vacationing, and hosting groups of all sizes, Nicki and Carrie know what it takes to keep a vacation running smoothly. Not only will your guests relax and have fun, but you will too. No more endless trips to and from the store buying items you can’t use in a week and having to take it with you or waste it. That is why they created their Vacation Kits.

They have you covered when it comes to Vacation Rental House Essentials, Easy Meal Kits, and even Cocktail Kits. Take peek at what they have to offer and feel even better about your purchase knowing that they donate a portion of their proceeds to the Karen Beasley Turtle Hospital. These vacation kits meet you when you arrive for your vacation on Topsail Island, so you can start your vacation the moment you arrive. Vacation smarter, not harder!

You can also find their vacation kits available at Coral Cottage Boutiques and JM’s Seafood & Grocery (seafood meal kits only).


ValJoy Beach Care Family Medicine

13500 Hwy 50 STE 104
Surf City, NC

This recently opened family practice and urgent care clinic in Surf City sees walk-ins or you can schedule an appointment. They have a reputation for quality, professional service, short wait times, and an amazing staff.  They have received rave reviews from both vacationers and residents alike, so if for some reason an emergency arises, you know who to call and where to go.

They’re conveniently located right in the heart of Topsail Island so they’re easy to get to no matter where you’re staying during your beach vacation. Their hours are 8a.m.-5p.m. Monday through Friday. Call ahead or just walk in, whatever works best for you.


Best New Topsail Restaurants & Eats

Word on the street is that there are some awesome new eateries and local restaurants that are quickly becoming popular favorites on Topsail Island. While this is not an exhaustive list, it contains many of the new hot spots around town. Check them out and let us know what you think!


Chug and Grub American Gastropub

13500 NC-50 Suite 107
Surf City, NC

This American Gastropub is serving up great food, great beer, and great times. We’ve heard that the Totchos appetizer is pretty popular here (one pound of hand made tater tots covered in cheese, jalapenos, ribeye, and pico de gallo, in case you’re wondering exactly what they are). You also might want to try the PB& J Wings (one pound of wings tossed in Blackberry Balsamic Jelly and topped with a Spicy Thai Peanut Butter) for something deliciously different. Fair warning, the appetizers are pretty big so make sure you save room for your entree! The sandwich and burger selection is mouthwatering, so go ahead and take a look at that, too.

➡ You can view Chug and Grubs menu here.


The Dirty South Bar & Grill

718 S. Anderson Blvd
Topsail Beach, NC

Here you’ll find amazing food paired with outstanding service in a sports bar style atmosphere. You can find Dirty South right near the south end of Topsail Island in Topsail Beach nestled right between the ocean and the sound. There’s a tiki hut outside and a fabulous bar with pool tables inside. The menu has plenty to offer with appetizers, salads, build-your-own burgers and sandwiches, hot dogs, and even fancy platters.

➡ You can view Dirty South Bar & Grill’s menu here. 


Farm to Island Local & Organic Market

330 N New River Dr
Surf City, NC

The Smith Family has always been driven to support local farms and makers through their Surf City bakery, Sugar Island. “We’re lucky to be surrounded by so many North Carolina farms providing high-quality produce and meats, grown and raised by folks we know. We’re excited to share this bounty with our community.” Farm to Island supplies Topsail Island and the surrounding area with the freshest, most responsibly raised and grown foods available—all at affordable prices.

Farm to Island Market offers local meats and smoked seafood, local cheeses and charcuterie, grocery items, including farm-fresh eggs and local honey, fresh breads and baked goods, ice cream, kombucha, indigenous and heirloom plants, locally grown flowers, organic North Carolina soils, and fresh produce and culinary herbs from local farms, including their own microfarm! A selection of organic, artisanal wines will also be coming soon. Stop by and check it out during your next Topsail beach vacation.

➡ You can check out what’s fresh and new at the market right here.


Salty Turtle Beer Company

103 Triton Lane
Surf City, NC

This veteran-owned-and-operated community brewery is a new local favorite with both a taproom and brewery on site.  They are dedicated to serving the local community by brewing a variety of crafted beer in a relaxing environment that welcomes family, friends, and (well-mannered) dogs to sit back and enjoy each other’s company.

They are a 3bbl nano-brewery that values its customers ,who play a pivotal role in establishing their rotating tap line up, creating a unique craft experience each visit. The Salty Turtle Beer Company is all about being a “neighborhood brewery”. We love that they have partnered with Karen Beasley’s Sea Turtle Hospital and other local organizations to give back to the community with a portion of their proceeds.

➡ Check out what’s currently on tap at the Salty Turtle here. 


The Second Row Beer, Wine, Music & Guitar Shop

121 North Shore Drive
Surf City, NC

This bar is a place where the times are casual, the conversation is kind, the beer is cold, the wine is heavenly, and the music is out of this world. Their motto is “If we’re open, so is the mic!”. That means any time of day, any day they are open, you are encouraged to share your talents with them and the always non-judgmental audience that come in waiting for someone like you to pick up a guitar, bass, ukulele, mandolin, percussion, or just warm up your pipes with singing, comedy or poetry.

Although they don’t have a kitchen, they do sell a wide variety of snacks including veggie wagon cheeses, crostini, nachos and chips, cookies, popcorn, chips, nuts—and they allow outside food to be brought into the bar. See for yourself what everyone is talking about. Oh, and they are dog and kid friendly, provide outdoor and indoor family games, awesome outdoor deck seating, and a rustic-beach indoor atmosphere. What’s not to love?

➡ Check out what’s on tap at The Second Row right here.


Shaka Taco

107 North Shore Drive 

Surf City, NC 

(Next to the Surf City Surf School)

Shaka Taco motto is fresh eats and fresh vibes, and that’s just what you’ll find here. Topsail’s go-to taco takeout offers patio dining, too. Enjoy their yummy tacos, bowls, wings, as well as their wine and beer selection. There truly is something for everyone from meat lovers to seafood lovers to veggie lovers.

➡ Take a look at Shaka Taco’s full menu here.


Spudee’s Hot Dogs, Poutine & Burgers

412 Roland Ave
Surf City, NC

Spudee’s is Surf City’s newest destination for hamburgers, hot dogs and poutine—oh yeah, we said poutine! Their food is only made with the best ingredients and always cooked fresh to order. Their famous poutine is made with fresh hand cut fries, topped with cheese curds—and all of their gravies are homemade. Come eat and enjoy the gorgeous Topsail weather on the outdoor patio and make your belly happy. They are also now serving breakfast!

➡ You can view their menu and place an online order from Spudee’s here. 


SurfDog Bites and Brews

204-A N New River Drive
Surf City, NC

High tide or low tide, something’s always up at SurfDog. Former restauranteurs in Raleigh, NC have made their way to Surf City to share their hospitality and great eats. The newest dig unleashes their famous buffalo wings, buffalo dip, chicken salad, Angus blend burgers, all beef hot dogs, sandwiches, small bites and salads lunch and dinner. All the menu items are made in house and fresh daily. They’ve been “doing food” for a long time want to share their favorites with you.

Dog gone it, we forgot to mention an assortment of beverages, including fountain drinks, tea, draft and craft beers, wine and prosecco are offered too. Call your order in and they’ll have it ready for you when you get here!

➡ Here’s SurfDog’s menu to get you drooling. 


Topsail Island Popcorn Factory

208 N New River Dr, Suite B
Surf City, NC

The kids and kids-at-heart are going to love this place! They have 250+ flavored popcorn recipes, and they’re eager to share them. Pop on in for quality treats, including nostalgic candies for the whole family. This locally owned company also sells delicious frosted nuts such as pecans, almonds, cashews, and peanuts. They provide you with a taste of old times with their selection of nostalgic candy, including Candy Sticks, Mary Jane, Bit-O-Honey, Chick-O-Stick, Salt Water Taffy, and many others.

Go ahead plan to visit he Topsail Island Popcorn Factory and bring some sweet and savory treats back to your Topsail vacation rental to enjoy all week long. Mention the discount code WEB10 and get 10% off your popcorn purchase. You’re welcome! (Pssst, we’ve heard that the Tuxedo flavored popcorn is a local favorite.)

➡ Can’t wait? Order from the Topsail Island Popcorn Factory here.


Best New Topsail Vacation Rentals

Access Realty has some fabulous new Topsail vacation rentals that we want you to know about! Take a look at these recently added properties and see which one is the best fit for your next Topsail beach vacation. Let us know if we can help you decide which rental is the right one for you and your family. We’re happy to help.


Beach Therapy

Beach Therapy is a beautiful interior rental that sleeps 8, offering 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths. Beach Therapy is situated on a quiet, peaceful side street that’s perfect for evening strolls along the canals. Take a short drive to the center of Surf City where you will find numerous shops and restaurants. You’re within walking distance to a convenience store and a few local hotspots as well. And best of all, it’s a short walk (2 minutes) to the convenient public beach access puts you on one of NC’s most beautiful beaches! Or, if you prefer, there’s plenty of free parking at the access. Beach Therapy has a long list of amenities that you’re sure to love, so go ahead a check it out by following the link in the heading.


Hemenway Dunes

This oceanfront Topsail rental has all you need for the perfect beach getaway. “Hemenway Dunes” sleeps up to 13, offering 5 bedrooms and 3 full baths. The endless ocean views from the main living area provide your family with a memorable vacation just from the coastal scenery alone. But the retreat doesn’t end on the inside. Outside you will find a large deck that is partially covered. A hot and cold outdoor shower to wash offer after a relaxing day with your toes in the sand. There is a large gathering place in the backyard for the family fun to continue. The backyard offers corn hole, a gas grill and picnic area. You will truly enjoy all the extra touches that will spoil you with luxury. This Topsail rental is well worth taking a close look at in the link above. Go ahead, it’s gorgeous!


Not In-House

Flanked with palm trees on both sides and providing you with a lovely ocean view, you will want to spend all of your time “Not In-House” at this comfortable 4 bedroom, 3 bath home with ample oceanside decking and soundside balconies. Located within a short walk to the beach, “Not In-House” is the perfect spot for your family’s vacation at Topsail Island. Explore more about this vacation home and read up on all its family-friendly amenities in the link above.


Sounds Right

“Sounds Right” is a comfortable 3 bedroom, 2 full bath and 1 half bath spacious Topsail rental with breathtaking sunsets over the Intracoastal Waterway. You will love relaxing on the partially covered back deck while you watch the boats leisurely cruise by. It’s perfectly situated in the quiet family-friendly community of the Village of Stump Sound which features a beach access, community pool, tennis courts and small craft launch. The outside is designed for relaxation. The top deck extends the entire length of the home and is partially shaded by a center pergola. The lower area leads to the private outside shower. Take a short stroll past the fire pit to the private dock, the dock allows you to bring your boat and leave it right at your back door. After a long day of fun, grab the marshmallows and head to the fire pit for a toasty treat. If you are looking for relaxation and serenity, you are sure to find it at “Sounds Right”.


Sunset Soiree

Enjoy a “Sunset Soiree” every evening at this cheerful pet friendly townhouse located within the Bermuda Landing community in North Topsail Beach. It sleeps 7 at this soundfront Topsail rental that offers 2 bedrooms and 2 full baths. The Bermuda Landing community offers a community pool, extended sound dock with gazebo and community beach access. There is also a community basketball goal located in the “Sunset Soiree” cul-de-sac making a wonderful choice for families. Take a look at the link and see if for yourself.


Sweetwater (Topsail Reef 134)

Welcome to “Sweetwater” where the living is coastal and casual. Located within the oceanfront Topsail Reef community, “Sweetwater” is a comfortable 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom condo that sleeps four. The Topsail Reef community boasts gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean as well as two community laundry sites and two community grilling gazebos for easy access to all building guests. Step out onto the oceanfront balcony where you will find the most gorgeous ocean views awaiting you! Watch the waves crash and dolphin play (if you’re lucky) while relaxing on the deck. It’s Topsail beach life at its finest.


Topsail Manor

“Topsail Manor” is a truly unique jewel on Topsail Island. Newly constructed in late 2017, Topsail Manor is a grandiose, 8 bedroom oceanfront manor that boasts luxurious amenities, spacious accommodations, and elegant coastal décor. Designed to accommodate large groups, Topsail Manor’s approximately 8,000 square feet provides the perfect venue for Topsail weddings, reunions, multi-family vacations, and corporate events. It offers a very long list of amenities that are sure to please. If you thought this home couldn’t get any better, wait until you go outside! With two levels of expansive oceanfront decks, an outdoor kitchen, a pool and a hot tub…the amenities are endless. There is also a Tiki Bar down by the pool for serving up cold drinks in the summer and an oceanfront gazebo providing shade when you need to get a break from the sun. Be among the first to experience this incredible and luxurious oceanfront manor, complete with all of the upgraded amenities you could ask for and more than enough space for all of your family and friends.


Villa Capriani 201B

Enjoy the beautiful ocean views in this renovated 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo located within the luxurious Villa Capriani resort. Relax in luxury with all this resort-style community has to offer, while at the same time have all the comforts of home. This beautiful community features three outstanding pools; a large oceanfront pool, two smaller pools, one with a waterfall and a separate kid’s pool. The community pool is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The complex also features wireless internet throughout the property, hot tub, tennis courts, direct beach access and an on-site restaurant and bar. Enjoy your Topsail beach vacation to its fullest right here.


Villa Capriani 204B

“Whalecome” to Villa Capriani 204B! Enjoy the ocean breeze and views in this coastal 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo located within the luxurious Villa Capriani resort. Relax in luxury with all this resort-style community has to offer (see amenities above or follow the link in the heading) while at the same time enjoying all the comforts of home. The exterior balcony overlooks the courtyard with gorgeous ocean views. The balcony is a great place to relax and enjoy the warm ocean breeze while listening to the sounds of the waves crash.


You can peruse the full list of Access Realty’s Topsail beach vacation rentals here. Find your place in the sand and start planning your next Topsail Island, North Carolina vacation. Let us know how we can help!


Did we miss any new and exciting places on Topsail Island? If so, let us know! We’d love to hear your new favorite. Our comment section is always open.