Situated in southeastern Virginia, where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia Beach is widely considered one of the best places to live in the state of Virginia. Whether residents are seeking the excitement of the bustling oceanfront or the calmer waters of the Chesapeake Bay, it is an area with broad appeal and an excellent standard of living. Virginia Beach waterfront real estate is an exciting topic to cover, and knowing how to go about it can make a difference in your experience.
With beautiful waterfront homes, incredible ocean views, a rich history and a strong local economy, many people have decided to call this area home. Most residents own their homes in Virginia Beach, and the area offers a suburban feel. Virginia Beach itself is a resort area that boasts miles of beaches and is a popular tourist destination, but there are plenty of quieter areas where residents can enjoy a slower-paced lifestyle.
Nature lovers and adventurers are drawn to this area thanks to its beautiful natural surroundings and plethora of hiking and biking trails. There is no shortage of shops and restaurants, and the highly-rated public schools in the area make it a big draw for families and young professionals.
In the Safest Cities in America study by AdvisorSmith, Virginia Beach was ranked the #1 safest large city in the nation. The area enjoys a pleasantly moderate climate, with summers that are warm enough to make the most of coastal living and fairly mild and short winters.
Choosing A Virginia Beach Real Estate Agent
When you are ready to buy luxury real estate in Virginia Beach, the home you ultimately purchase is not the only big decision involved in the process. Selecting the right real estate agent is actually one of the most crucial decisions people make when buying a home. Purchasing a luxury waterfront property is the biggest financial transaction many people will make in their lifetimes, and the right agent can guide buyers through the complex process of buying a house with minimal stress.
Ideally, you will want to get referrals to high-quality agents from other homeowners in the area. If that is not possible, seek impartial reviews online. Do not worry if you find one or two negative reviews, but multiple bad reviews could be a red flag. Once you have narrowed down your list of prospects, ensure the agents you are considering have the proper credentials.
You will also want to keep your unique needs in mind when making your choice. For example, if you are moving as part of a military relocation or you are going to need a short-term rental in the area while you buy, you will want an agent who has experience in these areas.
Here are some other factors to keep in mind when vetting potential real estate agents.
Notice Their Attention To Detail
As a client, you will be the one to begin the buying conversation, but you should also pay attention to how well the agent listens to your needs and asks the right questions to get to the heart of what you are seeking.
Any agent can enter the number of desired bedrooms and bathrooms into an online database and generate a list of suitable options, but it takes someone with the right instinct to help you find a home that you will be happy to live in for an extended time. A good agent can also read the subtle language that is used in listing descriptions to downplay undesirable qualities.
If possible, take a closer look at how the agents you are considering are marketing other properties. Their website, listing materials, signage and brochures can indicate how proactive and passionate they are about their work. Their own personal appearance may also tell you something about how seriously they take their job.
Knowledge Of Listings In Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach is an area that requires specialist knowledge, so you will want an agent who is very familiar with the ins and outs of the resort city, especially if you are moving here from another area.
An agent with strong knowledge of the nuances of Virginia Beach will not only help you find a home that meets your requirements on paper, but they may also be able to point out other factors that you may not have considered. In addition to understanding the housing market in Virginia Beach, you will want someone who is familiar with the schools, traffic concerns and local issues that may sway your decision.
In addition, people buying luxury waterfront real estate need a real estate agent who is familiar with the unique details of buying houses on the water. There are a lot of extra considerations when purchasing this type of property, so you want someone who is well-acquainted with all of the finer points of waterfront homes.
Experience is another factor to consider. Ask prospective agents how long they have been selling and buying homes, including how long it typically takes clients to find and close on a new home, so you can keep your expectations realistic.
Recognize Their Level Of Communication
One common complaint among buyers and sellers alike is that some agents are not good communicators. When talking to prospective agents, ask how they will keep you informed and how often you can expect them to contact you.
You should ask about their preferred method of communication to see if it will work well for you. For example, if you prefer to handle everything by email but your agent responds better to phone calls, you might not work well together.
It may be useful to meet with several agents before making a decision. Be sure to consider whether the agent is supported by a team, which means they will have plenty of help in providing you with a high level of customer service.
If your early interactions are awkward or you do not feel completely comfortable talking to the agent, it may be time to consider someone else. Likewise, if an agent is repeatedly presenting you with options that do not align with what you are seeking, they may not be a good fit.
Notable Luxury Waterfront Real Estate Areas In Virginia Beach
One quality that makes Virginia Beach unique is the fact that it has waterfront properties facing the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Chesapeake Bay. This means there are plenty of opportunities to live on the water in Virginia Beach, not to mention a broad range of prices.
The oceanfront is a busy center of activity, although there are plenty of oceanfront areas along the coast with a more serene feeling.
Great Neck, on the peninsula in the northern part of Virginia Beach, offers excellent beaches and easy access to both Chesapeake Bay and the highway. Shore Drive and the North End are also attractive areas with extravagant homes. More secluded houses for sale can be found in places like the beach community of Sandbridge far to the south.
Meanwhile, neighborhoods like Chesapeake Beach, or “Chic’s Beach,” have a slower and more relaxed vibe. The Chesapeake Bay area is a popular choice for families seeking waterfront property in Virginia Beach because there are not any waves or undertows to contend with, and it does not see the same volume of tourists as the beach.
Atlantic Avenue is the main street of the city’s oceanfront, and the area surrounding it is a vibrant district full of shopping and activities. It is a great area for anyone who likes to be in the heart of the action. With plenty of family-friendly activities, nightlife, culture, and dining, there is always something exciting to see and do here. However, those who prefer a quieter lifestyle may want to look a little further away from the boardwalk area.
The North End
The area between 59th and 89th Street is a more secluded part of Virginia Beach. Buyers will find plenty of quiet neighborhoods with a suburban feel, yet it is still within easy reach of cultural and natural attractions.
“Location is everything” is a popular refrain in real estate, and this is particularly true in Virginia Beach because the area’s many beaches all have their own distinct personalities that influence the type of residents they attract and their overall atmosphere.
Whatever area you are considering, be sure to spend some time there during the day and at night to get a feel for the overall atmosphere of the neighborhood.
Tips When Buying Waterfront Real Estate In Virginia Beach
Purchasing a waterfront property comes with different considerations than other types of properties. One of the most important factors to keep in mind is how you intend to use the property. Whether it will be a full-time residence or simply a seasonal home will have a big impact on the type of properties your agent should show you.
Before you begin looking at waterfront property, be sure to clarify with your agent precisely what you are looking for because the term “waterfront” can mean different things to different people. Some might consider a property to be waterfront if it has a view of the water and access to it, while others only want a property that is physically situated at the water’s edge.
If you want to be able to walk right into the water from your yard or need your own private dock, be sure to mention it. If having a good view and being within walking distance of the beach is enough, let your agent know before starting the search. Of course, if you are happy merely having a view of the water, you should inquire about whether any new developments could be built that may block the view from a prospective property in the future.
It is also important to get to the heart of why you want to be on the water. Some people are looking for an area where they can spend lots of time sitting on a sandy beach, which means the oceanfront will be a better choice than the bay. If you enjoy swimming, you will want to look in an area where the conditions are suitable. If your interest in the water is more focused on boating and fishing, make sure you can get your own dock or that you will be within easy reach of a marina.
Take the time to research the shoreline if your property is situated directly on the water. Find out how much the water there rises each year on average and how regularly it reaches flood levels. Do not forget to ask if the property you are considering has ever flooded in the past. If you intend to swim often, ask about whether the water has ever been closed because of algae growth or red tide and whether it is considered safe for swimming.
Compare Your Needs & Budget
When you are buying waterfront real estate in Virginia Beach, it is important to compare your needs to your budget. Start by making a list of what you are looking for in a home. Stick to the necessities at first, such as the minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms you can live with and your desired commute from work. Your agent can tell you which areas of Virginia Beach offer homes that meet these requirements and fall within your budget, and this will serve as a good starting point.
If you find that there are still a lot of options within your budget that meet your basic requirements, you can branch out and be more selective. If you have your heart set on a hot tub or granite countertops or you have always dreamed of living on a cul-de-sac, you can use these criteria to further refine your selection.
Many waterfront property buyers opt for an open floor plan with lots of windows as this allows the beach atmosphere to be carried through the house. If you will entertain or sit outside a lot, a home with multiple patios and balconies is a good choice.
Extra storage space is another big consideration with a waterfront home. If you plan to enjoy an active lifestyle with a boat, jet skis, or other equipment, you will want to make sure you find a home with enough space to comfortably store it.
Some prospective buyers find it useful to create a thorough checklist and share it with their real estate agent to avoid being shown properties that will not interest them.
Determine Whether Or Not You Will Ever Rent It Out
One factor that all buyers should take into account during their home search is whether they ever intend to rent out the property. Virginia Beach is an incredibly popular tourist destination, and oceanfront property can command very generous prices as a vacation rental.
For some people, their Virginia Beach home will be a vacation home, and it may be possible to rent it during the rest of the year to bring in some extra income. In these cases, you will want to choose a home with plenty of bedrooms, bathrooms and outdoor spaces. Features like fire pits and hot tubs can give the property an edge with renters. Waterfront homes have a far greater short-term rental potential than those without a view.
Be sure to do some research on the market to find out how much you might expect to get when renting the property out at the relevant times of year and compare that to your mortgage payment, if you have one. You should also ask your agent if rents are moving up or down and how long vacancies tend to stay on the market in the zone you are considering.
Do You Want To Be In The Hub Of The Action Or Secluded?
One big draw of Virginia Beach is the fact that waterfront real estate can be found in the hub of the action as well as in more secluded locations. If you like a lively area, you will want to consider the Oceanfront. If you prefer calmer and quieter surroundings, try looking in the North End.
Questions To Ask Your VA Beach Real Estate Agent
Smart home buyers will interview a handful of potential real estate agents before deciding which one they will work with, and busy agents might also be selective about their clients.
This interview is an important step in ensuring a smooth buying process, so you will want to make the most of it by asking the right questions.
Top agents may not have time for a long sit-down, but you should be wary of any agent who is unwilling to answer a few questions for you before you officially sign on as a client. This interview can even be carried out over the phone.
If an agent agrees to meet with you in person, be sure to come prepared with a list of questions and arrive on time. They should not make you feel rushed, but you also want to show them that you respect their time.
Here are some of the topics you should bring up when you are interviewing a potential agent.
What Is Your Process From Beginning To Closing?
Even if this is not your first home-buying experience, it is worth asking your agent to explain their process from start to finish. While the basics of making offers and closings may be somewhat universal, individual agents sometimes have their own ways of approaching certain steps that could take you by surprise.
Be sure to cover topics such as how they will carry out showings, how offers work and what is involved in the home inspection. Find out what will happen after your offer is accepted and how the closing process will go, and do not forget to ask about the general timeline from start to finish.
This is also a good time to inquire about their best availability during the day and throughout the week. For example, if you currently live a few hours away and plan to drive up on weekends for viewings, an agent who does not have weekend availability will not be a good match. If you will need to visit homes after working hours on weekday evenings, you will want to find an agent who is happy to accommodate your schedule.
How Will You Find The Best Value For Me?
Home buyers sometimes believe that if they make an offer that is below the asking price, they are getting a good deal. However, that is not always the case as some homes, especially in waterfront areas, can be significantly overpriced. You want an agent who will be honest with you about whether or not you are getting a good deal.
When you ask how they will find the best value for you, the ideal agent will give you concrete examples of how they have helped past clients find good values. They might also be able to suggest areas where prices are reasonable and/or values are expected to rise. If your priority is getting the best deal possible no matter how many offers are turned down, you will also want an agent who is a tough negotiator.
How Will You Help Me Buy A Home In This Competitive Market?
Ask the agent how they plan to search for your home. Some agents may have knowledge of word-of-mouth properties that buyers would never find on their own through an online search.
In a competitive buying market, it is important to stand out from the competition. Few experiences in real estate are more disappointing than finding your dream home and then losing the opportunity because of your agent’s actions or inaction. Ask the agent how they can help your offer shine among a sea of other attractive offers.
Another good question to ask is what separates the agent from his or her competition. Look for a response that aligns with the qualifications and characteristics that you value. For example, if you value honesty above all else, an agent who emphasizes their trustworthiness is a good choice. If you anticipate needing to see a lot of different properties, you will want someone who is patient. Buyers on a tight budget will want an agent who is excellent at negotiating.
How Do You Set Realistic Expectations For Your Clients?
It is a good idea to ask questions such as how many homes the agent thinks you may have to see before finding the right one. Ask how much competition you can expect to find under the current market conditions when you are bidding on a home, and find out how the agent handles multiple offers.
A great way to close an interview with prospective agents is by asking “What have I not asked you about that you think I should know?” Regardless of their answer, you will want to work with an agent who comes across as being secure and comfortable when they reply as this is the person who will be representing you to sellers and their agents.
Speak To An Experienced Virginia Beach Real Estate Agent
If you are ready to find the luxury property of your dreams, speak to the experienced Virginia Beach real estate agents at the Zarpas Group. Their home specialists are known for their personal approach and willingness to go above and beyond for their clients, making the experience of buying and selling a home as smooth and stress-free as possible. You can reach us by phone at 757-685-4400 or you can schedule an appointment online.