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From the wild horses of Carova and Corolla to the unspoiled beaches of Hatteras Island, North Carolina’s Outer Banks are filled with wonders waiting to be explored. The best way to immerse yourself in the local culture is to take up residence in a vacation home. The options are endless: Think sound-side mansions big enough for the extended family or quaint cottages for two overlooking the ocean. Most properties are managed through one of the Outer Banks’ numerous rental companies. Read on for the best agencies to consider when looking for your dream vacation home.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Sun Realty
Why We Chose It: We chose Sun Realty as our overall winner because of its large selection of properties, easy-to-use website, and high rating on Trustpilot.
Stellar rating on Trustpilot
Vacation rentals available throughout the Outer Banks
Sun Select properties for an extra luxurious experience
Some reviewers complain about property maintenance
Some reviewers say customer service could be improved
Fewer years of experience than some competitors
Founded in 1980, Sun Realty has earned stellar reviews on Trustpilot and offers an impressive selection of vacation rentals that span the full length of the Outer Banks, from Carova to Hatteras Island.
The company has six offices located throughout the region, which are open seven days a week for assistance or advice. When booking a property, use the website’s easy search function to filter results according to availability, location, number of bedrooms, and distance from the beach.
You can also search for a specific property by name or ID number, or browse homes grouped into helpful categories ranging from ‘pet-friendly to oceanfront. Choose a Sun Select Rental for a VIP stay in an especially luxurious home with added services and amenities.
Once you book, payment can be made immediately or in monthly installments. Sun Realty also offers long-term rentals, property management services, and comprehensive travel insurance.
Best Runner-Up: Southern Shores Realty
Why We Chose It: We chose Southern Shores Realty as our runner-up because of its long-established reputation for customer service and its broad range of rentals to suit every budget.
More than 70 years of experience
Positive Google Reviews rating
Excellent golf and accommodation packages
Coverage excludes all areas south of Nags Head
Fewer properties to choose from than some competitors
Pet-friendly houses accept dogs only
Southern Shores Realty has been helping visitors to the Outer Banks to find their dream vacation rental since 1947.
Since then, the company has developed a reputation for customer service with positive reviews praising the agency’s responsiveness and in-depth knowledge of the local area. The website lists more than 350 properties located from Corolla in the north down to South Nags Head. (If you’re looking for rentals on Hatteras Island, this isn’t the right fit for you.)
There are vacation homes for every budget and requirement, including oceanfront, sound-side, and pet-friendly properties, and those that are available for Friday-to-Friday rentals. Narrow down your search by stipulating your desired location, number of bedrooms, and must-have amenities.
Southern Shores Realty also provides long-term rentals and golfing packages in addition to property management and real estate sales services. Agents are available seven days a week.
Best Selection: Twiddy
Why We Chose It: We chose Twiddy because of its impressive and exclusive selection of more than 1,000 properties, many with special amenities.
Top rating on Trustpilot
More than 1,000 properties to choose from
Ability to request luxury amenities
No rentals available south of Nags Head
Mixed reviews regarding customer service
Fewer specials and discounts than competitors
Well-reviewed rental company Twiddy outranks most of its competitors in terms of portfolio size, with more than 1,000 properties listed from Corolla to Nags Head.
Each of these homes is hand-picked and exclusive to Twiddy, meaning that you won’t be able to rent them anywhere else. The listings are as diverse as they are numerous, with oversized homes, oceanfront homes, sound-side homes, traditional homes, and pet-friendly homes all represented.
Some even allow visitors to host destination weddings and special events. To find your dream home, use Twiddy’s advanced filters to describe exactly what you want including luxury amenities like a private pool, hot tub, home theater, and elevator.
Not sure where you want to stay? The website offers an in-depth vacation guide to help you make an informed decision. Twiddy’s agents are available to speak from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Best Customer Service: Village Realty
Why We Chose It: We chose Village Realty because of the positive feedback it received about its customer service.
High ratings from independent reviewers
Guests receive VIP discounts on local services
Agents available to speak seven days a week
No listings on Hatteras Island
No opportunity to speak to an agent after 5 p.m.
Some reviewers experienced housekeeping issues
Village Realty has one of the best Yelp ratings of any Outer Banks rental company and plenty of positive reviews on Google as well. Listings cover the area from Corolla to South Nags Head and can be searched by property name or ID number, or by type and town. And past guests commend the company for the quality and cleanliness of its properties, and its agents’ responsiveness to any issues.
If you need inspiration, browse through Village Realty’s curated collections which include categories like large homes, oceanfront, pet-friendly, and stay your way. The latter allows you to book stays shorter than the seven-day standard, even in peak season.
All Village Realty guests automatically receive VIP discounts on certain local services, from dining and tours to photography and golfing. Agents can be contacted directly any time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., seven days a week.
Best for Added Perks: Atlantic Realty
Why We Chose It: We chose Atlantic Realty because of its unique Fun N Sun Pass program which gives guests one free activity per day of their stay.
Free and discounted activities available for all guests
Stay-your-way and partial week rentals available
Properties available for corporate and private events
No listings south of Nags Head
Some reviewers report maintenance and housekeeping issues
Fewer properties to choose from than some competitors
Since launching in 1982, Atlantic Realty has developed a selective portfolio of properties stretching from Corolla in the northern Outer Banks to South Nags Head. This includes luxury oceanfront and sound-side homes, pet-friendly homes, and homes especially licensed for private and corporate events. When choosing yours, look out for special amenities that range from game rooms to private pools.
The biggest benefit of booking with Atlantic Realty is the company’s Fun N Sun Pass program, which entitles guests to one free activity per day of their stay. Head out on a wild horse safari, rent a kayak, or play a round of mini-golf.
Additionally, partnerships with a range of businesses including H2OBX Waterpark give guests access to exclusive discounts on local services and experiences. Atlantic Realty also offers vacation planning and property management solutions.
Best on Hatteras Island: Outer Beaches Realty
Why We Chose It: We chose Outer Banks Realty because of its specialist portfolio of properties in all of Hatteras villages.
More than 390 properties on Hatteras Island
All homes have WiFi and most have keyless entry
No booking or credit card fees
Some reviewers report issues with cleanliness
Some reviewers claim poor customer service
The majority of Outer Banks rental companies focus on the stretch of shoreline from Corolla to Nags Head.
If you have your heart set on staying on Hatteras Island, Outer Banks Realty can help you with specialist listings located in and around all seven Hatteras Island villages. There are more than 390 properties to choose from, with options ranging from luxury oceanfront properties to pet-friendly sound-side ones. All homes have WiFi and most have keyless entry.
We also like that Outer Banks Realty offers all-inclusive pricing. This means no booking, credit card, or accidental damage fees and no security deposits. Basic starter supplies are also provided free of charge. Opt to pay extra for pool passes and mid-stay cleans, or safeguard your vacation with the offered travel insurance.
Note: Outer Banks Realty also sells real estate and manages properties for current owners.
We chose Sun Realty as our overall winner because it lists properties in all three sections of the Outer Banks, has a wide variety of different properties, and great customer reviews. We like Twiddy for its impressive number of exclusive listings and Village Realty for its customer service. Atlantic Realty stands out for its VIP guest perks, Outer Banks Realty is the go-to choice for those with an interest in Hatteras Island especially, and Beach Realty is a great option for Outer Banks owner/renters because of its ability to provide construction and remodeling services as well.
What Are Outer Banks Rental Companies?
Outer Banks rental companies manage a searchable portfolio of rental properties and act as a liaison between renter and owner. They are responsible for looking after the homes and taking bookings, and can often provide visitors with vacation planning advice and local discounts.
How Much Does It Cost to Rent a House in the Outer Banks?
The cost of renting a house in the Outer Banks varies hugely depending on the size and specifications of the property, proximity to the beach, and the season. Average nightly costs range from about $250 in January to $630 in July.
Do Any Outer Banks Rental Companies Offer Special Rates or Discounts?
Most rental companies do offer specials for specific properties and dates, especially in the off-seasons. Some offer discounts for certain groups including servicemen and women, seniors, and return guests.
How We Chose the Best Outer Banks Rental Companies
Although there are plenty of Outer Banks rental companies, surprisingly few have good user reviews. Our first criteria when choosing the realtors listed here was to make sure that they had above-average ratings on sites like Trustpilot, Yelp, and Google Reviews. Some that we considered, like Resort Realty and Hatteras Realty, were discounted on this basis. We also focused on companies with a large portfolio and an established reputation based on several decades in the business. Lastly, we made sure to include options for all three Outer Banks regions.