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Read on below or watch the video to learn why Virginia Beach is the best place to live on the East Coast.

If you’re researching beach towns to call home, this video is for you. Virginia Beach is the best place to live on the East Coast. Bold statement I know. But chances are that you have never looked at Virginia Beach in the way I’m about to show you. Even if you have lived here for 20 years, you’re going to see Virgina Beach in a new light. We’ll go over geography, climate, hurricanes, flooding, and traffic. We’ll compare it to Florida and the Northeast beaches, we’ll discuss the real estate market, the economy, new developments, and how that affects quality of life and creates stability. I’ll explain why Virginia Beach is not a tourist town, which may seem odd if you’ve visited here during the summer as a tourist. And probably most importantly, we’ll talk about the water. And I don’t mean the 3 miles of beach in front of the boardwalk, I mean the other 35 miles of beaches and what must be hundreds of miles of waterfront tucked away right in the middle of it all. There are few places on the entire east coast, or the entire country for that matter, that give you so many options to boat, swim, fish, explore, and play on the water. And you get all this along with a vibrant year round economy supporting a population of 500,000 people, 1.8M if you include the surrounding cities.  Once you see Virginia Beach through my eyes, you’ll wonder why you didn’t see it sooner. Of course, there’s a big difference between knowing and doing. Knowing that Virginia Beach is where you want to live and looking at homes online is not the same as understanding the neighborhoods and finding the right house, for you. After we have gone over why you should consider Virginia Beach, I’ll show you how to make it happen and avoid all the common mistakes that many people make when moving here. 

Compared to most other beach towns on the East Coast, Virginia Beach is on high ground. The coastline is different here. From Long Island down to Florida, you’ll see most of the beaches are on barrier islands separated from the mainland by shallow bays and wetlands. Here they are on Long Island. And New Jersey. See that? You have sandbars crammed full of houses with shallow bays and wetlands going for miles inland. And on down through Rehoboth Beach Delaware and Ocean City Maryland. See, more barrier islands. Once you get south of Ocean City, you might as well be on the moon. I grew up on the Delmarva Pennisula and I’ve never met anyone who has been on any of these beaches. There are no roads. They are uninhabited. Until you get to Virginia Beach. Suddenly the barrier islands go away and you have room for half a million year round residents and 1.8 million people in Hampton Roads, which also include the surrounding cities of Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Hampton, and Newport News. There’s an international airport, it’s not huge, but it’s a great airport, and the tallest building in Virginia, true fact, and a Whole Foods, and an Ikea. Using these three things as a metric, Virginia Beach is the only year round beach town between New York City and Jacksonville Florida.

Since we have the map up on the screen. Now is a good time to talk about the duck. Do you see the duck? Look closely. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. There used to be a super cool beach bar on the duck’s beak called The Duck In. But the Duck was here first and it’s an easy way to orient yourself when looking at the map. Now every time you look at the map, you’ll see the duck.  

As we continue south into the Outer Banks, you get more barrier islands. Great place to vacation for a week during the summer. But it clears out in the winter because the geography can’t support the population necessary for a vibrant economy. Once we all have flying cars this could change, but today, there’s only one way in and one way out and you’re hundreds of miles from a city and all the things one provides. Hospitals, airports, Whole Foods, Ikeas, you get the picture. And it’s more of the same as we continue south. More barrier islands backed up by marshy wetlands. Wilmington and Myrtle Beach are, quaint, but the population swells during the summer and empties out in September, just like most beach towns. Myrtle Beach has about 40,000 year round residents and gets nearly 20 million visitors each year during the summer. That’s a seasonal tourist town if there every was one. Maybe that’s your thing. But I can, and will, show you that Virginia Beach has more to offer as a place to live year round. Continuing farther south you can see Charleston and Savanah are near the beach, but again, the beaches are small barrier islands. And there are alligators which are a real threat if you play golf, because they seem to like the water hazards. Once you get down to Jacksonville and the rest of Florida, it’s 10 hours south of Virginia Beach, you might as well be in a different country. Different climate, different people, you have to screen in your pool because the mosquitoes are so bad. And it’s 95 degrees with 100% humidity for half the year, with no seasons. Maybe that’s your thing. Actually, it is my thing. I love the heat. But I like the seasons, too. Which is one of the reasons I give the nod to Virginia Beach over Florida.

So why is Virginia Beach on high ground while the rest of the beaches on the East Coast are on barrier islands? To answer this question I had to walk the Chesapeake Bay display at the Virginia Beach Aquarium. What I found was that 35 million years ago, a 2 mile wide asteroid traveling at 11 miles per second impacted at what is now the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. As you can see from this diagram, it created some high ground along the outer rim of the impact crater which just happens to be the northern border of Virginia Beach where it meets the Chesapeake Bay. Coincidence? I think not. This asteroid impact is what makes Virginia Beach unique and the reason that Virginia Beach is the only year round beach town within hundreds of miles, north or south.  Instead of swamps and shallow bays, Virginia Beach is on high ground and has the geography to support a city, on the beach.

And then there’s the climate. It’s not too hot, it’s not too cold, it’s just right. We just don’t see many days below freezing during the winter. And it rarely snows.

Here’s the USDA plant hardiness zone map. You can see how the zones curve north at the coast putting Virginia Beach in a zone with it’s southern neighbors. The snowstorms will crush Richmond, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and we will just get rain.

Part of the reason for this is the gulf stream, which is a warm current of water in the Atlantic Ocean that flows up from the Gulf of Mexico. As you can see from this map showing the differences in surface temperature, the Gulf Stream flows north along the coast then pushes out into the Atlantic as it goes around Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. Virginia Beach gets warm eddies twisting off the Gulf Stream all year round. The temperature of the water is 10-15 degrees warmer than even a hundred miles north in the Maryland and Delaware Beaches. I spent my summers growing up in Rehoboth Beach Delaware. I still vacation there for a week with my family every year. Last year we were there in August and the water was 68 degrees. The kids wouldn’t go in because it was too cold. That’s because they are used to stepping off the boat into 85 degree water in Virginia Beach. At that temperature, it’s perfect. The breeze keeps you cool. The water is so warm you don’t even test it with your foot. But 100 miles north it’s freezing. And don’t even get me started on New Jersey and farther north. The only reason anyone goes in the water there is because it happens to be close to home. It’s like taking an ice bath. I hear ice baths are great. It’s not my thing. The water is warmer in Virginia Beach in May than it is in New Jersey in August. If you’re stuck in the north because of work, I get it. But given the choice, swimming in warm water is better.  

Let’s talk about hurricanes. Virginia Beach has three things going for it that other coastal towns don’t. geography, Elevation, and drainage. Here’s a handy tool from NOAA that shows all the hurricane data going back to the beginning of whenever they starting taking data. It’s pretty fun to play around with. I’ll compare Virginia Beach to Wilmington North Carolina simply because it’s only about 200 miles south and it’s easy to see the differences. In the last 50 years, Wilmington has had twice as many hurricanes pass within 60 miles as Virginia Beach. And most of the ones that passed by Virginia Beach had already gone through Wilmington as much stronger storms. Look at Hurricane Bertha in 1996. It’s making landfall with 90 knot winds around Wilmington.  By the time it gets up near Virginia Beach the winds have reduced to 60 knots. That’s still a lot of wind, but 60 knots is not going to take your roof off. We are lucky simply because when a hurricane comes close enough to affect us, North Carolina has usually taken the sting out of it. We also don’t get the storm surge you see with a direct hit because the storm is usually tracking north quickly by the time it gets to us and the surge has plenty of room to dissipate north and east into the Atlantic, and up the Chesapeake Bay.  Compare this to Hurricane Sandy which funneled the storm surge right into Manhattan. Long Island and New Jersey were like a big funnel and the water had nowhere to go but up. See the storm surge measured in Battery Park at 14 feet during Sandy as compared to the highest storm surge in Norfolk of 9 feet going back almost a hundred years. And 8 feet is the highest that we’ve seen in the last 20 years. By the time the big storms get to Virginia Beach, they are more rain events than wind events, and the rain tends to cause more flooding inland than at the coast. Virginia Beach is surrounded by water. The rain runs from the storm drains right out into the bays and oceans. We don’t see rivers overflowing their banks as they make their way to the sea from 100 miles inland. We are already at the sea, and on high ground. The flooding from hurricanes is much worse in New England than it is in Virginia Beach. If you’re looking to get away from hurricanes on the East Coast, Virginia Beach is about as good as it’s going to get.

Put all these things together and you have 1.8 million people in a metro area by the beach driving a stable economy based on a ton of military bases and government contracting jobs, all the shipping and commerce that comes from a protected port at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, and tourism that draws on seemingly endless white sandy beaches, a mild climate, and warm water. It all started with Norfolk back in the day. By back in the day I mean 1705. But Virginia Beach didn’t really start growing until after 1960. What this means is that Virginia Beach has not time to develop pockets of multi-generational culture like you’ll find in the northeast. I had lunch a few years back with a couple of guys from New York. One of them asked “What are you?” I had no idea what he was actually asking me. I thought he wanted to get into some kind of existential discussion about Beach Life and Southern Charm, but no. Apparently this is a fairly common question in the North East. He wanted to know where I came from, I guess nationality, religion, something like that. We had a pretty good laugh about it because it highlighted how Virgina Beach is still developing it’s own culture. It feels so welcoming because everyone is new and just happy to be here. And even though we aren’t south south, there’s still a dose of Southern Charm that slows things down a bit. Also, about 5%, or 1 in 20 of Virginia Beach residents are on active duty, many of them have families and they all show up as the new guy, like being the new kid in school. There are a lot more new kids in school in Virginia Beach than in most parts of the country. That help keeps it fresh and welcoming. So if you move here, you’re not going to get locked out of the neighborhood boys or girls club. Quite the opposite.

I mentioned earlier that I don’t consider Virginia Beach a tourist town, and I’d say most of the people who live here feel the same way. And that’s largely because we are segregated from the tourists. We send them to the “Resort Area.” It’s even written into the city code as the “Resort Overlay.” These are the areas where short term rentals are allowed. It encompasses parts of the ocean front and Sandbridge Beach. Everywhere else, the minimum rental period is 30 days which discourages tourists who typically want to come for the weekend or the week. So interstate 264 that runs directly through the city drops them off at their hotel or a parking garage so that they can vacation with all the other tourists. I call it the sandbox, or the oceanfront. Tourists, you can go to the 3 miles of beach with high rises, French fries, and ice cream, and the locals get the other 35 miles of beach, including the Chesapeake Bay beaches and interior waterways. Seems fair. The result is that I won’t see throngs of tourists unless I make a special trip to the oceanfront during the summer, which is unlikely, because, why would I want to do that? We love the oceanfront during the off season because it’s quiet and there are a ton of festivals and events that cater to the locals. The Neptune festival in May, The Shamrock Marithon in March, The East Coast Surfing Championship in August, Boardwalk Weekend in late September, The Wicked 10k in October, the list goes on and on. The international sandsculping championship, yep, that’s a thing, right here every September during our five months of summer.

And we don’t even get beach traffic. I have never in my life seen traffic backup on 264 heading into the oceanfront. Sure, we get traffic, but not like Northern Virginia traffic or Jersey Shore traffic. When everyone working in DC heads to the beach on Friday afternoon, most of them are going to the Maryland and Delaware Beaches because it’s closer. That traffic is madness. It can be backed up the entire way and then it’s backed up all weekend, everywhere. Not here. We have our chokepoints in the area, bridges and tunnels that aren’t even in Virginia Beach, but as long as you stay in Virginia Beach, it’s just not that bad and as a local, I don’t even think about traffic unless I’m leaving town.

Let’s talk about the water. I feel like the water is Virginia Beach’s best kept secret, or to use another cliché, it’s hiding in plain sight.

I have a reoccurring dream that I find a door in my house that I have never opened and it leads to this huge unfinished attic that just goes on and on. And I’m always amazed that I’d never found it before. Because how could something so amazing fit into a space where I thought I’d seen it all.

And that’s how I feel about the water in Virginia Beach. Right after moving here, our neighbors took us out on their boat. I couldn’t believe it. Broad Bay, which is right in the middle of Virginia Beach, is that secret room.  There’s more waterfront on these interior bays, right in the middle of Virginia Beach, than there is on all the Atlantic Beaches from the North End to the North Carolina Border.

While you can see some beach and water while you’re standing on the boardwalk at the ocean front, you’re only seeing a sliver of what’s there. And that little sliver is the only thing most people see.  I know it doesn’t look small. That’s a lot of beach and a lot of boardwalk. But it’s only a sliver. Some of the beaches in The North End are 500 feet wide with amazing dunes covered in beach grass. You won’t see that as a tourist. This is where there are no crowds. You always get a front row. It’s not stacked up five umbrellas back like in the touristy areas.  And you can buy a house there for a fraction of what it would cost on Long Island. There’s four times more beach on the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach than what you see on the boardwalk. That includes the beaches in The North End and Sandbridge.

And still there’s more. You also have another five miles of beaches on the Chesapeake Bay. And then all the interior waterways off Broad Bay like Linkhorn Bay and Crystal Lake, and both the eastern and western branches of the Lynnhaven River. This is all salt water, and tidal. And it’s full of wildlife and natural beauty. And the vast majority of it is residential and quiet and beautiful. And it just goes on and on. You’ll find everything from small teardowns to 10 million dollar estates, and everything in between.

You can get a glimpse of Broad Bay as you drive over the bridge from Great Neck to Shore Drive. But just a glimpse. There’s no riverwalk or promenade providing public access to take in the sights. And you can’t see it from the neighborhood roads because it’s hidden behind houses and trees. So unless you’re standing in someone’s backyard, you have to hike two miles through First Landing State Park to see it. Or you can take your boat.  When you do, it’s you and the nature around you. If you go there on July 4th weekend, you’ll definitely have some company, but most days it will only be you. I usually take out my jet ski first thing in the morning. Sometimes I’ll be out there for 30 minutes and not see another boat. If I want to see more people, I can go on a Saturday afternoon. On a beautiful summer weekend you’ll see crowds at the narrows. That’s the beach at the state park where the water narrows between Broad Bay and Linkhorn Bay. Clearly that’s no secret, but it’s almost all locals. But the most amazing part of it to me is the fact that almost all of it is hidden from the general public unless you happen to go looking for it, even though it’s right in the middle of it all.

Still there’s more. One of my favorite things to do in the whole world is right here in Virginia Beach. Keep in mind that I’ve been around the world a few times and I’ve seen some things. Still, this ranks up right up there at the top.  I take the boat out on the Chesapeake Bay when the winds are from the south. It’s like being on a lake. There are no ocean swells and no wind driven waves because the land is blocking the wind. There’s a long section of First Landing State Park on the Chesapeake Bay that is almost always empty because the public entrances are so far away. Sometimes we are the only ones there. You can see how shallow the water is. Sandbars everywhere. We’ll anchor in knee deep water that’s clear and 85 degree from May through September. It’s easy to pretend you are on a deserted island in the Bahamas. I know it’s not the Bahamas. Because if it was the Bahamas it would have taken me 10 hours and thousands of dollars to get there. Here, it only takes me 20 minutes and I can do it every day if I want to.

Or you can go find the dolphin. Most of the time you see a small family of four or five. But sometimes you find a pod of 50 dolphin. 50 or one, the kids act like it’s their first time seeing a mermaid. They go crazy.  What are your chances of seeing a dolphin. I’d say about 100%. They live here and there are a lot of them. Same with the pelicans. And you can spend hours just sitting there watching the osprey dive for fish. Sometimes we will cruise out off the beach for a mile or two and just sit there and watch the sun set. It’s like you’re the only people on the planet, even though there are 1.8 million people in Virginia Beach and the surrounding towns. And that’s the real beauty of it. You get all the benefits of living in the largest city in Virginia on one hand, and you can experience the beauty of the empty white sandy beaches on the other. You get to have both and it feels like the rest of the country doesn’t have any idea what they’re missing. And did I mention that the water is in the 80’s from May through September.

I know what you’re thinking, this can’t be real, or easy, otherwise there would be lots of other people doing it, or at least talking about it.  But it is real, and easy, and the reason that it’s not crazy crowded is because, I think, more people don’t know about it. But even if they did, there’s limited tourist access. And even if there’s public access, it’s not always obvious. The North End is one example. That’s the area on the Atlantic Ocean north of the resort area. There’s public parking on the street but it doesn’t really look like it. And the locals would much rather have you go to one of the parking garages at the oceanfront than park in front of their houses. And there are no bathrooms or restaurants, nothing commercial for that matter. It’s just a neighborhood with public beach access on every street. That’s great if you’re a local, not so much if you’re a tourist. If you’re looking for more information on The North End, be sure to visit William Layton dot com. You’ll find another video specific to the North End and you can browse homes for sale.

It’s important to go over a couple of charts so that we can discuss growth, development, and new construction because it demonstrates stability in the area and helps show where the market might be going. 

This is a chart of active home listings in Virginia Beach from 2004 to the present. Each data point represents the number of homes on the market each month.  Back in 2004 there were only five or six hundred homes on the market.  It increased to over 4000 after the 2008 housing bust and has been gradually decreasing since then. Notice that the supply didn’t just collapse. We have had 15 years of under building as the population grew and gradually worked through the inventory until bottoming out in 2022.

The next chart, again going from 2004 to the present, shows settled sales each month.  It cycles up and down with the seasons. The low point each year is January and the high point (2016-2018) is usually May, June, or July. After the 2008 housing bust the sales have gradually been rising until 2022, which just happens to be when the inventory ran out. Coincidence? Of course not. The reason that sales have dropped is because there are no more houses to buy, not because people stopped buying houses. That’s an important distinction.

And this brings us to the chart of new listings which I think is the most important data here.  Again, going back from 2004 to the present, this chart shows new listings each month. Just like the sales chart, it cycles up and down with the low point in December every year and the high point in May, June, or July. But it’s a relatively flat chart. While the inventory has been falling and the sales have been rising, the new listings have just been chugging right along. And the result is that the three charts have converged. The number of new listings equals the homes on the market equals the sales, or close This chart is the heart beat of Viriginia Beach. Up and down, up and down. It’s the chart of people upgrading and downsizing, births and deaths, marriages and divorces, kids going to school and leaving the nest. Promotions and retirements.  This chart shows people living their lives in Virginia Beach. It is not a chart of boom and bust. It’s also not the chart of expansion. Virginia Beach has run out of buildable land. There are no 3000 home gated communities on the drawing board.

And why is that, you ask? It’s because Virginia Beach is kind of like an island. You can’t build to the north because of the Chesapeake Bay. You can’t build East because there’s an ocean there. Virginia Beach is huge, it goes all the way down to the North Carolina border. The city plan has a green line that keeps developments at bay and the locals don’t want it either because there are fiercely protective of the quiet and tranquility that comes from less people. You also have the intercoastal water way on the North Landing River which is wetlands, you can see all the green on the map, it’s a natural barrier.  Can’t build there. And then you have the Fentress airfield where the Navy Jets fly around in circles for hours practicing landing on the aircraft carrier. See, if you zoom in they painted an aircraft carrier on the runway. That’s why there’s no new developments there. Norfolk is to the West and that’s completely built out. And look here. This is The Great Dismal Swamp which you can probably see from outer space. I think that’s a great name for a swamp by the way. And just to be clear, that’s not in Virginia Beach.  But it still affects the overall development in the area because it basically limits future projects to a small sliver heading south between Fentress and the Great Dismal Swamp. That area of Chesapeake is still growing because it can and because the city promotes it. That’s where they get their tax revenue. I was over there talking to a builder at one of their models and down the road there was an empty cornfield cordoned off with orange construction fencing. What’s going on down there I asked. He said that they wanted to build single family homes on half acre lots but the city of Chesapeake wouldn’t let them. They could only build attached condos. Basically, Chesapeake wanted more units because their tax revenue would be higher. The beauty of Virginia Beach is that we don’t have a problem with tax revenue. The tourism in the sandbox is almost a sure thing. It’s kind of like Saudi Arabia pumping oil. The money just keeps flowing in. We don’t have to keep growing. We have our own little slice of paradise. The people who live here love it and the supply is limited by geography. So Virginia Beach isn’t going to build its way out of the supply problem. And why would we want to? Everyone who lives here already has a house. The overbuilding is happening elsewhere. Virginia Beach has what amounts to a fixed supply of a desirable asset, real estate near the water. If you are looking for opportunity in the real estate market, and who isn’t, it seems to me like we have room to run.

If there’ s one problem with Virginia Beach, it’s that it’s so big, with so many different options that could be the perfect fit, that many prospective buyers get analysis paralysis. So the trick to finding the right house in the right neighborhood is to avoid the urge to just look at houses online. That’s hard because it’s fun, and easy, and as many of us learned in college, fun and easy doesn’t always turn into long term success.  You need to take the time to figure out what you really want.

One of the most important steps in finding the right place to live is identifying where you might fit in. This is also the hardest part because the internet doesn’t know who you are. And it’s made even more difficult because most Realtors and brokers will tell you they aren’t even allowed to talk about it. In Virginia the protected classes are defined as race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, disability, source of funds, sexual orientation, gender identity, or military status. Is it just me, or does that cover pretty much everybody.  In my experience, neighborhoods are not organized by any of these things. I’ve looked. When I first started as a Realtor back in 2007 I put together a list of all the Naval Officers living in Virginia Beach. I was a Naval Officer and it seemed like a good place to start. I then uploaded all of the addresses into Google Maps to see if I could target certain neighborhoods with my marketing. What I found really surprised me at the time and it still does. Those people live all over the place. There was no military neighborhood. Just like there is no gender identity neighborhood. There is no race neighborhood. But there are neighborhoods that you are going to identify with more than others. And it’s really important that we figure that out together so that you can narrow down your search. You need a process, or a method, a proven method that has worked for other people and can work for you too. As chance would have it, I have that method. Bet you didn’t see that coming.

It starts with a phone call or email. Then we move on to a meeting in person at my office that usually takes an hour or two. This is probably one of the most important steps. It’s so important for me to hear from you about what you know and don’t know, what you want and don’t want. And about what you need and don’t need. Then we go back and forth… what about this, and how about that, and have you thought about this. This all leads to a meeting of the minds where I believe and understand what you want and more importantly, you believe it. From there, we explore the neighborhoods, not all the neighborhoods, just the ones necessary for you to make the connection between what you see online and what exists in real life. You’ll see these neighborhoods with the backdrop of us having already talked about them in detail. And once you see them in person, everything will fall into place. I know this because I’ve seen it happen a hundred times. It works for others. It will work for you, too. Then, and only then, do we start looking at specific houses. The amount of time you will save doing it my way can be measured in weeks and months. The amount of money you will save can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The amount of hassle you will save is, a lot. Because if you move into the wrong house in the wrong neighborhood, you will regret it and you will either suffer through that regret or spend the money to move again. Moving is expensive. You don’t want to do it twice because you made a mistake.

If you must do your online searching before talking to me, you can always make your way over to WilliamLayton.com where I go over some of the best neighborhoods in detail. I even have another video called The Best Neighborhoods in Virginia Beach which you should watch next if you haven’t seen it already. I’ll put the link in the details below.

Lastly, before you spend any of your valuable time talking to a Realtor, it’s worth taking a minute to know some background info, so a little bit about me and why I do this. It all started with teaching and learning when I was a pilot in the Navy. As soon as you had a little bit of experience you started teaching the new guys. You’d get a little bit more experience and then you were teaching the guys teaching the new guys. A lot of this took place during the brief, flight, and debrief. The flight lead would stand up in front of a white board and go over the administrative details, and all the training and mission objectives. The brief was a big deal. A solid brief not only set the stage for a successful flight but it also gave you street cred. Everyone would think, wow, that guy really knows his stuff. Respect. You did not want to be the guy fumbling through a brief because then the opposite would happen. Disrespect. And nobody wants that. So I spent a lot of time preparing for the brief.  Then we would go out and fly around and do whatever it is that jet pilots do out there, sometimes it’s a big secret. Then after landing we would debrief. The debrief had a structure, just like the brief did, but you couldn’t memorize it like a presentation because you never knew what was going to happen on the flight. It was like giving a speech after making some notes on a napkin. My favorite part of the day was the flight, but I also loved the debrief. It was more social than the brief. And more casual. And far more interesting because you had to think, and analyze. As I got more experience, they sent me off to Top Gun, like the movie. This was the land of professionalism and detail. More than anything, Top Gun taught us the importance of teaching and learning. Every brief was a final presentation. The flights were fights for your life. And the debriefs, detailed discussions on what went right and wrong and how to improve on for the next one.  And all of this was done in the spirit teamwork and excellence. Think college football movie. It starts out with getting your butt kicked, you learn from your mistakes, work real hard, and then reach way down to find the strength you didn’t even know you had to end in victory. Or in this case, you got to wear, the patch, which was kind of like a varsity letter jacket, but smaller. Here it is.

My next tour was more teaching where all the instructors were a bunch of patch wearers.  Everyone was assigned a lecture that they would give to the fleet squadrons at the beginning of a their training cycle. The audience could be a hundred or more people. Most of the audience was seeing your lecture for the first time and was there to learn. But there was always a handful of patch wearers who were there to judge you. Maybe they weren’t there just to judge you, but it could be judgy. So like the brief, there was a lot of pressure to perform and present well. I loved it. I loved the preparation. I loved the teaching and learning. I loved the interaction with the fleet pilots and the pursuit of excellence.

And then I did it for another 15 years, got out took up real estate. Real estate might be missing the cool factor that came with wearing the patch, but I found a way to bring the teaching and learning with me from the Navy. You are watching a presentation. When I sit down with you at my office, we are briefing. Just like every flight is different, you are different, your family is different. Then we drive all around Virginia Beach looking at neighborhoods and houses. You never know quite how it’s going to go, just like a flight. And then you put it all together, the debrief, to find the right house, or not. Sometimes it takes a day, sometimes months. It’s always interesting and it’s never the same.

So where do you go from here? If you’re planning a visit or if you are already here, send me an email and we can find some holes in our schedules for a phone call or a meeting.  You can also visit WilliamLayton.com. There’s a ton of information on the different neighborhoods and you can browse homes for sale. At some point it will ask you to register and I’ll reach out to you. If you are moving here next week or want to see a house tomorrow, call me asap. But I encourage you to do the same even if you are years away from a move. And remember, you will save yourself countless hours of stalking homes on Redfin or Zillow or Realtor dot com by narrowing down your search with me first. There’s no time like the present.