Frequently Asked Questions about Renting a Vacation Home thru Ward Realty

Frequently Asked Questions about Renting a Vacation Home thru Ward Realty

Answers to the most frequently asked questions. Have more questions? We are always happy to chat! Call us at 910-328-3221 or email

What do we need to bring? What is included?

Our homes come fully equipped with all the necessities to make you feel at home, like coffee pots, toasters, microwaves, can openers, comfortable pillows, warm bedding, and everything you need to prepare delicious meals or just relax and enjoy your time on Topsail Island. However, you will need to bring a few items with you (or purchase/rent when you arrive). These include all bed & bath linens, paper products (like toilet paper and paper towels), beach towels, beach toys, umbrellas, dish detergent, food items and personal hygiene products, etc. Please click on "What to Bring" to read an extensive list of what is generally included (and not included) in your vacation rental.

The "rental rate" is one amount, but the "total" is a bit higher. Can you explain these extra costs?

The total price for a vacation rental with Ward Realty consists of the following items: base rent, plus taxes (NC sales tax + local accommodations tax) + Travel Insurance (optional) + fees. For a full breakdown just select your dates and choose "Calculate Price". We are happy to answer any questions, we have no hidden fees, it's all spelled out.

I'm looking at a pet-friendly house. When I try to book online it adds in pet fees for 2 dogs. I'm only bringing one. How can I adjust the price?

You can still book your reservation online to reserve your favorite home and dates, then include in the Guest Comments section of your reservation any details about changes to the number of pets. We will adjust your rates and send you a confirmation just as soon as we receive your email and the adjustment will be made to any outstanding balance or refunded, if you are paid in full. Or, you may call us (910-328-3221) to make the adjustments immediately and adjust charges appropriately. Sorry, you can not adjust the rates online without assistance.

Can you explain Travel Insurance? How is the rate computed? What does it cover?

Travel insurance is based on a percentage of your vacation package and we can provide a quote - in fact, our website does that automatically when you book online. You actually have to opt out of Travel Insurance. As for what it covers, we provide a link to the policy and if you have detailed questions we will direct you to speak with the insurance representative.

What are the rules of the beach? Can I have my dog on the beach? Can we use umbrellas or tents, or build a fire? Is alcohol permitted? Smoking? Camping?

As you know, there are three towns that make up Topsail Island. Each one has slightly different town ordinances, but in general, the rules are simple. Dogs can come to the beach! Just clean up after them and keep them leashed. Please don't bring your pup during the hottest time of the day, though! No open fires are allowed at the beach, and camping is also a no-no. You can have beverages like beer on the beach, but no glass bottles are allowed. Oh, and please drink responsibly! Smoking is ok but dispose of your butts properly. Umbrellas and tents are also ok, make sure to secure them because the wind can be powerful here on the coast! Also, be sure to remove all personal items at the end of the day, nothing may be left on the beach strand overnight or it will be confiscated by the town.

If you have more questions, please give us a call.

How do I get into the vacation home once I arrive? Do I pick up the keys at the Ward Realty office? Can I check in early?

Most of our homes use a keyless entry system and a code will be sent to you by text when your home is ready for check in. For the few homes that have a manual keyed entry you must pick up your key at our office and a text will be sent to you when your home is ready. The check in window is between 4-5:30 pm. We can not guarantee early check ins, and you will be notified once your home is cleaned and inspected and ready for you. That may be before 4 pm, but we can not guarantee any early check ins.

How do I report a problem with our rental?

If you discover a problem with your rental upon arrival, please call us at 910-328-3221. We will do our best to rectify the situation as quickly as possible, during normal business hours! For true emergencies we do have on call maintenance staff.

Is there good quality Wifi? Are there movie channels in my rental?

All of our rental homes have wifi standard. Each of our unique homes comes with a variety of TV and movie options. Please read the home's description for more information or give us a call for details. Please keep in mind that we are located on a barrier island and as such, service can occasionally be temperamental. Internet speed is wholly dependent on services provided in our area and may fluctuate during your stay, based on the number of users accessing services at any given time.

Where is the nearest beach access?

When you rent your home we provide the directions to the nearest beach access, and it's often found within the description of the home (or depicted in the photos). If your home is oceanfront, your access is literally right outside your door. Otherwise, most often the access is nearby, either across the street or just down the block.

Can I bring my boat? What about my kayak?

Some of our homes have deep water docks, some have shallow draft docks, and some have community day docks. If there is room to park your boat on a trailer in the driveway, you may also tow it to a public launch. You may also inquire about short term dock rental at one of the marinas. Click this link for our Advanced Property Search, then check off "Dock and/or Pier" to narrow down boat-friendly properties.

Can I rent items on Topsail (like sheets, bikes, kayaks, beach toys, umbrellas, and baby items)?

Yes, we have several rental companies on the Island that do a wonderful job providing these items and more. This can really help make your vacation easier!

Ward Realty also offers rental items such as bed and bath linens, miscellaneous baby and beach equipment and vacation essential kits (through Seaside Linens) to help make your trip down to Topsail Island easier (and lighter!). Our reservationists will be happy to assist you in scheduling these services or order online at the time you make your reservation. Click here to learn more.

What are our "check out duties"?

You are responsible for completion of the items on the Ward Realty check-out procedures list that will be emailed and texted to you one day prior to check out. Guests should leave the property as they found it upon check-in. You will need to remove all trash and recycling from the property, make sure all doors and windows are closed and locked, return furniture to where you found it, and wash all dishes.

The property you have reserved must be vacated by 9:30 AM sharp on your day of departure. If you were issued any keys, cards, or passes, please return them to our office. Please do not go back to the property once you have turned in your keys. If you plan to leave earlier than our office opens at 8:30 am, please leave any keys & parking/pool passes in the drop box to the left of the rental office door. A charge will be assessed for any electronic keys, passes, etc. lost or not returned. Please see your rental contract for more details.

What if we have to cancel our reservation?

If you have to cancel your reservation, no refund will be made until the property is re-rented for the same time period and rental rate (unless covered by purchased travel insurance). All cancellations must be in writing (e-mail is ok). A $100 cancellation fee, the reservation administration fee, third party credit card processing fee(s) and the travel insurance (if chosen) will be charged for any cancelled or changed reservation. WRC will make every effort to re-rent the property to minimize Guest's loss.

There will be no refunds given because of mandatory evacuations related to hurricanes, and you are encouraged to purchase travel insurance to cover this possibility.

Is there recycling on Topsail Island?

Yes! You will find two trash carts outside your rental home. One for regular trash, and one dedicated to recycling. Trash and recycling are picked up once or twice a week (depending on the season and town) and all information will be provided to you. You will be responsible for placing filled trash/recycling carts by the street (or other designated area) on the appropriate days each week.

If you want to share the importance of recycling, and keeping our environment clean for our endangered nesting sea turtles, plan a trip to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center in Surf City.