Frequently Asked Questions

We hope this page will guide you with your booking and give you detailed answers to many questions that we are asked. After going over how to make a reservation and the details within your reservation, we have alphabetized the following list of details for your review. If find you still have not found an answer to your question, please give us a call or email us at [email protected]

When booking a reservation
Starfish Rentals and Realty wants to help you find the best house for your family gathering! Unfortunately, we do not rent to house parties and you must be 25 years old to sign a lease. You can search the date online to see if it is available at the house of your choosing. If you choose to call our reservations department, we will need the week that you are planning to visit and we will check on the availability of the property you desire. We will also need your name, address, and cell phone number. After making your reservation you will receive a Rental Agreement via email. Upon receipt of your Rental Agreement, please review the agreement, sign the agreement and initial where appropriate (pet friendly homes require two signatures), and scan/email or fax the agreement back to us. Your advance payment of half the balance is due within three business days. Your reservation al is not confirmed until both the payment and the signed Rental Agreement is received. The balance remaining is due 30 days before your arrival. We do accept personal checks and all credit cards except American Express. For last minute reservations, we only accept credit card payments.

We will only release keys to the person who signed the contract, so please make arrangements with our staff if you will not be the first person arriving in your party.

Making a reservation for the next year
We offer our guests the first right of refusal, meaning – you will have until 5pm on your check-out day to rebook your same week and same home for the upcoming season. If you do not re-book, it will become available to anyone to rent for that week next year. Just let us know if you would like to claim your same week during your stay!

Reservation Charges
Upon receiving your Rental Agreement, you will find the following items on your agreement:.
  • Linens (optional)
  • Security Deposit amount will vary by property. After your departure, we will carefully inspect the property. This deposit will be returned to you within 45 days after your departure, if no damage occurs, you leave unit in "as found" condition and keys and pool passes are returned. If upon our inspection, damages have been found or phone charges were left unpaid or linens, inventory missing, etc., these charges will be deducted from your security deposit.
  • Travel Insurance With CSA. This optional insurance will cover you against losing your deposit due to several factors. There is a link to CSA on our FAQ tab with all the details and a 1-800 number for you to call with any questions. YOU MUST INITIAL THE APPROPRIATE PLACE ON THE RENTAL AGREEMENT IN ORDER TO DECLINE THIS INSURANCE.
  • Onslow County Tax: The tax rate is 13% consisting of 6.75% State tax, 3.25% Onslow county tax, 3% North Topsail Beach tax. Tax rates are subject to change without notice.
  • Pender County Tax: The tax rate is 12.75% consisting of 6.75% State tax, 3% Pender county tax, 3% Topsail Beach & Surf City tax. Tax rates are subject to change without notice and at the discretion of the county, not Starfish Rentals and Realty.
  • Reservation Fee: There is a $50 processing fee charged for each reservation.
  • Pet Fee: If your cottage accepts pets there is a nonrefundable fee of at least $200 per pet.
  • Hot Tub Activation: Homes that have a hot tub require a $150 hot tub activation fee for activation.
  • Pool Heat: All heated pools carry at least a $250 heating fee during the Mid and Off season. Heated pools are not heated during summer. Heated pools will only heat to about 10 degrees higher than the outside temp and pools will not be heated when the outside temperature goes below 60 degrees.
  • Wedding/Event Fees: Some of our homes will allow weddings and events. There is a $1500 minimum fully-refundable wedding damage deposit and a $500 minimum wedding charge. All weddings must be approved by Starfish Rentals and Realty.
Check In/Check Out
All keys are picked and must be returned to the Starfish Rentals and Realty office.

Check-in begins at 3:00 PM and ends at 6:00 PM. We make every effort to ensure all of our rental homes are clean and ready for occupancy by 3PM. There may be an unusual circumstance that will delay your check-in. If this occurs, we will notify you immediately so be sure we have your cell number on file!
Should you arrive before 3pm, do stop by our office and pre-register. We will take your cell number and call you when the home is ready. Do not go to the house prior to receiving the keys to check-in. This may cause confusion with the inspectors and cleaners and will delay your check-in to the home.

Please alert us before your check-in day if you plan to check-in after hours. Our staff will explain our after-hours check-in procedures to you. In order for you to receive a late check-in, your account must be in good standing and you must have a zero balance on your account.

Leaving Topsail Island is hard! Check-out is no later than 10:00 AM sharp on your date of departure. Guest check-out duties* should be completed and home keys and rental items returned to our office. If you plan to leave earlier than the 9:00 AM, please place your keys in our drop-of box located just outside our office front door. For missing keys, there is a $25 fee that will be deducted from your Security Deposit. Missing pool passes and key fobs will be charged according to the Home Owner’s Association for that unit.
*Check-out duties are included in your welcome packet and are listed on your rental agreement. Failure to follow these steps could affect your security deposit.

Beach Equipment
Beach equipment cannot be left out overnight on any of our beaches on Topsail Island. It will be picked up and thrown away by the local authorities.

Please notify us as soon as possible If you have to cancel your reservation. All cancellations must be received in writing. We will try to re-rent the time booked and will refund your cancelled reservation ONLY IF THE UNIT IS RE-RENTED FOR THE FULL TIME RESERVED. There is a $350 administration fee for all cancellations. We will refund partial reservations for the time re-booked.

Errors and Omissions
We have put forth every effort to insure that the information on our website is 100% accurate. However, we cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions on our web pages, bed arrangements, appliances and equipment, or changes in prices. All properties are privately owned and changes may have been made to some of the properties or their contents subsequent to the publishing of this web page. Tenant understands that the functionality of amenities managed by home owners associations are out of the control of the management company.

Handicapped Accessible
Starfish Rentals and Realty does not manage any homes that are considered fully "handicapped accessible." We do have some homes with elevators and other features that make them more handicapped-friendly, but they do not necessarily meet the requirements to be advertised as truly "handicapped accessible." We will be happy to assist in finding a home that may fit your needs!

Linens and Cleaning

You have the option of bringing your own linens or renting them. You will be asked at the time you make your reservation if you would like to rent linens. Linens include sheets and pillow cases for the beds, towels, hand towels and wash cloths. Kitchen towels are not included with your linen rental and neither are beach towels. We do offer the option of purchasing kitchen towel sets for your visit. The rented linens will be in your unit when you arrive or shortly thereafter.

Cleaning of your rental property will be included in your reservation total. However, you still have the responsibility to pick up and organize the unit, clean and put away dishes and remove all trash and food/drink from the property. If we find your unit to be excessively dirty there will be additional cleaning charges applied and taken out of your security deposit.

New Construction
New Construction is taking place on Topsail Island. We cannot be responsible for homes that may be under construction next to or near the home you rent. New construction may also alter the views from homes. Please realize that this is a matter beyond our control. Refunds or substitutions cannot be made for this situation.

Property Types
We have several property types in our listings and they are described as follows:
Condo – Located in a community or building with multiple floors and shared amenities.
Duplex or Townhome – Units that are attached to another unit and may be included in larger community or similar housing types.
Single Family – These properties are constructed on a private lot and not attached to an adjoining unit.

Property Locations
We use the following terms to describe our properties and their location:
Ocean-front – Properties located on the ocean front with direct beach access. In the case of a condo type property or a duplex, the beach access may be shared with the community where the unit is located.
Oceanview – The Property is located without direct ocean access but with views of the ocean.
Oceanside – Properties located on the ocean-side of the street that may or may not have a direct beach access. You will not have to cross the street to get to the beach and you may have a shared beach access.
Island Interior – Property without direct ocean access, not second row and may or may not have ocean or sound views.
Second Row – Property located directly across the street from the ocean.
Canal Front – Property located along a manmade waterfront canal with access to navigable water.
Sound-front – Property located on the sound or Intracoastal Waterway.
Soundview – Property located on the sound or marsh side with views of open water or marsh area.

For the single-family properties and duplex properties, please park only in the available spaces provided at the property. Parking next door is not advised or allowed and this may cause your car to be towed at your expense. RV’s, buses, and other oversized cars are not permitted to be parked at any time without express written permission. Most of our condo and duplex neighborhoods are limited to two or three cars. Some of these areas have specific overflow parking areas and some do not. If you have specific questions regarding the parking at your rental home, please be sure to ask for further information.