Making Rhode Island Your Home
Rhode Island may be the smallest state, but with over 400 miles of coasting and easy access to both Boston and New York City, it is an amazing place to call home. Three industry insiders have teamed up to answer our most frequently asked questions when it comes to relocating to the Ocean State.
The breathtaking exterior of 115 Narragansett Ave in Newport, listed with Kylie McCollough of Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty.
With the increase in remote work opportunities, we have seen a huge influx of clients looking to make Rhode Island their permanent residence. Whether you have been vacationing in Rhode Island for years or are just starting to explore the Ocean State, now is the perfect time to get serious about making Rhode Island your home.
The home buying process can be stressful, to say the least. Enlisting the right team from the beginning is absolutely the key to success- in fact, hiring an interior designer early on in the process can actually save you money in the long run, as can picking the right real estate agent to be your guide and ally. Thinking about making Rhode Island your home but filled with questions? Our founder + principal designer, Ally Maloney, has teamed up with two dynamic agents from the Mott & Chace team– Kylie McCollough and Midge Berkery– to share an insider’s perspective on life in the 401.
Q: WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT RHODE ISLAND?
Ally Maloney (AM): I love to be on the water, so between the coastline + the bay, there are plenty of opportunities for that. I also love the coastal farmland along the East Bay- Little Compton, Tiverton, Portsmouth and Middletown.
Kylie McCollough (KM): You really feel the change of the seasons and the passage of time. The landscape is stunning all year round. We have acres of fields that overlook the ocean and provide fresh produce to markets and restaurants and harbors filled with boats. There is so much natural beauty and life here. With an average elevation of only 200 feet above sea level and much of the state being coastal, the light and vistas are breathtaking.
Midge Berkery (MB): The proximity to everything is ideal- it is so easy to get to the beaches, surrounding cities and an abundance of transportation options within a small radius including T.F. Greene Airport in Warwick and the Amtrak + MBTA train stations. Having previously lived in New Jersey, the cost of living in Rhode Island stands out as a major plus as well- moving back to Rhode Island was eye opening to see how much more you can get for your money in the real estate market and beyond. When it comes to commuting, the ease and close proximity of Providence and the surrounding areas speaks volumes to the quality of life and overall lifestyle upgrade you can get when making the move to Rhode Island.
Q: WHAT MAKES RHODE ISLAND THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE?
AM: Our summers are amazing! There is no shortage of summer activities in Rhode Island- and even in the off season, it is a tranquil + beautiful place to be.
KM: The Ocean State lives up to its name- it’s just over 1,200 sq miles so you’re never far from water. We have beautiful beaches, nationally acclaimed restaurants and top ranked schools- as well as mild weather and easy access to other New England towns for fun weekend getaways.
MB: In general, New England is just such a beautiful place to live and experience the seasons. Rhode Island is optimally placed to make commuting to surrounding states a breeze- and when it comes to traveling within the state, you can get virtually anywhere within 45 minutes. Native Rhode Islanders have always known the beauty of the state, and with the post-COVID era influencing a shift to remote work, more and more people are trading the city life for homes in the Ocean State.
The open concept living space in #TheNewportCondo, designed by Maloney Interiors.
Q: IN YOUR OPINION, WHY IS THE OCEAN STATE A GREAT PLACE TO INVEST IN REAL ESTATE?
KM: Rhode Island is still an undervalued market- I believe we’ll continue to see growth in the future. It’s easily accessible from Boston, which is experiencing a boom in the biotech industry- much like we saw in Silicon Valley in the 80’s. Logistically, it’s an easier summer destination than Nantucket or The Hamptons with much of the same appeal. Glamorous galas, yachting and beautiful beaches.
MB: Rhode Island is always going to be a destination- and now with the shift to remote work, house values will continue to increase due to the proximity to beaches and other coastal offerings.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR BUYERS LOOKING TO PURCHASE A HOME IN RHODE ISLAND FOR THE FIRST TIME?
AM: For first time home buyers, including a designer in the process as early as possible is key to saving time and money- especially if you are buying a house that will require extensive renovations or considering building a custom home.
KM: My number one tip for new buyers is to hire a great broker who is an expert in the area you want to live in. Especially in this current market- many homes are sold even before being publicly listed.
MB: Definitely get pre-qualified by your lender and make sure you have a punch list of non-negotiables. Doing a bit of research into what neighborhood you want to focus your search in can put you ahead of the game as well. Picking the right real estate agent + company is paramount, especially in the current market as connections are everything when it comes to securing off market listings, etc.
An incredible aerial view of 0 Nayatt Road in Barrington, a 3.77 acre waterfront lot listed with Midge Berkery of Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty.
Q: WHAT CAN YOU SHARE ABOUT THE HOUSING MARKET IN RHODE ISLAND IN THE PAST YEAR?
MB: There has been a consistent uptick in closings, with prices on the rise and a shortage of inventory. Virtually every listing has had competing offers. We are constantly having homes pop on the market, however they are not lasting long. Now is the time to start the home buying process if you’re in the market for a Rhode Island property- don’t wait too long as prices continue to rise. The majority of my buyers lately have been from the surrounding urban areas.
Q: CAN YOU SHARE A FEW TIPS FOR THOSE THAT ARE LOOKING TO PURCHASE A HOME IN RHODE ISLAND AS A SECOND OR INVESTMENT PROPERTY?
AM: Location is everything. South County is an easy commute for Connecticut and New York residents- and boasts beautiful beaches that stretch from Westerly to Narragansett. On the flip side, the East Bay area is a perfect option for those coming from Boston. Little Compton, Middletown + Newport provide several beach options, incredible cuisine and bustling nightlife.
KM: Make sure you understand the local laws regarding rentals. Many cities have restrictions on Airbnb’s and other short term occupancy. Newport specifically has a very unique vacation market. Often investors chose to do what we call a 9/3. Where they rent the home for nine months to college students at a modest rate and then use the property themselves in the summer or rent it at a premium. Summer rents are typically four times that of the off-season rates per month.
MB: I have a lot of clients that know Rhode Island is the Ocean State but are not sure of which communities are more geared towards vacationers versus year round residents. Identifying which area you want to be in is crucial.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 5 FAVORITE PLACES / THINGS TO DO IN RI?
AM: Rhode Island has such an abundance of beautiful sights to see + things to do, however if I had to narrow it down to just five I would have to say:
- Walks through Colt State Park in Bristol
- Cruising through Narragansett Bay
- Cycling on the East Bay Bike Path
- An afternoon at Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard in Little Compton
- Lunch at Castle Hill Inn
- Sailing has to be number 1. Newport is the yachting capital of the world. Anytime you can get out on Narragansett Bay is a good day.
- A long lunch at The Lawn at Castle Hill always makes you feel like you’re on vacation. Their blood orange Bellinis are the best. Watching the boats go by from the Adirondack chairs never gets old.
- “Sachuest Point” is a National Wildlife Refuge with a 2.4 mile ocean view trail. It’s one of the most scenic places in the state and luckily right in my backyard. It’s my favorite place to run.
- The hottest ticket on Saturday Nights from June to September is Newport Polo. The tailgate chalets sell out months in advance but general admission is only $20 for adults and free for kids. Dogs are welcome! Mott & Chace is thrilled to be hosting a summer collaboration with Serena & Lily at each match- stop by chalet 70 centerfield for a cocktail and some Sotheby’s Swag.
- In the Winter and early Spring my go-to spot is The Bodhi Spa. The Water Journey is their signature treatment and it’s hydrotherapy heaven. 2 hours rotating between a Dead Sea salt soak, Infrared Sauna and the cold plunge. You will feel incredible after a session.
- Newport + Narragansett beaches
- Providence restaurants
- Going to a show at Providence Performing Arts Center
- Cycling on the East Bay Bike Path
- Day trips to Downtown Watch Hill
The kitchen of #TheNewportCondo, designed by Maloney Interiors.
Q: HOW CAN YOU HELP MAKE RHODE ISLAND HOME FOR YOUR CLIENTS?
AM: Maloney Interiors specializes in residential interior design projects of varying sizes and scopes, working on everything from new construction and top-to-bottom renovations to single room makeovers. No two projects are alike, and we like it that way. It is essential that we fully understand the client’s vision, and then draw upon our aesthetic ability to provide exceptional design guidance and project management expertise to surpass client expectations.
Every detail that matters to the client matters even more to us. Our clients are our greatest inspiration, from which we aspire to create a unique, timeless & distinctly excellent design. We have earned our client’s trust and appreciation through our care and devotion to them and their projects, and the finished product which is a unique home that reflects our client’s personality, taste and lifestyle.
KM: My relationship with my clients doesn’t end when I hand them the keys to their new home. Especially this past year when so many of my buyers were relocating from out of state. I’m their resource and advisor on schools, doctors, dentists, interior designers, hair dressers etc. I get texts daily even from clients that bought homes years ago asking for recommendations.
I believe the best way to engage in a new community is to give back so I like to try and connect new residents with non-profits and charities that match their interests. It’s a fantastic way to meet people and immediately gives them a sense of purpose.
MB: As a born + bred Rhode Islander, I know the state like the back of my hand. I am very genuine and upfront with my clients, taking pride to educate them on everything about Rhode Island.