Brunswick County Real Estate market trending in positive direction

By Sam Hickman
Brunswick Beacon
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 3:45 pm

BOLIVIA — As numbers from last year’s trickled in at the beginning of the year, local real estate brokers had plenty of reason to be enthused about the market again.

Annual sales numbers obtained by the Beacon last week show that Brunswick County had a 7 percent increase from 2013 to 2014 in total sales revenue, which mostly include the housing market, according to figures from the Brunswick County Association of Realtors.

Leland is not included in the data provided by the Brunswick County Association of Realtors because is part of the Wilmington area multiple listing services when data is compiled, Carolina Plantations owner and broker-in-charge Doug Terhune said.

Date show 3,232 total sales transactions in 2013 while 100-plus more sales were made in 2014 — a 3-percent increase.

Brunswick County Association of Realtors CEO Steve Candler and administrative assistant Cynthia Cumbee attribute to the rise of total sales revenue and transactions to an improving economy.

“We’re encouraged by these recent trends,” Candler said. “These numbers are reflected by the fact that membership has increased in the association in the last couple years. The economy is improving enough to bring these folks back in the fold.”

When the economy began to plummet in the mid- to late 2000s, the housing market was no longer one that benefitted sellers, association member and Realtor Bruce Williams said.

“I’ve never seen it in the industry drop so dramatically,” Williams said. “To see it move and turn in the right direction, like it’s doing now, is certainly heartwarming. When the economy began to struggle, it was as if everything was just going downhill. Buyers, sellers, Realtors, moving companies, plumbers, electricians, roofers, the economy affects all of those individuals.”

“Those were lean and scary times for Brunswick County,” Terhune said. “There were several factors that fueled the downturn.

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The leading edges of the baby boomers were starting to retire. Developers and builders in this region couldn’t cut down trees and put four stakes in the ground fast enough.

“Back then, we were really selling virtual communities. When the economy halted, many developers were so leveraged that when they didn’t have a revenue stream, they couldn’t continue to stay open. Within years, thousands of people who bought home sites in these virtual communities had to decide whether to pay mortgage on their home in Maryland or pay the mortgage on their home site in Ocean Isle Beach. The value of land precipitously dropped to, in some cases, as much as 5 to 10 percent of the prices paid by this group of baby boomers.”

Terhune credits the upward trends, in part, to much better interest rates.
“The interest rates have been huge,” he said. “People back in the 1980s, in that market they paid 11 to 16 percent interest in a home at one point. Four percent interest rates, that’s like free money.”

Carolina Plantations conducted market research that showed almost 10,000 to 15,000 baby boomers were retiring per day, Terhune said.

“If those people have the means, they want to leave high taxes,” he said. “They want to leave the cold weather. They want to leave the congestion. They want to leave the bad traffic. They want to go someplace warmer and affordable.”

When the economy took a downturn, the baby boomers no longer had the resources to leave their permanent homes in the northeast region of the United States.

Terhune said those with the resources to move are starting to buy homes in Brunswick County again for several reasons. Prospective buyers always look at what he calls “the stuff.”

“They don’t want to live in the big city,” he said. “They want to be near the beach in a warm climate in an area with great medical services, shopping, dining, entertainment and airport accessibility. That’s what they’re looking for. Those folks don’t want to be isolated.”

When Terhune analyzes the east coast between Richmond, Va., and the Georgia-Florida boundary, he knows why Brunswick County has been so successful in landing retirees.
“The only other area that has what Brunswick County has is perhaps Wilmington, and the Hilton Head (S.C.) areas,” he said. “But even with Wilmington, people want to move away from that congestion.”

Terhune pointed out places like the Outer Banks, which is too isolated, Charleston, S.C., which has a big-city feel, and Savannah, Ga., as areas where retirees don’t want to settle when moving from a populous area in the north.

“Brunswick County has the stuff these individuals are looking for,” he said. “Right now, we’re in a rooftop economy. Brunswick County is building lots of rooftops.”

Terhune said Ocean Ridge has more than 30 homes under construction; St. James, 100; Compass Pointe near Leland, more than 40; and Brunswick Forest, more than 90.

“Just with those communities, that’s more than 300 homes currently under construction in this area,” he said. “We’re in a rooftop economy. That’s a lot of rooftops.”

When the economy is strong, Candler added, it naturally increases the tax base.

“There’s an increase in the tax base through natural inflation or the services the county can provide the citizens,” he said.

Candler, Williams and Cumbee said they realized the economy would rebound from the worst recession the country has seen in several years.

“Our chief economist (with the National Association of Realtors), Lawrence Yun, said it’d be a 10-year cycle,” Williams said. “Everything we’ve heard from him since has been much of the same.”

While Candler is excited about the trends in Brunswick County, he doesn’t want prices on homes to skyrocket as a result.

“I think for the benefit of the county, the slow, steady increase in price of the units sold, it’d be best if they’d continue to increase by 4 to 7 percent,” he said. “An increase of that amount each year would be more manageable than the ups and downs of a roller coaster. A manageable market is better for buyers and sellers.”

“That’s right,” Cumbee said. “When you have big ups, that means the big downs are coming.”

Candler said, “For every mountain, there’s a valley. That’s what you have to be mindful of.”

Additionally, real estate brokers are seeing less and less distressed properties through Brunswick County. Distressed properties include foreclosures, short sales and bank-owned homes, among other properties.

In recent years, federal legislation had quite an impact on the local housing market, especially after the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 was passed.

The act, which would have caused a dramatic increase in flood insurance rates for homeowners, especially in the coastal region, was eventually repealed, but still created ripple effects throughout the local real estate industry, Candler said.

“It affected people in several ways,” he said. “People wanted to see if federal insurance was available, first of all. People wanted to see if they could sell their homes because of the rate increases.”

Legislation has since been passed that repealed the provisions of the Biggert-Waters Act, restoring confidence in those deciding whether to sell or buy their secondary homes on the coast.

“I anticipate when the flood maps are redrawn and approved, several homes will move from the VE zone to the AE zones, which is much more affordable when it comes to flood insurance,” Candler said. “This will once again increase home ownership in Brunswick County.”

The real estate industry is vital to Brunswick County, Candler said.

“It really is. We just don’t have the other types of industries the places like Raleigh have,” he said. “The pendulum swings better when the housing market is doing well. The sales taxes are better, more people are employed and individuals are spending the money they’re making back into the local economy. It certainly helps.”

Terhune is confident in Brunswick County’s real estate market moving forward.

“Remember the numbers,” he said. “There are 10,000 to 15,000 retirees a day. They all want to get the heck out (of the north). Brunswick County will grow. Think about it: This week, they’re getting ready for this colossal snowstorm. When they retire, they want out.

“Can you imagine how many people up there are on the Internet this week looking for places to retire? That’s where Brunswick County will benefit. Southern Realtors love snow. We love lots of snow as long as it falls up north. That serves as the catalyst for people making the decision to move.”

The economic downturn served as a learning tool for lots of people in Brunswick County, Terhune said.

“I’m glad we’re getting back to those times when the economy is trending in the right direction,” he said. “American learned a lesson. We removed the word ‘risk’ from real estate. We want stable, financially sound communities. Thank goodness they exist in Brunswick County today.”

Sam Hickman is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or shickman@brunswickbeacon.com.

Designing Your Dream Home

For those considering Brunswick County as a place to possibly retire to, one should be aware that our market for homes here is vastly different than what you have probably ever experienced before. It’s estimated that 80-85% of those who do settle in Coastal North Carolina wind up building their own home. Why? Because that is really the only way to truly get what you want.

So if you are a statistic in the vast majority, you really have some very important steps ahead of you in order to find your little slice of heaven here:

  • Find the area that best suits your needs (as in The Martini Theory
  • Find the Community/Plantation that matches your budget and activities
  • Find the Home (to be built) that meets your daily requirements
    • Find a Homesite to build your Dream Home on

Back in the 1990s and early to mid 2000s, anyone who wanted a custom home bought a homesite, found an architect/custom home designer, interviewed various builders and bid out their job. Today that probably represents 30% of the market as many local builders are building model homes again and 70% of those heading south are simply choosing an existing floor plan and modifying it to their liking. This accomplishes several things for the buyer:

  • The future owners can see the house before it is built. This alleviates the stress of making mistakes
  • This helps control costs as you are working from a base price for the home plus all the add ons.

The largest drawback to going in this direction is… that you could live in the same house as every 4th home on your street – thereby eliminating your signature on your Dream Home. The solution is designing your own home or making significant changes to an existing plan whereby the home would not be confused with the original plan.

If you venture in the direction of a Custom Built Home, you first start with a homesite. Purchasing a homesite is an art, if not a science, and this process should never be taken lightly as your homesite can drastically affect your lifestyle. Be sure you work with a land expert as there is much to consider:

  • Slope – the contour of your land can/will affect your drainage, cost to build, determine the style of home you can build, etc
  • Sun – knowing where the sun rises and sets is critical as a hot sun can ruin your late afternoons
  • Soil – homesites that are naturally wet can cause the owner significant water and or mold issues in the future
  • Shape/Dimensions – your home must fit comfortably on your homesite
  • Setbacks – you have to know these. Typically you cannot build within 10’ of the side of your property, 20-25’ from the front and 20-40’ from the back

So, let’s say that the below homesite is the one you have selected to build on. The dimensions are all shown and the setbacks are in place (gray shaded areas cannot be built on), so your home must be built within the white building envelope.

Build Home

As you study this plat of this homesite, there are 3 significant issues that must be taken into consideration before you consider placing a home on it.

  1. There is a small pond and nice but distant golf view available from this back left corner
  2. The back of this homesite is a Nature Preserve – so lots of privacy
  3. This part of the building envelope is the largest and offers the most room to build

Because of this information, there are a few things that the owners have determined:

  • They want to take advantage of the golf/water views
  • They want a pool but only if it is private
  • The garage will go on the right side where there is ample room

Based upon this information, designing the home is really quite simple and fun as you already have considerable information that will determine the floor plan. Yes there are a ton of details to work out, but we already know where certain rooms will be.

Build Dream Home

From the above, we add in the topography of the homesite, location of trees and the dimensions of the home, and Voila!

Build Dream Home Brunswick County

And if by chance you work with www.PlanViewDesign.com, you will be able to see the inside and outside of your home in full color 3D before you ever put a shovel in the ground. In addition, you will have tremendous input on what your Dream Home will look like as your feedback is critical to the process. This is YOUR HOME, not ours, so the more details you provide us, the more Haley from Plan View Design can incorporate into your home.

Model Home

And FYI, Plan View Design has designed homes in the following communities: Landfall, Ocean Ridge Plantation, St James, Brunswick Forest, Rivers Edge, Winding River Plantation, River Landing, Sea Trail, Brunswick Plantation, RiverSea Plantation, SeaScape at Holden Plantation, Ocean Isle Beach and more. Call Haley today for a free over the phone consultation at 910 754-9999 or Haley@PlanViewDesign.com

Carolina Plantation Real Estate – Best of Brunswick Award Winners!

Brunswick County Real Estate - Best of

After over 7,000 ballots were tallied, the readers of the Brunswick Beacon selected the winners of the Annual Best of Brunswick Awards – which are presented to the winners of over 70 categories. Out of  nearly 180 real estate agencies in Brunswick County, the people chose Carolina Plantations Real Estate as their third favorite real estate firm!!

I am extremely proud of our accomplishments as a small firm and it proves that our unique business model is successful. We were runner up to two extremely larger firms and congratulations to them for their efforts, and for us to even be considered amongst the giants, well, we truly are honored.

The teamwork in our office is unlike any real estate office in the region. We have weekly meetings where we share what is current in the market and trends in the industry. Our goal is to continually keep learning so that we can provide as much information as possible to our clients so that they can make well informed decisions.

Patty McGrath, Nancy Boston, Christopher Columbus Creekmore, Court Terhune, Nolan Payne, Peggy Earwood, Pat Coye and myself, Doug Terhune, make up Team Carolina Plantations. Our knowledge of the market is vast and of the area even larger. Our website has over 12,000 visitors per month because we make searching real estate easy and rewarding. Our office location on Hwy 17 is the best in the county and I think we have the largest real estate sign in North Carolina! And as you are probably aware, our monthly eNewsletter reaches over 27,000 email addresses – and its goal is to bring you interesting stories about real estate, local commerce, local movie production and more.

And to those of you who voted for us, we thank you for your support and next year we will add in a link to Carolina Dreamin’ where everyone would be welcome to vote on your favorite categories.

The Villages at Brunswick Forest

What really separates Brunswick Forest from all other communities in Brunswick County is The Villages at Brunswick Forest, in Leland, North Carolina. Sure you are only 8 minutes to the waterfront Historic downtown of Wilmington, NC from Brunswick Forest, but you may not even need to leave your own community for many of your day to day needs.

lg_001Entrance Night

Inside The Villages at Brunswick Forest, you will find (and all of these have been built within the past four years) a 45,000’ Medical Center (New Hanover Regional Medical Center) – which has all your basic doctors; Blue Wave Dentist office; CVS Pharmacy; BB&T Bank; Lowe’s Grocery Store – regional upscale chain; Pizzetta’s Italian Restaurant – Sal and Vito are from NYC!; Murray Framing & Art Studio; Port City Java – areas #1 Coffee Chain; Veterinary Hospital with grooming and boarding and more.

Coming Soon (as in currently under construction) are Tideline Fabrics – complete window treatments and fabrics for your home; Cosmetic Surgery Center; Builder and more!!

Call Carolina Plantations Real Estate today at 910 755-7557 for a complete tour of The Villages at Brunswick Forest, the community of Brunswick Forest, Leland, Wilmington and all other communities that might suit your needs.

The Listing Agent

Listing Agent

For the most part, either you specialize in listing homes or selling homes. The majority of Realtors do both but, sooner or later each finds their niche. Today I want to explore some myths and realities about “The Listing Agent,” and since I never practiced real estate anywhere else, my observations should not be projected outside of SE NC.

Getting listings can be easy or as tough as you want to make it. A fair number of Realtors simply log onto their local MLS on a daily or regular basis and research the list of properties that expired that day. They either send letters or call these Sellers and ask for their business. Now, do these potential listing agents have excellent knowledge of the property that they are canvassing? Probably not but of course there are a handful that do. Therefore, the danger in responding to solicitors wanting to list your property are that they may have little to no knowledge of your community and property. They simply want you to list with them because this is what they know.

If you spend your time chasing listings, you probably don’t have a source to secure Buyers. There’s nothing wrong with filling out paperwork all day long and uploading listings on MLS, but that means you are not in the field working with Buyers – the people that Buy your listings. Our market in Brunswick County is unique because the majority of the 20+ Plantations here don’t permit signs on the properties, so possible Buyers typically have to secure a Buyer’s agent to help them find the real estate that matches their requirements, vs calling someone with a sign in the front yard.

Anyone can list real estate. Other than 60 minutes of paperwork, it takes no talent whatsoever so therefore, one must ask themselves what intrinsic value does each potential Listing Agent bring to the table? Are they Master Negotiators? Do they advertize in the local paper or in other states? Are they skilled in working with a camera? Do they possess a historical perspective of your community sales? Do they hold community and or Broker Open Houses? Have they sold a bunch of real estate in and or around your community? Are they the only ones that would negotiate the Realtor Fee?

What you are looking for is someone who can bring in Buyers, right? If you said yes to this non trick question, than be sure to ask your potential Listing Agent where they get Buyers. If they simply rely upon other Brokers to do so, which a large percentage does – than NEXT! And as a Buyer’s Agent, one of the comments I loathe from Listing Agents is “hey Doug, are you going to sell my listing today?” Seriously, that is your strategy?

Last year Carolina Plantations sold more real estate in Brunswick Plantation, Rivers Edge, SeaScape, Brunswick Forest and several other communities because we work with a lot of Buyers. Where does your Buyer live? Well, if you live here in Brunswick County, your Buyers are in NJ, MD, VA, PA, MA, NY and so on. So ask your potential Listing Agent this question – “what advertising do you do in those aforementioned states”? Ever see a Possum in the headlights?

In defense of Listing Agents, probably 90% of Realtors representing Buyers do not provide feedback after a showing, and the reason is very simple: They are chasing a sale and have no time to do anything but find their clients what they are looking for. This is very frustrating for Sellers and we in the industry acknowledge this but we do have to prioritize and maximize our time. What Sellers can take to the bank is that if your property is at the top of the list, the Buyer’s agent will usually contact the Listing Agent with questions.

Many good Listing Agents work off of referrals – which mean they earned someone’s respect enough to have their name passed along. Do your research and see what kind of marketing your potential Listing Agent does in the states/regions/towns where your Buyers live. In Brunswick County, advertising in local papers is almost solely for the enjoyment of the Sellers as residents here don’t move across town or across the county (an exception could be beach homes). However, in other markets that have cross town transactions, local papers are important.

We are not a traditional market here in Brunswick County and for what it is worth, www.CarolinaPlantations.com is the #1 most viewed website for nearly every single Plantation in Brunswick County. Just Google a handful of Plantations here and we are either #1 or #2 in the search results. That is how we make sure that we are in every living room, office and kitchen in the world. And oh, we also are the only real estate firm in North Carolina that sends out an informative monthly email to over 28,000 email addresses – which you already knew because, well, you are reading Carolina Dreamin’ right now!! 🙂

Designing Your Dream Home

I can remember it like yesterday, but it was 11 years ago. I was working with a couple from the DC area and we were looking at homesite T2-8 on Heatherwood Court in Winding River Plantation. My clients were having trouble visualizing a home sitting on this vacant lot, so I had them turn their backs to the property and look directly across the street at a brand new home. I put my arms up as to frame the home and said “take a mental picture of this home and simply turn slowly towards T2-8 behind you”. The couple both put up their arms, took a mental picture of the home and moved around 180 degrees and placed the image of the home on the homesite.

The wife said that this was very helpful but the husband quizzically said ‘but where’s the driveway?” Wow! I turned him back around 180 degrees and said that it is still on the left side of the home. Apparently he could move the home across the street but not the driveway.

It is not uncommon nor should it be embarrassing that one or both people in a relationship do not possess good visualization skills, so in late 2007 when a client from Ocean Ridge Plantation called me to introduce this truly amazing and wonderful company called Plan View Design, I made a beeline over to their office here in Shallotte. I sat in front of this 45” monitor and saw CAD drawings come to life in full color 3D. My jaw slammed on the desk as I felt as I was the first one to discover/invent the internet!

PlanViewDesign

Plan View Design quickly became the leading custom home design firm in Brunswick County as not only homeowners were delighted to employ such a tool but, many local builders also saw the numerous advantages to working with 3D Designs. A year later I had the opportunity to purchase the company and PVD has designed over 200 custom built homes in Southeastern NC since.

Clients/Builders quickly learn that they can request changes to the structure, materials, paint colors and so on both inside/outside the home and typically get them returned the next day. According to Haley Wilson, VP of Plan View Design, “homeowners often don’t know what floor plan will work for them until after we combine a survey of their property, a set of their HOA building guidelines, budget, personal lifestyle and personal selections (granite, paint colors, flooring, lighting, materials, etc.). Once the first draft is completed, PVD clients are provided a downloadable viewer to see their plans from the comfort of their own home and/or office.

Local builders that have worked with PVD include Ernie Crews, Blue Sky Building Company, Barker & Canady, Mark Saunders Luxury Homes, Sacchetti Construction, Ward Construction, Whitney Blair, Homes of Distinction, Plantation Building Corporation, Bill Clark Homes and more. Communities where you can find PVD homes include Ocean Ridge Plantation, Landfall, Sea Trail, Rivers Edge, SeaScape, St James Plantation, Brunswick Forest, River Landing, Waterford, Winding River Plantation, RiverSea Plantation and throughout Brunswick County beaches.

In addition to seeing your home from every possible angle before the first shovel is in the ground, homeowners are encouraged to seek bids from several builders as America’s free enterprise system will save you Ten$ of Thousand$ of Dollar$. “If you don’t go out for bids, how will you know if you are getting a good price,” according to Doug Terhune, owner of Plan View Design.

If you have a homesite and/or are considering acquiring a homesite, Plan View Design can design your home anywhere in the world, so please visit www.PlanViewDesign.com and take our virtual tour on the bottom of the home page plus, please view our Gallery of Homes and see if you can detect which is 3D and which is real! Contact Haley Wilson, CPBD (Certified Professional Building Designer) for ALL of your design needs, as PVD is a full service custom home design firm. (local builders build homes from our plans) We share the new Carolina Plantations Real Estate building on Hwy 17 in Shallotte right next to The Golden Corral restaurant. 4660 East Coast Lane Shallotte, NC 28470 910 754-9999

Eliminate. Eliminate. Eliminate.

In every job we accept, we learn at least one thing. Right/Wrong, Good/Bad – as long as our brain is still sending impulses to the rest of our bodies, we must be learning something at work. Perhaps not everyday nor as often as we wish, but learning happens. In fact, I feel very comfortable that I would not be alone by stating that I learned more about how “not” to manage people and a company from my previous employers than learning the correct way to manage. Sound familiar anyone?

At the end of 2001, I made a bold personal decision to leave a 20 year career in Industrial Automation and jump into real estate – an industry that had long piqued my interest. My first boss in the business was an ear to ear grinner from the Bay State that provided me the basic platform of information needed to be successful in this arena. Dan Shattuck was one of those rare bosses whose teachings were actually valuable and had practical use.

My first gig was at Winding River Plantation in Brunswick County, NC. Our sales office, which was several attached mobile homes with a teal colored metal roof, is still located on the corner of Hwy 211 and Zion Hill Road. Dan had been with the Blue Green Corporation for about seven years and had recently relocated from a project at Fairfield Glade in Tennessee. Dan liked to teach and well, I needed to learn, so it proved to be a good combination.

Something Dan shared with me 11 years ago still rings very true today, and that is when people come down to Brunswick County to visit St. James, Sea Trail, Ocean Ridge, Brunswick Plantation, Winding River Plantation, Rivers Edge, Crow Creek, Brunswick Forest, etc., they are actually coming down to eliminate. In addition to eliminating communities/plantations, many of our clients have other destinations to preview such as Charleston, Asheville, Florida, Hilton Head, and so on. Dan explained that on someone’s first visit down, your #1 goal was to make sure you are on their list for their second visit down!

Whether it is a conscious thought or not, people are eliminating as they tour each area, home and community. And this is a good thing because if you don’t eliminate the possibilities, your search for that perfect community to retire to will stall.

HomeChart

So if you have yet to set out on your journey to find retirement utopia, do yourself a huge favor and write down a list of destinations and communities that are in the running. At the end of every day of your search, eliminate something. Could be just a home style, a community or a particular town, but make progress and you will be grateful as every strike of the pen gets you one step closer to the rest of your life!

Trickle Down Economy

Don’t worry; Carolina Dreamin’ is not going political! Trickle Down Economy is an original concept from Carolina Plantations Real Estate, located in beautiful Shallotte, NC. “Trickle Down Economics” was a phrase first used by humorist Will Rogers during the Great Depression, who laid the framework of money at the top trickling its way down to the needy.  And of course during the 80s we all remember that President Reagan made this pretty much a household phrase.

Brunswick County, NC is located just south of Wilmington and north of Myrtle Beach. We have five wonderful islands – Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach, Oak Island and Bald Head Island. Up until the early 80s, that was about all that there was here. Then some bright developers began to carve out these large sprawling communities on the mainland so that Carolinians could have an alternative to beach homes while also offering a place to possibly retire to. Some of the early ones were Sea Trail, Brick Landing, Briarwood and Lockwood Folly.

The second wave of plantations were introduced in the early to mid 90s, and included icons such as St. James Plantation, Ocean Ridge Plantation, Winding River Plantation and Magnolia Greens. But something was different about this gated group as they began marketing to points north of the Mason Dixon. Yes everyone, I am talking Yankees! Yankees, right here in our back yards! Imagine that?

One firm that deserves special credit to the north’s eyes being opened to the great opportunities here in Southeastern NC is RPI Media in Wilmington. The president of RPI is a friend of mine and he branded the name “LiveSouth” and created the LiveSouth Real Estate Expos, which were held annually in New Jersey, Long Island, DC, Greenwich, Boston and other rotating cities. These shows introduced Southern Hospitality to the Northern ways of life and helped many discover a hidden paradise here on the coast of North Carolina.

In order for these plantations to sell homesites and Dream Homes to be constructed, they needed lots of people looking. When growing up in NJ I remember someone saying that you have to throw a lot of spaghetti at the wall for some to stick, and well, the marketing arms of these communities brought in more spaghetti than they knew what to do with!

Brunswick County is a Trickle Down Economy. When people up north retire, inherit money, cash in stocks and sell their homes, a right good many of them head our way. It’s not like the faucet here today is on full blast like years of past here but, eventually the Coastal Carolinas receive their fair share of “Trickle”. 

A few weeks ago I was at the home of Eileen and Pat Scanlon, who recently moved into their beautiful home in Brunswick Forest that coincidentally was designed by Plan View Design! They held a St. Patrick’s Day party and of the 30 or so guests, I was the only one NOT from Longa Island! What I found interesting though was how many were going on about how hot the market is right now on Longa Island and elsewhere, as home are selling relatively quickly and inventory is dwindling. Gee, do you think Hurricane Sandy, massive snow storms, ridiculously high taxes and traffic out the kazoo have anything to do with this? Hmmmm??! 🙂

Our market here heats up when the market up north heats up, and the trickle seems to be gaining force every day. For example, I have really never tracked the number of monthly leads we receive here at Carolina Plantations but between walk-ins, call-ins and internet leads, we had 150 leads in February! Part of this is attributable to our very visible new location and building on Hwy 17 in Shallotte, which comes with our 35’ illuminated sign that is the biggest real estate sign in North Carolina! So, when you are ready to trickle down or have friends that are considering trickling down, please call Pat, Nancy, Chris, Patty and Doug so we can provide them with the best overall experience available.

Carolina Plantations??

Carolina Plantations Logo

Recently while showing homes in one of Brunswick Counties’ finest communities, we ran into some folks that recognized our name badges and they went on to say that they love reading our monthly eNewsletter – Carolina Dreamin’. In fact, one of the women provided positive feedback on the March article concerning my trip to Buffalo in the middle of the winter, and so for a minute I was almost, well, honored that she not only read the article but had near total recall of my little journey.

That all ended when she looked right at me and said “I really love reading Carolina Dreamin’ every month but, just who is Carolina Plantations”?

At the end of 2006, after spending five years between two top local developers and a large general real estate brokerage, I formed Carolina Plantations Real Estate. Although we are a general real estate brokerage like Century 21, Keller Williams, etc., we truly focus on a very specific niche, which is working with folks who are exploring our area for a place to retire and or purchase a second home.

The typical real estate brokerage firm will have a great understanding of the market within a 3-5 mile radius of their office. Agents there know their specific geographic area very well and are dedicated to opening up as many doors as need be till you find the right home/condo/townhome, etc. Ask them however to tell you about or show you real estate 20-30 miles from their comfort zone and well, chances are they might refer you to another firm.

To be considered for a Broker position at CPs, one must obtain knowledge of all the major plantations/communities within a 30-50 mile radius. This is a lot of knowledge, and we are not exaggerating as very few brokerages, if any, can show you homes at Brunswick Plantation in Calabash in the morning, homes in Landfall @ Wrightsville Beach in the afternoon followed by homes at St James and Brunswick Forest tomorrow.

We know that in order to serve our clients proficiently, we need to be able to learn about what is important to them and in essence, prescribe a solution. And for those of you not yet familiar with our almost famous Martini Theory, not only do we know the plantations, but we will point out all the good restaurants, shopping venues, golf courses, medical facilities, culture and more shopping!

To no surprise, the majority of our clients require at least one visit if not two or three visits. And if we could pass this along to you if in fact you are searching for a place to retire or purchase a second home, your goal is simple: Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate! The last area/plantation/home left standing wins!

Nancy, Pat, Chris, Patty and myself thank those of you who are currently working with us or have done so previously. Oh, and we certainly cannot forget Haley Wilson, the most decorated custom home designer in Brunswick County. Haley is the Vice President of our sister company Plan View Design, which is the only firm in Southeastern, NC that designs your Dream Home in full color 3D, utilizing the power of Chief Architect Software. The process is extremely interactive as your feedback is crucial to your finished design plus, you get to see your future residence from the comfort of your own home or office prior to groundbreaking. www.PlanViewDesign.com

In 2012, Carolina Plantations was the 19th largest by volume real estate Company in Brunswick County while Plan View Design was probably the #1 custom home design firm. We sold more real estate in fine communities like Brunswick Plantation, SeaScape, Brunswick Forest, Rivers Edge and RiverSea than any other firm in our area. We did it though by having fun along the way and are always honored to be involved in one of the most important decisions in your life!

2012 In Review

On behalf of the best real estate and custom home design teams on the east coast, Nancy Boston, Pat Coye, Court Terhune, Haley Wilson, Christopher Columbus Creekmore, Patty McGrath and myself Doug Terhune, wish for each of the 30,000+ recipients of our monthly eNewsletter a wonderful 2013!

2012 got off to a slow start for just about everyone in real estate here in Coastal NC, but by April we started clicking on all cylinders and finished with a very strong three quarters. For six years running, Carolina Plantations Real Estate increased our sales vs the previous year. We were very pleased with record sales of $14,032,915 as we welcomed over 100 families! That is an increase of 10% over 2012 and places us as one of the Top 20 Real Estate firms in Brunswick County, NC. Total MLS sales in the county also increased and here are Residential Home Sales in Brunswick County over the past 5 years:

Brunswick County Total Sales: Year By Review

Over the past six years, Carolina Plantations has established itself as the #1 Relocation Specialists in Southeastern North Carolina. Our company philosophy is different from every other firm in Coastal North Carolina, as our clients are almost solely living in points due north of us and are looking to retire or purchase a second home here. We list quite a bit of property but our forte is assisting those that are considering Brunswick County as a second home or place to retire to. In fact, here is how we ranked in a handful of local plantations in 2012.

Carolina Plantations Ranking Brunswick County
I would be kidding you if I didn’t say that we are really proud of this accomplishment but more importantly, we are thankful that we had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful clients again this year. And btw, a good portion of them found that Coastal NC worked for them but, a few others found that it didn’t – and that is fine with us because unless you get down here and look, how will you know?

If I were to describe our typical clients, they own snow shovels, have built up considerable equity in their homes, want a fun community with lots of activities, don’t want to spend a lot on memberships, are budgeting between $250,000 – $400,000 for their Dream Home, don’t want to live somewhere remote and are 1-2 years away from pulling the plug on their careers and hopefully selling their homes.

In Southeastern NC, a typical Realtor usually has a small geographic territory (3-5 miles) that they work within. The old adage of working within one’s comfort zone is very apropos here. At Carolina Plantations, our Brokers are extensively trained and continually schooled weekly on understanding ALL options that our clients might throw at us. We must be proficient on ALL of Brunswick County – including intimate knowledge of Wilmington and Myrtle Beach. However, in order for our clients to really experience all their options, they must plan a day or two with us just to learn the lay of the land.

And FYI, our tours of Wilmington and Brunswick County are legendary as we focus on beaches, golf, shopping, dining, medical, entertainment and more shopping! 🙂

In Brunswick County there are over 20 plantations, and for one person/couple to drive in each one of them, meet the onsite sales representatives and spend 3-4 hours looking at homesites and spec homes would honestly take over a week. Our Brokers (who are also Realtors), once they learn about what you are looking for, will immediately reduce the number of plantations in half if not even more. Then when it is time to visit us, in one day we can provide you (for example) with a very thorough and personal tour of St James, Brunswick Forest, Ocean Ridge and Rivers Edge. All the while though we are listening and better understanding your needs, which by the way, often change once you come down and see your options firsthand.

Our business plan, which is continually evolving, looks something like this:

Carolina Plantations Business Plan

To the thousands of you that have already worked with us, we appreciate your faith in us as we are truly honored to have been part of your search. To those of you who have begun or are thinking of beginning your search, we hope that you provide us with that opportunity and we will work hard to gain your trust. (also see www.TheRetirementHandbook.com for tips on retiring)

2012 was a very good year as we reduced our inventories considerably (especially Bank Owned Properties) and welcomed thousands of new families. Therefore, prices will begin moving upwards in 2013 as we have already begun to see this occur in several plantations. Interest rates are still at historic lows (but might not be for long) and the economy continues to expand. 2013 will be a stronger year – so call us today at 910 755-7557 to arrange a visit before we get back to a Seller’s Market!