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!

What is the Cost of Risk?

Risk

Can you buy risk? No, not the old board game, but rather the intangible that has brought down mega conglomerates, countries and the one that has humbled millions of people. Does Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Niemen Marcus or Amazon carry it in their inventories? Chances are that if your retirement is on your horizon, you are going to be fairly risk aversive compared to the days of your youth, correct?

During the middle 2000s I was in real estate and experienced firsthand the almost total abandonment of the fear of the word risk. Good, hardworking, smart and diligent couples and individuals invaded our sleepy coastline and bought everything and anything they could. And I am talking anything here, as much of what was purchased was merely speculative in nature. (It was eerily similar to the 90s when people purchased tech stocks without doing any research on the firms they were invested in.)

Several of the larger plantations here and across the USA simply couldn’t cut down trees and put up four stakes fast enough due to the voracious appetite of the consumer. To many, there was MORE RISK at NOT purchasing a third of an acre dream homesite or 1,000’ condo than staying home and minding their own business. There were even lotteries where perhaps 100 homesites were released on any given weekend in 2006 yet, the sales and marketing machines brought in 150 Buyers to gobble them up. Many of those that lost out on the lottery went home in tears. Lucky them though, right?

Fast forward to 2013 and the market is coming back. Even a few of the abandoned communities where people sank a good portion of their savings into are beginning to be resuscitated. So the question now that has to be answered is have Americans learned their lesson? Are we a more risk aversive society today than half a decade ago?

In years past, American Pioneers were often rewarded for their vision and bravery and while that is still not out of the realm today, most folks have learned from the failures of the last wave of unlucky risk takers. Yet as you peruse the landscape of retirement type communities up and down the east coast, there is still plenty of risk out there.

So with regards to retirement and real estate, what are the risks that one must be aware of as you search from east to west and north to south?

INVENTORY
Relax, there is plenty of inventory today in most areas
Years back, the lack thereof is what really drove the market. That and good sales hype!!
Brunswick County probably has 10+ years of inventory of developed homesites
Many homeowners are waiting for the market to turn before they put their homes on the market – so while the home inventory is good, there are many to yet be listed
There are a few exceptions today, and those are the few communities that are offering not only a good product (as in amenities, activities, homes, etc.), but a significant reduction of risk

INFRASTRUCTURE

  • If it isn’t there, can you afford to be there? 
  • The cost of installing roads, which includes water and sewer lines, sidewalks, curbs, storm water drains and landscaping is very costly – not to mention the engineering site plans and permits
  • For example, in 2004 the approximate fully burdened (above costs plus sales & marketing expenses) cost to improve a homesite was $25,000. Today the cost is over $40,000. 
  • Community infrastructure also includes on site drainage ponds, community entrances, gate houses, easements and much more

AMENITIES

  • Once again, if it is promised but not yet built, can you afford to wait? And what happens if the sales team winds up being wrong? What is your real estate worth then? What happens to your retirement lifestyle? What if? What if? What if?…
  • If the amenities that are not yet built are important to your lifestyle when you retire, is there really no other community that can provide you comfort? Examples would be golf courses, indoor or outdoor pools, walking trails, fitness center, tennis courts and more

DEVELOPER

  • With the abundant information available to everyone today via the internet, do yourself a favor and Google your clients name. Spend some time and go to the third or fourth page and if by then you don’t see any negative blogs, chances are you should be ok
  • You can also check in with the local town or county government office where the community is and ask local officials if there is anything you need to know about your possible developer
  • There are good developers and those that for one reason or another, are not solid enough to invest your entire future with. Do your research on not only your developer, but perhaps your builder as well, as last thing you want is to live in a home without a roof!

Cruise Ship

Recently 3,350 thrill seeking passengers set sail on the Carnival Triumph to Mexico. They were in the middle of the ocean when a fire broke out that crippled the ship. It was an unfortunate incident but cruising anywhere consists of risk – considerable risk when you think about it. If done properly, removing risk from retirement or anything else you partake in can lead to a more enjoyable life. So do your research and try not to purchase too much risk because at the end of the day, you might not be able to afford it!! 🙂

Welcome to Niagra Falls

Niagra falls

As the Spirit airlines jet touched down the flight attendant said “Welcome to Niagara Falls International airport.” Subconsciously I wondered when the Buffalo International airport was renamed. So as I got to baggage claim and car rental kiosk, I found that I had landed in NFIA but, booked my rental car reservation for the BIA.

Of course Alamo, the only rental agency at the airport, was fresh out of cars and so in a heavy snow I walked off the airport grounds to the local Budget agency, where I was promised a reservation on the phone. When I got there, of course the young agent Manny had no cars. Double ugh. Approximately 30 minutes later, I drove off the airport in only one of three cars assigned to this location. Don’t ask.

After living in Milwaukee three years, Boston seven and growing up in northern NJ, I have considerable hours logged driving in snow. What I quickly was reminded though of my years of experience is that it’s not fun. Not only am I running late for my rendezvous, but I was having a time of it trying to drive and read the map(sorry, just bought an Iphone and hadn’t learned to use the Map ap). Then my entire attention was diverted to my windshield, as I quickly was blinded by a frozen snow and sleet combination that grew worse every 10 feet I drove. Thank goodness the rental had washer fluid but I was 110% committed to trying to see where I was going through a horrible continually dirty windshield.

To make issues worse, the roads in Niagara Falls are narrow and often filled with pot holes, which along with double towed 18 wheelers and yikes, what a mess! My biggest fear though is running out of that precious windshield wiper fluid, which is worth more than its weight in gold in lousy wintry conditions no matter where you live! So I continue south on I-190 and eventually arrive at my destination, where I have to pry back my tensed fingers from the steering wheel. I made it in time but merely by the grace of the guy upstairs.

The irony of this story is that the same evening my friends wanted to take me back to see Niagara Falls at night in the dead of winter. So off we went and I am grateful we did because seeing these magnificent falls is one thing but, seeing them at night with the multi-colored lights and all the frozen ice formations was awe inspiring.

So if there is a moral to this story, it would be to enjoy the natural wonders of where you live now but, do everything in your powers to leave the snowy, wintry and dangerous roads of the great white north in your rear view mirror and find your place in the sun to enjoy soon. Wilmington, Brunswick County and Myrtle Beach may not be your cup of tea, but since we are one of the most sought after destinations on the east coast for retirees, we look forward to seeing your smiling faces and remember, leave your ice scrapers at home!

February 2013 – Why Wilmington?

With a rich history of being a port city that served local residents from New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick County, Wilmington is the eighth largest city in North Carolina. Its earlier settlers had several names for her: New Carthage, New Liverpool and New Town, which later was Newton. Finally, in honor of Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington (England), the town nestled against the Cape Fear River, 28 miles upstream from the Atlantic Ocean, got her rightful name.

Downtown Wilmington Riverwalk

Downtown Wilmington Riverwalk

Fueled by the abundance of forest resources, the major industry here in the 18th and 19th century was timber. The “Port City” later became a strategic commercial ally in the opposition to British rule and was so vocal against the Stamp Act of 1765, that it was defeated the next year. In the 1800s, the city also built the longest railroad line in the world to Weldon, NC and was a major commercial and passenger hub for passengers & freight heading southwards to cities like Charleston.

Centuries later, Wilmington is a thriving small city sandwiched by the Cape Fear River to the West and the Atlantic Ocean to the East. While it still is a port town, it also is the commercial, medical and learning center of southeastern NC. Firms such as General Electric, PPD (Pharmaceuticals), Screen Gems, Corning and Verizon call ILM home, as well as Cape Fear Community College and University of North Carolina @ Wilmington.

However, the latest industry Wilmington is attracting is the influx of retirees from points north and west. With its wonderfully temperate year round weather, miles of white sandy beaches, exciting and eclectic downtown and riverfront park, new shopping venues, theater, fine dining and so much more, it’s no wonder that Wilmington is one of the largest destinations for the 10,000 Americans that retire each and every day.

On a quiet street in downtown Wilmington, the cries of “The British are Coming, The British are Coming” have been replaced by “The Retirees are Coming, The Retirees are Coming!!”

Since my move here from Boston in 1999, where I spent 7 frigid years, I have seen The Port City come into its own. While the changes have in and of themselves not been significant, in total they have helped transform a small, sleepy town into a fairly cosmopolitan little city with a Charlestonesque southern flair to her. Make no mistake about it, when people speak of retiring in Wilmington, others are no longer saying “Delaware”?

The IntraCoastal Waterway

The IntraCoastal Waterway

So in my time living in southeastern NC, here are the changes that I believe have helped Wilmington evolve from a moth into a butterfly:

  • MLK Jr Drive – prior to this road being built, going from east to west meant you were either on Oleander or Market street. MLK/Eastwood Road allows those in Brunswick County to scamper cross town to popular destinations like Wrightsville Beach, Mayfaire and ILM – our airport.
  • PPD http://www.ppdi.com/  This home grown pharmaceutical firm, chose to build it’s beautiful campus like skyscraper along the north end of the Cape Fear River – breathing new life to what was one a disregarded step child part of downtown
  • Wilmington Convention Centerhttps://www.businessmadecasual.com/attend/event-calendar/  A beautiful waterfront facility tucked in behind Cape Fear Community College with more waterfront development pending! (ie hotel, shops and more)
  • Mayfaire at Town Centerwww.MayfaireTown.com  Several hundred acres that were formerly Parker Farms was converted into a shopping, dining, retail and commercial wonderland about seven years ago. Every day this exciting Mecca continues to add to your best shopping experience in SE NC (Chico’s, Coldwater Creek, Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Barnes & Noble, Belks and more!)
  • Zimmer Cancer Center @ New Hanover Regional Medical Center – http://www.nhrmc.org/zimmer-cancer-center Cancer is never a welcome word but in Eastern North Carolina, the Zimmer Cancer Center is a blessing.
  • The Betty Cameron Women’s & Children’s Hospitalhttp://www.nhrmc.org/betty-h-cameron
  • No place along the east coast of North Carolina takes better care of Women and Children than this amazing new facility
  • I-140 and Porters Neck By Pass – this long awaited highway connects the northern part of Wilmington/Hampstead to the Cape Fear River. Plus, within a year the extension will be completed, which will connect I-40 to Hwy 17 in Leland, just below Brunswick Forest. That will take a boat load of traffic off of hwy 17 in Leland.
  • Then there are the new(er) retail venues such as Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Fresh Market, the addition to Lumina Station and many more.
  • New(er) restaurants include Ruth Chris Steak House, Manna, The Kitchen, Indochine, Circa, Brasserie du Soleil, Boca Bay, Port Land Grille, Melting Pot and many more

When our clients come for a visit, we always do our best to make sure that they see the highlights of our very own Port City. Wilmington is not necessarily though a town to retire in because it is chock full of subdivisions, which are simple neighborhoods with a pool and tennis court. Our clients are looking for an active lifestyle with amenities galore such as indoor/outdoor pools & hot tubs, golf, walking trails, tennis, fitness classes, cardio equipment, planned activities, restaurant, parties and more.

Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach

Therefore, the majority of our clients will agree that they “Buy Wilmington, but sleep in Brunswick County!”  So if you have not had one of our firm’s almost famous tours of the Port City, contact us so we can arrange for you to get intimate with one of the east coasts top destinations for retirees and those looking for a second home.

Carolina Plantations Real Estate: #1 Selling Team at Brunswick Forest!!

Carolina Plantations Team

For the second year in a row, Carolina Plantations Real Estate, a 6 year old real estate brokerage, had more joint sales with the Sales Team at Brunswick Forest than any other real estate firm in North Carolina. Brunswick Forest, located just 5 minutes from downtown Wilmington, is also the fastest growing community in North & South Carolina.

Jerry Helms, Director of Sales at Brunswick Forest, presented the award to owner of Carolina Plantations Doug Terhune, at The City Club in downtown Wilmington. In addition to the #1 Brokerage firm, Pat Coye of Carolina Plantations was presented with the award for the most sales by a broker!!

Doug Terhune and OthersCarolina Plantations Real Estate is dedicated to insuring that our clients see all of their options, from Sunset Beach to Southport to Shallotte to Leland to Wilmington. We believe strongly in the Martini Theory, which simply states that the first priority is finding an area that satisfies your basic needs – such as medical, shopping, restaurants, culture, transportation, etc. Once you have selected your area, then you focus on which community/plantation best suits your lifestyle and budget requirements. Then and only then do you focus on the well soaked olive at the bottom of the glass, and that is your home.

According to Nancy Boston of Carolina Plantations, “we are proud to have welcomed nearly 40 families to Brunswick Forest during the past couple of years. It’s a great community and while it is not for everyone, it offers a whole lot more than just a great location!” And broker Christopher Columbus Creekmore adds “the Brunswick Forest sales team and entire management group and staff are always eager to assist us and our clients, which is not the case in every community.”

In 2012, a sampling of our clients that we helped introduce to Brunswick Forest came from South Dakota, Pennsylvania, New York, NJ, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts and several other states. The opening of Park Landing, which is a neighborhood with prices beginning in the mid $200s, has been a very hot commodity for us as these prices allow people the opportunity to enjoy Brunswick Forest without being house poor. And be sure to ask us about the newest neighborhood to open in Brunswick Forest in 2013, along with all the new great floor plans!

If you have any questions at all about Brunswick Forest, such as land sales, new construction, town homes, amenities, lease backs and all resales, please contact Carolina Plantations today!

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!

So just where and when did Elves enter our Christmas tradition in America? Was it in a Keebler tree?

Keebler Elves

In 1850, author Louisa May Alcott, who penned Little Women, wrote a book that was never published titled “Christmas Elves”. Seven years later, Harper’s Weekly kept the story of the Elves alive by publishing an anonymous poem “The Wonders of Santa Claus”. Here is the first known published mention of Elves, which have become as much a part of our Christmas folklore as Santa himself, reindeers, stockings and the North Pole.

Beyond the ocean many a mile,
And many a year ago,
There lived a wonderful queer old men
In a wonderful house of snow;
And every little boy and girl,
As Christmas Eves arrive,
No doubt will be very glad to hear,
The old man is still alive.

In his house upon the top of a hill,
And almost out of sight,
He keeps a great many elves at work,
All working with all their might,
To make a million of pretty things,
Cakes, sugar-plums, and toys,
To fill the stockings, hung up you know
By the little girls and boys.

It would be a capital treat be sure,
A glimpse of his wondrous ‘shop;
But the queer old man when a stranger comes,
Orders every elf to stop;
And the house, and work, and workmen all
Instantly take a twist,
And just you may think you are there,
They are off in a frosty mist.

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We’re Leaving The Bottom!

Real Estate Sales in Brunswick County, NC

For the past two years I have been working closely with BB&T’s Loss Mitigation Group in Winston Salem. There are three folks in this group and they receive all the foreclosure homes, condos and homesites in Southeastern, NC. Carolina Plantations has listed and sold many homesites and homes for BB&T (Branch Banking & Trust) but that looks to be coming to an end.

Two weeks ago in a conversation with one of the BB&T VPs, it was clearly stated that the rate of incoming foreclosure requests have dropped off significantly. THIS IS GREAT, GREAT NEWS FOR OUR MARKET, and here’s why:

  • Bank owned sales have dominated the landscape for the past 2-3 years
  • Bank owned prices have set the pace for overall pricing
  • With bank owned product off the market, prices WILL INCREASE and overall inventory will decrease.
  • If you have been thinking of selling, this is wonderful news but don’t look for an overnight turnaround
  • IF YOU HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT BUYING, WELL, SPEAK NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE

Another phenom I wasn’t expecting to happen till perhaps next Summer is already starting to take shape, and this is more good news for the overall real estate market here in Brunswick County. Developments that pretty much closed their doors and the owners went belly up are now starting to get a bunch of attention from several regional Developers/Builders.

Think about it. In 2005-2008 a standard 1/3 acre homesite here was selling anywhere between $100,000 – $300,000. The developers put in some or all of the required infrastructure such as sewer lines, electric lines, water, roads, sidewalks, curb and gutter, storm water drains, etc. Several even put in a resemblance of amenities, including pools, tennis courts, ponds, walking trails, etc.

These developments are owned by the banks and the banks desperately want these off the books, as they are responsible for the carrying costs which include POA fees, taxes, insurance, etc. So, enter in a few regional developer/builders who can come in and purchase the remaining homesites at wholesale prices for $10,000 per homesite and BAM! – you have resuscitated a once struggling community and given it a transfusion of marketing dollars and building activity.

Several of the communities here where this phenom is occurring or might be occurring is Rutledge in Shallotte, Calabash Lakes, Rourk Woods in Shallotte, The Retreat in Ocean Isle Beach, Sunset Ridge in Ocean Isle Beach and Tidal Walk in Wilmington. Heck, one of these players, who typically sells home/lot packages in the mid $200s range just purchased 30 or so homesites in Landfall, thee premiere gated community in Wilmington and already has broken ground on 6 spec homes with more coming out of the ground daily.

Carolina Dreamin’ has been predicting this turnaround for Southeastern NC for over a year now and our sales alone are up over 30% vs. 2011. This is real and my guess is that in our lifetime, we will never see these interest rates or prices again. Contact us today at 910 755-7557 if y

Acclimating to The South!

Acclimating to the South!

Back in 1999, I was in a downtown bar in Boston and a young woman, who had just heard that I was moving back to the Southeast, made the claim that all southerners are full of (&^%#) bologna, because why would anyone ever say hello to strangers? Well, if you have ever lived in Boston, you know that there is an unwritten law that precludes you from welcoming strangers, so while this woman’s comment seemed a bit ignorant, this was the culture she was raised in. And heck, if she ever watched Dukes of Hazards, you may not blame her for her research on Southerners!

So, why do Southerners smile at you and say hello? My 28 years of experience living in the north (NJ, WI & MA) coupled with my 27 years of living in the south (TN, SC, GA & NC) should make me qualified to tackle this question.

Culture & History

We are all by-products of our environments that we are exposed to, and tradition in the south is simple – be friendly to others. Or in lawyer terminology – innocent till proven guilty. Conversely, a portion of the north is opposed to such thinking as it might give the impression that Northerners really care about people they don’t know. Of course they are nice to their family and friends but strangers? Ha – one has to live in certain areas to fully appreciate its heritage and culture.

This might help explain that it is perfectly normal for a New Englander (or other areas north of the Mason Dixon line) to doubt the sincerity of southern hospitality. New Englanders are not wrong for believing what they believe but, it can take a while for a northerner to accept southerners for who they really are. Here is a real life example of North Meets South that happened in the Fall of 1979. I grew up in Ridgewood, NJ and had just graduated from The University of Tennessee and my first job was with Duracell Batteries. I was a sales rep based in Greenville, SC.

Approximately 2-3 miles outside of Abbeville, SC, two separate cars waived at me driving into town. I asked the Drug Store owner if I looked familiar and or if anyone in town also drove a 1979 beige Impala. He thought and said no, not to his knowledge. Then he asked why, and I replied “well sir, as I was getting close to town early this morning and two different people waived at me”. The gentlemen said “Son, where are you from?”. When I told him, he just smiled and grinned and said that those were just residents of Abbeville extending you a welcome to their town. I was so overcome with embarrassment that on the way out of town I waived at every car and have been waiving at cars ever since.

Congestion

If you have ever driven the DC beltway, I-285 in Atlanta, the L.I.E., Route 4 in Jersey, Hwy 128 in Boston, I-294 in Chicago or I-95 in Baltimore at rush hour, the only waiving you are doing is generally not with a full complement of fingers. Traffic and busy foot traffic can make the nicest person in the world a raving lunatic, and if you’ve ever been there, well, isn’t kind of amazing that road rage doesn’t happen more often?

Part of the reason Southerners are friendly is that life historically is slower paced down here. Yes, that means your waitress may take an extra few minutes fetching your peach pie but hey, she ran into her preacher and my heavens, she just can’t walk by him and not chat for a spell! Plus, he needed a (free) refill on his (iced) tea!

Life is too short to rush through it and ironically, by doing so, you’ll probably shorten your life. There really is a lot to be learned from waiving, smiling and saying hello to folks you don’t know! And I have seen some strong Jersey folks come down here and take 3-4 years before they realize that Southerners aren’t acting this way, they really are this way!

Back in the winter of 2002 I was working for a large developer here in Brunswick County (Winding River Plantation) and was attending the Winter LiveSouth Real Estate show in Parsippany/Whippany, NJ. One afternoon I had folks about 3-4 deep listening to my schpiel on life in the Carolinas and a really large and imposing guy from Joysie started poking fun at Southerners in general. He was annoying and rude so I walked around our table/booth and stood nose to chest with him and said “Do you know what is nice about people like you”? In a deep voice he looked down on me and said “no, what?”. I replied that even people like you turn out to be nice if they move to the south. His petite embarrassed wife gave me accolades as did the rest of the crowd and well, I have a feeling he’s now single, still miserable and still living in Jersey!

So if you move south, learn to take a deep breath. Repeat and repeat again till your pulse acclimates to the climate. If you insist on having everything delivered to you in a nano-second, please take your home off the market because you will give Northerners a bad name. Life here is laid back if you allow it to be. Southeastern NC has a huge bull’s-eye on it for retirees and if Southerners were crabby, snobby and nosey, well, there’d be no reason to pull up your tent and head south on I-95 or I-75, would there be?