“Livin’ la Vida Loca”

Carolina Plantations Real Estate

Every day from Maine to California to Florida, real estate professionals are urging people to get off the sidelines and jump into the market of opportunity.

Unless you are in your 80s and 90s, the average adult has never had the ability to purchase real estate at such low interest rates. Want to guess what my first interest rate was when I purchased my home in the 80s? It was 13 ¼% and in the North Atlanta suburbs we mortgaged $70,000 in 1982 and our monthly mortgage (P&I) was $788. Today, someone leveraging the same amount would pay $314. That is 39% of what we paid in the early 80s!

In 2006 when I opened Carolina Plantations, real estate prices were high and almost every commercial building was occupied. So as a hedge bet, I purchased 1.5 acres zoned Highway Business in Shallotte on Hwy 17 with hopes of building my office on it one day. In the meantime, I lucked out with a long term lease on the building that we have called home for the past 6 years.

This summer an opportunity arose in Shallotte with a friend of mine and he wound up swapping the old Huddle House restaurant for my property. Finally we could have an office with more than two paved parking places. (of course after a major renovation!! 🙂

Seven days a week the team at Carolina Plantations does our best to convey to people that if you have the means to secure real estate now, than by doing so you will rest easy knowing that you got in at an incredible time. So, instead of just preaching “Living the Crazy Life”, Carolina Plantations went out and joined in the frenzy because we believe in the market here in Brunswick County, NC. And while it has been slow in many markets up and down the east coast, Brunswick County has been on fire in 2012 with an increase of more than 50%.

Make no mistake about it, we are two small businesses (including Plan View Design) but we impact a lot of people’s lives. For example, every time Haley designs a home, our clients choose a builder and the economic impact of $400,000 being infused into our economy is pretty amazing. Now consider that Plan View Design works with over 50 clients a year and we are the catalyst for $20,000,000 being spread amongst building supply companies, county employees (inspections, zoning, etc.), electrical/plumbing contractors, developers, builders, framers, HVAC firms, concrete companies, painters, flooring companies and so much more. And this does not include the economic impact our great real estate team is contributing.

A little over eight weeks ago, the inside of our new building looked like this:

Waffle House Shallotte, NC

Today, after a tremendous effort by a local contractor and their subs, we look like this:

New Office: Carolina PlantationsNew Carolina Plantations Office

We are proud to be a small business that has survived probably one of the most uneasy economic times of our lifetimes. No lie – at times since 2007 when we opened it has been challenging. However, our vision and perseverance won out and America needs to continue rooting for Mr. & Mrs. Small Business, as free enterprise is one of the greatest principles our great country was founded on.

If you have ever owned a firm or managed people, than you know that your success is tied to your strategic partners, and we are no exception. I must first thank my good friends at Inter Coastal Net Designs in Ocean Isle Beach, as we are probably the #1 real estate website in Southeastern NC. www.CarolinaPlantations.com Also very deserving is Carol Holmberg of the Bellamy Law Firm in Shallotte, the finest closing manager in NC! Vince Bacchi with Union Mortgage Group, Laurel Bellamy with Farm Bureau Insurance, Jim Giuffre with National Property Inspections and Bobby Long Surveyors are also reliable professionals.

So on behalf of Haley, Pat, Nancy, Court, Carolyn, Chris, Pam and our business partners, thanks to all of you who have believed in our team for our first 6 years. We are honored that you have trusted us to help you live the crazy life ( “Livin’ la Vida Loca”), and we look forward to seeing everyone at our new office at 4660 East Coast Lane in Shallotte, NC.

The Retirement Handbook

Thank you to the over 1,000 of you who have already logged onto our new website: www.TheRetirementHandbook.com

In a quest to continue keeping www.CarolinaPlantations.com the leading real estate website in Southeastern Coastal North Carolina, our new site focuses on issues of how to retire. There is no other site like it and it is intended to provide you with logical tips you will not find anywhere else.

When Do I Sell My Home up North?

Ted and Peggy Symanski are from Hope, NJ and Ted recently offered to write an article chronicling this important dilemma future retirees will face. Click here to read Ted’s Article.

Carolina Dreamin’ – In Alaska

The “Bucket List”, Starring Morgan Freeman & Jack Nicholson, has become almost an iconic mantra for folks heading towards retirement. Often I hear clients say that they have compiled a semi-formal list of places to visit or personal achievements to accomplish.

This past week I was fortunate enough to check off a line item that appears on many bucket lists – an Alaskan Cruise. Although a veteran cruiser since the late 70s, cruising the icy cold clear waters of the Pacific after the summer of oppressive heat most all of America has endured this past summer, seemed ‘refreshing’.

The first step, if in fact you are considering an Alaskan voyage, is to research the different itineraries offered by the cruise ship lines. Here are a few very basic tips about your choice of itineraries:

1. You can do an Inside Passage Northbound from Seattle or Vancouver and wind up getting off the ship in Anchorage 7-10 days later. This itinerary will stay out of open waters the majority of the trip and visit ports like Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, Sitka and usually a day at a glacier

2. You can also consider a Southbound Inside Passage, which departs from Anchorage/Seward and heads south for 7-10 days.

3. Or, you can do a 7 day up and back cruise out of Seattle or Vancouver. On this journey, you will have to hit open seas (which were relatively calm on my trip) in order to cover all the necessary nautical miles between Seattle and Alaska, which is about 850 miles. This equates to a good day and a half at sea in both directions and yet still covers ports like Skagway, Juneau and Tracy Arm – which is a Fjord that leads you to Sawyer Glacier.

We flew into Seattle a day prior to our departure and had a spectacular day there considering its rainy reputation. Mt. Ranier was clearly visible and we took the obligatory Seattle Space Needle ride for a panoramic view of Puget Sound and the city skyline. If you are not a regular visitor of this part of the country, what will surprise the average visitor is the sheer number of coffee shops. My heavens, no wonder everyone is sleepless in Seattle!

As for our cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas, it was smooth sailing and nearly perfect weather. In fact, the Captain said our day in Juneau was the clearest of the entire summer, and so I donned shorts virtually the entire trip – except to the specialty restaurants on board. Skagway and Juneau are rather interesting ports of call especially if you live on the coast of Brunswick County, NC and Victoria BC was far more inviting and attractive than I had been led to believe.

Several highlights of the trip included seeing whales spouting water high into the air and even seeing one Humpback breach off our port side of the ship. We also saw seals, dolphin, mountain goats and a bald eagle and all in their natural environment. The most impressive ensory spectacular is traveling up Tracy Arm Fjord towards the Sawyer Glacier. Here the ship is wedged in between two steep snow covered cliffs with waterfalls everywhere and the water below us reaching depths of 300’ – 900’ per our Captain. As you approach the glacier, the number of iceburgs floating by increase and what is amazing, so do their impressive blue hues.

With respect to your outlay for the cruise, it is not nearly as bad as one might think. I was fortunate enough to use some frequent flier miles for my airfare and hotel, so the basic cost of the cruise was merely $100/day (per person), which is an incredible value given what you are experiencing. Plus, I came in second on the ship wide Black Jack tournament in the casino, so that helped ease the pain of the jewelry I purchased for my girlfriend.

So if you are thinking of booking an Alaskan cruise or checking off another Bucket List To Do item, do your research and enjoy yourselves because heaven only knows that you deserve it! (PS Back in the 1990s when only 5% of all Americans had experienced cruising, this author was a columnist for the largest cruising website in America. Today, nearly 20% of Americans have fallen in love with cruising)

Iceburg Alaska  Skagway Alaska
Sawyer Glacier

Doug Terhune in shorts on top deck w/temps in 30s!! American Bald Eagle in the wild
Humpback Tale Moon over Alaska and Hang Glider in Juneau
did you know that you cannot drive to Alaska’s capital city?
Pictures: Iceburg, Skagway Alaska, Sawyer Glacier, Doug Terhune in shorts on top deck w/temps in 30s!!, American Bald Eagle in the wild, Humpback Tale, Moon over Alaska and Hang Glider in Juneau. And did you know that you cannot drive to Alaska’s capital city?

Due Diligence Period – how it can help a Buyer

Due Diligence

If the debacle of 2008 taught the real estate industry a lesson, it would have been that Buyers need to be better protected. Too many groups took advantage of a thriving economy and got greedy. However, it appears that those days are over – that is, until the next generation comes in and does the same thing!

In North Carolina, the real estate contracts were revised after much deliberation/discussion between Realtors and Attorneys. The intent was simple: First and foremost, protect the Buyer!

Today when a Realtor writes up a Purchase and Sale Agreement in our state, there is a section for your Realtors to provide you the Buyer with a Due Diligence Period. This is new to our contracts and it is a wonderful benefit for the consumer. Historically a contract here between Buyer and the Seller means that the Buyer must accomplish several tasks such as Home & Termite Inspection and of course, secure a commitment letter from your lender of choice in a specified time frame.

What has basically changed is that for whatever reason the Buyer decides to withdraw from the contract, they can do so without penalty and walk scot free, providing there was no agreement reached on the contract about non-refundable Due Diligence money. If you are a Seller, this can be frustrating however, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission was successful in rewriting the contract to be more protective of the Buyer.

One particular situation where this can be of use to a Buyer is when you feel you are 80-90% committed to a property but perhaps need a little extra time to secure additional answers/information. Go ahead and enter negotiations and if successful, execute the contract while knowing that your Realtor has engineered you a 100% guaranteed escape clause. Doing so might mean the difference of successfully securing your Dream Home or letting it slip away. If you have any additional questions about the Due Diligence period, please contact your Realtor.

Carolina Dreamin’

Premiere Edition by Douglas S. Terhune

In the Spring of 2007, I swam upstream and fought a quickly deteriorating real estate landscape by opening Carolina Plantations Real Estate in an old junk store that I renovated on Hwy 17 in Ocean Isle Beach. In 2011, our real estate team topped $13,000,000 in sales, landing us in the top 20 real estate firms in Brunswick County. We sold more real estate in Brunswick Forest & Brunswick Plantation than any other firm in 2011 and continue to be among the leaders in Sandpiper Bay, Crow Creek, Ocean Ridge, Rivers Edge, SeaScape, RiverSea, Winding River, Waterford and many more. The key to our success is our visibility visa vie our top rated website www.CarolinaPlantations.com, as we are almost always #1 on the search return for the plantations here in Brunswick County.

Since the acquisition of Plan View Design in the summer of 2008, Plan View has grown to be the #1 custom home designer in Brunswick County. We work with over a dozen local builders but most importantly, we offer our clients a service that nobody in Southeastern North Carolina can. We design your Dream Home in full color 3D, which allows you not only to see your home before you break ground but, you are an integral part of the design with your feedback. And our home designs have earned more blue ribbons than any other firm in Brunswick County.

Today we are launching a website that arose from years of working with clients considering our area for retirement and/or, for a second home. And instead of spending years attempting to write a book and chasing publishers 24/7, I have created www.TheRetirementHandbook.com – which provides you with thoughts & ideas on “How to Retire”. As you are well aware, retiring is the last major (unknown) frontier for most of us and in this age of information, I believe we have compiled something unique.

The Retirement Handbook presents you with stuff you may find useful along your path to retiring. Areas of concentration include 6 GeoCenters, Medical, Retirement Trends, Beginning Your Search, Financial Calculator and more. Retiring is a very scary word for millions of Americans as there is no school to attend or degree to be obtained. You are on your own and until now, there has not really been a road map to help guide you.

Carolina Plantations Real Estate, Plan View Design and The Retirement Handbook will show up on your pc at the beginning of each month visa vie our eNewsletter, Carolina Dreamin’. Our goal is simple –“provide you with the information you require to make a well informed decision”.

We encourage your thoughts and comments and on behalf of the best real estate sales and home design teams in Southeastern North Carolina (Pam Silberman, Nancy Boston, Christopher Columbus Creekmore, Pat Coye, Carolyn Rosenberg, Court Terhune, Haley Wilson, Daniel Stiling and myself), we wish you a continued pleasant summer. If we can ever be of assistance, we’d be honored to do so.