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.

5 Real Estate Predictions for 2015

Source: DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2014

Expect the home-purchase market to strengthen along with the economy in 2015, according to Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for November.

“The good news for 2015 is that the U.S. economy appears well-poised to sustain about a 3 percent growth rate in 2015 — only the second year in the past decade with growth at that pace or better,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Governmental fiscal drag has turned into fiscal stimulus; lower energy costs support consumer spending and business investment; further easing of credit conditions for business and real estate lending support commerce and development; and consumers are more upbeat and businesses are more confident, all of which portend faster economic growth in 2015. And with that, the economy will produce more and better-paying jobs, providing the financial wherewithal to support household formations and housing activity.”

Freddie Mac economists have made the following projections in housing for the new year:

  1. Mortgage rates: Interest rates will likely be on the rise next year. In recent weeks, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has dipped below 4 percent. But by next year, Freddie projects mortgage rates to average 4.6 percent and inch up to 5 percent by the end of the year. (Read More…)
  2. Home prices: By the time 2014 wraps up, home appreciation will likely have slowed to 4.5 percent this year from 9.3 percent last year. Appreciation is expected to drop further to an average 3 percent in 2015. “Continued house-price appreciation and rising mortgage rates will dampen affordability for home buyers,” according to Freddie economists. “Historically speaking, that’s moving from ‘very high’ levels of affordability to ‘high’ levels of affordability.”
  3. Housing starts: Homebuilding is expected to ramp up in the new year, projected to rise by 20 percent from this year. That will likely help total home sales to climb by about 5 percent, reaching the best sales pace in eight years.
  4. Single-family originations: Mortgage originations of single-family homes will likely slip by an additional 8 percent, which can be attributed to a steep drop in refinancing volume. Refinancings are expected to make up only 23 percent of originations in 2015; they had been making up more than half in recent years.
  5. Multi-family mortgage originations: Mortgage originations for the multi-family sector have surged about 60 percent between 2011 and 2014. Increases are expected to continue in 2015, projected to rise about 14 percent.

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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

Emotion – Real Estate’s Friend or Foe?

For the most part, being a real estate professional is one of the most rewarding jobs one could possibly imagine. Of course like every vocation though, there are drawbacks. Today I would like to expand upon the word ‘emotion’ as it relates to real estate.

For Buyer’s, more often than not emotion plays a large part of the buying decisions. You can rationalize a home all you want but at the end of the day, you must be attracted to it enough to envision your life in this domicile. (guess you could say it is similar to getting married…?!) 🙂

Here are a few places where both Buyers and Sellers could hurt themselves and ultimately their ability to negotiate deals successfully.

Inspection Reports

  • First of all, when a Buyer requests an Inspection Report on a home that they are interested in purchasing, the Seller is under NO obligation to repair anything
  • Most Sellers will cooperate in getting important items corrected however, on occasion some Sellers are so offended by the inspection report (because they believe that their home is perfect the way it is) that they stomp their feet and on occasion knock themselves out of a contract
  • On the flipside, Buyer’s sometimes demand that every item is fixed on the list and if you understand inspection reports, it is not uncommon for these reports to be full of minor cosmetic issues such as: a light bulb needs replacing; there’s a small 10 inch hairline crack in middle of the driveway; a downspout tray is not lined up properly, etc.
  • So just for the record, for every Seller that blows up a contract over small stuff, there is an equal opportunity Buyer doing the same thing, and that is just wrong!

Appraisals

  • Sorry, but in today’s Buyers Market, the Buyer and Seller have very little to do with the final contract price. This sound incredulous? Well, sorry but it is not. The Buyer, if seeking a loan, will secure an appraisal and if the appraisal comes in less than the contract price, the Seller better be prepared to negotiate or risk the loan. Here is an example.
  • The Cronk’s agree to purchase home from the Grinch’s for $300,000 and fully execute a contract. The bank appraisal comes in at $280,000 and the Cronk’s don’t have an additional $20,000 in cash to make up the difference. Therefore, the Grinch’s agree to rewrite the contract and accept $280,000 or, the Cronk’s are forced to walk. Seem unfair? Well it is not unfair at all as the appraisers today have to work from a very strict set of guidelines (due to banking debacle of 2008).
  • The norm though in these situations are that if the Sellers want to sell bad enough and if the Buyers like the house enough, a new price will be negotiated by the Brokers somewhere between $280,000 and $300,000. It is important to know that the Buyer has the majority of the power though, not the Sellers
  • Sellers want to believe their home is worth more than market value and become EMOTIONAL as heck about this. And while they are entitled to do so all they want, they have to face the facts at some point and realize that they have zero chance of selling their home and moving on with their lives unless they accept market value, not their idea of market value.
  • Big Picture: If Sellers can take emotion out of this appraisal equation, remember that the day after you close on the home you will eat spaghetti the same way, put your shoes on the same way and fall asleep watching TV after 10pm just the same.

Good Realtors probably minored in Psychology because unfortunately we are forced to deal with emotional and occasionally irrational folks. The deals that go the smoothest are typically those where both parties have realistic expectations while the ones that drag out are either caused by banks or, someone not using sufficient logic.

Therefore, the next time you are involved in a real estate transaction, please check your emotion/ego at the door! Happy Realtor. Happy Life! 🙂

Are Investors Back???

Back in 2009, a proud young man from Miami called our office to inquire about the value of his investment homesite he purchased in 2006 during a developer ‘big event’ weekend. Believe he had $225,000+ invested in his 1/3 acre nature homesite. According to one of our Brokers here, the young man had also purchased some investment property in south Florida that was not faring very well and he just needed to be reassured that his NC property was still sound.

When my Broker researched the property, he asked the young man if he wanted the truth about the current status and value, and of course he said Yes! So that he had some perspective, we passed along to him that nothing had happened to his homesite in three years in terms of infrastructure (ie roads being paved, curbs, utilities, access to the homesite, etc.) and that there were no homes built yet in this section where 200+ homesites were sold to anxious buyers.

The young man seemed a bit dismayed by the lack of progress and the escalation of broken promises so he naturally asked the Broker what he felt he could get for the property if he were to put it on the market. Well, the reply was “your homesite is not worth a ham sandwich”. There was about 10 seconds of silence and the young man almost broke down in tears.

Investing in land, stocks, bonds, marriage, a business, sports or almost anything can be a nerve-wracking experience. That is why it is always good to take your time and research any investment you decide to jump into. Recently throughout the southeast a number of investment groups have been on the lookout for semi completed developments to invest in. In Brunswick County alone we had over a dozen communities that were in the process of being developed go belly up and leave the original development vacant. Some had roads and utilities while others had partial infrastructure.

Home and Land Investing

In the past several months I know of several WEEKEND LAND SALES EVENTS that have taken place in NC. Homesites have been reduced to a fraction of the initial intended prices and a marketing team comes in, builds a new entrance, surveys and stakes the homesites, advertises to everyone in their massive databases, puts up a tent, brings in 40 sales agents and attempts to use the herd mentality to sell all the homesites in 3 hours.

Some of these marketing groups have been successful and some not as much as the others. The key though is not whether the group that picked this property up from the bank makes money, but whether these are legitimately good bargains. Here are some Pros & Cons that everyone might want to consider:

PROS

  • The prices are reduced
  • Basic infrastructure should be in so that you can build right away

CONS

  • When you have 100 Buyers together under a tent and 50 homesites to sell, you invariably have a herd mentality going on, and many people the world over make huge mistakes in these pressure cooker environments
  • Most of these communities have zero amenities (pools, tennis, fitness, golf, etc.), so chances are strong that most people purchasing these sites will never build on the sites
  • That translates, down the road, to the overwhelming majority of these homesites coming back on the market – which in turn means values will drop significantly as investors simply want to get rid of their investments once they know they are not going to appreciate
  • These marketing groups are not developers. As soon as they have everyone’s money, they are down the road to their next opportunity never to be heard from again.

As a general real estate Broker, I am perplexed as to why someone would risk $39,000 on a homesite in a 4 street community with zero amenities or homes built. Plus, these slick marketing groups don’t even let you know where the community is located! (Don’t ignore all the Warning signs!) Conversely, anyone today can walk into St James, Sea Trail, Brunswick Plantation, Winding River, RiverSea and numerous other communities and purchase a $35,000 homesite in a plantation that has hundreds/thousands of homes built, all infrastructure & amenities in and community activities always going on.

While our market here is doing well, just go to this link and see the number of homesites that are on the market in twenty of the leading plantations in the area: Click Here.

In just these plantations alone there are over 1,100 homesites for sale, so with our current absorption rate we probably have a 5-7 year supply.

If you are going to invest in real estate again, do like you did years ago and research the developer, builder, sales team, etc. before you make any kind of commitment. In the past 7 years the average American has removed one word from the real estate vocabulary, and that is the word “risk”. And if you don’t investigate as to how much risk you are taking on, you just might wind up with a ham sandwich one day instead of a good investment.

Meet The New Neighborhoods at Brunswick Forest in Leland, NC

Currently there are 12 neighborhoods in Brunswick Forest – the #1 selling community in the Carolinas. Each neighborhood offers their own architectural style and lifestyle plus, each has a target range for homes. This allows people who are considering Brunswick Forest to find a neighborhood that matches their own budget and personal tastes.

Today the top selling neighborhoods are Cape Fear National, Park Landing and Shelmore. Here is a look at each.

Cape Fear National Golf course is one of the Top 10 courses along the Carolina coast. With 5 separate tee boxes and southern vistas, this 18 hole masterpiece is one golf course you have to play. However, even if you don’t play golf you can enjoy the serenity of it by living on and or around the course. The Cape Fear Neighborhood has homesites beginning in the low $100s and complete home packages begin in the mid $400s and range up to the low $700s.

Shelmore is a quaint Cottage Community with lots of front porch living along the beautiful Hammock Lake. The Cottages have large front porches and most have rear alley way entrances to your garage. The timeless architecture is very appealing and the soft pastels are easy on the eyes. And be sure to check out The Hammocks @ Shelmore, as these are a brand new collection of enticing Low Country homes that compliment the Cottages at Shelmore.

Lastly, Park Landing opened its streets a year ago to rave reviews and this collection of predominantly one story hardy board homes has proven to be the hottest neighborhood in Brunswick Forest. With price points for a single family home beginning in the high $200s to mid $300s, you will find Park Landing to be all the home and yard you need as you retire in the warmth of the North Carolina sun.

Call Carolina Plantations Real Estate today at 910-755-7557 for a complete tour 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!! 🙂

Your Top 10 Priorities

In 1999 I sold my home north of Boston and came to Wilmington with a fistful of hot cash. I had owned five homes up till my move to North Carolina and all had been in planned communities. This time though I was bound and determined to break the mold. I was headed to the warm sands of Wrightsville Beach and nothing was going to stop me.

The first home my Realtor showed me was about 7 homes from the beach. Wow – imagine being able to hear the roar of the Atlantic at night from your bedroom window? However, on closer review, the house was in shambles and still had shag carpet from the 70s. Nothing in the house was new and fresh like I was accustomed to plus the price was about $150,000 over my pain level. So off we went to look at a condo on the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway). Bingo! l love boats and I was going to make this work. Well, that was until I realized the condo consisted of only one bedroom which was stuck in a loft whose only access was a small spiral staircase. Oh, and did I mention the entire square footage was 587’?

Eventually I built a new custom built home in a very nice community that was about 10 minutes from Wrightsville Beach but, at least I did give the beach a try, albeit an unsuccessful one at that. It was then that I learned a valuable lesson on priorities and expectations of real estate.

Moving is without a doubt one of the most exciting yet terrifying experiences one encounters in their lives. Often though moving enables dreams to come true, be it a bigger home, newer home, closer to the beach or family, etc. And whether you consciously create a list of priorities for your new place or not, you have them, I promise.

For fun, I thought I would attempt to show how women’s priorities often change as well as men’s priorities both before and after their first trip south. Keep in mind that while I am using generalities here, there is more truth to what I print than one might initially think!

Top10Priority

And here is what a guy’s view of moving south looks like before and after his first trip south.

Top10Priorities

When I entered Real Estate many years ago, I learned of a bit of a controversial phrase that has been kicked around for years – “Buyers are Liars”. I take exception to this fable because Buyer’s often do not have all the information they need to make a well informed decision as they begin their search. However, once they do have this information, they quite often change their minds. This is not lying mind you, this is just the natural flow of processing information.

A good example is that a couple could come down and be very focused on living on the water. However, after a week of scouring the area, several communities and numerous homes, they abandon their search for water views in exchange for a brand new home in a very friendly golf course community. This happens every day of the week here and is no surprise to those of us in the industry of making dreams come true!

If you have not begun your search, have some fun and write down your Top 10 Priorities for your eventual move south. Put it somewhere you will be able to find it in a year or so and once you find your ideal location/community/home, pull it out to compare with your original priorities. Our team of professionals have been doing this for years and we know that in order for our clients to make well informed decisions that they require significant information.

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.