Promises, Promises

Chinese Food

In early spring of 2002, I was having lunch at the golf course clubhouse where I worked as an on-site agent, and struck up a conversation with a gentleman who just finished his morning round. Come to find out, he moved into the community back in 1998, which made him one of the first 100 or so homes built in the development.

Anyway, I was eager to learn how to sell this community and felt that asking for testimonials was incredibly important. After a five minute ditty on why he and his wife selected this community, he shared with me that he had one regret. Apparently he and his wife LOVE Chinese food and where they lived up north offered 3-4 local restaurants that delivered to their home. That wasn’t the case at their new community.

He went on to say that when they want Chinese food delivered, they call the closest place, which is about 17 miles from their home. When the food is ready, the delivery person calls and they both head out towards their common destination. When they meet, it is under a dim light at an old gas station and the gentleman said he always feels kind of funny paying some young kid twenty bucks for Moo Goo Gai Pan and Szechuan Chicken.

What he admitted is that when he moved to the community in 1998, the developer promised them that there would be grocery stores and restaurants at the entrance to their development built within 3-4 years. Well, it’s now 16 years since those promises were made by an anxious agent and developer and this couple, if they still live in the same home, still have to drive 16 miles roundtrip (as does the delivery person) each time they want to pick up their delivered Chinese food.

In the mid 2000’s, Brunswick County was famous for building ‘Virtual Communities’. People came down for a weekend and enjoyed Big Tent Events that included boat rides, helicopter rides, hot dogs & hamburgers, clever marketing material and so on. They were taken to newly cut in roads and purchased homesites left and right. Unfortunately, communities up and down the entire east coast starting going belly up at the end of 2008, leaving many angry customers in their wake. Customers mind you that spent $100,000 – $450,000 for a 1/3 acre homesite.

The one word that seems to have been erased from the English language with regards to real estate over the past 7 years is “Risk”. People have zero tolerance for it as nobody can afford to make mistakes of this magnitude and retire happily/successfully.

So if you have yet to find your perfect place to retire, just keep in mind that if someone tells you to close your eyes and imagine a road, swimming pool, clubhouse, golf course, houses, etc., that this might be the closest anyone comes to seeing those items become reality. Virtual communities are no longer considered something of the future, as they are now a thing of the past.

Is There Anywhere Else?

If you read Carolina Dreamin’ on a fairly regular basis, it is no surprise that I tout the many positive attributes of Coastal Southeastern North Carolina, which currently is a very popular option for those looking for a second home or area to retire to. Miles and miles of soft sandy beaches, great year round weather, affordable lifestyle, tons to do, yada, yada, yada!!

Brunswick County beach
Last month I received a number of responses and comments from people about my article on eliminating areas on your search, as this is either a conscious or unconscious decision everyone partakes in during their journey to find paradise. In fact, the bulk of folks looking at this area are typically considering points as far north as Williamsburg, VA to southern Florida, so from my decades of travel up and down the east coast, here are some thoughts that you may wish to ponder when considering the following areas:

Southeastern Virginia

  • Weather-wise you are still in the snow/ice zone and you have winters
  • Norfolk and Newport News are quite industrial. VA Beach is very touristy
  • Williamsburg offers some nice plantations but also exudes a very touristy feel to it

NC Outer Banks Region

  • Other than the beach, there’s nothing to do on the OBX
  • Albemarle Plantation and New Bern are nice but very, very remote.
  • Morehead City and Beaufort, NC are quiet and next to Camp LeJeune Marine base

Myrtle Beach Region

  • #2 family vacation destination (12+ million visitors) in the US behind Orlando
  • You have to love 24/7 mega retail, traffic, golf, tourists and congestion to live in MB
  • Pawley’s Island & Litchfield are nice resort/vacation-oriented communities

Charleston

  • If you live in or near a large city now, why would you want to move to another one?
  • Area offers very few attractive/new retirement type plantations
  • Considerable urban sprawl occurring

Hilton Head Region

  • Huge tourist destination. Traffic is a nightmare all summer long.
  • Beach access is very minimal. No downtown – just strip shopping centers
  • Bluffton is up-and-coming but you must rely on Hilton Head or Savannah for anything

Florida

  • And it’s “Hot, Hot, Hot”!!! You are living in extreme weather, so why not escape it?
  • Many Floridians flee the state from May till September. Where would you go?
  • Very far from family and friends

Brunswick County offers a myriad of options with regards to real estate. The wide open barrier islands of Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach, Oak Island and Bald Head Island are perfect for summer getaways and family fun. The Plantations that have sprung from the Live Oaks and Sugar Magnolias are home to thousands looking for a rich and rewarding retirement. We have new homes starting at $100,000 ranging to multi-million dollar beach front estates on our five islands, so in terms of housing, we have you covered.

They say that many places look good on paper however, you know that the only way to place merit in what “they” say is to get out and explore these areas on your own. For those of us already living here, heck, we know we’ve got it good!!
Best of luck on your journey!

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.