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.