Carolina Plantations Real Estate Blog

What to Do About Those Low Ball Offers

So you put your home on the market, set it with what you know to be a fair and reasonable price, and then along comes an outrageous low ball offer that knocks you off your feet. Stumped on what to do? Don’t immediately discount low ball offers without considering the following points.

Low Offers Happen

Low and outrageously low offers happen in real estate. It’s a known fact among Realtors. Try not to get upset about it. There are two market conditions that may cause you to receive a low ball offer: A Buyer’s Market or a Seller’s Market.

Buyer’s Market

Like the title suggests, the Buyer is King/Queen when market conditions lean heavily in favor of the Buyer as they do from time to time. Today, parts of Brunswick County are still experiencing a Buyer’s Market. That can in part be traced to the meltdown of our economy in 2008. Yes, nine years later we continue to feel the effects of that devastating downturn.

Affects of Selling in a Buyer’s Market

Here are a few tips if you are considering selling a home, condo, homesite or townhome in a Buyer’s Market:

  • Keep up with the current market conditions where you live. We can help you with that.
  • If you have a homesite to sell and there are over 100 homesites on the market in your community, you might have to wait 3-4 years before you receive an offer based upon demand.
  • When your community is saturated with home sites it could mean 3-4 more years of HOA fees and taxes (carrying costs), which could easily equal $1,000 - $2,000 annually or, up to $8,000 over the next four years out of your pocket.
  • In these types of conditions it’s not unusual for a buyer to make a low ball offer. They are attempting to determine the urgency of a seller.
  • A Seller should never be offended by an offer they receive in a Buyer’s Market. Period.
  • Counter all offers because 75% of low ball offers eventually become acceptable offers to both parties (at Carolina Plantations) – provided you have a Buyer’s Agent and Seller’s Agent that know how to properly negotiate transactions.


Affects of Selling in a Seller’s Market

  • Comparables or Comps are your #1 key to selling a home for a fair price in a Seller’s Market.
  • You must research the area for a solid, experienced and knowledgeable Realtor, like we have at Carolina Plantations, who can provide you with the latest current trends and uptodate selling prices in your immediate area.
  • If real estate is priced and marketed properly in a Seller’s market, you could receive an offer within a day or 2 weeks. If it is more than 3-4 months before you receive an offer, than there is a good chance your home is overpriced.
  • If you receive a low ball offer in a Seller’s Market, you should still consider making a counter offer, even if it is only $1,000 off your asking price.

Regardless of the type of market it is when you list your property, it’s important to keep your emotions in check when negotiating offers. Our Realtors will be by your side to assist you through all the steps involved in selling your real estate. Take our suggestions and recommendations seriously.

We know real estate well -- our agents live and breathe it every day. We want you to get as much for your property as you possibly can and have a fast and smooth transition. So know that when you don’t take our advice it could result in a property staying on the market much longer than you’d hoped.

The relationship you forge with a Carolina Plantations Realtor is important. You can count on us to work on your behalf 24/7. Give us a call today and let's discuss how to set your home price right, regardless of the market.


2017 in Review and What's to Come

It's that time of year when we review what our amazing team at Carolina Plantations has accomplished while continuing to smash sales records year after year. While 2017 left a lasting impression with a rare occurrence of ice and snow, things are looking toasty warm for the New Year. With our help, coastal North Carolina has continued to entrench itself as one of the Top 3 Retirement Locations on the east coast. (Florida & Hilton Head are the other two).

Let's Compare

In 2015, we finished with $35,000,000 in sales only to be topped by 2016 sales of $49,230,525 – for a 40% increase. With the books now closed on 2017, the team at Carolina Plantations wound up with over $71,210,204 for a whopping 44.6% increase.

Expansion of Cape Fear River Area

More 2017 highlights include the addition of RiverLights to our repertoire of communities. RiverLights boasts the areas first Del Web section (about 20% dedicated to Del Webb) along with a handful of local builders with prices starting in the $300s. It's located along the eastern banks of the Cape Fear River in Wilmington.

New Highways

A late but prominent addition to our landscape is the opening of I-140, that stretches from Porters Neck (north of Wilmington) to just south of Brunswick Forest on Hwy 17 in Leland. This bypass will provide easy access to Brunswick County and beyond for the thousands of daily visitors traveling through our area for decades to come.

Wilmington Growth

This past year also saw the completion of the Riverfront Boardwalk in downtown Wilmington and two new hotels with several more on the drawing boards, not to mention the continued growth of retail, medical and commercial venues in both Brunswick and New Hanover Counties. With mild year-round weather, over 100 miles of sandy beaches, top notch medical services, numerous universities and colleges close by and an entertainment industry continually growing, Coastal North Carolina will continue to grow well beyond 2018.

What We Have to Offer

• The areas #1 Real Estate website
• The areas #1 Custom Home Design Firm
• A customized FREE Coastal Guide Book shipped directly to your door
• A personal tour of the entire area’s beaches, shopping, medical, and commercial venues
• Our insights and history of all communities/plantations in our area
• Introductions to all the area’s top developers and builders
• Free subscription to our monthly eNewsletter, Carolina Dreamin’, sent to 40,000+ email users

Looking Forward to 2018

With the new tax reform at hand, experts are saying that we need to brace ourselves for a totally new wave of people wanting to leave the highly taxed northern states for more friendly taxed states such as North Carolina.

If you are considering a visit to the area in 2018, contact our incredible team at Carolina Plantations because we clearly are the #1 Retirement Experts in Coastal North Carolina.

Christmas Just Isn't Christmas Without the Elves

This may come as a surprise to many but Christmas elves don't live in the Keebler tree like television commercials may lead you to believe! They were actually first described in a book in 1850 that was completed but never published. The author was Louis May Alcott, whose most famous works included “Little Women”, along with several follow up books.

It was not until 1873 that an image of Christmas elves surrounding Santa in a toy workshop graced the cover of a magazine called “Godey’s Lady’s Book”. Louis Godey, who was born in Philadelphia, was also known for a cover in 1850 that depicted the first Christmas tree.

Christmas elves are as mythical as such holiday favorites as Santa, Frosty & Rudolph yet, for millions and millions of children young and old, Christmas elves are as much of a part of our holiday traditions as are swaddling clothes and a manger in Bethlehem.

Our team of elves at Carolina Plantations would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Joyous Holiday Season! We are always honored to be a part of such an important decision in your lives and please let us know how we can be of assistance on your journey.

Cherish your time with family and friends during the holidays and we hope the true meaning of Christmas burns brightly inside you. Ho Ho Ho!!!

Put the Bam! in Thanksgiving Dinner with Cranberries

Most people would agree that Thanksgiving dinner just wouldn't be the same without the appearance of cranberries in one form or another — the most popular of these being cranberry relish. At this time of the year, with the holidays upon us, we at Carolina Plantations would like to wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving as well as share our favorite facts and recipes with you.

Easy Cranberry Relish

Mix fresh raw cranberries, chopped apples and chopped oranges in a bowl. Stir well. Cover, chill and let stand a few hours for best flavor. Stir again and serve.

Interesting and lesser known facts about the crane berry

1. Cranberries are one of only three fruits that are native to North America. It's a wild fruit that grows on long-running vines in sandy bogs and marshes primarily in the Northeast, but they can also be found growing in the Pacific Northwest.

2. Native Americans were the first to enjoy cranberries. They mixed deer meat and mashed cranberries to make pemmicana — a survival food. They also believed in the medicinal value of cranberries — long before science discovered the health benefits offered by the cranberry.

3. Native Americans also used the rich red juice of the cranberry as a natural dye for rugs, blankets and clothing.

4. Cranberries were called “sassamanesh” by Eastern Indians. While the Cape Cod Pequots and the South Jersey Leni-Lenape tribes named them “ibimi,” or bitter berry. It was the early German and Dutch settlers who started calling it the “crane berry” because the flower looked a lot like the head and bill of a crane.

5. It wasn't until the 1800's that people began farming cranberries. At first growers would pick the cranberries by hand. Today most cranberries are harvested using a technique known as wet harvesting. That's when the bog is flooded with water and the cranberries float to the surface, where they are easily scooped up.

6. Some cranberry bogs are more than 100 years old and still produce today.

7. Sailors once used cranberries as a source of vitamin C to prevent scurvy. Besides Vitamin C, we now know that cranberries are also full of antioxidants that help cleanse and purify the body.

8. Americans consume some 400 million pounds of cranberries a year, 20 percent during Thanksgiving week.

9. American recipes containing cranberries date from the early 18th Century.


Terhune Family Cranberry Stuffing Recipe

Cranberry StuffingI believe all families have their own version of stuffing, for I have never had the same stuffing twice unless it was my family’s recipe, and that includes friend’s homes and restaurants. That being said, I’d like to share what I believe to be the best stuffing in the UNIVERSE. Yes, UNIVERSE!! It’s easy to make and quite the crowd pleaser.


o  1 Bag of Pepperidge Farm cubed stuffing mix
o  1 can of chicken broth
o  Same amount of fresh Apple Cider
o  One large sautéed yellow onion
o  Pinch of salt & pepper
o  One bag of fresh Cranberries
o  (Optional: 1 cup of chopped dried Prunes and 1 cup of chopped dried Apricots. Only add these if you are prepared for additional excitement!!)

Boil chicken broth and apple cider. Add salt & pepper along with sautéed onion and then remove from stove. Stir in bag of stuffing mix and then the cranberries. (Depending on bag size, you may need to add a bit more apple cider) Then add apricots and prunes if you dare. Stuff the bird and or place remaining amount in a separate festive casserole dish. Bake. Then lather with your homemade gravy and adorn with bird, potatoes, veggies, rolls, cranberry relish and love!

Happy Thanksgiving from The Team at Carolina Plantations Real Estate!


5 Newest Affordable Model Homes in Brunswick Forest

Tribute Homes, a division of True Homes USA, is the largest builder in the Charlotte, NC metropolitan area.

Recently, Tribute Homes completed 5 new model homes in the Parkway Crossing neighborhood of Brunswick Forest. The majority of the homes in Brunswick Forest's 16 neighborhoods have sold out so having affordable homes being built in Parkway Crossing at this time is worth getting excited about!

The five homes begin just under $272,000 and cap out at $329,000. They all come standard with hardwood floors, granite countertops, large laundry rooms, 2 car garages, stainless appliances, screened in porches, fireplaces, bonus rooms and more.

We're supplying videos below so you can take an up-close look at the homes. Each video is less than one minute, so sit back and take a tour of a few brand new model homes that might be just what you've been looking for! When you're ready to take a walk through just give us a call!


Brunswick Forest offers an 18,000' Wellness & Fitness Center to residents that includes indoor and outdoor saltwater pools, Tennis Center, Cardio Fitness Center, Spa with onsite Massage Therapists, The Poolside Splash Cafe, Lending Library and more. 

There are 90+ miles of walking trails/sidewalks that meander through forests and the 16 neighborhoods. If you are looking for an active community look no further than Brunswick Forest. Cape Fear National Golf Course is one of the Top 10 rated courses along the Carolina coast. Cape Fear National also hosts a handsome clubhouse, Pro Shop and restaurant/pub called The Forest, along with a brand new Pickleball Center with 6 courts!! There's also an 11 acre park in the center of the community for outdoor concerts and events plus, a wonderful dog park.

We look forward to providing you with a tour of the new model homes in the Parkway Crossing neighborhood of Brunswick Forest. Call us today at (910) 755-7557. We look forward to hearing from you!

Winner’s Announced for “Refer a Friend” Drawing

Congratulations to Frank and Susan Pasquale from New Jersey for winning the drawing for a FREE weekend in Wilmington / Wrightsville Beach!

With nearly 40 entries, Frank & Susan love Brunswick County soooooo much, that they referred 5 friends to the Team at Carolina Plantations!

Thanks to all of you who referred a friend and helped select your current or future neighbors!


Refer a Friend Contest


Announcing “The Best” of Coastal North Carolina

If there's anything Carolina Plantations excels at, it's Holden Beach real estate and food.

While we have excellent knowledge on both subjects, it just makes perfect sense that we share that with you.

We realize that vacationers to the area arrive with their own ideas of places they want to go and what they want to eat. Not knowing the area all that well it makes it a little difficult to find the perfect spots.

But not to worry! We can help with that!

After 18 years of living in Coastal North Carolina, we've put together a conglomeration of favorite restaurants and other various venues. While some of you will disagree with these selections, you are free to make your own recommendations in the comments section below.

The Best Of... Coastal North Carolina

Ahi Tuna

Yellowfin Tuna
Establishment: The Bridge Tender
Location: ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) @ Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Asian Food

Asian cuisine
Establishment: Indochine
Location: Wilmington (on Market Street), North Carolina


Establishment: Empire Deli & Bagel
Location: Leland, North Carolina


Establishment: Apple Annie's Bake Shop
Location: Wilmington (Kerr Avenue & The Forum), North Carolina


Establishment: Barbary Coast
Location: Downtown Wilmington, North Carolina


Establishment: Cracker Barrel Wilmington & Cracker Barrel Myrtle Beach
Location: Downtown Wilmington, North Carolina & Myrtle Beach, South Carolina


Establishment: Sweet n Savory Cafe
Location: Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina


Establishment: Copper Penny
Location: Downtown Wilmington, North Carolina

Car Dealership

Car Dealership
Establishment: Bob King Buick GMC
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina


Establishment: The Big M
Location: Little River, South Carolina

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookie
Establishment: Sugar Confections Bakery
Location: Shallotte, North Carolina

Civic Club

Service Club
Establishment: Rotary Club of Shallotte
Location: Shallotte, North Carolina


Establishment: Long Island Eatery Deli
Location: Wilmington (on Kerr Avenue), North Carolina

Craziest Place

Establishment: Willoughbys
Location: Leland, North Carolina


Establishment: Calabash Deli
Location: Calabash, North Carolina

Department Store

Department Store
Establishment: Dillards
Location: Westfield Independence Mall, in Wilmington, North Carolina

Dogs / Burgers / Custard

Hot Dog, Hamburger, Custard
Establishment: Hwy 55 - Burgers, Shakes and Fries
Location: Shallotte & Leland, North Carolina


Establishment: The Donut Inn
Location: Near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Fishing Pier

Fishing Pier
Establishment: Ocean Isle Beach Pier
Location: Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina

French Food

French Cuisine
Establishment: Brasserie Du Soleil
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina


Establishment: Airlie Gardens
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina

Golf Course

Golf Course
Establishment: Rivers Edge Golf Course
Location: Shallotte, North Carolina

Golf Course

Golf Course
Establishment: Cape Fear National Golf Course
Location: Leland, North Carolina

Grocery Store

Grocery Store
Establishment: Harris Teeter: Leland & Harris Teeter: Wilmington
Location: Leland & Wilmington, North Carolina

Happy Hour Food

Happy Hour
Establishment: Ruth Chris Steak House: Wilmington & Myrtle Beach
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina & Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Ice Cream

Ice Cream
Establishment: Kilwins: Wilmington
Location: Downtown Wilmington, North Carolina

Italian Ice

Italian Ice
Establishment: Sunset Slush
Location: Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina

Jamaican Restaurant

Jamaican Cuisine
Establishment: Sugar Shack
Location: Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina


Establishment: Bluewater Waterfront Grill
Location: ICW @ Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Mexican Food

Mexican Cuisine
Establishment: San Felipe
Location: Leland, Shallotte & Southport, North Carolina

Movie Theater

Movie Theater
Establishment: The Pointe at Barclay (New)
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina


Establishment: Purple Onion Cafe
Location: Shallotte, North Carolina

Pet Grooming & Boarding

Dog Grooming
Establishment: Wags & Whiskers
Location: Shallotte, North Carolina

Pizza & Meatballs

Pizza & Meatballs
Establishment: Pizettas Pizza
Location: Leland at Brunswick Forest, North Carolina

Prime Rib

Standing Rib Roast
Establishment: Boundary House
Location: Calabash, North Carolina


Establishment: Blackfin Ameripub
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina

Real Estate Company

Real Estate Broker
Establishment: Seriously???
Location: Shallotte, North Carolina

Restaurant Atmposphere

Establishment: Circa 1922
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina


Establishment: Port City Chop House
Location: Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Steamed Shrimp

Steamed Shrimp
Establishment: Provision Company: Holden Beach & Provision Company: Southport
Location: Holden Beach & Southport, North Carolina

Steamed Oysters

Steamed Oyesters
Establishment: Dock Street Oyster Bar
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina

Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch
Establishment: Elijah's
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina

Wings & Beer

Buffalo Wing " Beer
Establishment: Buffalo Wild Wings: Wilmington & Buffalo Wild Wings: Myrtle Beach
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina & Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Coastal North Carolina Recommendations

Refer a Friend Contest

Free Summer Concerts & Movies at SummerFest 2017

Every year vacationers and locals alike look forward to the free concerts and movies held in Shallotte. It’s when those in the town and surrounding areas come together for an evening of enjoyment and a celebration of summer. The schedule of Free Summer Concerts & Movies at Mulberry Park in Shallotte NC follows so mark your calendar now and don’t miss a single one.

SummerFest 2017 concerts and movies are held every Thursday evening through August 10. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. and movies start at dusk.


Mulberry Park is located at 123 Mulberry Street. You can access the park from Mulberry Street or off Main Street.


Thursday, June 22 at 7:30 p.m.
The Jungle Book (Disney 2016)


Thursday, June 29 at 7:30 p.m.
The Secret Life of Pets


Thursday, July 6 at 7:00 p.m.
Darrell Harwood


Thursday, July 13 at 7:00 p.m.
Southern Trouble


Thursday, July 20 at 7:00 p.m.
Jim Quick & Coastline


Thursday, July 27 at 7:00 p.m.
Blackwater Rhythm and Blues


Thursday, August 3 at 7:00 p.m.
The Catalinas


Thursday, August 10 at 7:00 p.m.
Too Much Sylvia


These events are sponsored in part by Brunswick County Parks & Recreation, Town of Shallotte, ATMC and 94.9 The Surf.


Market Trends in Sales, Mortgages, Listings and More

The team at Carolina Plantations is frequently being asked by both sellers and buyers what the pulse is of our market in Coastal North Carolina. So instead of trying to bloviate (w/obvious reference to a mighty fallen), we thought we would share some hard, cold facts with you. Real estate along the eastern coastline is really heating up at this time of year.

In Brunswick County, we concentrate on three separate areas:

  1. Southport
  2. Southern Brunswick Isles
  3. Leland

Below is at least one large community from each area along with a brief window into the health of six communities in Brunswick County. Please keep in mind that these numbers are directly off our local MLS system, so if a developer below does not enter (all) their sales on MLS, then the general public has no means to secure and/or verify such numbers.

SOLD During Past 12 Months Homesites
# of Sales and Range
Brunswick Plantation 8 ($9,000 - $40,000) 50 ($64,000 - $440,000)
Brunswick Forest 140 ($60,000 - $230,000) 258 ($235,000 - $735,000)
Compass Pointe 61 ($68,000 - $145,000) 40 ($282,000 - $589,000)
Ocean Ridge Plantation 37 ($15,000 - $239,900) 11 ($324,000 - $800,000)
St. James 105 ($15,250 - $350,000) 194 ($125,000 - $775,000)
Waterford of the Carolinas 28 ($43,500 - $101,000) 78 ($180,000 - $532,000)

It is no surprise that the two behemoths of our county, St James and Brunswick Forest, sport the numbers that they do. Their marketing budgets probably surpass that of several professional sports teams as they reach out to the many folks retiring in the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. You will also notice that with the exception of a small handful of home sites in SJP that have been foreclosed upon, the prices are holding quite steady at these two communities.

One could argue that the area that these communities lie in could be a factor in these trends, however there are communities doing well in all three areas of our county. Living near a beach, Wilmington or Myrtle Beach may not be a perfect match for many of the clients we see moving here, so we are grateful to offer so many geographic options.

Brunswick County, North Carolina Residential Real Estate Listing Prices

Brunswick County, North Carolina Residential Real Estate Absorption Rates and Days on the MarketWhen real estate sales increase, there is almost always a direct correlation to the Absorption Rate decreasing as the amount of product on the market decreases. The next effects of these trends is that prices will inevitably increase and the average Days on the Market will decrease – so take a gander at the charts below and you will see that we are trending in positive directions in almost every category.

While the group of Realtors in Wilmington do sell in Leland, they mostly concentrate on Wilmington / New Hanover County and Pender County, which is north of Wilmington. So, while their geography is a bit different than Brunswick County, they are our neighbors to the north and are experiencing rapid growth just like we are. Just thought you would enjoy seeing their trends.

Cape Fear, North Carolina Realtors Regional Stats for 2017

In a perfect world, selling ‘high’ and buying ‘low’ is as good as it gets, right? Well, that opportunity is available for many of you right now. If you have any questions about the market either as a buyer or a seller, please contact the team at Carolina Plantations so that we can provide you the information you require to make well educated decisions. You can reach us at (910) 755 - 7557.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Take a Walk on the Wild Side of Downtown Wilmington

Downtown Wilmington, North Carolina

Historic downtown Wilmington has opened up her arms to millions of visitors and local residents for decades. With many quaint stores, stunning southern architecture, a multitude of dining and shopping venues set on cobblestone streets, it’s a city you could easily fall in love with. It’s a wonderful place to visit and an even better place to call “home”.

If you want stay active, whether you’re visiting from affair or you live here, you will enjoy the many informative boat rides available on the Cape Fear River, educational museums, plenty of new brew pubs, walks along the 4 mile long riverfront boardwalk. Or go on a horse drawn carriage ride while you’re out for the evening choosing from among the many dining options you’ll have. Keep things exciting with a ghost tour or kick up your heals with the energetic night life and great people that make downtown Wilmington the ‘in’ place to be!

The next generation of downtown Wilmington is bringing in plenty of exciting new hotels with lots of glass, steel, and huge granite bars offering plenty of adventurous outdoor dining and live music along the riverfront. Incredibly spacious private yachts, a state of the art Performing Arts Center and a new generation of Southerners will soon define the north side of historic downtown Wilmington.

It was just a year ago that the Port City Marina, with over 100 wet slips, opened their doors. Now they welcome Vida and BlackFinn Ameripub -- two new restaurants overlooking the Port City Marina and Cape Fear River. 

Vida is an upscale Mexican cantina opening this summer. It has the absolute hottest bar in all of Wilmington that is located outside on the second deck hanging over the Cape Fear River. The BlackFinn American Pub, opening sometime in May, will offer craft beers, a huge menu of eclectic foods and indoor and outdoor dining overlooking the Port City Marina. 

So if you live in Coastal North Carolina or you will be vacationing in the area, be sure to take a walk on the wild side of downtown Wilmington! For those who decide they'd like to take a closer look at what living in the beautiful city of Wilmington would be like, give us a call at Carolina Plantations and we'd be happy to show you some homes.

From Buyers to Sellers Market

It's been a Buyer's Market for well over 10 years, but now the market is turning in the direction of a Sellers Market.

This is great news if you are one of those people who are considering selling your home. Buyers may have more to choose from but they can expect to be paying top dollar as the market fully turns.

From Long Island to Brunswick County, North Carolina

A good friend from Long Island asked me the other day if I was ready for an onslaught of Long Islanders coming down to the Brunswick County / Wilmington NC area this year.

He indicated that homes are flying off the shelf (in many areas on the island, not all) and at prices close to what homes were valued at in early 2007!

So, for those that are selling high, the ability to buy low still exists in pockets up and down the east coast.

Brunswick County Market Change

Brunswick County's inventory of homes for sale is finally starting to shrink to some degree. Gone (mostly) are the scads of discarded homesites given back to the banks by the truckload in the 2009 - 2014 period and foreclosure homes are nearly just a historical footnote.

Perspective in Miami

I was in Miami a few weeks ago, and the Sunday Miami Herald's lead story was about how the rocketing prices for housing are turning away people looking for good jobs because they cannot find rentals nor afford entry to mid-level affordable homes. While that may be good news for sellers, you still need buyers.

Seller's Market - Brunswick County - 2018

Brunswick County will switch over to a Seller's Market by June of 2018, if not sooner. We are still one of the top destinations in the country for retirees and when the economy heats up, so does our market.

When the switch happens, it still might not be countywide as several areas were affected more negatively than others with our 2008 downturn. The good news is that even in those pockets inventory is leaner today than just one year ago! But we have seen multiple offers on select well-priced inventory over the past 30 days, so market changes are in the air!

We have some advice for those of you who are in or entering into a Seller's Market.

Sell sooner rather than later so you can take advantage of good inventory, low prices and still historically low interest rates in Coastal North Carolina.

Sell High - Buy Low!

NC Study Finds Wilmington is Most Preferred City

A new study has found that Wilmington ranks as the most favorable city in North Carolina for the nearly 1,000 participants polled. 

WILMINGTON -- Coming off an election that left deep divisions among North Carolinians, one debate managed to cross party lines: the state loves Wilmington.

In a new study released Tuesday, the Port City ranked first among favorability ranking for state cities according to 953 North Carolinians. Public Policy Polling, a national polling company based in Raleigh, conducted the study from Jan. 13-16 to gauge a statewide preference for topics ranging from doughnuts to barbecue to college basketball to the state song.

Wilmington held a clear lead among the North Carolina cities tested with voters, claiming a 69 percent favorability rating. The study is an update of one conducted five years ago, when Wilmington and Raleigh tied for the top spot with 67 percent favorability. Raleigh dropped to 62 percent favorability in the 2017 study, but still managed to hold onto the No. 2 spot.

Southport resident Linsey Abernathey, out for a stroll in downtown Wilmington Wednesday afternoon with her husband Quentin and young son, said the Port City is attractive to so many because it caters to all. "There is something for literally everyone to do," she said, standing near the Riverwalk. "Anything from having a little kid to when we bring my grandmother, there is always something going on with the different festivals and activities we have."

Falling in behind Wilmington and Raleigh were Asheville (61 percent), Winston-Salem (56), Greensboro (56), Chapel Hill (56), Charlotte (55), Cary (43), Greenville (39), Durham (38), Fayetteville (34) and Carrboro (28).

The biggest declines were Raleigh and Charlotte, the latter of which fell to a 55 percent favorability rating and saw its unfavourability rating spike eight points to 26 percent -- a change polling analyst Jim Williams attributed specifically to politics.

"I think that's because Charlotte has become a flashpoint nationally because of the HB2 issue, as has Raleigh," he said. "People just have a lesser opinion of those cities."

Local resident May Lawley was also downtown Wednesday with her father, Dave, who was visiting from Charlotte. She said the small-town feel with big-city amenities like a downtown area and shopping centers likely contributes to Wilmington's statewide appeal. But for Dave, it's a bit more deeply rooted.


Credit: Hunter Ingram, StarNews Staff


Controlling the Cost of Your Custom-Built Home

custom-built homes

If you’ve ever gone the route of a custom-built home you know how expensive it can be once you’re done adding all of your must-haves into the design. We see this over and over again at our custom home design firm PlanViewDesign. But there are compromises you can make that won’t feel like you’re giving up anything important. Following are some areas of your new home where you can make some tweaks and come out saving money.

  1. Windows – Coastal North Carolina enjoys a mild year-round climate and therefore, it is not necessary to use high end brand name windows. All vinyl windows will save you a lot of money and you won’t lose any energy out them. Sticking with all vinyl windows can save you half the cost of brand name windows, which is usually a $15,000 - $20,000 savings.
  1. Reduce the Footprint – When building a home, you will pay more for square footage of home on ground level (horizontal) than on top of the first floor. Building vertically means placing an extra bedroom and/or FROG (finished room over garage) upstairs, can save you half the cost of a horizontal square foot. When you build a second story on top of the first floor, you will see your cost drop to 50% per square foot. This will significantly lower your aggregate cost per square foot to build your dream home.

custom-built homes

  1. Your Kitchen – The single most expensive room in the house is the kitchen. It can make or a break a deal. This is where custom made cabinets, extensive plumbing/electrical work, upgraded countertops, stainless appliances and expensive flooring can be found. The average kitchen cost in Brunswick County ranges from $35,000 - $50,000. In high end custom homes it is not uncommon that the kitchens can cost close to or above $100,000. So, think twice about that $15,000 Viking 6 Burner Professional Tuscany Series stove. Perhaps that $600 5.0 cubic foot Frigidaire 4 Burner stove will suffice quite nicely.  
  1. Rooms with Little Use – While sunrooms and formal dining rooms can add to the aesthetics of a home, they don’t always get the use to justify the price. Why spend considerable money on rooms you seldom use?

custom-built homes

  1. Exterior Materials – About a decade ago we saw the transition from real stacked stone to manufactured (concrete) stone products. While this significantly reduced the cost of using stone in the façade of a home, faux stacked stone or brick are still more expensive than the ever popular Hardie board. What is popular today is building a Hardie Board home (shakes and or horizontal boards) with brick or stacked stone accents. Yes, Hardie in the long-term needs painting but it softens the price to build your home now and gives you the opportunity to change the color of your home later. It’s worth considering the new attractive vinyl products hitting the market as well.

Staying within the budget is everyone’s goal when they start out to design or customize a new home. But the reality is it’s tough to do. If you’re willing to compromise along the way you stand a far greater chance of keeping the costs to a minimum and staying within your budget. Good luck to you with your new custom-built home from all of us at Carolina Plantations!



Tax Deductions for the New Homeowner

If you became a homeowner this year, you will have some tax deductions to take advantage of when you file your tax return. Tax time will be here before you know it so it's important to get started early. Though what seemed like an endless search with Carolina Plantations for that new home, your taxes will show the benefit of you taking the leap into homeownership. You should ask your accountant or tax advisor about all the homeowner tax deductions you are entitled to, because tax laws vary and some are more advantageous to your bottom line than others.


Here’s a list of some basic deductions to ask about just to get you started in the right direction:

Property Tax

One deduction available to you as a homeowner is for real estate property taxes you paid on your home during 2016. Your mortgage provider will send you a tax statement that shows the amount of property taxes you paid through the escrow account that they manage for you. The year-end statement should show the grand total for property taxes paid. 

Mortgage Interest

Homeowners can also take advantage of a mortgage interest deduction, which is claimed on the Schedule A. To get the mortgage interest deduction, your mortgage must be secured by your home. Interest you pay on a mortgage of up to $1 million, or $500,000 if you’re married filing separately, is deductible when you use a loan to buy, build, or make improvements to that specific home. 

Prepaid Interest

Your lender should send you a Form 1098, which is used to document the points that you paid for your loan. If you did not receive this form, you can locate the dollar amount you paid on the HUD-1 settlement sheet, which you received when you closed on the purchase of your home.

Usually prepaid interest (or points), which you may have paid at the time the mortgage was taken out, are usually 100% deductible in the year you paid them.

PMI - Mortgage Insurance Premiums

If you itemize your return, you can deduct the cost of private mortgage insurance (PMI) as mortgage interest. Essentially, you can treat the amounts you paid during 2016 for qualified mortgage insurance as home mortgage interest when you file. The insurance must be in connection with home acquisition debt, and the insurance contract must have been issued after 2006. Speak to a tax professional to determine if this applies to you.

Energy-Efficiency Updates

All of those improvements you made to your home in 2016 that provided for greater energy efficiency might qualify for the residential energy tax credit. The credit is filed on the IRS form 5695 with your tax return. This credit has a lifetime cap of $500 (less for some products), so if it is a deduction you have utilized previously, you’ll have to subtract prior tax credits from that $500 limit. 

Following are some energy improvements that may qualify you for the tax credit:

  • Insulation
  • Windows, doors, and skylights
  • Roofs (metal and asphalt)
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
  • Water heaters (non-solar)

All of us at Carolina Plantations wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



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