Diverting Your Water

In one’s search for a retirement home and community, many factors exist to consider. Many of the most common are demographics of the residents, location, age of the community, and more. How often, though, do people give serious consideration to the movement of water in the community?

two different ways to divert water from home.

Since 2007, the team at Carolina Plantations has helped thousands of people find their dream location and home to retire to – even if it was not in Coastal NC. During that time, we welcomed nearly 500 families to Brunswick Forest, located in Leland, NC – just 5 minutes from downtown Wilmington. We bring this to your attention because, being as involved as we have been, we have been close to allies with the developer and have been privy to some valuable information.

Anytime you are within 50 miles of the southeastern coast of the US, you need to be concerned with water, for when you hear the phrase “Low Country,” that should associate in your head that low terrain equals high water table. And while our rain levels are pretty standard during the year, we get heavy rainstorms and occasional storm water drains and pipes feverishly moving water – and sometimes, lots of water.

What Choices are there?

When entering a community, you are most aptly to see one of two methods of moving water. The first is using culverts/swales placed in front of your homes. When it rains, these fill up with water, and if it is heavy rain, you might just end up with Lake Winnipesauke on your front lawn. This is because culverts tend to collect water and not move it as intended. And probably most important to note is that these swales tend to get long-standing water, collect garbage, and are hard to maintain.

Choice #2 is where the developer uses curbs and gutters along with sidewalks. This is far more costly than the first option but by far the best for you, the homeowner. Home water is often directed to the street, whereby gravity sends it to a drain. The water goes down the drain and is carried along pipes to a retention pond.

Retention Ponds

Retention ponds can be your friend if the developer has a plan if the ponds overflow. Spillways are commonly factored in, and water from one pond will flow to another at a lower elevation. This continues till the water is sent off the property to an estuary or into the town’s drain system. Retention ponds that do not have a spillway can often flood the homes of those who live around the pond.

showing two different ways that a retention pond works

Numerous communities throughout Brunswick County and Coastal NC do not install stormwater drains, pipes, or sidewalks. Many are older communities but make no mistake; economics drive the water removal issue 99% of the time. Some may say they are more environmentally conscientious; however, now you are armed with the truth!

Be careful when selecting a community and pay attention to how water is moved off your personal property and the community. The last thing you want to do when you retire is to worry about a lake forming in your yard every time it rains. If you’re still on the hunt for a dream retirement home, give our team at Carolina Plantations a call today!

10 Years Later: The Housing Market Flip

We dug back into the archives on Carolina Plantations back to our eNewsletter dated October 2011. Exactly ten years ago, Doug penned an article “Selling for Less” in The Front Porch Gazette, which was the predecessor to Carolina Dreamin’, our current eNewsletter format.

The county was three years removed from the gut-wrenching financial collapse of our economy. Most homeowners across the country were selling their homes for less than they were valued in 2007 and early 2008.

The article pointed out that if you were selling your home in DC, NJ, PA, or MA, whatever you might be losing up there, you would be gaining down here, as our prices also tumbled. Fast forward ten years, and well, that certainly is not the case as just about every home listed in America sells within 48 hours.

But wait! Isn’t there some kind of irony going on here? We mean, does either market hurt you? Follow this logic for a second. Let’s look at what would have happened if you sold your home in 2011 for $400,000 or $500,000 in 2011.

Value of your Home Sale 2011           $400,000

Current Loan Balance 10/11               $100,000

Equity in your home                           $300,000

Cost of new home in NC                     $350,000

Net Cost of new Home                       $50,000


Value of Your Home in 2021              $500,000

Current Loan Balance 10/21               $50,000

Equity in your Home                           $450,000

Cost of new home in NC                     $450,000

Net Cost of New Home                       $0

We all know that the monthly cost of a $50,000 mortgage is relatively small (about $225 a month), so the irony lies in the fact that your home went up by $100,000. However, so did the cost to build a house down here in North Carolina. The net/net to you in this market is favorable but perhaps not as much as you had imagined due to the costs of building a home rising over the last ten years.

The problem today for many people deals with sitting on the sidelines waiting for lumber and materials prices to come down from their high earlier this summer. The retail costs have adjusted quite a bit; however, those prices adjustments just don’t seem to have made it through the supply chain yet, as many builders Doug has spoken to recently claim prices for almost all building products are still up sharply from the beginning of 2021. Until this occurs, resale homes appear to be the best bet financially, and this is what continues to drive a good portion of our real estate market in our country. If you’re ready to make that move from the Northeast to our beautiful shores of North Carolina, give us a call today. We are prepared to help you make the right decision to retire to Brunswick County.

Brunswick County: Thousands of New Homes Approved & Proposed

If there is one thing that we have a lot of in Brunswick County, it’s land. If there is one demand in and amongst Coastal NC that we have an abundance of, it’s for more homes. Put them together, and BOOM!!

From Sunset Beach to Shallotte to Bolivia to Leland, developers are pulling out their checkbooks and doing everything they can to get new homes out of the ground at lightning speed. America is shy 4,000,000 homes to satisfy consumer demand. Yes, we said 4 million homes shy?? That is like 8,000 homes per county, give or take a few thousand. That’s nuts and quite frankly probably conservative because not every county has a bullseye on it for retirees, as does Brunswick County, NC. It has been one of the top three retirement destinations on the east coast for years, but with COVID-Flight happening in so many New England, Mid Atlantic, and Midwestern cities, Brunswick County is en vogue! Check out this article that Wall Street Journal has recently put out on the housing shortage.

For decades, Brunswick County has been one of the leading growing counties in America, but don’t let that scare you, as that is based upon a percentage of growth, not by population numbers. For example, here are several of the largest cities and their respective counties population in North Carolina:

CHARLOTTE – Mecklenburg County                                                   1,143,570

RALEIGH – Wake County                                                                    1,142,740

ASHEVILLE – Buncombe County                                                         265,055

WINSTON SALEM – Forsyth County                                                   388,453

WILMINGTON – New Hanover County                                               238,907*

Brunswick County, NC                                                                       154,700*

*One interesting note is that Brunswick County encompasses 1,050 square miles, while New Hanover County to the north of us comes in 328 square miles. We have over three times the amount of land and only 64% of the population that Wilmington/NHC has. That is probably the #1 contributing factor to the continued growth of our little slice of heaven – we have the land!

If you are thinking of retiring to Brunswick County, give us a call today and allow one of our agents to help you in the process. Our little slice of heaven is waiting for you to call it you’re forever home today!

When Will it Stop? Not for a Long, Long Time!

A very dear friend of Doug’s, a giant in Brunswick County, said to him last week that Carolina Plantations should enjoy unparalleled growth for many years. His family were earlier settlers on one of our barrier islands, and he and his real estate empire focus on beach business. He mentioned this because beach real estate has slowed quite a bit due to a lack of inventory. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of people are doing everything they can to escape colder climates and higher-tax states and find their place in the sun. We could not argue his point.

Covid, which hopefully will be under control soon, has merely accelerated the retirement plans of millions of Americans. Why live in cold weather when your kids have moved out of state, taxes only seem to be increasing as winters continue to be too long and too cold, and your homes can sell for more now than possibly ever?

A couple of weeks ago, Doug watched Chairman Powell of the Fed speak about the US’s chances of experiencing another 2008 debacle. Check out the 60 minutes interview.

He indicated that many factors are in place today that would severely decrease the chances of ever happening again. The first was changing predatory lending habits of lenders, which we can attest to. Years back, you might recall “No Doc Loans,” which allowed a person to walk in off the street and, without any documentation, secure a loan. Is anyone surprised that 2008 happened? Oh, my goodness, what were we thinking?! Oh, and one more thing Chairman Powell shared is that he does not see inflation on his radar. Chairman Powell believes the Fed has that well under control through the end of 2021 and beyond.

So, barring an economic meltdown again any time soon coupled with loads of Baby Boomers retiring and looking for a more economically feasible lifestyle, Coastal North Carolina is smack in the crosshairs of untold numbers of soon to retire Americans. And according to Wharton’s Professor Jeremy Siegal, stocks could post yet another 30-40% gain before any kind of a pullback. Check out some tips for buying a home during a pandemic here.

On a different note, a few days ago, Doug spoke with a client that said he is going to wait until fall to consider purchasing a home here on the coast. The reason, in his opinion, all this craziness with multiple offers and rising prices has got to end soon. Nope, it doesn’t.  Keeping this all in perspective, while our prices have increased this past year, most of it was driven by a hopefully once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. These prices, though, have been felt in just about every market, so if you are selling your home today in Princeton, NJ for $525,000, that’s probably $50,000 more than you would have sold it for last summer, right?

Coastal North Carolina is still VERY affordable. We have inventory, and if we run lean, our builders build it because we are truly blessed to have an abundant inventory of land! Approximately 70% of our clients build new homes here because:

  1. They can!!
  2. They get to select all their floorplans, colors, flooring, countertops, appliances, etc.
  3. It fits into their timeframes with regards to retiring, selling, and moving.

So, when you consider Covid Flight (to the burbs), people retiring earlier than anticipated historic low-interest rates for mortgages, millions of Baby Boomers have yet to retire. A stable/growing economy, Carolina Plantations is expecting the real estate market here in Coastal North Carolina to stay very strong for the next 24-36 months. And as the adage goes, if you snooze, you lose. If you’re ready to start your search for your home to retire to the Coast of North Carolina, give us a call today!

Why Are There No Trees?

In January of 2002, Doug began his real estate career working for the Blue Green Corporation, as an on-site agent at Winding River Plantation in Bolivia, NC. They sold dirt and nothing but the dirt.

Why Are There No Trees?

When we sold a homesite (learned to never call it a “lot” because a woman would never build her Dream Home on a “lot”!!), the dirt came with all the trees, valleys, gullies and pitches. So, when it came time for your builder to prepare you dirt for your Dream Home, the additional costs to clear, level and bring in soil could have bee a few thousand to over $20,000. These costs were often overlooked in the budget and quite honestly, stretched more budgets than people would have thought.

In a response to the negative press from builders and property owners, sometime around 2013, local developers here and from coast to coast, began “wholesaling” homesites – which is the practice of preparing the homesites to the point where they are referred to as “pad ready.”

Why Are There No Trees?

To provide a “pad ready” homesite, this is what a developer must do:

  • Remove the trees from the homesite. Keep in mind that in the past 10+ years, the average homesite decreased from 1/3 acre to 1/4 acre in size, so in essences, it’s almost impossible to save trees on 1/2 acre for by the time you place your Dream Home on the homesite and make room for the driveway, walkways and porches, you really have very little dirt left.
  • After the trees have been hauled away, it is time to dig down 3-6′ and clear our the twisted roots, dead branches and vines – otherwise known as mat.
  • Once the mat is removed, soil experts/engineers will weigh in on what needs to be added, such as crushed stone, fine gravel, sifted soil and/or sand.
  • The homesite will them be shaped properly, with the center being crowned and tilted back to front, as this will allow for proper drainage to the street and stormwater system. In essence, it will look like the field at the Giants Stadium, with a slight back to front tilt.
  • Lastly, the homesite will be compressed according to local engineering standards, as the soil needs a specific PSI (pounds per square inch) in order to be built upon.

If you have yet to build your Dream Home, there is a lot to know about with regards to dirt, so be sure to find a real estate Broker that is educated in these matters and can best represent your interests. A few more items worthy or passing along to you:

  • Be sure to ask if the homesite is in a flood zone. Walk around the property and up and down the streets of all homesites and locate the closest ponds and/or creeks/rivers/streams, for water damage to your home can be life-altering.
  • Ask and/or look-to-see if the developer has installed storm water drainage. If not, then there will be swales/gullies in your front yard that collect water when it rains. Many people do no like having a lake in their front yard every time they get a hard rain.
  • Ask neighbors about drainage. Don’t be shy either, as just about everyone will be more than happy to share whatever date/info you are looking for.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach down and put some of the topsoil in your hand. If it is hard and clay like, then you either might have to pay a lot for new sandy soil or, be stuck with drainage issues on your homesite.
  • Drive out to the homesite after or during a heavy rain. If you are purchasing a homesite, you more than likely have a 30-45 day closing, so you really do have plenty of time.

If you want to get the dirt on the dirt, call any of our Brokers today, as many of us worked previously for developers/builders. If you are looking elsewhere in the country, well, at least you know enough to be dangerous.

And, don’t forget about Haley Wilson with www.PlanViewDesign.com – who has designed more award-winning homes in Brunswick County than any home designer or Architect! If you’re ready to find your homesite to build your Dream Home, then contact us at Carolina Plantations to get started today!

Realtor Copyright © 2022 Carolina Plantations. All Rights Reserved. Website Design by InterCoastal Net Designs