We are Not Normal!

Please do not expect the Brokers/Realtors at Carolina Plantations to be anything like other Brokers/Realtors you’ve dealt with in the past. It’s just not fair to the other Brokers at all.

carolina plantations brokers and realtors

In the Fall of 2006, the real estate conditions in Coastal North Carolina were as ripe as a sun-laden peach basking in the Carolina sun for weeks. There were numerous successful large communities (referred to as ‘plantations’ up and down the east coast and the southern states) selling every parcel of land they could develop. For a bullseye was forming over Brunswick County as more and more Mid-Atlantic, Midwestern & New England retirees were discovering our well-kept secret.

Carolina Plantations Real Estate opened in March of 2007 to assist those considering Brunswick County as a place to retire. Doug saw a need for a company almost solely focused on helping future retirees with a daunting task – and that is, where to retire to? We opened serving a focused market, and while that is not particularly unusual for real estate companies. We are a group of realtors aiming almost strictly at retirees is. Fourteen years later, we are one of the Top 10 real estate companies in our area, and we have helped thousands of clients find their dream homes. We are by far the #1 Team in North Carolina, assisting the people in determining if our area meets their retirement needs.

The Difference of Carolina Plantations

So, this is where the differences begin. And, of course, we are aware that other real estate firms might be large enough to offer future retirees something that Carolina Plantations cannot. However, there are far more factors in our favor because we specialize in one thing – assisting people with their search for a place to retire to.

One thing we will not do is waste your valuable time. We are not going to open the front doors of countless homes until you cry, “Uncle”. We employ “The Martini Theory” with every client we interact with, as this is critical knowledge for our Buyers. The top part of the martini glass is for you to find an AREA that needs your needs. Whether it’s for health, beaches, culture, shopping, and more, we can help. Once you have found an area, you are comfortable with, selecting a community that matches your requirements is next. The third and final component of the Martini Theory is finding a home for you.

The Advantages of Working with a Broker from Carolina Plantations

  • We can go in and out of any community in Southeastern North Carolina
  • We can show you everything for sale, including New, Spec Homes, Resales, Foreclosures & more
  • We specialize in selling homesites and assisting our clients through the building process
  • We will take you on a tour of our area(s). Why look at homes if you don’t like the area?
  • We are funny. Finding a place to retire to for the rest of your lives should be enjoyable!
  • We represent YOU. Many developers and building agents represent their employers, not you

We have no idea if you’re going to like Coastal North Carolina, but there is no better way to get a good sampling of it than spending time with the #1 company assisting retirees. We at Carolina Plantations look forward to helping you find your perfect dream home and visiting the area

Inventory

What’s the number one subject today in real estate? Inventory, err um, the lack thereof. It seems that everyone can talk about it at the water cooler, tennis courts, or cafes. So, does “inventory” affect you? Yes, if you are a Buyer or Seller. And for the sake of discussion, we will focus here on those of you who are Buyers or about to become Buyers and how you might be able to circumvent inventory issues.

In the past two years, the team at Carolina Plantations has nearly doubled our number of listings. It has been a concerted effort as everyone on the team must send out a quarterly newsletter. Most of our Brokers send out postcards and or marketing material to targeted communities. This effort has yielded many happy clients on both sides of the transactions. Buyers love us because we know of upcoming inventory, and Sellers love us because they do not have to vacuum their homes and clean the entire house daily or weekly for months on end.

The majority of good homes listed at fair prices on the southernmost coast of North Carolina sell within 1-2 days, and in many cases, have multiple offers and bidding wars. FYI, it’s an excellent time to be a Seller providing you don’t have to turn around and find yourself bidding on a house – for any quick profits you earned could be eliminated.

Here are three issues to keep in mind as you look for a Buyer’s Agent in today’s fiercely competitive real estate market below.

#1 Working with Agencies That Have (Access to) New Listings

Say you are interested in a Palm Tree Plantation community and want to buy an existing home. You contact your local Realtor named Bob to assist you with your search, and he is willing to help. However, there is little to no inventory of homes there, and Bob doesn’t know anyone at PTP because he has never sold a house there. Again, Bob is a nice guy willing to help but, can he help you?

So, instead of selecting Bob, you research Palm Tree Plantation and find a Realtor named Sally, who sells 30-40 homes a year in PTP. You contact her, and she agrees to assist you in your search. You provide her with the parameters of what you want your home to look like, and while there is no inventory of homes that matches your requirements, Sally is already making calls and checking in with clients of hers to see if anyone is thinking of selling soon.

#2 Working with Brokers Who Are Connected

Once again, your focus is on Palm Tree Plantation. You contact Marcia, a relatively new Broker in the area, to help you with your search. You ask her if she knows of any upcoming listing in PTP, and she doesn’t because she has no clients in PTP, plus she doesn’t know any Brokers to call there. Marcia’s ability to help you has been severely compromised. Yes, she can add your email address to a portal that shoots you all new listings, but more often than not, if a listing makes it to MLS, the clock is ticking, and you better get an offer in soon if you want o to have a chance.

Conversely, you make a call or two to find a seasoned Broker in the area, one that knows most, if not all, of the local Brokers. Randy has been selling in the area for 15 years and knows PTP well, and has lots of friends in the industry. Randy is not only willing to assist you in your search but probably more capable than a Broker with little to no contacts in the industry.

#3 Seriously Consider Building Your Dream Home

Since Carolina Plantations opened in 2008, probably 70% of our clients looking to retire to Brunswick County have built their Dream Home. Why? Because they can wind up with a home exactly how they want it and on the homesite that also meets their requirements (as in, backing up to nature, in a cul-de-sac, backyard facing south, near the clubhouse/pool, overlooking water, etc.)

Yes, prices of lumber have spiked due to COVID; however, in keeping the big picture in mind, many builders here still change $150-$200’ to build a wonderful home. Compared to other markets we have personally witnessed across the states, that is a bargain. The most significant impact COVID has had though on our new home market is lead times. A year ago, builders would typically quote 6-8 months from groundbreaking to completion, and now you are looking at more like 12+ months.

In essence, do some research before you randomly select a real estate broker to assist you with your search, as not all Brokers are created equal. You will need one that has good contacts within the resale market and can introduce you to builders if you decide to go in that direction. Carolina Plantations looks forward to helping you find your dream home that you can retire in here on the coast of North Carolina!

The Symbolism of Christmas Trees & Wreathes

Wow – having been immersed with Christmas wreathes and Christmas trees for many, many decades, Doug ashamedly really never knew what either of them represented. He feels so, so inadequate.

At the beginning of the 16th century, the Germans were the first to bring evergreens into their homes during the season of Christmas, as they were very plentiful in northern and eastern Europe. Evergreens, which survived harsh winters, were known as a symbol for strength and resilience plus, were looked upon as a symbol of hope.

Soon the trees were trimmed so as to have three distinct corners, which represented the holy trinity – the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The tree trimming was also essential to many homeowners as their homes were rather modest in size.

In European tradition, nothing was wasted for in those days, the remaining tree limbs were woven into a circle, or later to be known as a wreath. Forming a circle symbolized eternal life, which analogy is often related to our round wedding rings. In a way though, we guess there is some irony here as we tend to live in a throwaway culture, yet the wreath and its humble beginnings began by not throwing Evergreen limbs away.

So, the next time that you see a Christmas wreath or Christmas tree, don’t just think of them as front door decorations and a place to hide gifts under! If you’re still looking for your dream home here on the coast of North Carolina, we at Carolina Plantations are here to help you find it!

Zillow: The Realtor-Less Mega Disaster

Certain technologies in our lifetime have been game-changers. Doug remembers working in Milwaukee for Allen-Bradley/Rockwell Automation when he sent a Telex for the first time back in 1989. He hit a button and sent a message electronically to a coworker on a different floor. The message was typed on their local Telex, and presumably, an admin person ripped off the page and stuck the message in the mailbox for the intended person. Wow – How cool was that?

Not long after, which would have been in the 90s, Doug was living in Boston when we began sending emails worldwide and started using teleconferencing equipment without cohorts in France and Germany regularly. What were next, ordering shoes, furniture, and wine online? Yeah right.

From a small real estate firm’s perspective, Zillow has changed our industry’s face in many ways. Had you ever heard of a Zestimate 3 years ago? Did you know that Zillow can keep listings listed as “Active” on their site for as long as they wish? Were you aware they purchased the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) market for hundreds of millions of dollars on Google regarding real estate?

Zillow’s grand plan is to recreate the entire real estate market, just like Amazon did about retail shopping. While we will always need some stores for certain products, today’s kids could care less about going to a mall to buy something, for they have Amazon accounts to do that. They also don’t use cash – as they purchase even a stick of gum with their debit cards.

Someday, after many of us are probably pushing daisies, an entire real estate transaction might be done electronically and without human involvement. That is where Zillow is attempting to take our industry. Still, for the time being, they are finding out that while Amazon can replace the in-person shopping experience for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, real estate agents still provide too much personal knowledge that cannot be bottled up in an online app.

At Carolina Plantations, we focus on people that are considering our area for retirement. This is an incredibly significant move and includes so much more than just buying a house.

As our infamous Martini Theory states, first, you must find the AREA that meets your personal needs (such as medical services, shopping, dining, culture, beaches, etc.)—followed by finding which COMMUNITY matches your requirements (such as socio-economics of the residents, architectural styles, activities, fees, clubs, etc.). Once you have found the right AREA & COMMUNITY, finding you the right HOME is usually effortless. No app is going to help you sort through the first two steps of the Martini Theory.

Here is a laundry list of additional offerings we provide our clients and which an app simply cannot do:

  • Our website – www.carolinaplantations.com – is 100% accurate and current. Zillow and Trulia are inaccurate, as they do that to mislead you purposely.
  • We send our clients a Coastal Guide Book, a 1” binder customized to your requirements and jammed with great information on dining, medical, shopping, beaches, golf, fitness, weather, and more. (FYI: our clients go NUTS OVER OUR COASTAL GUIDE BOOKS as no real estate company in the world sends you something so comprehensive and specifically aimed at your search. Order yours NOW at https://www.carolinaplantations.com/contact#contactForm)
  • We set up conference calls with both spouses/partners before your visit so that everyone is on the same page and so that we can make the best use of your time while you are here.
  • Our team will take you on a tour of the area. That could include Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach, Oak Island/Southport, Holden Beach/Shallotte, Leland, Ocean Isle Beach, Sunset Beach, and more. We will have lunch on the ICW while we provide you with essential tips on Coastal NC.
  • With your permission, we will be your Buyer’s Agent, which means we work for you, not the builder, Developer, or Sellers. This is incredibly important as one should never attempt to purchase real estate somewhere where you are not familiar with local real estate rules, local zoning issues, lending practices, closing procedures, and more.
  • Since nearly 70% of our clients purchase land and later build their Dream Home on it, we are all extensively trained in understanding land purchases. That includes but is not limited to the slope of the land; researching available utilities; assisting with the direction of the sun rising and setting; designing custom-built homes; introduction to quality builders; positioning your home correctly on your homesite; assisting with the selections of your colors/cabinets/flooring/granite and more.
  • We are negotiating on your behalf. We usually know the other realtors involved in the transaction, which can be extremely helpful in getting you what you want at the best price.

Zillow has made its mark on real estate; however, it will be a while before they “are” real estate. Until then, the team at Carolina Plantations is still the #1 Retirement Experts in Coastal NC. We look forward to assisting you with your all vital retirement search, wherever it may lead you.

A Carolina Plantation Update

Many of you may recall the first Saturday Night Live post 9/11, when Mayor Giuliani is asked by Lorne Michaels if it is OK to be funny, to which the Mayor replied, “Why start now?”

A Carolina Plantations Update

With that frame of reference, is it OK to Buy/Sell real estate now?

Since March 1, 2020:

  • Our firm has received 221 real estate leads/inquiries
  • Our fantastic team of Brokers has closed on 48 homes/condos/homesites for $10,615,162
  • We have put 27 homes/condos/homesites under contract for a total of $6,403.132
  • We are busy, even in this uncertain time. Our closings are up 32% YTD, and we have clients calling us daily to say that they will come down here as soon as it is safe to leave their home.

 

Each Broker with Carolina Plantations is armed with masks, disinfectant wipes, and gloves. We adhere to Social Distancing and respect the Sellers of each home we visit. We utilize electronic signatures, scanning, and faxing whenever and wherever possible. And, not just with our clients, but with our inspectors, closing attorneys, mortgage brokers, etc.

A trend that has become popular of late is utilizing Facetime and Virtual Tours of homes with prospective Buyers.

At Carolina Plantations, each year, 5-8% of our annual sales are done via Facetime, emailing of pictures and Virtual Tours – so this is far from new to our team members.

Here is how our team employs technology concerning buying & selling real estate:

  • A client wants to move to our area. May have been here already, have friends here, visited here years ago or, just knows that Coastal North Carolina is where they want to be.
  • They spend a fair amount of time on our company website, for there is no other website with MLS access that is more current and factual than our site. CarolinaPlantations.com
  • A home of interest comes on the market in a community they like or think that they are going to want, and the pictures look good.
  • They converse with one of our Brokers who agrees to visit the home that afternoon.
  • The Carolina Plantations Broker uses Facetime to provide the clients with a full tour of the home, both inside and outside. (or, we make a video and email or text it to the client.)
  • There is much dialog during the tour, and questions are fully answered, enough so that the client either feels the home is or is not the right home for them.
  • If it is, and they have a trip, family, or work conflict during the next couple of weeks, an Offer to Purchase can be drawn up, signed, and presented to the Sellers, all electronically and without leaving the comforts of everyone’s home.
  • The Offer to Purchase is successfully negotiated, and the clients are Under contract.
  • In the North Carolina Offer to Purchase agreement, each Buyer has the right to exercise a Due Diligence period. Most are between 30-45 days, for this is the period where a loan is secured and/, or a home inspection carried out.
  • If, for ANY reason, prior to the end of the Due Diligence period, a Buyer wants to cancel a contract, they can and will receive 100% of their Earnest Money Deposit.
  • During this DD time, a client can also come and inspect the home. If they do not like it, they can cancel the Offer to Purchase and receive 100% of the EMD.
  • Sellers may not be crazy about this; however, Buyers need to know and understand their rights and, if need be, exercise them. After 2008, our Offer to Purchase agreements was rewritten to favor the Buyer.

This past weekend, John O’Connor from our Leland office, welcomed Maria and Vinny to their new home in Brunswick Forest. Maria saw her new home in person for the first time, as John had utilized Facetime leading up to their Offer to Purchase.

Please watch this short video of how Team Carolina Plantations helps many people escape up north (the Bronx in this case) and find a new life here on the coast of North Carolina! And, feel free to contact John at john@carolinaplantations.com.

Rest assured, though, that with the exception of occasional grocery store visits and time in the field with or without clients, our team has been hunkered down in our respectful homes since mid-March. Like for everyone, it has been a challenging time, and hopefully, we are one day closer to getting our lives back to what will be a new normal.

One thing that Doug has discovered during this time is the absolutely hates his dishwasher. No kidding. He will fill it up, start it, empty it, and within 24 hours, he will be doing it again. Now that is just not right, for, before lockdown, the fill and empty happened twice a week at best. Doug has a better appreciation for his cat – who sleeps all day and keeps him up all night. Oh, and dogs? Yes, Doug now understands why they chew on furniture. What else is there to do in your home 24/7?

Experts, non-experts, locals, friends, and professional prognosticators are predicting that when this virus is close to being behind us that many, many people from up north are going retire, throw in the towel and migrate somewhere warmer and less congested. There is absolutely no better team on Planet earth to assist you with your exploration of Coastal North Carolina than the team at Carolina Plantations. We have over 120 years of real estate experience behind us and probably close to a billion dollars in cumulative sales. We are tall, tan, good looking, and will make sure that your visit here is not only informative but fun for all!