Research, Relax, Fun!

Selecting a place to retire might be seen by many as one heck of a stressful project – and we would tend to agree with that. There are so many facets that one must consider in choosing a new state, area, community and house. This has caused many people just throw in the towel early on in the process and stay put in the same place for the rest of their life. Can we say boooooring!!!
Learning, is the food of life. It has been proven that the adult mind can turn to mush unless it is stimulated on a regular basis. Consider the brain a body, and if you ignore your body, what happens? Correct — it becomes sluggish, lethargic and out of condition. Researching a number of potential locations to retire will stimulate your brain cells and put the 7% of that gray matter we use to some good.


The greatest part about researching is that it’s easy. Just ask questions and poof, there are the answers. The one caveat to researching a topic though is that you need to know which questions to ask, and if you are not familiar enough with the subject, then you might need to call a friend or ask the audience for some assistance.
Every Tuesday at 4pm, our team at Carolina Plantations sits down for a 2-hour sales meeting. With nearly 100% attendance every week, we go around the table and our Brokers contribute information to the team about something they learned in the past week. The information shared is vital for each of us, for if we are going to assist you, our clients, with not only the questions but the answers, we need to be on our game.
Make no mistake about it, there is a lot to take in during your search but, if you apply yourself and partner with people that can provide you with the information you need to make well-educated decisions, you just might find that you will relax more than you anticipated.
During our meetings, subjects run the gamut and with 10 sets of eyes and ears traversing a 70-mile swath of southeastern North Carolina 7 days a week, we might discuss:
* contract issues in depth
* information on new sections opening up in the communities here
* info from a meeting with a builder to better understand their offerings
* new commercial/retail/medical venues coming up
* a mortgage broker briefing on the latest news and offerings
* in house listings and upcoming Open Houses that we should attend
* company and local sales statistics
* restaurant reviews
Quite honestly, the subject list is endless. And, we do this every week so that when we are with our clients, we provide them with the most current and important information available.


You are seeking information, and there is no real estate firm on the planet that is better equipped to provide you with information you are seeking than Carolina Plantations. We will even load you up with information you didn’t even know you needed.  And, quoting Dan, my first boss in real estate — he said, “Doug, most people you are encountering here in Brunswick County are searching multiple areas so, you need to make their experience fun.”
Well, for over 12 years, Team Carolina Plantations has hosted thousands of people who’ve visited coastal North Carolina to see if this area met their retirement requirements, and we’ve shared as many laughs as politicians in DC share barbs on a daily basis!
If you haven’t started your research, then hop to it, and when you want to visit communities such as Ocean Ridge Plantation, St. James, Brunswick Forest, Compass Pointe and all the others, contact a team that can help you with your research. The more you know, the more you will relax, and the more you relax, the better your chances are for having a fun time while finding the perfect place to build your Dream Home.
Just remember to research, relax and have fun!

New Homes vs. Resales

New Homes vs. Resales

At the suggestion of Doug’s good friend/client, let’s see if we can wrap our heads around why probably 75% of our clients build a home vs. purchase a resale. For those grappling with this albeit mini-phenomenon, one must remember that the team at Carolina Plantations #1 goal is to provide you, our clients, with enough information so that you can make educated decisions.

There are three major elements that influence just about everyone’s decision on which direction they move towards w/regards to their Dream Home, providing of course they have completed the first two steps of the Martini Theory – which is to find:

(1) The Area that best serves your interests/needs

(2) Which Community best matches your lifestyle, activities and budget

Since Carolina Plantations focuses predominantly on working with clients that are searching for a place to retire, we will assume that this information is directed at the lion’s share of our client base – future/current retirees.


  • Most of our clients begin to search for a place to retire 1-5 years out, with two years being typical
  • This is significant because unlike almost every other move in your life, you have time on your side and are not scurrying to find a home due to a job change, promotion, etc.
  • Retiring is generally not a spontaneous event, unless of course you are a recipient of a downsizing, golden parachute offer, life-changing event, etc.
  • Most couples, and or, single people have to determine when they pull the plug on 9-5, and when will they put their home on the market. Timing for both of these can be critical
  • Ultimately, many people would love to retire, sell their home for millions, move into a beautiful (new) Dream Home down south that they stole for next to nothing and do all this with only ONE move!


  • Most every client has heard or hears this from our team of Brokers: “Once you determine where you want to live and in which community, we never have any trouble finding you your perfect Dream Home.”
  • The above is a bold, but true statement because building a new home is almost always an option in the (retirement) communities here along the southernmost coast of North Carolina
  • We have communities here where new homes begin in the low to mid $200s, so we can match just about anyone’s budget
  • There are 2,051 new and resale homes (single family, townhomes and condominiums) for sale in Brunswick County TODAY. Yes, inventory is down, however there are still a lot of homes to select from!
  • And, while 2,051 homes is a large number, after you determine what area you wish to live in AND which community best meets your requirements, there may only be 12 homes to select from


  • Many of our clients come to the eventual realization that they are not in a hurry to find, or move into, their Dream (retirement) Home
  • While building a new home can scare the begeebers out of many, it is an option that needs thorough research. After all, 75% of our clients come to this conclusion
  • For the other 25%, there is much comfort in being able to see 100% of the home before closing on it. Kicking the tires can be a rewarding process for many as you are eliminating surprises. The downside is that you might have to settle on a few items that you were hoping for, such as a Walk-In Pantry, Whirlpool Tub, Screened Porch, Granite Countertops, Open Floor plan, etc.
  • The flip side is that when you build a new home, you get to select the size of your kitchen; location of your Master Suite; the interior and exterior (paint) colors; the patterns of your granite or quartz countertops; floor plans, and so on. This way, when folks walk into your home, your touches are throughout, and you take pride in having pulled together a really awesome home!!

One thing that remains quite constant in our real estate niche, is that until you come down and explore the area and some communities with one of our enjoyable and informative Brokers, none of us know what is going to make you happy and fulfill your needs! The best part of that equation for you though is that you have a myriad of choices in finding your Dream Home!

Brunswick County Real Estate market trending in positive direction

By Sam Hickman
Brunswick Beacon
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 3:45 pm

BOLIVIA — As numbers from last year’s trickled in at the beginning of the year, local real estate brokers had plenty of reason to be enthused about the market again.

Annual sales numbers obtained by the Beacon last week show that Brunswick County had a 7 percent increase from 2013 to 2014 in total sales revenue, which mostly include the housing market, according to figures from the Brunswick County Association of Realtors.

Leland is not included in the data provided by the Brunswick County Association of Realtors because is part of the Wilmington area multiple listing services when data is compiled, Carolina Plantations owner and broker-in-charge Doug Terhune said.

Date show 3,232 total sales transactions in 2013 while 100-plus more sales were made in 2014 — a 3-percent increase.

Brunswick County Association of Realtors CEO Steve Candler and administrative assistant Cynthia Cumbee attribute to the rise of total sales revenue and transactions to an improving economy.

“We’re encouraged by these recent trends,” Candler said. “These numbers are reflected by the fact that membership has increased in the association in the last couple years. The economy is improving enough to bring these folks back in the fold.”

When the economy began to plummet in the mid- to late 2000s, the housing market was no longer one that benefitted sellers, association member and Realtor Bruce Williams said.

“I’ve never seen it in the industry drop so dramatically,” Williams said. “To see it move and turn in the right direction, like it’s doing now, is certainly heartwarming. When the economy began to struggle, it was as if everything was just going downhill. Buyers, sellers, Realtors, moving companies, plumbers, electricians, roofers, the economy affects all of those individuals.”

“Those were lean and scary times for Brunswick County,” Terhune said. “There were several factors that fueled the downturn.


The leading edges of the baby boomers were starting to retire. Developers and builders in this region couldn’t cut down trees and put four stakes in the ground fast enough.

“Back then, we were really selling virtual communities. When the economy halted, many developers were so leveraged that when they didn’t have a revenue stream, they couldn’t continue to stay open. Within years, thousands of people who bought home sites in these virtual communities had to decide whether to pay mortgage on their home in Maryland or pay the mortgage on their home site in Ocean Isle Beach. The value of land precipitously dropped to, in some cases, as much as 5 to 10 percent of the prices paid by this group of baby boomers.”

Terhune credits the upward trends, in part, to much better interest rates.
“The interest rates have been huge,” he said. “People back in the 1980s, in that market they paid 11 to 16 percent interest in a home at one point. Four percent interest rates, that’s like free money.”

Carolina Plantations conducted market research that showed almost 10,000 to 15,000 baby boomers were retiring per day, Terhune said.

“If those people have the means, they want to leave high taxes,” he said. “They want to leave the cold weather. They want to leave the congestion. They want to leave the bad traffic. They want to go someplace warmer and affordable.”

When the economy took a downturn, the baby boomers no longer had the resources to leave their permanent homes in the northeast region of the United States.

Terhune said those with the resources to move are starting to buy homes in Brunswick County again for several reasons. Prospective buyers always look at what he calls “the stuff.”

“They don’t want to live in the big city,” he said. “They want to be near the beach in a warm climate in an area with great medical services, shopping, dining, entertainment and airport accessibility. That’s what they’re looking for. Those folks don’t want to be isolated.”

When Terhune analyzes the east coast between Richmond, Va., and the Georgia-Florida boundary, he knows why Brunswick County has been so successful in landing retirees.
“The only other area that has what Brunswick County has is perhaps Wilmington, and the Hilton Head (S.C.) areas,” he said. “But even with Wilmington, people want to move away from that congestion.”

Terhune pointed out places like the Outer Banks, which is too isolated, Charleston, S.C., which has a big-city feel, and Savannah, Ga., as areas where retirees don’t want to settle when moving from a populous area in the north.

“Brunswick County has the stuff these individuals are looking for,” he said. “Right now, we’re in a rooftop economy. Brunswick County is building lots of rooftops.”

Terhune said Ocean Ridge has more than 30 homes under construction; St. James, 100; Compass Pointe near Leland, more than 40; and Brunswick Forest, more than 90.

“Just with those communities, that’s more than 300 homes currently under construction in this area,” he said. “We’re in a rooftop economy. That’s a lot of rooftops.”

When the economy is strong, Candler added, it naturally increases the tax base.

“There’s an increase in the tax base through natural inflation or the services the county can provide the citizens,” he said.

Candler, Williams and Cumbee said they realized the economy would rebound from the worst recession the country has seen in several years.

“Our chief economist (with the National Association of Realtors), Lawrence Yun, said it’d be a 10-year cycle,” Williams said. “Everything we’ve heard from him since has been much of the same.”

While Candler is excited about the trends in Brunswick County, he doesn’t want prices on homes to skyrocket as a result.

“I think for the benefit of the county, the slow, steady increase in price of the units sold, it’d be best if they’d continue to increase by 4 to 7 percent,” he said. “An increase of that amount each year would be more manageable than the ups and downs of a roller coaster. A manageable market is better for buyers and sellers.”

“That’s right,” Cumbee said. “When you have big ups, that means the big downs are coming.”

Candler said, “For every mountain, there’s a valley. That’s what you have to be mindful of.”

Additionally, real estate brokers are seeing less and less distressed properties through Brunswick County. Distressed properties include foreclosures, short sales and bank-owned homes, among other properties.

In recent years, federal legislation had quite an impact on the local housing market, especially after the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 was passed.

The act, which would have caused a dramatic increase in flood insurance rates for homeowners, especially in the coastal region, was eventually repealed, but still created ripple effects throughout the local real estate industry, Candler said.

“It affected people in several ways,” he said. “People wanted to see if federal insurance was available, first of all. People wanted to see if they could sell their homes because of the rate increases.”

Legislation has since been passed that repealed the provisions of the Biggert-Waters Act, restoring confidence in those deciding whether to sell or buy their secondary homes on the coast.

“I anticipate when the flood maps are redrawn and approved, several homes will move from the VE zone to the AE zones, which is much more affordable when it comes to flood insurance,” Candler said. “This will once again increase home ownership in Brunswick County.”

The real estate industry is vital to Brunswick County, Candler said.

“It really is. We just don’t have the other types of industries the places like Raleigh have,” he said. “The pendulum swings better when the housing market is doing well. The sales taxes are better, more people are employed and individuals are spending the money they’re making back into the local economy. It certainly helps.”

Terhune is confident in Brunswick County’s real estate market moving forward.

“Remember the numbers,” he said. “There are 10,000 to 15,000 retirees a day. They all want to get the heck out (of the north). Brunswick County will grow. Think about it: This week, they’re getting ready for this colossal snowstorm. When they retire, they want out.

“Can you imagine how many people up there are on the Internet this week looking for places to retire? That’s where Brunswick County will benefit. Southern Realtors love snow. We love lots of snow as long as it falls up north. That serves as the catalyst for people making the decision to move.”

The economic downturn served as a learning tool for lots of people in Brunswick County, Terhune said.

“I’m glad we’re getting back to those times when the economy is trending in the right direction,” he said. “American learned a lesson. We removed the word ‘risk’ from real estate. We want stable, financially sound communities. Thank goodness they exist in Brunswick County today.”

Sam Hickman is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or

Designing Your Dream Home

I can remember it like yesterday, but it was 11 years ago. I was working with a couple from the DC area and we were looking at homesite T2-8 on Heatherwood Court in Winding River Plantation. My clients were having trouble visualizing a home sitting on this vacant lot, so I had them turn their backs to the property and look directly across the street at a brand new home. I put my arms up as to frame the home and said “take a mental picture of this home and simply turn slowly towards T2-8 behind you”. The couple both put up their arms, took a mental picture of the home and moved around 180 degrees and placed the image of the home on the homesite.

The wife said that this was very helpful but the husband quizzically said ‘but where’s the driveway?” Wow! I turned him back around 180 degrees and said that it is still on the left side of the home. Apparently he could move the home across the street but not the driveway.

It is not uncommon nor should it be embarrassing that one or both people in a relationship do not possess good visualization skills, so in late 2007 when a client from Ocean Ridge Plantation called me to introduce this truly amazing and wonderful company called Plan View Design, I made a beeline over to their office here in Shallotte. I sat in front of this 45” monitor and saw CAD drawings come to life in full color 3D. My jaw slammed on the desk as I felt as I was the first one to discover/invent the internet!


Plan View Design quickly became the leading custom home design firm in Brunswick County as not only homeowners were delighted to employ such a tool but, many local builders also saw the numerous advantages to working with 3D Designs. A year later I had the opportunity to purchase the company and PVD has designed over 200 custom built homes in Southeastern NC since.

Clients/Builders quickly learn that they can request changes to the structure, materials, paint colors and so on both inside/outside the home and typically get them returned the next day. According to Haley Wilson, VP of Plan View Design, “homeowners often don’t know what floor plan will work for them until after we combine a survey of their property, a set of their HOA building guidelines, budget, personal lifestyle and personal selections (granite, paint colors, flooring, lighting, materials, etc.). Once the first draft is completed, PVD clients are provided a downloadable viewer to see their plans from the comfort of their own home and/or office.

Local builders that have worked with PVD include Ernie Crews, Blue Sky Building Company, Barker & Canady, Mark Saunders Luxury Homes, Sacchetti Construction, Ward Construction, Whitney Blair, Homes of Distinction, Plantation Building Corporation, Bill Clark Homes and more. Communities where you can find PVD homes include Ocean Ridge Plantation, Landfall, Sea Trail, Rivers Edge, SeaScape, St James Plantation, Brunswick Forest, River Landing, Waterford, Winding River Plantation, RiverSea Plantation and throughout Brunswick County beaches.

In addition to seeing your home from every possible angle before the first shovel is in the ground, homeowners are encouraged to seek bids from several builders as America’s free enterprise system will save you Ten$ of Thousand$ of Dollar$. “If you don’t go out for bids, how will you know if you are getting a good price,” according to Doug Terhune, owner of Plan View Design.

If you have a homesite and/or are considering acquiring a homesite, Plan View Design can design your home anywhere in the world, so please visit and take our virtual tour on the bottom of the home page plus, please view our Gallery of Homes and see if you can detect which is 3D and which is real! Contact Haley Wilson, CPBD (Certified Professional Building Designer) for ALL of your design needs, as PVD is a full service custom home design firm. (local builders build homes from our plans) We share the new Carolina Plantations Real Estate building on Hwy 17 in Shallotte right next to The Golden Corral restaurant. 4660 East Coast Lane Shallotte, NC 28470 910 754-9999

Carolina Plantations??


Recently while showing homes in one of Brunswick Counties’ finest communities, we ran into some folks that recognized our name badges and they went on to say that they love reading our monthly eNewsletter – Carolina Dreamin’. In fact, one of the women provided positive feedback on the March article concerning my trip to Buffalo in the middle of the winter, and so for a minute I was almost, well, honored that she not only read the article but had near total recall of my little journey.

That all ended when she looked right at me and said “I really love reading Carolina Dreamin’ every month but, just who is Carolina Plantations”?

At the end of 2006, after spending five years between two top local developers and a large general real estate brokerage, I formed Carolina Plantations Real Estate. Although we are a general real estate brokerage like Century 21, Keller Williams, etc., we truly focus on a very specific niche, which is working with folks who are exploring our area for a place to retire and or purchase a second home.

The typical real estate brokerage firm will have a great understanding of the market within a 3-5 mile radius of their office. Agents there know their specific geographic area very well and are dedicated to opening up as many doors as need be till you find the right home/condo/townhome, etc. Ask them however to tell you about or show you real estate 20-30 miles from their comfort zone and well, chances are they might refer you to another firm.

To be considered for a Broker position at CPs, one must obtain knowledge of all the major plantations/communities within a 30-50 mile radius. This is a lot of knowledge, and we are not exaggerating as very few brokerages, if any, can show you homes at Brunswick Plantation in Calabash in the morning, homes in Landfall @ Wrightsville Beach in the afternoon followed by homes at St James and Brunswick Forest tomorrow.

We know that in order to serve our clients proficiently, we need to be able to learn about what is important to them and in essence, prescribe a solution. And for those of you not yet familiar with our almost famous Martini Theory, not only do we know the plantations, but we will point out all the good restaurants, shopping venues, golf courses, medical facilities, culture and more shopping!

To no surprise, the majority of our clients require at least one visit if not two or three visits. And if we could pass this along to you if in fact you are searching for a place to retire or purchase a second home, your goal is simple: Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate! The last area/plantation/home left standing wins!

Nancy, Pat, Chris, Patty and myself thank those of you who are currently working with us or have done so previously. Oh, and we certainly cannot forget Haley Wilson, the most decorated custom home designer in Brunswick County. Haley is the Vice President of our sister company Plan View Design, which is the only firm in Southeastern, NC that designs your Dream Home in full color 3D, utilizing the power of Chief Architect Software. The process is extremely interactive as your feedback is crucial to your finished design plus, you get to see your future residence from the comfort of your own home or office prior to groundbreaking.

In 2012, Carolina Plantations was the 19th largest by volume real estate Company in Brunswick County while Plan View Design was probably the #1 custom home design firm. We sold more real estate in fine communities like Brunswick Plantation, SeaScape, Brunswick Forest, Rivers Edge and RiverSea than any other firm in our area. We did it though by having fun along the way and are always honored to be involved in one of the most important decisions in your life!