The Martini Theory Part 3: Your Dream Home

When the team at Carolina Plantations first explains the Martini Theory to people, we know there is often a gasp or two when we describe the third and last piece of the search. After you find the Area that meets your lifestyle requirements and a Community that matches your interests, the easiest part of your search is finding that well-soaked olive or your Dream Home! (and, now gasp!)

We cannot begin to tell you how many people invert their search requirements and wind up unhappy until they undo the damage. If you think your search is about a beautiful home, the chances are strong that you will not find happiness. Let Doug put it to you this way: If he gave you the perfect Dream Home in the world that you simply adored, but you didn’t like your community, and there was nothing outside the gate for 45 miles, would you ultimately be happy?

We are the only real estate company in the world that makes your search a cerebral search. Houses can be filled with emotion. However, introducing logic to give serious consideration to the Area and Community forces you to focus on what makes retirement successful.

In coastal North Carolina, approximately 70% of our clients build their Dream Home. Why? Well, for several reasons, with the first being that time is generally on your side. The bulk of our clients find the Area and Community they want to retire to a year or more before retiring. They purchase a homesite and then spend the next year or so working on floorplans with builders, as time is on their side. Secondly, many people we work with have dreamed about the perfect home for decades, and resales are often someone else’s dream, not theirs.

The market here for new homes and resale homes are both strong, as neither option is perfect for everyone. Building a home is not only time consuming, but there is a lot of time required on both part of the Buyers with regards to making selections, doing walkthrough inspections, etc. And with the real estate market hot right now throughout a good portion of the states, some people just want to move once – which also tends to favor the resale market.

The opportunity though to sit down with a professional interior designer in a showroom full of beautiful granite samples, 30+ cabinet options, almost unlimited hardwood floors/tile/carpet samples, along with rooms full of lighting, plumbing fixtures, appliances, interior, and exterior paint colors and more can be rather exhilarating, can’t it?

Also, most builders will allow you to lengthen or widen a floorplan, bump out a room, add on a screened porch or 3rd bay in the garage, etc. So, if you are thinking of looking for a place to retire, please keep in mind that your Dream Home is the easiest part of your search, for it’s not already built. Instead, we will find someone to build it for you, just the way you want it! Contact one of our outstanding agents here at Carolina Plantations today to get your search started today!

The Martini Theory: Part 2 of 3 “Finding the Right Community”

Years back when devising the Martini Theory, Dough really didn’t understand at the time that the three components were listed in order of importance. He knew them as the three steps of the funnel but was unaware that they were positioned from most important to least important.

As pointed out in last month’s article on the Martini Theory, the most important aspect of one’s search for a place to retire is clearly finding the area that best meets your needs. Those include but are not limited to weather, beaches, location, dining, entertainment, medical services, shopping and more.

Once an area has been scouted and agreed upon, moving to step 2 of 3 is critical to your retirement happiness. Here are some helpful tips on how to match up a community with your personal interests.

Research

Having the internet at our disposable 24/7 is an amazing advantage that we have over our parents and grandparents, who retired to Florida based upon very little information. The old adage of “boy, do I have some nice, dry land for you down here in Florida” was way more truthful than myth, as how did anyone really know if they were being fed a line of lies?

That being said, if you have a community or two or ten in mind that you like, get on your computer and start researching. If a developer today is not satisfying their residents, you will know about it in 10 minutes. When people are not satisfied with something, they use the web to express their opinions. On the other hand, you do have to take everything you read in stride, for no community ever has 100% of their residents fully happy.

Be sure to also research the developer of the community, even if they are no longer involved. A 15-year old community where the developer left five years ago can be in as much of a pickle as one that is only two years old and having financial difficulties. Developing raw land is a massive physical and financial undertaking, and many have left behind significant wake.

The Older a Community Is…

A Dougism from years past indicates that in general, the older a community is, the older a community is. What? If a community opened in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s, one must understand that what is inside the community tends to be older. Examples are amenities (pools, tennis courts, building), roads, clubhouses, home/floorplans and very possibly, people.

So, if you are 58 years old and looking for a “Young” community, you may want to thoroughly research which community has more contemporary people such as yourself. Of course, we are speaking of generalities here, but if you move into a community where everyone is building a home at or close to the same time, chances are you can also grow with that community. On the flip side though, you have to endure the growing pains of that community in terms of construction and in some cases, waiting for amenities to be built.

Activities

The majority of clients we work with are moving to Coastal North Carolina only knowing a few, if any people. Therefore, making friends is paramount and for one of the best ways to do that is finding clubs or activities within your community.

Examples might be golf groups, bridge clubs, exercise classes, tennis & Pickleball lessons, planned social events/parties, Mahjong and Canasta groups, traveling/dining clubs, quilting groups, fishing expeditions and so on.

Be sure to ask to see a list of clubs and groups that a community offers before you consider investing into a community, as this will provide you with an excellent understanding of whether or not there ae like people in your potential future community.

Fees

Just about every community that offers an active lifestyle has HOA and POA fees, and it is important to fully understand them before signing on the dotted lines. A Property Owners Association (POA) is generally the fee you pay for being a part of a community. POA fees typically include your portion of the Amenity Center, common grounds maintenance, possibly some utilities, etc.

Homeowners Association fees are for the home you live in. Depending on whether you have a single-family home, condo or townhouse, your fees could include lawn care, outdoor home maintenance, common ground maintenance, insurance and so on.

As always, be sure to consider the source of information you are receiving on a community. You have worked non-stop for 30-40 years, possibly raised kids, cured famine in foreign countries, invented the internet and built bridges across oceans – so the last thing you want to do is retire to a community that doesn’t meet your requirements, for that mistake can be a timely and expensive proposition. Best of luck!

The Martini Theory: Part 1 of 3 “The Area”

If there was one message and one message only that Doug could pass along to everyone who is looking to retire, it would be spending a pile of time researching the areas you are considering. Nothing else matters, for if you get the area wrong, it will be one of the most frustrating, embarrassing, and expensive lessons in your entire life.

Douglas S Terhune, being the (most) sound mind and body, is the author of “The Martini Theory.” If you employ this simple analogy of your search for a place to retire, you will be rewarded with a happy retirement. If though you think you know better, then you are on your own.

All of us who have worked for the past 30 – 40 years have become good at something. Heck, Doug might go as far as saying that most of us have become very good if not even excellent at something.

Well, for nearly 20 years, Doug and his fantastic team of Brokers have had the immense pleasure of assisting great people with determining if Coastal North Carolina meets their retirement needs. During this time, the greatest failure Doug has encountered are from people who did not research the area around their amazing home and community and wound up stuck there until they could sell their home.

There is no single more important and sage advice than the following, with regards to finding a place to retire:

Research the area(s) you are considering with the enthusiasm that you invested in your job and raising children.

 Why such a fuss over this? Simple, because too many people get in the car or hop on the plane and head south or west and haven’t thought about their big move from a cerebral point of view. Instead, we see it happen all the time where a couple gets caught up on the sex appeal of a (new) home and the proximity to the mountains or the ocean without considering the community location.

Let us put it to you another way:

If Doug were rich and gave you an amazing home in a beautiful community for free, but you were 45 miles (2-hour round trip) from a hospital, movie theater, mall, Outback Steakhouse, hair salon, etc…would you be happy? (And let’s not forget that you will be in your 60s, 70s or 80s.)

What is outside your future retirement community is as important as what is inside your community. Most all communities here have an assorted combination of pools, tennis courts, golf courses, restaurants, Pickleball, walking trails, and exercise classes, but at 75 years of age, do you want to be traveling two hours round trip for every doctor’s appointment or to see a movie?

Another myth buster is thinking that you must live really close to the beach. The reality of life is that when you retire, you (two) are going to walk on the beach for 3 hours a day, holding hands and reminiscing about your pasts. We think Not! Unless you are a true beach nut, it is safe to say that if you move to any coastal area, for every one time you pull out of your driveway and head to the beach, you will pull out of your driveway 150-200 times and head to your exercise class, pottery class, friend’s house, grocery store, drug store and more.

Seriously, can anyone relate to that? I mean, for those of you who live within a 45-minute (normal) drive to a medium-to-large city, when was the last time you drove in for dinner and a play, or took in the latest exhibit at the museum? Or how about driving into the city for a hockey game or doing some window shopping on the boulevard?

Having a grocery store, hardware store, doctor’s offices, nail salon, restaurants, pizza parlor, bagel shop/deli, pharmacy, and so on, near your home is of HUGE importance. These are the things you NEED daily. Having the things, you like such as a mall, fine dining, live theater, Whole Foods, Target, Costco, etc., close by is great, for you do not tend to utilize those places nearly as often.

This honestly not being boastful but, Doug cannot tell you how many times people have said to him, “Oh, you are the man who came up with the Martini Theory and well, we Love the Martini Theory!”

To prove to you how much our entire team believes in the Martini Theory, the first thing we do when we receive an inquiry from someone is to send them a personalized Coastal Guidebook. This one-inch binder is crammed full of chamber of commerce-type information on shopping, medical services, dining, beaches, weather, golf, entertainment, and so much more.

Why has our team sent out 518 Coastal Guidebooks in the first half of 2020? Because we want to help familiarize you with our area, for if Coastal NC is not your cup of tea, then why would you waste time looking at homes?

In essence, if you do come for a visit, our first 2-3 hours with you will be spent showing you the area. We are going to drive by the malls and hospitals while pointing out the best restaurants in town. We will kick you out of our vehicles at the beaches so you can put sand between your toes and perhaps take a picture of the beach and send it to the kids because, what kid isn’t going to want to visit you if you live near the beach, right?

More than likely, there is not another real estate company, developer, or builder that would spend 10% of the time talking to you about the area because, in their opinion, that is counter-culture to do their jobs, and that is opening up doors and selling homes. At Carolina Plantations, we have earned the title of the #1 Retirement Experts by providing you with the information you require to make informed decisions. It’s just what we do.

Why The “Martini Theory”?

The positively simple, yet prophetic Martini Theory was years in the making for what ultimately became Carolina Plantations. Its origins date back to January 2002 when Doug Terhune first entered the real estate profession selling homesites for the Blue Green Corporation in Winding River Plantation – located in Supply and Bolivia, NC (Or as Doug likes to say “Sublivia!).

Doug’s boss, Dan, insisted that Doug use an area map when providing a front-end presentation to clients. This is a cordial first meet and greet in their lobby. Dan was spot on by suggesting the use of the map because orienting people to Coastal NC was imperative to their success.

The map was about getting people comfortable with where they were in relation to what they knew. The maps worked well. Probably not for everyone, but they were a critical piece of the puzzle for people considering this area as a place to retire to.

Two stories really helped cement just how important the area is to one’s search. The first happened at Winding River one day when Doug was having lunch at the golf course. A resident sat next to him and they chatted about WRP and why he and his wife built there. They loved the place, however, when Doug asked him what he wishes were different, he replied “Chinese Food”. Apparently in Maryland where they hailed from there were 3-4 Chinese restaurants that delivered to their home. At WRP, he had to call up a kid at the Chinese restaurant in Southport and coordinate meeting him at the former Worms & Coffee on Hwy 211. They each drove 18 miles roundtrip and his idea of delivery was not 36 miles of driving.

After two stints with developers in the county, Doug wound up as the sales manager for a small real estate firm in Southport. They specialized in St James and Winding River, and one day he attended a listing presentation with one of his Brokers. At the end of the meeting, he leaned forward and asked a couple one question (because they built a nice 3,000 ft home 4 years prior). The question was simply “Why are you moving?”. Their reply was simple but hit home. They said they loved St James but there was not enough going on in Southport to keep them entertained.

Over the years, there has been a lot of commercial industry added to the Southport area. These revelations from many years ago really made Doug take another look at the importance of the area. If you don’t like your area, chances are you will not be happy, regardless of how nice your community and home is, right? And every area is not right for everyone. Researching the area is paramount to a successful retirement.

As for the area, there are many important components that retirees should consider. One of the most important is good, complete medical care – not just a down the street Doc in the Box. Other components include entertainment, dining, shopping, cultural events, airport, places of worship, transportation, movie theaters, beaches, and more.

Once Doug had the sequence down of Area first, then Community and finally, Your Dream Home, it was easy to adapt this theory to a Martini glass!

The Martini Theory has helped thousands and thousands of people set their priorities straight with regards to their search for a place to retire to. Once you begin your search, you will learn that there are lots of great communities everywhere and even more wonderful homes but, finding the area that meets your lifestyle needs is crucial for a successful retirement. And as Doug says, because you probably don’t want to be driving 18 miles for Take out Chinese food or, building your dream home only to realize you made a mistake four years later and have to begin all over again!

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