Caution: Closely Monitor Your Real Estate Market

Recently, Doug has read two articles that talk about a potential factor that will more than likely contribute to a slowdown in our national economy – the housing market. Trust us, we are not a naysayer at all, but there is some pretty strong logic to what lies ahead for much of the country.

The “Baby Boomers” are defined as people born between 1946 and 1964. Doug is a Baby Boomer and gust what? He is one of the 74.6 million Baby Boomers born in the post war era. Today, the population of BBs are down approximately 10 million. However, if you take into consideration immigration to the US during those years, we could still be looking at about 75 million Baby Boomers here in the states.

As a group, our wealth is staggering, and our buying power almost immeasurable. We are saving and hard workers, and many have paid off their full-time residences. We invest in the stock market (and other securities) and about 10,000 of us are retiring every day.

Should You Sell Your Home Now?

However, there is a glitch. The generations behind us are not nearly as diligent as we are and the percentage of homeowners are amongst those generations is lower than ours. In essence, there may not be enough of them to purchase all our homes when we put them on the market to retire. This is what economists are concerned about, and if it comes to fruition, will certainly sound the alarms for an economic slowdown here in the states.

The good news is that we should still have another good 3-7 years of Baby Boomers selling their homes for a fair market price and retiring preferable somewhere warmer, and purchasing a less expensive home. Although Doug still likes to quote a client of his from New Jersey who years ago said to his friends, “My wife and I are downsizing to a bigger home!!”

One factor though that could be exacerbating this market trend are the new tax laws up north that are limiting the amount of annual interest from you home mortgage that can be deducted. Due to these new rules and others that are being enacted, home ownership may not be as attractive as in decades past, so the results to home buyers in these states is a coin flip, for now.

How We Can Help

Our team of 10 Brokers has worked with tens of thousands of clients in our real estate careers. We know that timing a market, whether it be a stock market, housing market, futures market, etc., is nearly impossible to do a lay person. What we have been fortunate to see though over the years are people taking advantage of the old adage of “Selling High and Buying Low.” Imagine after 25 years you finally get around to cleaning up your house and yard to near new condition and whoah Nellie, there’s nobody knocking on your door to see your beautiful home? Said it ain’t so, Joe!!

So, today’s food for thought is passing along to you what some other folks have done:

  • Sell NOW, Rent, then Purchase – Take advantage of a strong market in your community, sell for a good profit, rent something in your area until you can retire. Then you can come south and purchase your Dream Home.
  • Retire Now, Sell Now and Move Now! If your home can bring you a profit that is nearly too good to pass up now, then factor that into your financial retirement plan and you might be telling your co-workers Adios as you take that sack of unmarked $100s from the sale of your home and head to warmer and greener pastures, wherever that might be.

Just don’t be that person who knows the market so well that you are the last in your neighborhood to place that “For Sale” Sign up in the yard. Keep in mind that the choice really is yours and walk away with guaranteed cash vs giving your home away. A little bit of jostling & inconvenience for 6-12 months might have everything to do with your successful retirement. Allow us at Carolina Plantations help you find your dream home here on the North Carolina Coast!

 

Should We Have Zigged When We Zagged?

On any given day in the life of an adult, we make approximately 35,000 decisions. Therefore, in a one-year period, an adult makes nearly 12,775,000 decisions. No wonder why Doug goes to bed so early each night – he just made a whole lot of decisions!

With all these decisions to make, it’s easy for us to look back and say “hey, what would have happened if we zigged instead of zagged?” Or, what if we chose this profession over that profession? Or should Doug have attended Harvard vs. University of Tennessee? (Go Vols) Or how about if he chose this family to grow up with versus that family? (just kidding, we all know that Doug made the right decision in life.)

Should We Have Zigged When We Zagged?

Here’s a good example of a zig-or-zag story:

 Back in the mid-90s when Doug was living north of Boston, he and his neighbor Bill and his buddy Ed from Chicago, took a cruise. One evening about halfway through the 7-day cruise and before dinner, they were walking on the Lido deck in search of a cocktail, and as they approached the pool, there was a bar on the left with people and a bar on the right with people. Doug made the decision to go to the one on the right, where they met two sisters from Boston. Twenty or so years later, Bill is still married to one of those sisters and has 3 daughters. Imagine if they had zigged instead of zagged?

Important Decisions

We all make important decisions in our lives.  Some we choose correctly and others, perhaps not so well. But hey, life is too short to have regrets as the incorrect decisions hopefully pave the way for correct decisions down the line, right?

Today, we are all where we are at because we have made billions of well-guided decisions, so let’s take a step back and congratulate each other because there are a lot of places, we could be that are certainly less desirable! Doug means, our lives might be far from perfect however, on the other hand, Los Angeles currently has 59,000 homeless people – not 59,001, agreed?

Choosing ‘where to retire’ is unequivocally one of the last major decisions adults make, so it is imperative that one studies the effects of zigging or zagging, as the implications on your quality of remaining life lie in the ballast. In fact, we think y’all might be surprised how often we meet people who have zigged when they should have zagged and wound up making an expensive mistake. We all know that moving is one of the world’s worst experience and it’s also very costly too!

Best Team on the Coast

To Doug’s knowledge, there is no real estate company in America that is better educated on the area they serve than the team at Carolina Plantations. However, we know you may be checking out other areas, so be sure to find independent Brokers that can help educate you on the area/s you are looking at. Well informed Zigs or Zags will lead you to a happy retirement and if coastal North Carolina is right for you, Team Carolina Plantations wants to assist you on your first retirement move, not your second or third. We hope that you will be able to find your forever home here on our beautiful coast line!

Researching Before Retirement Pays Off

We recently shared a story in our July newsletter about Ilda and Bob, a couple who took the time to do some research before their retirement years arrived. As residents of Mansfield, MA, where every winter without fail the snow flies and the cold is extreme they desired to relocate south. It comes as no surprise that they were interested in spending their retirement years some place more temperate.

In December 2010, Bob came across our website and wrote to us inquiring about life in beautiful coastal North Carolina. Naturally, we pointed out all the best features of living here as well as the abundance of beautiful and affordable properties available. We invited him to come for a visit and a few months later, during a miserable Boston winter, he did just that. Apparently he liked what he saw!

Brunswick Plantation

After checking out the many retirement communities in the area Ilda and Bob were most attracted to Brunswick Plantation. While there were many gorgeous homes for sale in Brunswick Plantation, just any home wouldn’t do for them. They wanted something uniquely theirs. They purchased a home site and began making plans to have their dream home built.

In early 2014, now with retirement upon them, Ilda and Bob arrived in North Carolina to meet with builders after deciding that a custom home was what they were most interested in. Because they purchased a custom home site they did not have to use the on-site builder. Instead, they chose Barker & Canady Custom Homes from Wilmington as their builder of choice.

Brunswick Plantation

The couple found a B & C home plan that they really liked and had seen in Brunswick Plantations several times but they wanted to customize it enough to make it their own. The builder incorporated their changes into the plans and built them the home they’d always dreamed of owning.

Two months ago, in May 2015, Ilda and Bob made the final move from Mansfield, MA, to Brunswick Plantation in North Carolina and into their brand new home. They couldn’t be happier and us for them!

This is just one example of many where doing a bit of research in the years prior to retiring will make for some smooth sailing when the day finally arrives. Choose a part of the country – the weather is awesome here in coastal North Carolina. Look closer at counties, communities, neighborhoods. Decide what is most important to you in a home, how you like to spend your time, and then use that to narrow in on where your next home should be.

At Carolina Plantations we’re available to help you narrow down your choices. Give us a call at 910-754-SOLD, chat with us online, or stop by and see us at 4660 East Coast Lane on Highway 17 in Shallotte, NC. We look forward to helping you find that perfect home where you can spend your retirement happily!

Breaking Down 55 or Older Communities

Age restrictive communities have been around for years. Some folks have just had their fill of kids and don’t want to share their community with children after 5pm. In general though, children are permitted in age restrictive communities but, there are rules that must be followed.

The below pool policy for visiting grandchildren was taken directly off the website of a large adults only community in the southeast. Go ahead and read it:

What are the rules for visiting grandchildren?
Children under the age of 19 may be a guest a maximum of 90 days in a calendar year. Children must be at least 4 years old and potty-trained to use any of the pools. Children ages 4-16 years of age are welcome at all pools during children’s hours only and must be accompanied by a supervising adult (non-guest). Pool monitors are present and may answer any questions or concerns.

At a glance this really sounds ok however; the whole premise is that kids up to 19 years old must be accompanied by adults in all pools and only during times where young ones are permitted to be in the pools. Well, so much for Grandma & Grandpa headed to the pool after dinner for a quick swim with the grandchildren!

Since it would be an exhaustive search to find the correct answer, my 12+ years of working with people who are looking at Southeastern NC to retire to provides me the luxury of making an educated guess on this question: What percentage of people retiring in the southeast retire in age restrictive communities? Answer: Less than 5%, or perhaps considerably less than that.

So just what is the draw to age restrictive communities? Noise for one is the #1 driving factor, and nuisance is a strong second. To each his own and who is anyone to judge if this is the lifestyle someone chooses, correct? Again, the percentage of adults moving into these types of communities is a fraction of the retiring public.

Everyone knows that Del Webb is a branded name synonymous with age restrictive communities

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so I found the age restrictive policies for Sun City Summerlin/Las Vegas:

55 Year Age Restriction Policy per
The FAIR HOUSING AMENDMENTS ACT of 1988 (the “Act”)
HOUSING FOR OLDER PERSONS ACT 1995: FINAL RULE
(Department of Housing and Urban Development: 24 CFR Part 100)

INTRODUCTION
The Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act) exempts “housing for older persons” from the Act’s prohibition against discrimination because of familial status. Section 807(b)(2) ( C ) of the Act exempts housing intended and operated for occupancy by persons 55 years of age or older which satisfies certain criteria HUD has adopted implementing regulations further defining the “housing for older persons” exemption at 24 CFR part 100, subpart E (Housing for Older Persons Act, hereinafter: HOPA).

There are 4 factors required for a facility to claim the 55 and older exemption:
(1) that the housing be intended and operated for persons age 55 and older; (24 CFR 100.304)
(2) that at least 80 percent of the occupied units be occupied by at least one person who is 55 years of age or older; (24 CFR 100.305)
(3) the housing facility or community must publish and adhere to policies and procedures that
demonstrate its intent to operate as housing for persons fifty-five (55) years of age or older. (24 CFR 100.306)
(4) the housing facility or community must also comply with rules issued by HUD for the
verification of occupancy. (24 CFR 100.307).

Sun City Summerlin is qualified for the exemption as a community for 55 year or older persons. The intent is stated in the Sun City Summerlin Community Association, Inc. CC&R’s (Article 4.2 (a)) and By-laws (Article 2.1) as well as by the age restriction rules adopted and enforced by the
Association. This document’s purpose… READ MORE

So does that mean that 95% of those retiring are living in communities without age restrictions? Yes, the answer is Yes however, there is an however. Since I know Brunswick County quite well, let’s do some exploring on how we have so many retirement communities here without any legal age restrictions yet, most everyone seems to be perfectly happy with the lack of policies.

There are over 20 Plantations in Brunswick County – and in case you are not aware of the marketing lingo by developers, a “plantation” is a community that has very nice amenities such as pools, tennis courts, golf course, fitness center, activities, etc. The draw to Brunswick County is weather, beaches and affordability – along with the myriad of plantations to select from.

Brunswick County historically has served various service industries, such as golf, beach, restaurants, hotels and general tourism. If you break that down, the overwhelming majority of workers in our area are hourly, and that means that their price range for a home hovers around $100,000 with both parents working (combined annual income would range from $30,000 – $50,000). We have a true absence of white collar jobs here, as there are virtually little to only a few “Class A” office buildings within the county.

The average single family home starting price in the 20+ plantations is over $200,000, and that knocks out an incredibly high percentage of young families. Therefore, since plantations are not economically feasible for so many young couples, the population of retirees dominates the landscape. And therefore the number of young children living inside these plantations is often almost zilch.

So, while we do not have official documents banning children from our public areas, streets, sidewalks and community amenities, we really don’t need them. Sure there might be a sprinkling of children in all plantations but it seems that the higher the price is of the average home, the less children you see.

As a general rule, our plantations here are grandchildren/children friendly plus, let’s unfortunately not forget about how many kids are moving back home and often with their children! And remember, you can only keep kids locked up in the house for so long! 🙂

Age restrictive communities have their place in the food chain of places to possibly retire to, so if you are averse to sharing your community with young ones, then you have some options up and down the east coast. WC Fields once said when asked “How do you like children”, to which he replied “Medium Rare, Medium Rare”. In Brunswick County, we welcome grandchildren yet we do always recommend to build your guest rooms to be comfortable BUT, not TOO comfortable! 🙂

The Humorous Side of Retiring to Florida

A Few years ago, my wife and I moved into a retirement development on Florida’s southeast coast. We are living in the “Delray/Boca/Boynton Golf, Spa, Bath and Tennis Club on Lake Fake-a-Hachee”. There are 3,000 lakes in Florida; only three are real.

Our biggest retirement concern was time management. What were we going to do all day? Let me assure you, passing the time is not a problem. Our days are eaten up by simple, daily activities. Just getting out of our car takes 15 minutes. Trying to find where we parked takes 20 minutes. It takes a half-hour in the check-out line in Wal-Mart, and 1 hour to return the item the next day.

Let me take you through a typical day: We get up at 5:00 am, have a quick breakfast and join the early morning Walk-and-Fart Club. There are about 30 of us, and rain or shine, we walk around the streets, all talking at once. Every development has some late risers who stay in bed until 6:00 am. After a nimble walk, avoiding irate drivers out to make us road kill, we go back home, shower and change for the next activity.

My wife goes directly to the pool for her underwater Pilates class, followed by gasping for breath and CPR. I put on my ‘Ask me about my Grandchildren’ T-shirt, my plaid mid-calf shorts, my black socks and sandals and go to the clubhouse lobby for a nice nap.

Before we know it, it’s time for lunch. We go to Costco to partake of the many tasty samples dispensed by ladies in white hair nets. All free! After a filling lunch, if we don’t have any doctor appointments, we might go to the flea market to see if any new white belts have come in or to buy a Rolex watch for $2.00.

We’re usually back home by 2:00 pm to get ready for dinner. People start lining up for the early bird about 3:00 pm, but we get there by 3:45 because we’re late eaters. The dinners are very popular because of the large portions they serve. We can take home enough food for the next day’s lunch and dinner, including extra bread, crackers, packets of mustard, relish, ketchup and Splenda, along with mints.

At 5:30 pm we’re home, ready to watch the 6 o’clock news. By 6:30 pm we’re fast asleep. Then we get up and make five or six trips to the bathroom during the night, and it’s time to get up and start a new day all over again.

Doctor-related activities eat up most of our retirement time. I enjoy reading old magazines in sub-zero temperatures in the waiting room, so I don’t mind. Calling for test results also helps the days fly by. It takes at least a half-hour just getting through the doctor’s phone menu. Then there’s the hold time until we’re connected to the right party. Sometimes they forget we’re holding, and the whole office goes off to lunch.

Should we find we still have time on our hands, volunteering provides a rewarding opportunity to help the less fortunate. Florida has the largest concentration of seniors under five feet and they need our help. I myself am a volunteer for ‘The Vertically Challenged Over 80.’ I coach their basketball team, The Arthritic Avengers. The hoop is only 4-1/2 feet from the floor. You should see the look of confidence on their faces when they make a slam dunk.

Food shopping is a problem for short seniors, or ‘bottom feeders’ as we call them, because they can’t reach the items on the upper shelves. There are many foods they’ve never tasted. After shopping, most seniors can’t remember where they parked their cars and wander the parking lot for hours while their food defrosts.

Lastly, it’s important to choose a development with an impressive name. Italian names are very popular in Florida. They convey world travelers, uppity sophistication and wealth. Where would you rather live: Murray’s Condos or the Lakes of Venice? There’s no difference — they’re both owned by Murray, who happens to be a cheap bastard.

I hope this material has been of help to you future retirees. If I can be of any further assistance, please look me up when you’re in Florida. I live in the Leaning Condos of Pisa in Boynton Beach.