Finding You a Solution

Many moons ago, Doug coined “The Martini Theory.” It’s a simple analogy for a place to retire:

  1. Top of Glass: Find the right AREA.
  2. Middle of Glass: Find the right COMMUNITY.
  3. Bottom of Glass or Well Soaked Olive: Find your DREAM HOME.

Tens of thousands of people have been introduced to this catchy analysis, and one thing that was always a given about the theory was finding your DREAM HOME. If you found the right area and community, one of the professional Brokers at Carolina Plantations would always find you a home.

That is not as quickly said as done today, but approximately 70% of our clients built a new home in years past. Why? Because after living in homes where there was no pantry, the laundry room was in the basement, the rooms were choppy, and the bathrooms & closets were minuscule. Therefore, the building has been the overwhelming choice of people migrating to Coastal NC for nearly three decades.

Two homes, one home on left in the process of being built with a construction worker and home on the right is gray with being brand new

A lot has changed in our landscape today with regards to building:

  • Most of our large developers have sold out their inventory of homesites.
  • Building costs have skyrocketed, mainly in part to supply issues and Covid.
  • Trained labor is limited in our area, so builders can only build “X” number of homes a year.

St. James Plantation, one of the oldest gated communities laden with amenities, has SOLD OUT of its inventory of over 6,000 homesites. Only resale homes or homesites remain. At Brunswick Forest, there is just a tiny handful of homesites remaining, but new homes are popping up. Compass Pointe is expecting a new crop of homesites within the next few months, but it has been slim pickings there since last summer. And at River Bluffs, they too have new homesites coming down the road but not anytime soon.

The number of inquiries at Carolina Plantations continues to set annual records, as many people have been itching to sell their homes up north in the congested and colder climates and move to the sunny and warm coast of North Carolina. We are fighting a daily supply and demand situation as we’ve never seen before, yet the fantastic team at Carolina Plantations keeps finding solutions.

Our company sales are almost equal yearly versus the 2021 year to date; however, our pending sales are nearly 40% more. This is almost inexplicable, ladies & gentlemen, for our top developers are virtual without new products to sell. So, just how are we keeping pace with last year?

Expanding our Search Criteria

Instead of limiting oneself to just one town or one or two communities, our Brokers are as well versed as any local real estate firm within a 50-mile radius. This is very beneficial to our clients because we are not limited by town borders or only a small handful of beautiful communities.

map showing of coastal brunswick county nc showing new communities

We Work with Local Builders Extensively

Even though building material costs have gone up significantly across the country, building a new home in Coastal NC is still a bargain compared to where most clients live. With homesite inventory dwindling, builders are being more creative and finding new/er communities to put up spec homes, for if they don’t have land to build on, they will go out of business. And for 15 years, no real estate firm has guided more people through the building process with our local builders than the team at Carolina Plantations.

Increased Listings and Teamwork

In addition to our monthly Carolina Dreamin’ eNewsletter, each of our Brokers sends out a quarterly newsletter. This helps us stay in contact with our potential Buyers and previous Buyers, who often sell their homes, condos, and homesites. Possibly knowing about inventory coming on the market provides us with a valuable “heads up,” so to speak.

We probably have over 50 people in the queue to purchase. We have seen a nice increase in inventory in specific areas or markets recently, making solutions possible again. And as we all know, life and real estate are cyclical, so be sure to have the best trained and most responsive real estate Broker fighting for you, for if you don’t, you will receive rejection after rejection – and that isn’t fun, is it?

Things You Must Know About Home Inspections

In North Carolina, Home Inspections can make or break a contract, so we thought we would approach this subject from 50,000’, as this tool is as important as any in your selling or buying a home here.

Under Buyer’s Due Diligence Process, the Offer to Purchase and Contract is one of the most important statements of our entire Offer to Purchase and Contract.

The Property is Being Sold in its Current Condition

What does this exactly mean?

  • Buyers are permitted to secure a Home Inspection providing the Seller agrees on plus an agreeable time to arrange for the inspection.
  • The Buyer pays for the cost of the inspection. Prices range from $400 – $700 for average homes.
  • The Seller is NOT REQUIRED to do any repairs.
  • The Buyer CAN NOT demand that a Seller perform the repair.
an article showing on home inspections
  • However, depending upon market conditions, many Sellers will perform “some and perhaps all” repairs at the Buyer’s request. The Sellers do so because they are proud of their home and don’t desire to upset the Buyer and potentially lose the deal.
  • Repairs are 100% negotiable in North Carolina, providing you have two parties willing to negotiate.
  • With such a strong Sellers’ market over the past 12 months, many Sellers refuse to do any repairs.
  • When you receive your inspection report, you should divide the suggested repairs into two categories:
    • Structural: items such as broken floor joist, roof issues, warped hardwood floors, etc.
    • Cosmetic: lousy light bulb, stained carpeting, stuck windows, piece of siding missing, etc.
  • Almost anything structural you will want to ask for the Seller to address.
  • Generally, it is advisable to ask for the essential cosmetic issues to be addressed.
  • Occasionally, a seller will agree to the repairs but provide the Buyer with approved credit at closing (so that the Seller doesn’t have to do the repairs).
  • In NC, your buyer’s agent will speak with you about a Due Diligence date, which is when the Buyer should have their loan agreed to by then and have the inspection report back from their home inspector. Typically, the DD date is about 30 days from executed contract.
  • The agreed-upon repairs must be completed by the closing date.
  • Most home inspectors are not experts on HVAC, pools, or termites. They will have the HVAC and casually look for infestation; however, it is advised to secure your pest inspector if the home inspector finds any evidence of their existence or if you just want to be extra careful.

It is strongly recommended by Carolina Plantations that Buyers secure an independent home inspection on NEW HOMES. Builders get busy the last week of construction of a home and tend to miss many items – and that is not as much of a negative reflection on the builders as you might think. Be safe and get a home inspection on all spec homes and custom-built homes.

Investing in a home inspection for any product, new or old, is truly a no-brainer. You deserve to know any issues with a home you’re considering purchasing. If there is too much wrong, you should seriously consider terminating your contract and focus on finding a healthier home. We at Carolina Plantations are ready to get you started on your search for your Coastal Carolina home today!

When Will It Be My Time?

In friendships, relationships, and business partnerships, one just seems to know when the timing is right to jump in or bailout. Over decades, the accumulation of experience at many levels provides us with an innate sense of good timing. Granted, we sometimes overstay our welcome and bow out prematurely, but wisdom on minor and major decisions is a learned experience.

Retiring, though, is hopefully only done once. And therefore, it’s not like we have a set of handy CliffsNotes to follow. Winging is ok if you go to a horse track and place a $2 bet or throw caution to the wind and try some $6 fancy coffee that you can’t even pronounce—but winging it on retirement? No way, right?!

Retirement encompasses several definitions for many people. Of course, the most common is saying goodbye to your office/work friends and set out to define/redefine yourself. To many others, people commonly might say, “I’m retiring to North Carolina,” which one would interpret as not only leaving your job but selling the house in Jersey and moving somewhere warmer, friendlier, and more economical.

watch, with time, dark background

So, just when do you put all of this into motion? What is the magical date to pull the plug at work or sell the business and set yourself out to pasture? Are there advisors or counselors to assist you with this mega-task? Do you have to make the decision all on your own? What happens if you make the wrong decision? Kind of daunting, isn’t it?

Finances

It’s a no-brainer that, historically – your finances are the #1 most crucial concern in if-and-when you are going to retire. Millions of Americans will never be financially stable enough to hang up their work boots or nurse’s license. These people will work until there’s no work left in them and pray that their meager savings or government contributions keep them comfortable for that duration.

For those fortunate enough to amass sufficient funds, pensions, or Social Security benefits, it’s often a daunting task to set in stone your “end date.” Cutting the proverbial umbilical cord is scary, and rightfully so – as no one wants to retire and then un-retire months/years later. That would be tough to handle mentally!

three white eggs with gold lettering of ROTH, IRA & 401K with dollar bills in background

Over Doug’s 20 years in real estate, many clients have said they need to speak with their economic advisor before purchasing real estate. Often these advisors are stockbrokers – so one must learn to take what they say with a grain of salt because very few are ever in favor of you selling some or all of your stocks. This is because that decision affects them negatively financially. So, be careful with whom you enlist financial advice. Your loved ones, family members, work friends, church members, neighbors, and others can be good sounding boards for collecting advice and suggestions on how much moola it will take to retire comfortably.

Health

Lord knows that this issue, with the advent of COVID, has risen significantly in the past two years. Instead of focusing on good, healthy practices, we have been a hundred down; in some cases, we are just trying to stay healthy and out of the hospital. Health issues certainly can trump financial matters, for if you are not healthy, the number of reserves you have is almost a moot point, correct?

COVID aside, getting healthy, staying healthy, and securing affordable healthcare in your retirement years is monstrously important. Doug turns 65 this year and is just beginning to address the mountain of paperwork required to sign up for Medicare and supplemental insurance coverage. He has many friends who have already enrolled and are pleasantly satisfied with their new set of instructions for securing medical services, so he’s keeping his fingers crossed that his transition period is minimally difficult.

older gentleman at the doctor getting his blood pressure checked with female doctor

One of the newer phrases of the past ten years is “reinventing yourself.” Instead of working 40-50 hours a week along with no longer fighting traffic for 5-7 hours a week, all with less sleep, of course, you suddenly will have 168 hours a week to fill up! This is a huge opportunity for most retirees to begin that exercise regime you have been lying about for decades. Any day now, right?

Get out of the house and just do it! Walk 4 miles a day, ride a bike, swim, relearn to play tennis, take up kayaking, golf, learn to play pickleball, ski, or buy that Peloton bike and bike until your legs ache 304 times a week. Exercise is the number one most critical element to your success, for if you choose to ignore it: the length of your healthy retirement years will inevitably be shortened.

Involvement

Retiring to your couch is not an option. Sure, you worked your butt off for 38 years and deserved a few quiet years on the couch, but not living a healthy lifestyle is like waking up every day and playing Russian Roulette.

Many years ago, Doug was a training instructor in industrial automation (boring, right?) During his tenure at that position, he took a class on training adults. Not only do most adults have the attention span of a tiny gnat, but if adults stopped learning and challenging their minds, their brains would turn to mush. Mental activities such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku, board games, reading, writing, and taking courses are just as important in some cases as performing physical workouts.

3 men and one woman working outdoors

We all know that if you have a special event planned for today, no matter how minor it may be, it’s far easier to get up and get your groove thing going, right? Therefore, if you are not involved with your family, your community, a local service organization, or volunteer work, you will be shortening your retirement and probably not enjoying whatever time left you have. So, get off your Butkus and dive into something, really anything.

The magical date to set all this in motion lies between your heart, wallet, and noggin. One significant advantage that our generation has over our parents and grandparents’ generations is the internet. Here lies vast information and opinions about every imaginable subject, including where to retire! We are here to help you with that decision in finding your dream retirement home located on the beautiful North Carolina Coast.

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!

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