Hurricanes

coast guard hurricane warning signs

In early 2002, when the Blue Green Corporation hired Doug to sell land at Winding River Plantation in Bolivia, NC, he taught him to refer to hurricanes as “storms” and do all he could to change the subject if it came up. Talking about hurricanes while trying to sell real estate is like asking a Yankees fan to root for the Red Sox.

With Ian wreaking havoc on the Caribbean, Florida, and the Carolinas a few weeks ago, we are going against the grain and speaking openly about one of mother nature’s worst occurrences. Wish us luck!

A Little Peek at Facts

First, though, let’s take a quick peek at some interesting statistics about the population of the US and where it resides:

  • About 94.7 million people, or about 29.1% of the total US population, lived in coastline counties in 2017, a 15.3% growth since 2000.
  • 81.4% of the population lives in coastal states on 57% of the nation’s land. 37.4% of the population can be found in counties adjacent to the oceans and Great Lakes. These counties occupy less than 18% of the land.
  • About 60.2 million people lived in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions – those most vulnerable to hurricanes. These areas added 8.3 million people between 2000 and 2017, a 16% increase.
  • Florida’s net annual gain of 404,000 (or 1106 a day) new residents in 2021 has increased Florida’s population to over 22,000,000. Only Texas and California are more populated.

We think you get the point. Coastal states and cities are popular destinations for people escaping the brutal winters and high taxes of the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and New England. The first goal is to find a warmer climate; for many, it is also to live somewhat close to the ocean. So, if the trends are for more Americans to move closer to the sea and warmer climates, then don’t these people know about hurricanes?

photo of the ocean, sand and a walkway to the beach with blue skies

It would be hard to believe that someone moving to a saltwater coastline is unaware that hurricanes are brewing in the oceans. The draw of living near a warm ocean is powerful, for here is where you’ll find more favorable weather, a plethora of beautiful, planned communities, a laid-back lifestyle, and tons of year-round activities.

Elevations

However, the downside is that you must be on the lookout for storms instead of hurricanes. For example, Governor DeSantis announced that Ian is a 500-year floodplain storm – so they got to go back in history to find similar damage in that area.

Oh, and Florida is quite different from North Carolina in elevation. The highest peaks in most of Florida are overpasses, with most people living on 3’ – 10’ of elevation. In Brunswick County, we are blessed with higher inland elevations, such as Brunswick Forest boasting 30’ – 40’ above sea level, Ocean Ridge is 30-55’, and Compass Pointe is 25-40’, etc.

Below you can see the paths of 57 storms that have landed on the shores of the US since 1985 (Ian is not on the map below.) It is safe to say that even people who live inland in coastal states experience their level of storm hits. What is also true is that there is no actual safe place on the coast from Brownsville up to Bangor. Doug has some friends in Winston-Salem, which is easily 3 hours from the NC coast, who received a bunch of rain and experienced high gusts from Ian.

photo showing a hurricane models

Flooding

One other item worth mentioning about hurricanes is that over 80% of the damages (and therefore costs) come from flooding. Winds will always be responsible for some damage, but the water produces most of the damage. Did you see the damage to Ft. Myers beach? Devastating is an understatement.

Picture on right is the water damage on the Federal Court House and the picture on the left is after the damages happened

And water damages occur in many ways. There is the obvious, such as water in buildings and homes and erosion, but in 2019 in downtown Wilmington, we experienced Florence. On Doug’s daily morning on the Riverwalk, he passes by the Federal Court House (formerly the US Customs House). Directly after Florence, none of the maintenance staff for the building came to check on the structure and air it out. What transpired during those 4-5 days was unimaginable. Mold spores grew inside the building because it was usually hot outside after a storm, and because they had some minor water intrusion in the building, it was like a terrarium inside. Today, over four years later, that building is still not inhabitable. They have been sucking out the moisture for four solid years, 24/7. Eventually, government officials decided to remove most of the drywall and replace all the windows. The repair cost to this building is astronomical now, and we still have no time on when it will reopen. Therefore, water damages come in all shapes and sizes and should be feared.

Hurricanes happen, and no place is without weather drawbacks. Since 1999, Doug has experienced two direct hits (relatively mild, though) and many drive-by’s. Before moving to Coastal NC in 1999, he lived north of Boston for seven years and experienced at least 4 Nor’easters – which is code for a wicked lousy winter storm. And before that, he spent three years in Milwaukee, where winter lasts seven months. No place is perfect. But if you are on the hunt for that Coastal NC home to retire in, then allow us at Carolina Plantations to help you with your search!

Sunlight: Why We Need it so Much

yellow sunshine with flares and orange background in sky

We can’t believe it’s September already, and winter will be here before we know it. We at Carolina Plantations wanted to shine some light on the many benefits of sunlight. We see our fair share of the sun year-round, but we still wanted to share some key benefits with you all.

Improves your Sleep

Your body creates a hormone called “melatonin,” which is critical in helping you sleep. Because your body starts producing it when it’s dark out, you will usually begin to feel sleepy two hours after the sun sets. This is one of the main reasons why we’re able to stay up later during the summer compared to the winter months. Research indicates that an hour of natural light in the morning will help you sleep better at night. FYI, a little unknown secret is that in our brain, the Pineal Gland is the one producing melatonin. If you have heard of people going crazy from light deprivation, it’s because your pineal gland produces too much melatonin, making you tired.

an older couple with white hair sleeping in bed on pillows covered up with a white comforter

Reduce Stress

Melatonin also lowers stress reactivity and being outdoors will help your body naturally regulate melatonin, which helps reduce your stress level. Additionally, because you’re often doing something active when you’re outside (walking, playing, etc.), that extra exercise will also help lower your stress level.

Maintains Strong Bones

One of the best (and easiest) ways to get Vitamin D is by being outside. Our bodies produce Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight – about 15 minutes in the sun a day is adequate if you’re fair-skinned. And since Vitamin D helps your body maintain calcium, this helps prevent brittle, thin, or misshaped bones. Soaking in the sun may be just what the doctor ordered this winter.

Strengthens your Immune System

Vitamin D is also crucial for your immune system as it will help strengthen it with constant exposure. A healthy immune system can help reduce the risk of illness, infections, cancers, and mortality after surgery.

Fights Off Depression

It’s not just in your head; there’s a scientific reason being in the sunshine improves your mood. Sunshine boosts your body’s serotonin level, a chemical that enhances your mood and helps you stay calm and focused. Increased exposure to natural light may help ease the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. This change in mood typically occurs in the fall and winter months when there are fewer hours of daylight.

one older couple with woman looking sad and another woman with a family member making sure their ok looking depressed

We are astonished by how many current and past friends have trouble falling asleep. It never occurred to us to recommend more sunlight to them. Luckily, we live in a beautiful area that does get a lot of sun, so falling asleep for many is no issue.

Carolina Plantations opened up 15 years ago with one simple focus: Help people find the sun. If NJ, NY, MA, PA, or any other northern/midwestern states experienced as much sun per year as we did, very few people would be moving here, right? Find your sun today and see what you can find in Coastal, NC. Give the #1 Team of Sun Finders – Carolina Plantations Real Estate a call today!

Diverting Your Water

In one’s search for a retirement home and community, many factors exist to consider. Many of the most common are demographics of the residents, location, age of the community, and more. How often, though, do people give serious consideration to the movement of water in the community?

two different ways to divert water from home.

Since 2007, the team at Carolina Plantations has helped thousands of people find their dream location and home to retire to – even if it was not in Coastal NC. During that time, we welcomed nearly 500 families to Brunswick Forest, located in Leland, NC – just 5 minutes from downtown Wilmington. We bring this to your attention because, being as involved as we have been, we have been close to allies with the developer and have been privy to some valuable information.

Anytime you are within 50 miles of the southeastern coast of the US, you need to be concerned with water, for when you hear the phrase “Low Country,” that should associate in your head that low terrain equals high water table. And while our rain levels are pretty standard during the year, we get heavy rainstorms and occasional storm water drains and pipes feverishly moving water – and sometimes, lots of water.

What Choices are there?

When entering a community, you are most aptly to see one of two methods of moving water. The first is using culverts/swales placed in front of your homes. When it rains, these fill up with water, and if it is heavy rain, you might just end up with Lake Winnipesauke on your front lawn. This is because culverts tend to collect water and not move it as intended. And probably most important to note is that these swales tend to get long-standing water, collect garbage, and are hard to maintain.

Choice #2 is where the developer uses curbs and gutters along with sidewalks. This is far more costly than the first option but by far the best for you, the homeowner. Home water is often directed to the street, whereby gravity sends it to a drain. The water goes down the drain and is carried along pipes to a retention pond.

Retention Ponds

Retention ponds can be your friend if the developer has a plan if the ponds overflow. Spillways are commonly factored in, and water from one pond will flow to another at a lower elevation. This continues till the water is sent off the property to an estuary or into the town’s drain system. Retention ponds that do not have a spillway can often flood the homes of those who live around the pond.

showing two different ways that a retention pond works

Numerous communities throughout Brunswick County and Coastal NC do not install stormwater drains, pipes, or sidewalks. Many are older communities but make no mistake; economics drive the water removal issue 99% of the time. Some may say they are more environmentally conscientious; however, now you are armed with the truth!

Be careful when selecting a community and pay attention to how water is moved off your personal property and the community. The last thing you want to do when you retire is to worry about a lake forming in your yard every time it rains. If you’re still on the hunt for a dream retirement home, give our team at Carolina Plantations a call today!

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!

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