When Will it Stop? Not for a Long, Long Time!

A very dear friend of Doug’s, a giant in Brunswick County, said to him last week that Carolina Plantations should enjoy unparalleled growth for many years. His family were earlier settlers on one of our barrier islands, and he and his real estate empire focus on beach business. He mentioned this because beach real estate has slowed quite a bit due to a lack of inventory. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of people are doing everything they can to escape colder climates and higher-tax states and find their place in the sun. We could not argue his point.

Covid, which hopefully will be under control soon, has merely accelerated the retirement plans of millions of Americans. Why live in cold weather when your kids have moved out of state, taxes only seem to be increasing as winters continue to be too long and too cold, and your homes can sell for more now than possibly ever?

A couple of weeks ago, Doug watched Chairman Powell of the Fed speak about the US’s chances of experiencing another 2008 debacle. Check out the 60 minutes interview.

He indicated that many factors are in place today that would severely decrease the chances of ever happening again. The first was changing predatory lending habits of lenders, which we can attest to. Years back, you might recall “No Doc Loans,” which allowed a person to walk in off the street and, without any documentation, secure a loan. Is anyone surprised that 2008 happened? Oh, my goodness, what were we thinking?! Oh, and one more thing Chairman Powell shared is that he does not see inflation on his radar. Chairman Powell believes the Fed has that well under control through the end of 2021 and beyond.

So, barring an economic meltdown again any time soon coupled with loads of Baby Boomers retiring and looking for a more economically feasible lifestyle, Coastal North Carolina is smack in the crosshairs of untold numbers of soon to retire Americans. And according to Wharton’s Professor Jeremy Siegal, stocks could post yet another 30-40% gain before any kind of a pullback. Check out some tips for buying a home during a pandemic here.

On a different note, a few days ago, Doug spoke with a client that said he is going to wait until fall to consider purchasing a home here on the coast. The reason, in his opinion, all this craziness with multiple offers and rising prices has got to end soon. Nope, it doesn’t.  Keeping this all in perspective, while our prices have increased this past year, most of it was driven by a hopefully once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. These prices, though, have been felt in just about every market, so if you are selling your home today in Princeton, NJ for $525,000, that’s probably $50,000 more than you would have sold it for last summer, right?

Coastal North Carolina is still VERY affordable. We have inventory, and if we run lean, our builders build it because we are truly blessed to have an abundant inventory of land! Approximately 70% of our clients build new homes here because:

  1. They can!!
  2. They get to select all their floorplans, colors, flooring, countertops, appliances, etc.
  3. It fits into their timeframes with regards to retiring, selling, and moving.

So, when you consider Covid Flight (to the burbs), people retiring earlier than anticipated historic low-interest rates for mortgages, millions of Baby Boomers have yet to retire. A stable/growing economy, Carolina Plantations is expecting the real estate market here in Coastal North Carolina to stay very strong for the next 24-36 months. And as the adage goes, if you snooze, you lose. If you’re ready to start your search for your home to retire to the Coast of North Carolina, give us a call today!

Inventory

What’s the number one subject today in real estate? Inventory, err um, the lack thereof. It seems that everyone can talk about it at the water cooler, tennis courts, or cafes. So, does “inventory” affect you? Yes, if you are a Buyer or Seller. And for the sake of discussion, we will focus here on those of you who are Buyers or about to become Buyers and how you might be able to circumvent inventory issues.

In the past two years, the team at Carolina Plantations has nearly doubled our number of listings. It has been a concerted effort as everyone on the team must send out a quarterly newsletter. Most of our Brokers send out postcards and or marketing material to targeted communities. This effort has yielded many happy clients on both sides of the transactions. Buyers love us because we know of upcoming inventory, and Sellers love us because they do not have to vacuum their homes and clean the entire house daily or weekly for months on end.

The majority of good homes listed at fair prices on the southernmost coast of North Carolina sell within 1-2 days, and in many cases, have multiple offers and bidding wars. FYI, it’s an excellent time to be a Seller providing you don’t have to turn around and find yourself bidding on a house – for any quick profits you earned could be eliminated.

Here are three issues to keep in mind as you look for a Buyer’s Agent in today’s fiercely competitive real estate market below.

#1 Working with Agencies That Have (Access to) New Listings

Say you are interested in a Palm Tree Plantation community and want to buy an existing home. You contact your local Realtor named Bob to assist you with your search, and he is willing to help. However, there is little to no inventory of homes there, and Bob doesn’t know anyone at PTP because he has never sold a house there. Again, Bob is a nice guy willing to help but, can he help you?

So, instead of selecting Bob, you research Palm Tree Plantation and find a Realtor named Sally, who sells 30-40 homes a year in PTP. You contact her, and she agrees to assist you in your search. You provide her with the parameters of what you want your home to look like, and while there is no inventory of homes that matches your requirements, Sally is already making calls and checking in with clients of hers to see if anyone is thinking of selling soon.

#2 Working with Brokers Who Are Connected

Once again, your focus is on Palm Tree Plantation. You contact Marcia, a relatively new Broker in the area, to help you with your search. You ask her if she knows of any upcoming listing in PTP, and she doesn’t because she has no clients in PTP, plus she doesn’t know any Brokers to call there. Marcia’s ability to help you has been severely compromised. Yes, she can add your email address to a portal that shoots you all new listings, but more often than not, if a listing makes it to MLS, the clock is ticking, and you better get an offer in soon if you want o to have a chance.

Conversely, you make a call or two to find a seasoned Broker in the area, one that knows most, if not all, of the local Brokers. Randy has been selling in the area for 15 years and knows PTP well, and has lots of friends in the industry. Randy is not only willing to assist you in your search but probably more capable than a Broker with little to no contacts in the industry.

#3 Seriously Consider Building Your Dream Home

Since Carolina Plantations opened in 2008, probably 70% of our clients looking to retire to Brunswick County have built their Dream Home. Why? Because they can wind up with a home exactly how they want it and on the homesite that also meets their requirements (as in, backing up to nature, in a cul-de-sac, backyard facing south, near the clubhouse/pool, overlooking water, etc.)

Yes, prices of lumber have spiked due to COVID; however, in keeping the big picture in mind, many builders here still change $150-$200’ to build a wonderful home. Compared to other markets we have personally witnessed across the states, that is a bargain. The most significant impact COVID has had though on our new home market is lead times. A year ago, builders would typically quote 6-8 months from groundbreaking to completion, and now you are looking at more like 12+ months.

In essence, do some research before you randomly select a real estate broker to assist you with your search, as not all Brokers are created equal. You will need one that has good contacts within the resale market and can introduce you to builders if you decide to go in that direction. Carolina Plantations looks forward to helping you find your dream home that you can retire in here on the coast of North Carolina!

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!

Why Are There No Trees?

In January of 2002, Doug began his real estate career working for the Blue Green Corporation, as an on-site agent at Winding River Plantation in Bolivia, NC. They sold dirt and nothing but the dirt.

Why Are There No Trees?

When we sold a homesite (learned to never call it a “lot” because a woman would never build her Dream Home on a “lot”!!), the dirt came with all the trees, valleys, gullies and pitches. So, when it came time for your builder to prepare you dirt for your Dream Home, the additional costs to clear, level and bring in soil could have bee a few thousand to over $20,000. These costs were often overlooked in the budget and quite honestly, stretched more budgets than people would have thought.

In a response to the negative press from builders and property owners, sometime around 2013, local developers here and from coast to coast, began “wholesaling” homesites – which is the practice of preparing the homesites to the point where they are referred to as “pad ready.”

Why Are There No Trees?

To provide a “pad ready” homesite, this is what a developer must do:

  • Remove the trees from the homesite. Keep in mind that in the past 10+ years, the average homesite decreased from 1/3 acre to 1/4 acre in size, so in essences, it’s almost impossible to save trees on 1/2 acre for by the time you place your Dream Home on the homesite and make room for the driveway, walkways and porches, you really have very little dirt left.
  • After the trees have been hauled away, it is time to dig down 3-6′ and clear our the twisted roots, dead branches and vines – otherwise known as mat.
  • Once the mat is removed, soil experts/engineers will weigh in on what needs to be added, such as crushed stone, fine gravel, sifted soil and/or sand.
  • The homesite will them be shaped properly, with the center being crowned and tilted back to front, as this will allow for proper drainage to the street and stormwater system. In essence, it will look like the field at the Giants Stadium, with a slight back to front tilt.
  • Lastly, the homesite will be compressed according to local engineering standards, as the soil needs a specific PSI (pounds per square inch) in order to be built upon.

If you have yet to build your Dream Home, there is a lot to know about with regards to dirt, so be sure to find a real estate Broker that is educated in these matters and can best represent your interests. A few more items worthy or passing along to you:

  • Be sure to ask if the homesite is in a flood zone. Walk around the property and up and down the streets of all homesites and locate the closest ponds and/or creeks/rivers/streams, for water damage to your home can be life-altering.
  • Ask and/or look-to-see if the developer has installed storm water drainage. If not, then there will be swales/gullies in your front yard that collect water when it rains. Many people do no like having a lake in their front yard every time they get a hard rain.
  • Ask neighbors about drainage. Don’t be shy either, as just about everyone will be more than happy to share whatever date/info you are looking for.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach down and put some of the topsoil in your hand. If it is hard and clay like, then you either might have to pay a lot for new sandy soil or, be stuck with drainage issues on your homesite.
  • Drive out to the homesite after or during a heavy rain. If you are purchasing a homesite, you more than likely have a 30-45 day closing, so you really do have plenty of time.

If you want to get the dirt on the dirt, call any of our Brokers today, as many of us worked previously for developers/builders. If you are looking elsewhere in the country, well, at least you know enough to be dangerous.

And, don’t forget about Haley Wilson with www.PlanViewDesign.com – who has designed more award-winning homes in Brunswick County than any home designer or Architect! If you’re ready to find your homesite to build your Dream Home, then contact us at Carolina Plantations to get started today!

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