Carolina Plantations??


Recently while showing homes in one of Brunswick Counties’ finest communities, we ran into some folks that recognized our name badges and they went on to say that they love reading our monthly eNewsletter – Carolina Dreamin’. In fact, one of the women provided positive feedback on the March article concerning my trip to Buffalo in the middle of the winter, and so for a minute I was almost, well, honored that she not only read the article but had near total recall of my little journey.

That all ended when she looked right at me and said “I really love reading Carolina Dreamin’ every month but, just who is Carolina Plantations”?

At the end of 2006, after spending five years between two top local developers and a large general real estate brokerage, I formed Carolina Plantations Real Estate. Although we are a general real estate brokerage like Century 21, Keller Williams, etc., we truly focus on a very specific niche, which is working with folks who are exploring our area for a place to retire and or purchase a second home.

The typical real estate brokerage firm will have a great understanding of the market within a 3-5 mile radius of their office. Agents there know their specific geographic area very well and are dedicated to opening up as many doors as need be till you find the right home/condo/townhome, etc. Ask them however to tell you about or show you real estate 20-30 miles from their comfort zone and well, chances are they might refer you to another firm.

To be considered for a Broker position at CPs, one must obtain knowledge of all the major plantations/communities within a 30-50 mile radius. This is a lot of knowledge, and we are not exaggerating as very few brokerages, if any, can show you homes at Brunswick Plantation in Calabash in the morning, homes in Landfall @ Wrightsville Beach in the afternoon followed by homes at St James and Brunswick Forest tomorrow.

We know that in order to serve our clients proficiently, we need to be able to learn about what is important to them and in essence, prescribe a solution. And for those of you not yet familiar with our almost famous Martini Theory, not only do we know the plantations, but we will point out all the good restaurants, shopping venues, golf courses, medical facilities, culture and more shopping!

To no surprise, the majority of our clients require at least one visit if not two or three visits. And if we could pass this along to you if in fact you are searching for a place to retire or purchase a second home, your goal is simple: Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate! The last area/plantation/home left standing wins!

Nancy, Pat, Chris, Patty and myself thank those of you who are currently working with us or have done so previously. Oh, and we certainly cannot forget Haley Wilson, the most decorated custom home designer in Brunswick County. Haley is the Vice President of our sister company Plan View Design, which is the only firm in Southeastern, NC that designs your Dream Home in full color 3D, utilizing the power of Chief Architect Software. The process is extremely interactive as your feedback is crucial to your finished design plus, you get to see your future residence from the comfort of your own home or office prior to groundbreaking.

In 2012, Carolina Plantations was the 19th largest by volume real estate Company in Brunswick County while Plan View Design was probably the #1 custom home design firm. We sold more real estate in fine communities like Brunswick Plantation, SeaScape, Brunswick Forest, Rivers Edge and RiverSea than any other firm in our area. We did it though by having fun along the way and are always honored to be involved in one of the most important decisions in your life!

What is the Cost of Risk?

Can you buy risk? No, not the old board game, but rather the intangible that has brought down mega conglomerates, countries and the one that has humbled millions of people. Does Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Niemen Marcus or Amazon carry it in their inventories? Chances are that if your retirement is on your horizon, you are going to be fairly risk aversive compared to the days of your youth, correct?

During the middle 2000s I was in real estate and experienced firsthand the almost total abandonment of the fear of the word risk. Good, hardworking, smart and diligent couples and individuals invaded our sleepy coastline and bought everything and anything they could. And I am talking anything here, as much of what was purchased was merely speculative in nature. (It was eerily similar to the 90s when people purchased tech stocks without doing any research on the firms they were invested in.)

Several of the larger plantations here and across the USA simply couldn’t cut down trees and put up four stakes fast enough due to the voracious appetite of the consumer. To many, there was MORE RISK at NOT purchasing a third of an acre dream homesite or 1,000’ condo than staying home and minding their own business. There were even lotteries where perhaps 100 homesites were released on any given weekend in 2006 yet, the sales and marketing machines brought in 150 Buyers to gobble them up. Many of those that lost out on the lottery went home in tears. Lucky them though, right?

Fast forward to 2013 and the market is coming back. Even a few of the abandoned communities where people sank a good portion of their savings into are beginning to be resuscitated. So the question now that has to be answered is have Americans learned their lesson? Are we a more risk aversive society today than half a decade ago?

In years past, American Pioneers were often rewarded for their vision and bravery and while that is still not out of the realm today, most folks have learned from the failures of the last wave of unlucky risk takers. Yet as you peruse the landscape of retirement type communities up and down the east coast, there is still plenty of risk out there.

So with regards to retirement and real estate, what are the risks that one must be aware of as you search from east to west and north to south?

Relax, there is plenty of inventory today in most areas
Years back, the lack thereof is what really drove the market. That and good sales hype!!
Brunswick County probably has 10+ years of inventory of developed homesites
Many homeowners are waiting for the market to turn before they put their homes on the market – so while the home inventory is good, there are many to yet be listed
There are a few exceptions today, and those are the few communities that are offering not only a good product (as in amenities, activities, homes, etc.), but a significant reduction of risk


  • If it isn’t there, can you afford to be there? 
  • The cost of installing roads, which includes water and sewer lines, sidewalks, curbs, storm water drains and landscaping is very costly – not to mention the engineering site plans and permits
  • For example, in 2004 the approximate fully burdened (above costs plus sales & marketing expenses) cost to improve a homesite was $25,000. Today the cost is over $40,000. 
  • Community infrastructure also includes on site drainage ponds, community entrances, gate houses, easements and much more


  • Once again, if it is promised but not yet built, can you afford to wait? And what happens if the sales team winds up being wrong? What is your real estate worth then? What happens to your retirement lifestyle? What if? What if? What if?…
  • If the amenities that are not yet built are important to your lifestyle when you retire, is there really no other community that can provide you comfort? Examples would be golf courses, indoor or outdoor pools, walking trails, fitness center, tennis courts and more


  • With the abundant information available to everyone today via the internet, do yourself a favor and Google your clients name. Spend some time and go to the third or fourth page and if by then you don’t see any negative blogs, chances are you should be ok
  • You can also check in with the local town or county government office where the community is and ask local officials if there is anything you need to know about your possible developer
  • There are good developers and those that for one reason or another, are not solid enough to invest your entire future with. Do your research on not only your developer, but perhaps your builder as well, as last thing you want is to live in a home without a roof!

Recently 3,350 thrill seeking passengers set sail on the Carnival Triumph to Mexico. They were in the middle of the ocean when a fire broke out that crippled the ship. It was an unfortunate incident but cruising anywhere consists of risk – considerable risk when you think about it. If done properly, removing risk from retirement or anything else you partake in can lead to a more enjoyable life. So do your research and try not to purchase too much risk because at the end of the day, you might not be able to afford it!! 🙂

Welcome to Niagra Falls

As the Spirit airlines jet touched down the flight attendant said “Welcome to Niagara Falls International airport.” Subconsciously I wondered when the Buffalo International airport was renamed. So as I got to baggage claim and car rental kiosk, I found that I had landed in NFIA but, booked my rental car reservation for the BIA.

Of course Alamo, the only rental agency at the airport, was fresh out of cars and so in a heavy snow I walked off the airport grounds to the local Budget agency, where I was promised a reservation on the phone. When I got there, of course the young agent Manny had no cars. Double ugh. Approximately 30 minutes later, I drove off the airport in only one of three cars assigned to this location. Don’t ask.

After living in Milwaukee three years, Boston seven and growing up in northern NJ, I have considerable hours logged driving in snow. What I quickly was reminded though of my years of experience is that it’s not fun. Not only am I running late for my rendezvous, but I was having a time of it trying to drive and read the map(sorry, just bought an Iphone and hadn’t learned to use the Map ap). Then my entire attention was diverted to my windshield, as I quickly was blinded by a frozen snow and sleet combination that grew worse every 10 feet I drove. Thank goodness the rental had washer fluid but I was 110% committed to trying to see where I was going through a horrible continually dirty windshield.

To make issues worse, the roads in Niagara Falls are narrow and often filled with pot holes, which along with double towed 18 wheelers and yikes, what a mess! My biggest fear though is running out of that precious windshield wiper fluid, which is worth more than its weight in gold in lousy wintry conditions no matter where you live! So I continue south on I-190 and eventually arrive at my destination, where I have to pry back my tensed fingers from the steering wheel. I made it in time but merely by the grace of the guy upstairs.

The irony of this story is that the same evening my friends wanted to take me back to see Niagara Falls at night in the dead of winter. So off we went and I am grateful we did because seeing these magnificent falls is one thing but, seeing them at night with the multi-colored lights and all the frozen ice formations was awe inspiring.

So if there is a moral to this story, it would be to enjoy the natural wonders of where you live now but, do everything in your powers to leave the snowy, wintry and dangerous roads of the great white north in your rear view mirror and find your place in the sun to enjoy soon. Wilmington, Brunswick County and Myrtle Beach may not be your cup of tea, but since we are one of the most sought after destinations on the east coast for retirees, we look forward to seeing your smiling faces and remember, leave your ice scrapers at home!

Carolina Dreamin’

Premiere Edition by Douglas S. Terhune

In the Spring of 2007, I swam upstream and fought a quickly deteriorating real estate landscape by opening Carolina Plantations Real Estate in an old junk store that I renovated on Hwy 17 in Ocean Isle Beach. In 2011, our real estate team topped $13,000,000 in sales, landing us in the top 20 real estate firms in Brunswick County. We sold more real estate in Brunswick Forest & Brunswick Plantation than any other firm in 2011 and continue to be among the leaders in Sandpiper Bay, Crow Creek, Ocean Ridge, Rivers Edge, SeaScape, RiverSea, Winding River, Waterford and many more. The key to our success is our visibility visa vie our top rated website, as we are almost always #1 on the search return for the plantations here in Brunswick County.

Since the acquisition of Plan View Design in the summer of 2008, Plan View has grown to be the #1 custom home designer in Brunswick County. We work with over a dozen local builders but most importantly, we offer our clients a service that nobody in Southeastern North Carolina can. We design your Dream Home in full color 3D, which allows you not only to see your home before you break ground but, you are an integral part of the design with your feedback. And our home designs have earned more blue ribbons than any other firm in Brunswick County.

Today we are launching a website that arose from years of working with clients considering our area for retirement and/or, for a second home. And instead of spending years attempting to write a book and chasing publishers 24/7, I have created – which provides you with thoughts & ideas on “How to Retire”. As you are well aware, retiring is the last major (unknown) frontier for most of us and in this age of information, I believe we have compiled something unique.

The Retirement Handbook presents you with stuff you may find useful along your path to retiring. Areas of concentration include 6 GeoCenters, Medical, Retirement Trends, Beginning Your Search, Financial Calculator and more. Retiring is a very scary word for millions of Americans as there is no school to attend or degree to be obtained. You are on your own and until now, there has not really been a road map to help guide you.

Carolina Plantations Real Estate, Plan View Design and The Retirement Handbook will show up on your pc at the beginning of each month visa vie our eNewsletter, Carolina Dreamin’. Our goal is simple –“provide you with the information you require to make a well informed decision”.

We encourage your thoughts and comments and on behalf of the best real estate sales and home design teams in Southeastern North Carolina (Pam Silberman, Nancy Boston, Christopher Columbus Creekmore, Pat Coye, Carolyn Rosenberg, Court Terhune, Haley Wilson, Daniel Stiling and myself), we wish you a continued pleasant summer. If we can ever be of assistance, we’d be honored to do so.