2020: The Flip Side

Remember when we listened to 45’s? The hit song was usually on the “A” side while the lesser known song was on the “B” side. A partial list of some of the breakthrough “B” sides though include Maggie May, I Am The Walrus, Ruby Tuesday, Silver Springs, Strawberry Fields and Unchained Melody.

Opening a real estate company in 2007 was a bit of an auspicious event. The real estate markets and stock markets were tilting helplessly towards an abysmal 2008. Somehow, Carolina Plantations was able to post sales in excess of $2,000,000 in 2007, and despite the horrific impact on real estate values the following year, the team here has managed to best it’s previous years’ sales for 13 straight years. Then COVID-19 happened.

For years prior to opening up Doug’s first company, when he would see a Realtor’s business card that displayed “Million Dollar Producer” on it, well, he just assumed that this person was some kind of extra-terrestrial alien rockstar.

It pleases Doug to announce that every Carolina Plantations Broker was a Multi-Million Dollar Producer in 2020! It would have been easy to throw in the towel when this pandemic started, however more and more clients contacted us for help – help in escaping the overcrowded and cold areas that they lived in. The Covid Exodus was – and is – real, and will continue through the end of 2021 for sure.

Doug’s thoughts on making it 14 straight years in a row where we increased our company sales vs. the previous year was tossed out the window in the spring, for with a good part of the country in lockdown, how could we sell real estate? Au contraire monsieur, au contraire.

In 2019, we finished ahead of 2018 by over $3,000,000, for total sales of $75,863,083. It was close, but the team pulled through with a very strong Q4. So, with expectations for another record seriously dashed, the amazing team of Realtors at Carolina Plantations continued forward with their business plans and before we knew it, we were tracking in the right direction. Therefore, Doug is tremendously to present you with our final sales number for 2020:

$103,047,764

So, while the “A” side this year was COVID-19, the surprising “B” side was the residual effect from the massive Covid Exodus we saw. The team kept the hammer down and helped countless number of wonderful people find a new beginning here in Coastal North Carolina.

Here’s a 2019/2020 comparative look at some of the most popular communities in Brunswick County:

(Please keep in mind that these #s are strictly MLS sales and do not include significant numbers custom to new construction hoes in each community.)

The above numbers are encouraging, for several of the communities listed were struggling in 2018 and 2019 to find a stable footing. With an average increase in home sales at 51%, it is one of the best times in the past several years to consider listing your home.

Carolina Plantations is the #1 team of professional retirement experts on the east coast, and we’d be more than happy to stop by your home and discuss your current estimated selling value. We will also share with you staging tips that will help your home show well for all your showings. In essence: we need good inventory!!

Contact Doug today at Doug@CarolinaPlantations.com and one or more of us will more than happy to schedule an appointment with you. This is what we do, and nobody does it better.

And, to those of you who have trusted the amazing team of professional Realtors at Carolina Plantations, THANK YOU for your continued support. To those of you on the fence about whether Coastal NC might be in your future, no other firm on the planet is better equipped to answer all of your questions and, provide you with the information you need to make educated decisions.

Happy New Year!!!

The Symbolism of Christmas Trees & Wreathes

Wow – having been immersed with Christmas wreathes and Christmas trees for many, many decades, Doug ashamedly really never knew what either of them represented. He feels so, so inadequate.

At the beginning of the 16th century, the Germans were the first to bring evergreens into their homes during the season of Christmas, as they were very plentiful in northern and eastern Europe. Evergreens, which survived harsh winters, were known as a symbol for strength and resilience plus, were looked upon as a symbol of hope.

Soon the trees were trimmed so as to have three distinct corners, which represented the holy trinity – the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The tree trimming was also essential to many homeowners as their homes were rather modest in size.

In European tradition, nothing was wasted for in those days, the remaining tree limbs were woven into a circle, or later to be known as a wreath. Forming a circle symbolized eternal life, which analogy is often related to our round wedding rings. In a way though, we guess there is some irony here as we tend to live in a throwaway culture, yet the wreath and its humble beginnings began by not throwing Evergreen limbs away.

So, the next time that you see a Christmas wreath or Christmas tree, don’t just think of them as front door decorations and a place to hide gifts under! If you’re still looking for your dream home here on the coast of North Carolina, we at Carolina Plantations are here to help you find it!

Correct Placement of Your Dishwasher in Your Home

One would think that it doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure out where to place a dishwasher in a kitchen, correct? Well, you may want to pay attention to the next ten kitchens you visit because Rocket Scientists and Architects sometimes don’t have a lick of common sense.

In many of today’s kitchens, the uses of an island have become increasingly popular. The reason is that open floorplans rule the kitchen world, and to accomplish this, one needs an island, as this is the gateway to the living area of the home. A harmful byproduct of this current trend is that the dishwashers get placed in places they don’t belong to. Allow us to share an example of where NOT to put your dishwasher.

Some Einstein felt that the dishwasher would look cool on this island. And while it might look cool, it is functionally obsolete, for the distance from the dishwasher to the cabinets where you store all of your dishes, plates, silverware, pots, and pans is a good 8 ft away. Now, not that we all don’t need some forced exercise in our lives now and then, this location will get old fast, for many of us grew up with a dishwasher right next to the cabinets we store our stuff in, right?

Conversely, here is the same kitchen design but with one subtle yet significant change: moving the dishwasher from the island to the back wall under the cabinets. Aaaahh, another of life’s major issues, has been solved in the name of convenience.

If you have someone draw your plans from scratch or customize a home you have walked through, be certain YOU think about your lifestyle in that floorplan. Be careful not to fall for trends or what appears to be cool just so your builder or home designer can win some kind of Avant-garde award for the most attractive yet functionally screwed-up home in your community.

Think your way through the rooms you will spend a lot of time in and remember that functionality is more important than aesthetic appeal. And next month, we will explore the many fascinating options of where to place your toothbrush…just kidding! If you’re looking for your next dream home with a dream kitchen, allow us at Carolina Plantations to help you out.

Zillow: The Realtor-Less Mega Disaster

Certain technologies in our lifetime have been game-changers. Doug remembers working in Milwaukee for Allen-Bradley/Rockwell Automation when he sent a Telex for the first time back in 1989. He hit a button and sent a message electronically to a coworker on a different floor. The message was typed on their local Telex, and presumably, an admin person ripped off the page and stuck the message in the mailbox for the intended person. Wow – How cool was that?

Not long after, which would have been in the 90s, Doug was living in Boston when we began sending emails worldwide and started using teleconferencing equipment without cohorts in France and Germany regularly. What were next, ordering shoes, furniture, and wine online? Yeah right.

From a small real estate firm’s perspective, Zillow has changed our industry’s face in many ways. Had you ever heard of a Zestimate 3 years ago? Did you know that Zillow can keep listings listed as “Active” on their site for as long as they wish? Were you aware they purchased the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) market for hundreds of millions of dollars on Google regarding real estate?

Zillow’s grand plan is to recreate the entire real estate market, just like Amazon did about retail shopping. While we will always need some stores for certain products, today’s kids could care less about going to a mall to buy something, for they have Amazon accounts to do that. They also don’t use cash – as they purchase even a stick of gum with their debit cards.

Someday, after many of us are probably pushing daisies, an entire real estate transaction might be done electronically and without human involvement. That is where Zillow is attempting to take our industry. Still, for the time being, they are finding out that while Amazon can replace the in-person shopping experience for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, real estate agents still provide too much personal knowledge that cannot be bottled up in an online app.

At Carolina Plantations, we focus on people that are considering our area for retirement. This is an incredibly significant move and includes so much more than just buying a house.

As our infamous Martini Theory states, first, you must find the AREA that meets your personal needs (such as medical services, shopping, dining, culture, beaches, etc.)—followed by finding which COMMUNITY matches your requirements (such as socio-economics of the residents, architectural styles, activities, fees, clubs, etc.). Once you have found the right AREA & COMMUNITY, finding you the right HOME is usually effortless. No app is going to help you sort through the first two steps of the Martini Theory.

Here is a laundry list of additional offerings we provide our clients and which an app simply cannot do:

  • Our website – www.carolinaplantations.com – is 100% accurate and current. Zillow and Trulia are inaccurate, as they do that to mislead you purposely.
  • We send our clients a Coastal Guide Book, a 1” binder customized to your requirements and jammed with great information on dining, medical, shopping, beaches, golf, fitness, weather, and more. (FYI: our clients go NUTS OVER OUR COASTAL GUIDE BOOKS as no real estate company in the world sends you something so comprehensive and specifically aimed at your search. Order yours NOW at //www.carolinaplantations.com/contact#contactForm)
  • We set up conference calls with both spouses/partners before your visit so that everyone is on the same page and so that we can make the best use of your time while you are here.
  • Our team will take you on a tour of the area. That could include Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach, Oak Island/Southport, Holden Beach/Shallotte, Leland, Ocean Isle Beach, Sunset Beach, and more. We will have lunch on the ICW while we provide you with essential tips on Coastal NC.
  • With your permission, we will be your Buyer’s Agent, which means we work for you, not the builder, Developer, or Sellers. This is incredibly important as one should never attempt to purchase real estate somewhere where you are not familiar with local real estate rules, local zoning issues, lending practices, closing procedures, and more.
  • Since nearly 70% of our clients purchase land and later build their Dream Home on it, we are all extensively trained in understanding land purchases. That includes but is not limited to the slope of the land; researching available utilities; assisting with the direction of the sun rising and setting; designing custom-built homes; introduction to quality builders; positioning your home correctly on your homesite; assisting with the selections of your colors/cabinets/flooring/granite and more.
  • We are negotiating on your behalf. We usually know the other realtors involved in the transaction, which can be extremely helpful in getting you what you want at the best price.

Zillow has made its mark on real estate; however, it will be a while before they “are” real estate. Until then, the team at Carolina Plantations is still the #1 Retirement Experts in Coastal NC. We look forward to assisting you with your all vital retirement search, wherever it may lead you.

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!