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?

Choose Your Neighbors

As we cruise through life, most adults accumulate an inner circle of friends and family. We know that this is hard to believe for some of you, but on occasion, the wife’s inner circle doesn’t always coincide with her husband’s. Wait, how is that even possible?

two couples sharing fun outdoors in their neighborhood

When and if you decide to leave the tundra of New England or the overcrowded and expensive suburbs of cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, NYC, Boston, DC, etc. You can choose some of your future neighbors. How about that?

First, to properly engage in this conversation, we think we all should have a common platform of understanding on levels of friendship. We’d like to provide you with an example. Sally and Bob live in New Jersey, and Bob’s best friend Jeff & his wife, Sarah, live just down the street. For years, Sally has placated Bob and agreed to socialize on many occasions with this couple; however, Sally is not a fan of Jeff and cannot wait to move somewhere warm and sunny sans Jeff.

Therefore, let’s have a little fun and see if we can determine a rating system for friends and family members that you both can agree on (and please keep in mind that this works for single people).

BFF

For a couple to be given the prestigious BFF classification (this is Best Friend/Family Forever), both the wife and the husband must be classified as BFFs. This probably narrows the playing field considerably as most couples probably have only 1-3 BFFs in their lives. These are couples you have vacationed with before, supported during a crisis, dined with often, etc.

GF

Good Friends are people you currently see less often than BFFs, which could be due to geographic constrictions, jobs, or other restrictions. Many couples have considerable people that fall into the GF category, be it from work, the neighborhood, church, college, golf, tennis, etc.

F

Each of you has accumulated lists of friends over the years. You probably only see them occasionally, either by running into them at the store or large functions.

A

From time to time, Acquaintances could be synonymous with Annoying, for we all have a category of people that you try to avoid in life. This could be from people you work with to those you went to school with and knowledge of them but don’t hang out with often.

OK, so back to Sally and Bob, the couple from Jersey who has decided to retire to Coastal North Carolina. Sally has two BFFs, Barbara and Lisa. Barb is married to Kevin, and Lisa is single. Bob likes all three of them and has no trouble if any or all of them move to Coastal NC. On the other hand, Bob’s best buddy (BFF) is Kevin, who unfortunately annoys the ever-living doo-doo out of Sally. In essence, they are NOT welcome to move to Coastal NC, but if they must, it will NOT be in the same community as Sally and Bob – not if Sally has anything to do about it.

Two different families enjoying time together

Sally and Bob also each have one brother, and because they are family, they both agree that they would be fine if either brother or their respective wives moved to Coastal NC. Oh, and Bob’s mother, Ruth is still alive and living in an assisted living facility; however, she is not welcome to move in with Bob and Sally. However, it is possible that Ruth could move into an assisted living facility in Wilmington to be closer to family.

So, if you are thinking of moving or you’re finding the perfect place to retire to, keep in mind that you have a lot of options with who your future neighbors will be. We at Carolina Plantations are ready to assist you in your search for your dream retirement home today!

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.

Retiring Solo to North Carolina with Tips

When Carolina Plantations opened its doors in early 2007, our niche was helping people determine if Coastal North Carolina was the right place to retire. For over a decade, we have been the #1 experts in our area, helping people do just that.

While most of our clients are married, some happily, some not, we have assisted way more solo retirees than we would have ever thought. And it is not that we focused our efforts or marketing on (married) couples – it just turned out that way. Did you know that approximately 10% of our clients are single? Some were smart and never married, some were widows, some were divorced, and some were widowers. They got to be solo is irrelevant, though, for we assist everyone and anyone just the same.

man sitting at table , lady laying on beach, lady stretching on beach with sand and waves of ocean

In looking back, part of our business philosophy lends itself to solo retirees, so it is no wonder that we attract such many single people. As most of you know, there are three main steps to a successful search for a place to retire to (our Martini Theory)

  1. Area – Stuff like weather, beaches, shopping, medical services, dining, and so much more are the first steps to finding a place you will be happy at.
  2. Community – Finding a neighborhood with people of similar socio-economic backgrounds, similar activity levels, similar ages, and things such as architecture, amenities, and location.
  3. Home – If you find #1 & #2, you only look for a house – which will often seem like the easiest part of the search. That is until recently!

We know that moving can seem overwhelming to anyone; being single can seem like you’re being defeated. We have come up with a few tips to help our solo retirees consider your move to the North Carolina Coast below.

Live Near a City

While you may not have any intention of ever marrying again, most of us probably do not desire to spend the rest of our lives watching “Love Boat” reruns by ourselves till the end of time. Regarding living near a city, it doesn’t have to be a big city, but it should provide stimulus and opportunities for active adults.  A town or large metropolitan area can provide Live Theaters, good churches, nightclubs, fundraisers, society events, festivals, and more.

Couples eating dinner together, musical and couples dancing

Set a Budget for Real Estate and Stick to It

Imagine purchasing the most beautiful home ever built but not having the funds to easily visit your family or travel with new friends to fun destinations? Try your best to set a realistic budget for your home, and don’t allow yourself to get caught up in finding that fantastic home that all your friends will say “Wow, Wow, wow” when they see it. Shoot, one Wow is more than enough, mainly if you are now referred to as “house poor” by our industry standards and your friends after you move in.

Get Active

Couch potatoes have a hard time attracting other Couch Potatoes because who aspires to sit around and do nothing with your life? On the other hand, active people naturally attract other busy people for we all like doing things that are healthy and where you are very possibly meeting other healthy minded, fun adults.

Walking is the #1 activity for retirees, for you need nothing other than some good walking shoes and the appropriate walking garb. New to many states is Pickleball, which is like Adult Outdoors Ping Pong, and we have the old favorites of golf, tennis, boating, bike riding, swimming, fitness classes, and much more.

couples playing pickleball, golfing buddies and couple riding bikes outdoors

Appearance

Of course, there is always the issue with watching our weight; however, there is a lot more to one’s appearance than how many cookies we eat weekly. For starters, many folks moving to Coastal NC are moving from cold climate weather, which naturally implies that your wardrobe might need a makeover to something a bit more tropical. So, away with the corduroy pants, thick blue jeans, rubber boots, parkas, ugly sweaters and sweatshirts, wool pants, etc., and say hello to shorts, flip flops, linen shirts, colorful clothes, comfy shoes, and more.

Since summer is much longer in the south, you may also want to consider a new hairstyle. Shorter is often more manageable and comfortable in the middle of our summer months. And guys, contrary to what you may have heard, mullets are not in style in North Carolina. (Nor are leisure suits, platform shoes, and wide collars)

Be Bold – The Rest of Your Life is Waiting for You

Many years ago, Doug was operating a booth for Winding River Plantation at the LiveSouth show in Parsippany, NJ, when a huge man (about 6’5” and 300 lbs) commented on southerners being fake friendly. Doug spoke to about eight people at the time, and he quietly walked out of the booth and stood toe to toe to this behemoth and said, “Sir, even grumpy people like you learn to be friendly when they move to North Carolina.” His wife sheepishly thanked Doug, and they went on their way.

Becoming friendly takes some northerners a bit of time, and that is understandable considering the density of people in a small space up north. However, time and time again, northerners that make it a point to be friendly are amazed at the reaction of others. The result is a new outlook on life and the addition of some beautiful new friends! So, be brave in all you do, for almost everyone around you is literally in the same boat – and that is looking to make new friends, try new types of food, travel more, and stop being so uptight all the time.

If you’re ready to make the change in scenery, temperatures and prepared to venture out to new adventures in the south, give us a call today. We look forward to helping you find your next dream home here on the Coast of North Carolina!

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