Living on H2O

For the past 20 years, Doug has been lucky to live on the water. Brackish water, mind you, which one might not equate with beauty, but when the mighty Atlantic Ocean is pushing and pulling on the body of water in front of your home 24/7, one really ought not to complain.

Currently, Doug lives on the Cape Fear River in downtown Wilmington. Across the river in Brunswick County, he owned a home on the Shallotte River for 17 years. Doug distinctly remembers looking out at the salt marsh and Shallotte River for my first time and thinking that this kind of looks like the swamps of NJ in Meadowlands’ vicinity – home of the NY Giants. He watched an old Sopranos episode recently, and during the intro, those same infamous NJ swamps, where things get lost pretty quickly, are featured.

Neighbors and very dear friends of his in Rivers Edge extolled a salt marsh and tidal river’s value and beauty. They professed that Doug’s backyard was a continual canvas and from sun up ‘till past sundown, the scenery would never cease changing, and boy were they right! And who’d have thought that 3 miles from the ocean that the tides would be so strong and so drastically different?

Doug’s neighbor, Harry, was a high-ranking Air Force officer who spent a lot of time at sea, and he asked him why in the world he would give up views of the ocean for pictures of the salt marsh. His answer was honest and straightforward, as he pretty much said that “the ocean is considerably more boring and that a salt marsh was/is much more colorful.” After living on the salt marsh for just a few months, Doug began to understand Harry’s viewpoint better.

When you have a view from your home that is hauntingly beautiful, the first thing you do almost every time you come home is head to the porch and peruse the magnificent landscape. And this was true of nighttime as well, as starry nights were as welcome as amazing sunrises. And full moons over the swollen river and marsh? OMG – it was simply magical!

In the fall of 2019, Doug sold his east-facing backyard home that sat directly on the 18th green of Rivers Edge, and that gazed out over the river and marsh. The hardest part of leaving that home was saying goodbye to such a good friend – the salt marsh, for he spent countless days and nights gazing in its direction. Leaving was difficult as he knew that view would be hard to replace.

All six of the new homes that Doug purchased or built resided in communities out in the burbs, so at the age of 62, he decided to take on the challenge of living downtown in an urban environment. The #1 factor was securing a view of the water, so he traded in his Shallotte River view for a beautiful view of the Cape Fear River, which lies on the northside of downtown Wilmington. As Doug punches away at the keyboard right now, he peers around his monitor and sees a boat speeding down the river. More than likely, it was out fishing at noon on Sunday, and who in the world would have known that 28 miles upriver from the Atlantic Ocean would we enjoy such a swiftly moving current and habitual and dramatic tidal change 24/7??

Here, Golfers, Egrets, Blue Herons, Blackbirds, and Purple Martins are replaced with sailboats, massive ships gliding upstream or downstream, tons of people walking along the Riverwalk, Jet Skis, and powerboats. As kids say, “the view doesn’t stink!”

If you have a penchant for living on the water, as in a pond, salt marsh, ICW, ocean, a small lake, or small creek, it would be wise to anticipate a 10-25% premium. If you are looking at oceanfront or OCW, you might be a 25-75% premium, so be sure to save well now!! The bottom line, though, is if you have an H20 dream, do all you can do to chase it, for there is something hopelessly intoxicating about living on the water. We here at Carolina Plantations can help you find your dream home with that beautiful water view from your porch today!

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:


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 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 Martini Theory: Part 1 of 3 “The Area”

If there was one message and one message only that Doug could pass along to everyone who is looking to retire, it would be spending a pile of time researching the areas you are considering. Nothing else matters, for if you get the area wrong, it will be one of the most frustrating, embarrassing, and expensive lessons in your entire life.

Douglas S Terhune, being the (most) sound mind and body, is the author of “The Martini Theory.” If you employ this simple analogy of your search for a place to retire, you will be rewarded with a happy retirement. If though you think you know better, then you are on your own.

All of us who have worked for the past 30 – 40 years have become good at something. Heck, Doug might go as far as saying that most of us have become very good if not even excellent at something.

Well, for nearly 20 years, Doug and his fantastic team of Brokers have had the immense pleasure of assisting great people with determining if Coastal North Carolina meets their retirement needs. During this time, the greatest failure Doug has encountered are from people who did not research the area around their amazing home and community and wound up stuck there until they could sell their home.

There is no single more important and sage advice than the following, with regards to finding a place to retire:

Research the area(s) you are considering with the enthusiasm that you invested in your job and raising children.

 Why such a fuss over this? Simple, because too many people get in the car or hop on the plane and head south or west and haven’t thought about their big move from a cerebral point of view. Instead, we see it happen all the time where a couple gets caught up on the sex appeal of a (new) home and the proximity to the mountains or the ocean without considering the community location.

Let us put it to you another way:

If Doug were rich and gave you an amazing home in a beautiful community for free, but you were 45 miles (2-hour round trip) from a hospital, movie theater, mall, Outback Steakhouse, hair salon, etc…would you be happy? (And let’s not forget that you will be in your 60s, 70s or 80s.)

What is outside your future retirement community is as important as what is inside your community. Most all communities here have an assorted combination of pools, tennis courts, golf courses, restaurants, Pickleball, walking trails, and exercise classes, but at 75 years of age, do you want to be traveling two hours round trip for every doctor’s appointment or to see a movie?

Another myth buster is thinking that you must live really close to the beach. The reality of life is that when you retire, you (two) are going to walk on the beach for 3 hours a day, holding hands and reminiscing about your pasts. We think Not! Unless you are a true beach nut, it is safe to say that if you move to any coastal area, for every one time you pull out of your driveway and head to the beach, you will pull out of your driveway 150-200 times and head to your exercise class, pottery class, friend’s house, grocery store, drug store and more.

Seriously, can anyone relate to that? I mean, for those of you who live within a 45-minute (normal) drive to a medium-to-large city, when was the last time you drove in for dinner and a play, or took in the latest exhibit at the museum? Or how about driving into the city for a hockey game or doing some window shopping on the boulevard?

Having a grocery store, hardware store, doctor’s offices, nail salon, restaurants, pizza parlor, bagel shop/deli, pharmacy, and so on, near your home is of HUGE importance. These are the things you NEED daily. Having the things, you like such as a mall, fine dining, live theater, Whole Foods, Target, Costco, etc., close by is great, for you do not tend to utilize those places nearly as often.

This honestly not being boastful but, Doug cannot tell you how many times people have said to him, “Oh, you are the man who came up with the Martini Theory and well, we Love the Martini Theory!”

To prove to you how much our entire team believes in the Martini Theory, the first thing we do when we receive an inquiry from someone is to send them a personalized Coastal Guidebook. This one-inch binder is crammed full of chamber of commerce-type information on shopping, medical services, dining, beaches, weather, golf, entertainment, and so much more.

Why has our team sent out 518 Coastal Guidebooks in the first half of 2020? Because we want to help familiarize you with our area, for if Coastal NC is not your cup of tea, then why would you waste time looking at homes?

In essence, if you do come for a visit, our first 2-3 hours with you will be spent showing you the area. We are going to drive by the malls and hospitals while pointing out the best restaurants in town. We will kick you out of our vehicles at the beaches so you can put sand between your toes and perhaps take a picture of the beach and send it to the kids because, what kid isn’t going to want to visit you if you live near the beach, right?

More than likely, there is not another real estate company, developer, or builder that would spend 10% of the time talking to you about the area because, in their opinion, that is counter-culture to do their jobs, and that is opening up doors and selling homes. At Carolina Plantations, we have earned the title of the #1 Retirement Experts by providing you with the information you require to make informed decisions. It’s just what we do.

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