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?

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.

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!

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!!!

Don’t Be A Half Back!

Famous Halfbacks: Frank Gifford/New York Giants, Mercury Morris/Miami Dolphins, John Kuhn/Green Bay Packers, Sally and Bob Simpson/NJ/FL/NC

In the game of football, a Halfback is a player that lines up behind or to the side of the Quarterback. Quite often, it is an unglamorous position as blocking is often the forte of the HB, while the Fullback or Tailback follows the blocking of the HB and the offensive line. There are a handful of famous HBs but, a whole lot more Tailbacks and Fullbacks, as they typically score many touchdowns.
 
In the world of Real Estate, a halfback is a person/s that lives up north and moves to Florida, but soon realizes that Florida is not for them. So, what do they do? They move halfway back home, which would put them somewhere in the Carolinas. With its tremendous population explosion, year-round oppressive heat, traffic and congestion just about everywhere you turn, halfbacks are significantly increasing in numbers in our area.
 

Moving to North Carolina

Take a look below at an excerpt from a report put out by Carolina Demography and the University of North Carolina. Notice the top states where people are exiting and landing in North Carolina. Florida is at the top of the list, and it is safe to say that a large portion of those people were originally from up north, the Midwest of Mid-Atlantic states.
 
Most people moving to North Carolina in 2017 moved here from elsewhere within the United States: 314,000 or 85% of all in-migrants to NC.
 

Top states were:

  • Florida (32,000)
  • Virginia (29,000)
  • South Carolina (27,000)
  • New York (27,000)
  • California (20,000)
 
Why is becoming a Halfback statistic bad? Well for one, MONEY – lots and lots of money to be more specific. Moving is just a horrible and costly experience, but imagine moving after 30-40 years to a place you really don’t wind up liking? Talk about a HUGE mistake – OMG!! And if you move/retire to a place you don’t really like, all you are doing is delaying your well earned and long-awaited retirement, right?
 

Do Your Research

Research is your best friend when it comes to selecting a place to retire to. Reach out to your friends that have already retired and quiz them about their choice/s in depth. Visit areas that fit your lifestyle vs. cool, trendy places that you read about somewhere. Visit areas that are of interest to you in terms of weather, beaches, mountains, sports, culture, etc.
 
At Carolina Plantations, every day we employ “The Martini Theory” – which is a simple analogy of your search. The top part of a martini glass, called The Area, is also the largest and most important aspect of your search. Before you find a community or house that you fall in love with, be sure that you find an area that supports your active lifestyle, for what is outside your community is more important than what is inside your community.
 

Dream Home on the Coast of NC

Once you have selected the area, the community is the next step, or middle of the martini glass. Here is where you make sure that you are surrounded by people of similar interests and that there are plenty of activities to do that are in line with your interests.
 
The easiest part of your search is that well-soaked olive on the bottom of the glass, known as “your Dream Home.” There are tons of great homes everywhere and if by chance you don’t find one – have it built to your specifications – which is far more affordable than you think.
 
The team at Carolina Plantations has helped many Halfbacks, but quite honestly – we’d be a lot more happy if we could stop you and others from making that first costly step of moving to the Sunshine State, just like Sally and Bob Simmons (above picture) did recently.  And FYI, just because you might have an Uncle Bob and Aunt Jean that live in Florida, that is absolutely no reason that you need to live there!
 
Moral of The Story: Stop in and visit with us on your way to Florida – you’ll be glad you did!

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