Moving Stinks

People are most afraid of two things: Death and Public Speaking. Well, sorry folks, but we will add a third to that list, which would be MOVING! Raise your hand if you love moving. Keep it up and on the other hand, dial your family psychiatrist and make an appointment ASAP.

picture of a moving truck that says "We're Moving!" and a couple moving with boxes and a moving truch.

Doug has dealt with the unpleasant task of moving three times in the last three years. First, from a 4BR/4BA 2500 sq. foot townhome to a 2BR/2BA 1100 sq. foot apartment to a 1BR/1BA apartment to a 1BR/1BA Condo. And boy, it wasn’t fun. Nope, fun was the word that would least describe each of these moves.

Years and years ago, he heard a comedian say that we only move to a bigger home because we’ve collected too much “stuff” and need more room for our “stuff.”  How true, how true, because Doug made countless trips to the local Goodwill outlet with carload after carload of stuff in each of these moves. This stuff was once important, but after being in your basement or attic for years, it was time to let it go.

However, moving happens – and it is a necessary step in our lives that we all must face head-on. And with many of you facing retirement and a possible move to hopefully somewhere warmer, friendlier, and more cost-effective. We thought we’d toss out a couple of recently learned suggestions when what a dreadful day/week/month is upon you.

Paying Money to Move Every Single Item

You are paying money to move every single item, so ask yourselves these few questions:

  • Can I lead an everyday life without this item?
  • Will Mom and Grandma roll over in their grave if I sell or ditch a few things?
  • If it has been in the basement or attic for 10+ years, does it have any chance of seeing the sunlight in my beautiful new home in North Carolina?
  • What will your children or family do with these items after you pass?

Pay to Have it Packed & Transported

Table showing the average cost to move in the US

You are probably paying to have it packed, moved into a moving van, absorb the cost of transporting it, moved out, and unpacked. Why not sell it, give it to family & friends, or donate it to your church/Goodwill and Buy New when you move into your gorgeous southern-style home?

It’s OK to Throw it Away

YES, you can throw out items that have followed you for decades, such as old love letters, family pictures, quilts, trophies/awards, computers, shoes, sentimental power tools, and just about anything that smells musty after not seeing the light of day for years or decades.

Donate to Charity

Find a local charity that needs or wants your stuff. Doug has made 25+ trips to these donation centers in the past three years.

Sell to a Local Consignment Shop

Find a local Consignment store for all the lovely items that just aren’t making the trek to North Carolina. Doug received over $4000 from things that didn’t make the last move.

Tubs, Tubs & More Tubs

Tubs. These colorful large hamper-sized tubs can be found at any Walmart, Target, Home Depot, or Lowes. The items you cannot seem to part with will be buried alive in these tubs, for when you move into your beautiful new home in NC, these tubs will be stashed away for life, only to be opened by your next of kin after you leave this planet.


Whatever amount of time you think it will take to sort through and pack up a home you have lived in for 32 years, double or triple it. The reason is that you will have to sit down with much of this stuff and thoroughly go through it before you give it to Goodwill or bury it alive in a tub.

Picture showing moving and before moving boxes

There is very little joy found in moving, with the occasional exception of finding something in your endless boxes of memories that takes you back to a fun time. Every other part of moving is painful, whether it be mentally or physically. So, the best thing you can do is start scouring through your belonging a year or more before you think you might move. Just keep in mind that moving every item costs a lot of money, and will your life go on without this item? Good luck. Moving stinks!

What We’ve Learned in 16 Years

In March 2007, Doug followed his entrepreneurial spirit and opened Carolina Plantations Real Estate. He leased a 1600 sq foot office directly off Hwy 17 in Ocean Isle Beach, just a half mile before Ocean Ridge Plantation. Doug was one of the first three business employees; boy, was he naïve.

The market in Brunswick County was just coming down from a utopian high where we all saw homesites selling as quickly as a bulldozer could knock down a few trees. It was the “Land Grab” of the early 2000s, and man, was it something to witness. It started in 2004, and in 2005 it was in full swing. The honeymoon continued into 2006 and even a bit of early 2007; however, the cold shower was in the works, as the economy officially slipped into a recession in December of 2007. Excellent time to open a real estate company, huh?

Before venturing out on my own in real estate, Doug had worked for a prominent local developer, a large regional developer, and a friend of mine who operated a general brokerage in Southport. Real estate seemed natural for him as it allowed him to use a lot of general life knowledge that he picked up by living in NJ, TN, SC, GA, WI, MA, and NC. So, what have we learned in the past 16 years? A Lot!

Land, Design


  • Most realtors (unfortunately) know little to know about land
  • Dreams begin with a parcel of land. From there, you design & build your Dream Home
  • There is a lot to learn about what makes a suitable homesite: Wetlands, the direction of the sun, the topography of the land, soil composition, dimensions, location, pad ready, etc.
  • Years back, flipping dirt was a profitable side business. That dried up here in 2008
  • Do not purchase land haphazardly, if you don’t buy stocks haphazardly
  • The land is an asset – not an expense. It does under your Dream Home
  • Always check to see those utilities (water, cable, electric, gas, etc.) are available on your land


  • Be very careful about building in a “virtual” community. That is one in which the sales team says to close your eyes and picture a pool, fitness center, houses, golf course, etc.
  • Do your research on the developer, then do it again. There are way too many surprises out there lurking
  • Kick the tires – drive around and introduce yourself to current neighbors. Get their take and try to find similar socioeconomics or political beliefs of the neighbors (if necessary)
  • Finding a community that meets your active/inactive lifestyle is important
  • Take the time to research your monthly/annual fees. HOA, POA, and possible assessments
  • The newer a community is, the younger the residents are


  • What is outside your community is more important than what is inside your community:
    • Medical services, restaurants, shopping, entertainment venues, nightlife, big box stores, culture/museums, airports, beaches/mountains, etc.
  • Climate – What is your ideal year-round climate? Don’t switch out three months of horrible cold winters for three months of blistering summer heat
  • If you are an outdoor person (walking, gardening, tennis, golf, beach, etc.), a moderate year-round climate is best suited for you
  • Measure how far your area is from good friends, family, or big cities/mountains/beaches

Real Estate Companies

  • For the most part, Realtors generally have a small narrow geographic focus
  • In most real estate offices, Realtors are on their own. Little teamwork can be found
  • Real estate companies rarely provide their sales team leads, = you must produce your own


  • To succeed in real estate, you need a great team of outside partners, such as mortgage brokers, closing attorneys, insurance agents, home inspectors, photographers, developers, etc. Many thanks to Tom, Jennifer, Lucas, Jules, Ashley, Laurel, Vince, Kiersten, Carol, Randy, Valirie, Charlie, Jim, Kate, Vann, Jerry, Chris, Shane, Any, Melanie, etc.
  • You need a team of unselfish Brokers and admin folks to run an office. Our team is off the chart regarding teamwork, and our success thrives on this. All the thanks in the world to Patricia, Nancy, Pat, Patty, Nolan, Kyle, Bill, Seth, Mike, John, Bruce, Pam, Joe, Lori, Ryan, Christopher, Court, Haley, Mitch, Sabrina, Siy, Lindy, Sara, Casandra, Steve, Mandy and more!
Picture showing team at Carolina Plantations

Every year since 2007, our industry has faced countless challenges. Not just from the economy but external forces such as:

  • Companies that list your home for a small % but provide nothing else
  • Companies that buy your house for a reasonable price
  • Big companies that commandeered the internet search engine optimization world have zero people to assist you (all work is farmed out)

One thing that has not changed in our industry is appreciating realtors who work hard to earn your trust and put your requirements ahead of theirs. We have seen a lot of ancillary parts to our business change over the past 16 years and, at times, fell for the hype of how much Realtors are a dying breed, but that is far from the truth. It is comforting to know that the real estate market is not soon be replaced by robots, internet-based companies, or artificial intelligence (AI)!

Minimizing Your Economic Footprint

Showing two feet with dollar signs in them one labeled today and the other retirement

So, are you thinking about retiring, or do you already have? Well, unless you recently won the Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot, the money is probably somewhat important to you. Since Doug is heading into retirement, he wanted to share some tips on how he’s doing his best to streamline his expenses.


Do you need two homes? Do you need a home over 3000 sq. feet after the kids have all moved out (hopefully!?) Reducing your number of homes or the size of each home can save oodles and oodles of money. We are talking taxes, insurance, electric, gas, water, maintenance, landscaping, and more.


Doug recently attempted to reduce his monthly bill for his Wi-Fi and cable at his downtown Wilmington residence. Ouch. The Wi-Fi was $75 a month, and the cable was $140 a month, for $215 a month. And with all the traveling that Doug has been doing lately, this is a pretty hefty sum of money to pay for those services. So, we recommend you look for alternative sources for your Wi-Fi and cable services.

As for your phone, there seem to be a lot of options for saving money, but due to the nature of the real estate, Doug cannot afford to miss phone calls or not have good service 24/7, so he is married to Verizon, and their high rates. They are currently the #1 preferred carrier in Coastal North Carolina. But one can save money on their phone service if you shop around and compare services.


As we approach retirement, reducing our costs can sometimes mean making sacrifices. Doug purchased a Mercedes Benz GLE 450 AMG several years ago as an ego scratcher. This was a secondary vehicle, with his Buick being the workhorse. He recently had to replace the four tires on his Mercedes, costing $2700. And to make matters worse, they only had 14,000 miles on them as they are very soft racing tires. Double ouch!

So, Doug got smart and traded in the AMG for a more economical MB (with tires that get 55,000 miles), and he is going to sell his Buick. This will not only reduce the cost of his insurance and taxes. Plus, since it is a new vehicle, there should be no worries about additional maintenance costs for 3+ years because of the new car warranty. As we all know, while an older car is typically paid off, the maintenance fees can eat you alive.


Home insurance, car insurance, supplemental insurance to Medicare, dental insurance, and the list can go on and on. It is essential to find excellent coverage on all the above, but with the right deductibles, because one can spend a lot of money just on deductibles from one year to the next.

Home Improvements

If you are about to retire and live in your “forever home,” you need to plan on it being your residence for at least another twenty years. That would put most of us in our early to mid-80s; if all goes well, you may be to sit down and budget for what kind of costs your new home will incur over the next 20 years. Items could include a new roof, HVAC, water heater, possibly new siding, replacement of windows (especially if you live in cold weather), new appliances, new carpeting, indoor/outdoor painting, electrical or electrical or plumbing work, etc.

Therefore, either do as many as you can now or seriously consider purchasing a new home, as the maintenance costs of a new home versus a 40+-year-old home for the next 20 years will drastically differ. Consolidating, minimizing, cutting down, reducing, making tough choices, eliminating, being thrifty, etc., are ways to ensure that your retirement is not bogged down with unforeseen financial issues. We know everyone experiences unexpected costs as we age, so it is essential to be as streamlined as possible when that does come. If you’re ready to change to Coastal North Carolina, let us help you find your dream retirement home.

Retirees Have a Lot of Love to Give

Picture of a red heart on white background

Whether you follow your dreams and move somewhere warm when you retire or stay in your comfortable current confines, it does not change the fact that your life is about to get different, perhaps very different. Whatever your routine was or has been for years (decades), it is tossed out the window the day you retire. Are we right?

Retirees know love. We have experienced it firsthand, and we have witnessed it our whole lives. We have received tough love and probably dished out our fair share. Our hearts have been broken, scarred, and mended. We have fallen in love and, unfortunately, probably out of love. We can spell love but probably don’t pronounce it enough.

When you scour the internet for retirement tips, the results are full of information on financing, medical care, and where to retire. Nowhere will you find an article on the importance of love in your retirement years. Except here. For example: Do you know how many daily hugs an adult need to maintain health and happiness? Eight. And if you want growth in your life, you’ll need twelve.

Studies have been completed on the effects of touch with seniors. In essence, the group that was touched or hugged at least three times a day or more had more energy, felt less depressed, and rested better. Here are a couple of simple ways we can practice the art of love in our retirement years.

Spouse/Partner/Special Friend

Picture 1 - Two couples playing a game of Pickleball on a court, Picture 2 - Dance party of couples in a backyard, Picture 3 - Doing outdoor activities with an older couple

Books – Find books that explore your positive power. One of the two best books that Doug has ever read was “The Celestine Prophecy.” Quick read and engaging on how it affects each reader differently.

Dancing/Pickleball/Tennis/Card Games – Do things together. Instead of saying, “How was your day, dear” you’ll say, “Wasn’t today a great day, dear?”

Travel/Day Trips/Adventures – Take a trip to the zoo, jump on a cruise ship, go for a two-mile hike along the beach, or explore a new town or state. The possibilities are endless.

Schedule Time Together – One of the two most successful marriages that Doug has ever witnessed was when he lived in Atlanta. His next-door neighbors, Susan and Bob, had three wonderful young children and busy schedules. But come every Friday night – Susan and Bob had a date night. Older people can do that too!


Picture 1 - Older man sitting in a chair with his dog sitting next to him, Picture 2 - Couple with their dog sitting in their home, Picture 3 - Older woman with a cat and Picture 4 - Older man with his cat

Dogs – Who doesn’t love a dog? And talk about being spoiled? Oh, my goodness. Retirees have so much love to give that when a dog comes into their lives, it can be smothered to death. As the flame in your relationship can fade or be diminished as time marches forward, a wagging tail can, in return, give unconditional love to every pet owner.

Cats – Dog owners often don’t understand cats or cat owners; however, the bonds people form with their furry feline friends can be just as deep with the four-legged creatures that bark. The excellent news about cats is that you can leave them for a day or two without worrying about them. You definitely can’t do that with a dog – unless you can train them to use a litter box and eat their food more slowly.

Birds/Rabbits/Reptiles/Fish – Sometimes, just coming home to a creature in your home that is dependent upon you for food/life gives you a sense of purpose for you to have a responsibility, which of course, helps you feel necessary.

While the time commitment for a pet can vary significantly, there is probably a pet out there for just about everyone. When Sophie, Doug’s wonderful Calico of 16.5 years, left him for kitty heaven several years ago, he purchased a stuffed replica of her. We cannot tell you how often he has talked to that stuffed cat as if Sophie was sitting next to him.


Picture 1 - many older couples helping with donation boxes, Picture 2 - Volunteers visiting an older person in a retirement home, Picture 3 - Young adults helping out at a retirement community with older adults

Nursing Home or Hospital – We don’t believe any nursing home has ever turned away a volunteer (well, maybe just once or twice during the pandemic). It is the opposite, plus you’ll be able to fill your quota of daily hugs in just minutes of walking in the door! And you don’t need any unique talent to simply talk to the residents, watch TV with them or kick a balloon in a group session.

Civic Organizations – Join your local Rotary, Kiwanis, Knights of Columbus, Lions Club, or other local groups. These organizations are fraternities and sororities for adults, so not only do you forge wonderful new friendships, but you will be out there in the community helping others and sharing your love.

In the late fall of 1989, Doug and his ex moved from Atlanta to Milwaukee. Susan went home to Georgia for Christmas, leaving him at their new home with their Cocker Spaniel, Misha. On Christmas Eve, Doug walked into the nursing home just down the street and met the Activities Director. She introduced him to a handful of (also lonely) residents, and on Christmas Day, he baked and delivered a large number of cookies to the residents. Doug’s heart was soon filled with love as he saw each resident’s appreciation. He volunteered there at least twice a month until they moved away from Milwaukee. And FYI, anyone reading this can do the same thing. You don’t need the invitation to spread love and joy.

Grandchildren and Family Members

Picture 1 - Grandmother and Grandfather chasing their two grandkids on a beach, Picture 2 - Grandparents reading a book to their three grandchildren, Picture 3 - Granddaughters hugging their grandparents in their home
  • In the 20+ years that Doug has been focused on selling real estate to retirees, the #1 reason for moving to Coastal NC and back home is grandchildren.
  • Retirees have a lot of love to give, and what better audience than your children and their children? However, some folks love their grandchildren just as much but from a distance, as they feel they have already done their fair share of babysitting, rides to games, laundry, and so much more.
  • One of the best lines we have ever heard was the following – Grandchildren are the reward for having not killed your children. (I think we all feel this at some point in our lives!)
  • And speaking of family, many of us devote excessive time to love our parents or siblings. Case in point: a dear friend of Doug’s mother was experiencing memory loss. The four children are split between 4 states, and the cost of a good, not the best, memory care facility in Wilmington is $8100 a month.  

So, when you retire and have a calendar where you keep your daily chores, appointments, or activities, be sure to put somewhere on there to love someone every day. It could be an Aunt Patricia, brother Chase, wife, dog named Butterscotch, neighbor Nolan and so forth. Whether you’re just looking for your retirement home or ready to move to Coastal, NC, we will be here waiting to help you through that process!

Sunlight: Why We Need it so Much

yellow sunshine with flares and orange background in sky

We can’t believe it’s September already, and winter will be here before we know it. We at Carolina Plantations wanted to shine some light on the many benefits of sunlight. We see our fair share of the sun year-round, but we still wanted to share some key benefits with you all.

Improves your Sleep

Your body creates a hormone called “melatonin,” which is critical in helping you sleep. Because your body starts producing it when it’s dark out, you will usually begin to feel sleepy two hours after the sun sets. This is one of the main reasons why we’re able to stay up later during the summer compared to the winter months. Research indicates that an hour of natural light in the morning will help you sleep better at night. FYI, a little unknown secret is that in our brain, the Pineal Gland is the one producing melatonin. If you have heard of people going crazy from light deprivation, it’s because your pineal gland produces too much melatonin, making you tired.

an older couple with white hair sleeping in bed on pillows covered up with a white comforter

Reduce Stress

Melatonin also lowers stress reactivity and being outdoors will help your body naturally regulate melatonin, which helps reduce your stress level. Additionally, because you’re often doing something active when you’re outside (walking, playing, etc.), that extra exercise will also help lower your stress level.

Maintains Strong Bones

One of the best (and easiest) ways to get Vitamin D is by being outside. Our bodies produce Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight – about 15 minutes in the sun a day is adequate if you’re fair-skinned. And since Vitamin D helps your body maintain calcium, this helps prevent brittle, thin, or misshaped bones. Soaking in the sun may be just what the doctor ordered this winter.

Strengthens your Immune System

Vitamin D is also crucial for your immune system as it will help strengthen it with constant exposure. A healthy immune system can help reduce the risk of illness, infections, cancers, and mortality after surgery.

Fights Off Depression

It’s not just in your head; there’s a scientific reason being in the sunshine improves your mood. Sunshine boosts your body’s serotonin level, a chemical that enhances your mood and helps you stay calm and focused. Increased exposure to natural light may help ease the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. This change in mood typically occurs in the fall and winter months when there are fewer hours of daylight.

one older couple with woman looking sad and another woman with a family member making sure their ok looking depressed

We are astonished by how many current and past friends have trouble falling asleep. It never occurred to us to recommend more sunlight to them. Luckily, we live in a beautiful area that does get a lot of sun, so falling asleep for many is no issue.

Carolina Plantations opened up 15 years ago with one simple focus: Help people find the sun. If NJ, NY, MA, PA, or any other northern/midwestern states experienced as much sun per year as we did, very few people would be moving here, right? Find your sun today and see what you can find in Coastal, NC. Give the #1 Team of Sun Finders – Carolina Plantations Real Estate a call today!

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