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?

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!

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!

The Martini Theory: Part 2 of 3 “Finding the Right Community”

Years back when devising the Martini Theory, Dough really didn’t understand at the time that the three components were listed in order of importance. He knew them as the three steps of the funnel but was unaware that they were positioned from most important to least important.

As pointed out in last month’s article on the Martini Theory, the most important aspect of one’s search for a place to retire is clearly finding the area that best meets your needs. Those include but are not limited to weather, beaches, location, dining, entertainment, medical services, shopping and more.

Once an area has been scouted and agreed upon, moving to step 2 of 3 is critical to your retirement happiness. Here are some helpful tips on how to match up a community with your personal interests.

Research

Having the internet at our disposable 24/7 is an amazing advantage that we have over our parents and grandparents, who retired to Florida based upon very little information. The old adage of “boy, do I have some nice, dry land for you down here in Florida” was way more truthful than myth, as how did anyone really know if they were being fed a line of lies?

That being said, if you have a community or two or ten in mind that you like, get on your computer and start researching. If a developer today is not satisfying their residents, you will know about it in 10 minutes. When people are not satisfied with something, they use the web to express their opinions. On the other hand, you do have to take everything you read in stride, for no community ever has 100% of their residents fully happy.

Be sure to also research the developer of the community, even if they are no longer involved. A 15-year old community where the developer left five years ago can be in as much of a pickle as one that is only two years old and having financial difficulties. Developing raw land is a massive physical and financial undertaking, and many have left behind significant wake.

The Older a Community Is…

A Dougism from years past indicates that in general, the older a community is, the older a community is. What? If a community opened in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s, one must understand that what is inside the community tends to be older. Examples are amenities (pools, tennis courts, building), roads, clubhouses, home/floorplans and very possibly, people.

So, if you are 58 years old and looking for a “Young” community, you may want to thoroughly research which community has more contemporary people such as yourself. Of course, we are speaking of generalities here, but if you move into a community where everyone is building a home at or close to the same time, chances are you can also grow with that community. On the flip side though, you have to endure the growing pains of that community in terms of construction and in some cases, waiting for amenities to be built.

Activities

The majority of clients we work with are moving to Coastal North Carolina only knowing a few, if any people. Therefore, making friends is paramount and for one of the best ways to do that is finding clubs or activities within your community.

Examples might be golf groups, bridge clubs, exercise classes, tennis & Pickleball lessons, planned social events/parties, Mahjong and Canasta groups, traveling/dining clubs, quilting groups, fishing expeditions and so on.

Be sure to ask to see a list of clubs and groups that a community offers before you consider investing into a community, as this will provide you with an excellent understanding of whether or not there ae like people in your potential future community.

Fees

Just about every community that offers an active lifestyle has HOA and POA fees, and it is important to fully understand them before signing on the dotted lines. A Property Owners Association (POA) is generally the fee you pay for being a part of a community. POA fees typically include your portion of the Amenity Center, common grounds maintenance, possibly some utilities, etc.

Homeowners Association fees are for the home you live in. Depending on whether you have a single-family home, condo or townhouse, your fees could include lawn care, outdoor home maintenance, common ground maintenance, insurance and so on.

As always, be sure to consider the source of information you are receiving on a community. You have worked non-stop for 30-40 years, possibly raised kids, cured famine in foreign countries, invented the internet and built bridges across oceans – so the last thing you want to do is retire to a community that doesn’t meet your requirements, for that mistake can be a timely and expensive proposition. Best of luck!

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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