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.

Avoiding A Major Mistake

Public speaking, death and moving are amongst the top life occurrences that people really despise. While two are avoidable and one is well, eminently unavoidable, we think one of the avoidable just might be atop the leaderboard of least favorite things we humans must do on this planet: MOVE.

As we get older, moving tends to grow more cumbersome by the day as we tend to collect more “junk” every time we leave our homes. In fact, Doug heard a comedian years ago state that the only reason we leave our home is to go and seek and collect more junk. And, that the only reason we move is because our current home is too small for all our junk!

Where Do You Want To Retire To

Avoiding a Major Mistake

Doug’s first boss in real estate taught him something very important about people searching for a place to retire. He said, “Doug, what people are subconsciously doing when they visit our community is, they are trying to eliminate our area in their search. For once they have finished eliminating areas and locations, the lone place remaining is where they will probably retire to.”

With that being said, our firm’s Martini Theory simply states that the first and most important step in the search for the ideal place to retire to is to find “the Area” that best suits your needs, such as medical services, dining, weather, shopping, culture, etc.

What Makes Carolina Plantations Different

To Doug’s knowledge, no other real estate company on the planet will spend as much time as we do to show you the area and all the ‘stuff’ we offer. After years of helping other families out we have noticed that if you don’t like the area that you move to, you will more than likely move again.

Imagine for a second that you and your better half have extensively researched a handful of communities/plantations in a geographic area and eventually settled on building your “Dream Home” for the next year, only to find out that after you moved in, the services outside your gate were lacking in every which way? What would you do? Our team at Carolina Plantations have a lofty goal in mind every time we work with clients: to help people avoid moving twice. The best way to avoid the double move is to research the heck out of the area/s you are considering moving to.

In essence, what is outside the entrance to your community is more often than not, more important than what lies inside your community. Of course, you can find a golf course, pool, fitness center and great home anywhere, finding an area that meets your lifestyle is absolutely paramount to the long-term success of your search. Because the coast of North Carolina has really become a popular destination for Northerners and Midwestern’s over the past 3-4 decades, we tend to have a younger group of retirees here. However, in years to come that will begin to shift. Doug mentioned this because of we often say to our clients that they retired up north and now, are coming to North Carolina to BEGIN LIVING.

(Fun Fact: Did you know that NC replaced NJ as the 10th most populated state in 2017?)

Avoiding a Major Mistake

While a move to the coast of North Carolina can be exciting, fun and rewarding, we also understand that it might not be forever. Things change such as health, family, finances, etc., which may force us to reconsider where we live as we enter our later golden years. Many of us who retire still have numerous fun and active years ahead of us. However, the last thing you want to do is go from working directly into a nursing home!!

One thing is for certain though, is that the team at Carolina Plantations has no earthly idea if coastal North Carolina is the right place for you to retire to. What we can promise you though is that by the time you leave, you will have enough facts and information to determine if our area is eliminated – or moved up the ladder – to one of your top choices!

Carolina Plantations??

 

Recently while showing homes in one of Brunswick Counties’ finest communities, we ran into some folks that recognized our name badges and they went on to say that they love reading our monthly eNewsletter – Carolina Dreamin’. In fact, one of the women provided positive feedback on the March article concerning my trip to Buffalo in the middle of the winter, and so for a minute I was almost, well, honored that she not only read the article but had near total recall of my little journey.

That all ended when she looked right at me and said “I really love reading Carolina Dreamin’ every month but, just who is Carolina Plantations”?

At the end of 2006, after spending five years between two top local developers and a large general real estate brokerage, I formed Carolina Plantations Real Estate. Although we are a general real estate brokerage like Century 21, Keller Williams, etc., we truly focus on a very specific niche, which is working with folks who are exploring our area for a place to retire and or purchase a second home.

The typical real estate brokerage firm will have a great understanding of the market within a 3-5 mile radius of their office. Agents there know their specific geographic area very well and are dedicated to opening up as many doors as need be till you find the right home/condo/townhome, etc. Ask them however to tell you about or show you real estate 20-30 miles from their comfort zone and well, chances are they might refer you to another firm.

To be considered for a Broker position at CPs, one must obtain knowledge of all the major plantations/communities within a 30-50 mile radius. This is a lot of knowledge, and we are not exaggerating as very few brokerages, if any, can show you homes at Brunswick Plantation in Calabash in the morning, homes in Landfall @ Wrightsville Beach in the afternoon followed by homes at St James and Brunswick Forest tomorrow.

We know that in order to serve our clients proficiently, we need to be able to learn about what is important to them and in essence, prescribe a solution. And for those of you not yet familiar with our almost famous Martini Theory, not only do we know the plantations, but we will point out all the good restaurants, shopping venues, golf courses, medical facilities, culture and more shopping!

To no surprise, the majority of our clients require at least one visit if not two or three visits. And if we could pass this along to you if in fact you are searching for a place to retire or purchase a second home, your goal is simple: Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate! The last area/plantation/home left standing wins!

Nancy, Pat, Chris, Patty and myself thank those of you who are currently working with us or have done so previously. Oh, and we certainly cannot forget Haley Wilson, the most decorated custom home designer in Brunswick County. Haley is the Vice President of our sister company Plan View Design, which is the only firm in Southeastern, NC that designs your Dream Home in full color 3D, utilizing the power of Chief Architect Software. The process is extremely interactive as your feedback is crucial to your finished design plus, you get to see your future residence from the comfort of your own home or office prior to groundbreaking. www.PlanViewDesign.com

In 2012, Carolina Plantations was the 19th largest by volume real estate Company in Brunswick County while Plan View Design was probably the #1 custom home design firm. We sold more real estate in fine communities like Brunswick Plantation, SeaScape, Brunswick Forest, Rivers Edge and RiverSea than any other firm in our area. We did it though by having fun along the way and are always honored to be involved in one of the most important decisions in your life!