Caution: Closely Monitor Your Real Estate Market

Recently, Doug has read two articles that talk about a potential factor that will more than likely contribute to a slowdown in our national economy – the housing market. Trust us, we are not a naysayer at all, but there is some pretty strong logic to what lies ahead for much of the country.

The “Baby Boomers” are defined as people born between 1946 and 1964. Doug is a Baby Boomer and gust what? He is one of the 74.6 million Baby Boomers born in the post war era. Today, the population of BBs are down approximately 10 million. However, if you take into consideration immigration to the US during those years, we could still be looking at about 75 million Baby Boomers here in the states.

As a group, our wealth is staggering, and our buying power almost immeasurable. We are saving and hard workers, and many have paid off their full-time residences. We invest in the stock market (and other securities) and about 10,000 of us are retiring every day.

Should You Sell Your Home Now?

However, there is a glitch. The generations behind us are not nearly as diligent as we are and the percentage of homeowners are amongst those generations is lower than ours. In essence, there may not be enough of them to purchase all our homes when we put them on the market to retire. This is what economists are concerned about, and if it comes to fruition, will certainly sound the alarms for an economic slowdown here in the states.

The good news is that we should still have another good 3-7 years of Baby Boomers selling their homes for a fair market price and retiring preferable somewhere warmer, and purchasing a less expensive home. Although Doug still likes to quote a client of his from New Jersey who years ago said to his friends, “My wife and I are downsizing to a bigger home!!”

One factor though that could be exacerbating this market trend are the new tax laws up north that are limiting the amount of annual interest from you home mortgage that can be deducted. Due to these new rules and others that are being enacted, home ownership may not be as attractive as in decades past, so the results to home buyers in these states is a coin flip, for now.

How We Can Help

Our team of 10 Brokers has worked with tens of thousands of clients in our real estate careers. We know that timing a market, whether it be a stock market, housing market, futures market, etc., is nearly impossible to do a lay person. What we have been fortunate to see though over the years are people taking advantage of the old adage of “Selling High and Buying Low.” Imagine after 25 years you finally get around to cleaning up your house and yard to near new condition and whoah Nellie, there’s nobody knocking on your door to see your beautiful home? Said it ain’t so, Joe!!

So, today’s food for thought is passing along to you what some other folks have done:

  • Sell NOW, Rent, then Purchase – Take advantage of a strong market in your community, sell for a good profit, rent something in your area until you can retire. Then you can come south and purchase your Dream Home.
  • Retire Now, Sell Now and Move Now! If your home can bring you a profit that is nearly too good to pass up now, then factor that into your financial retirement plan and you might be telling your co-workers Adios as you take that sack of unmarked $100s from the sale of your home and head to warmer and greener pastures, wherever that might be.

Just don’t be that person who knows the market so well that you are the last in your neighborhood to place that “For Sale” Sign up in the yard. Keep in mind that the choice really is yours and walk away with guaranteed cash vs giving your home away. A little bit of jostling & inconvenience for 6-12 months might have everything to do with your successful retirement. Allow us at Carolina Plantations help you find your dream home here on the North Carolina Coast!


Should We Have Zigged When We Zagged?

On any given day in the life of an adult, we make approximately 35,000 decisions. Therefore, in a one-year period, an adult makes nearly 12,775,000 decisions. No wonder why Doug goes to bed so early each night – he just made a whole lot of decisions!

With all these decisions to make, it’s easy for us to look back and say “hey, what would have happened if we zigged instead of zagged?” Or, what if we chose this profession over that profession? Or should Doug have attended Harvard vs. University of Tennessee? (Go Vols) Or how about if he chose this family to grow up with versus that family? (just kidding, we all know that Doug made the right decision in life.)

Should We Have Zigged When We Zagged?

Here’s a good example of a zig-or-zag story:

 Back in the mid-90s when Doug was living north of Boston, he and his neighbor Bill and his buddy Ed from Chicago, took a cruise. One evening about halfway through the 7-day cruise and before dinner, they were walking on the Lido deck in search of a cocktail, and as they approached the pool, there was a bar on the left with people and a bar on the right with people. Doug made the decision to go to the one on the right, where they met two sisters from Boston. Twenty or so years later, Bill is still married to one of those sisters and has 3 daughters. Imagine if they had zigged instead of zagged?

Important Decisions

We all make important decisions in our lives.  Some we choose correctly and others, perhaps not so well. But hey, life is too short to have regrets as the incorrect decisions hopefully pave the way for correct decisions down the line, right?

Today, we are all where we are at because we have made billions of well-guided decisions, so let’s take a step back and congratulate each other because there are a lot of places, we could be that are certainly less desirable! Doug means, our lives might be far from perfect however, on the other hand, Los Angeles currently has 59,000 homeless people – not 59,001, agreed?

Choosing ‘where to retire’ is unequivocally one of the last major decisions adults make, so it is imperative that one studies the effects of zigging or zagging, as the implications on your quality of remaining life lie in the ballast. In fact, we think y’all might be surprised how often we meet people who have zigged when they should have zagged and wound up making an expensive mistake. We all know that moving is one of the world’s worst experience and it’s also very costly too!

Best Team on the Coast

To Doug’s knowledge, there is no real estate company in America that is better educated on the area they serve than the team at Carolina Plantations. However, we know you may be checking out other areas, so be sure to find independent Brokers that can help educate you on the area/s you are looking at. Well informed Zigs or Zags will lead you to a happy retirement and if coastal North Carolina is right for you, Team Carolina Plantations wants to assist you on your first retirement move, not your second or third. We hope that you will be able to find your forever home here on our beautiful coast line!

Research, Relax, Fun!

Selecting a place to retire might be seen by many as one heck of a stressful project – and we would tend to agree with that. There are so many facets that one must consider in choosing a new state, area, community and house. This has caused many people just throw in the towel early on in the process and stay put in the same place for the rest of their life. Can we say boooooring!!!
Learning, is the food of life. It has been proven that the adult mind can turn to mush unless it is stimulated on a regular basis. Consider the brain a body, and if you ignore your body, what happens? Correct — it becomes sluggish, lethargic and out of condition. Researching a number of potential locations to retire will stimulate your brain cells and put the 7% of that gray matter we use to some good.


The greatest part about researching is that it’s easy. Just ask questions and poof, there are the answers. The one caveat to researching a topic though is that you need to know which questions to ask, and if you are not familiar enough with the subject, then you might need to call a friend or ask the audience for some assistance.
Every Tuesday at 4pm, our team at Carolina Plantations sits down for a 2-hour sales meeting. With nearly 100% attendance every week, we go around the table and our Brokers contribute information to the team about something they learned in the past week. The information shared is vital for each of us, for if we are going to assist you, our clients, with not only the questions but the answers, we need to be on our game.
Make no mistake about it, there is a lot to take in during your search but, if you apply yourself and partner with people that can provide you with the information you need to make well-educated decisions, you just might find that you will relax more than you anticipated.
During our meetings, subjects run the gamut and with 10 sets of eyes and ears traversing a 70-mile swath of southeastern North Carolina 7 days a week, we might discuss:
* contract issues in depth
* information on new sections opening up in the communities here
* info from a meeting with a builder to better understand their offerings
* new commercial/retail/medical venues coming up
* a mortgage broker briefing on the latest news and offerings
* in house listings and upcoming Open Houses that we should attend
* company and local sales statistics
* restaurant reviews
Quite honestly, the subject list is endless. And, we do this every week so that when we are with our clients, we provide them with the most current and important information available.


You are seeking information, and there is no real estate firm on the planet that is better equipped to provide you with information you are seeking than Carolina Plantations. We will even load you up with information you didn’t even know you needed.  And, quoting Dan, my first boss in real estate — he said, “Doug, most people you are encountering here in Brunswick County are searching multiple areas so, you need to make their experience fun.”
Well, for over 12 years, Team Carolina Plantations has hosted thousands of people who’ve visited coastal North Carolina to see if this area met their retirement requirements, and we’ve shared as many laughs as politicians in DC share barbs on a daily basis!
If you haven’t started your research, then hop to it, and when you want to visit communities such as Ocean Ridge Plantation, St. James, Brunswick Forest, Compass Pointe and all the others, contact a team that can help you with your research. The more you know, the more you will relax, and the more you relax, the better your chances are for having a fun time while finding the perfect place to build your Dream Home.
Just remember to research, relax and have fun!

Downsizing To A Larger Home

Downsizing to a Larger HomeA number of years ago, a client of ours and his wife were looking to leave Doug’s, home state, the Garden State. They were looking to find a better life in a warmer and friendlier climate. After selling their home and having a wad of cash in their hands, they found that Coastal North Carolina met and exceeded their requirements.

Finding Your Forever Home

Larry had a goal of buying a home and putting “X” amount of cash in the bank after the purchase. His wife had a similar goal, and that was finding a really nice new home where she could finally get everything that she wanted. They looked at all the homes on the market, new and resale, and the two decided to purchase a homesite and have their Dream Home built. Yes, to their specifications, which is still today what about 80% of our clients do.

After selecting a model that had all the bells and whistles with plenty of room for entertaining, daily living and hosting family and friends visiting from up north, the couple wound up building a home larger than their NJ home where they raised a family. Makes sense, right? And, so goes one of Doug’s favorite real estate tag lines of all time, as said so poetically by Larry: We downsized to a larger home!

Designing Your Home

Team Carolina Plantations, along with our sister company Plan View Design, help people every day determine what they need/want in a house. It’s a huge part of what we do, and when you do anything enough, you hopefully tend to get good at it right? Rest assured that we are very good in helping our clients research and make quantitative decisions on securing a home that makes sense for them. And we say this because there are builders, architects, Realtors and more, that believe bigger is better.

Rooms Retirees Need in a Home

Here is a review of the rooms in a home in our area that are basically required for a retired couple or single person:

Master Bedroom Downstairs: In Doug’s 17 years of selling real estate, he cannot remember a retiree purchasing a SF home with a master bedroom upstairs. This is a no brainer.

Open Kitchen: Gone are the days of galley kitchens, unless of course you live on a small boat. Open the darn thing up so you can entertain, enjoy sunlight and have fun in your kitchen preparing yummy meals!

Downsizing to a Larger Home

Dining Area: Sorry ladies, but those formal dining rooms that used to get used once or twice a year are even less popular in Coastal NC. The trend for years has been a large inviting dining area that can be dressed down for breakfast and lunch, as well as dressed up for formal dinner parties.

Laundry Room on First Floor: No longer are laundry rooms hidden in basements, hallways or garages.

Screened Porch: You are moving to a warmer, more temperate climate and , living outside in a screened porch becomes a large part of one’s lifestyle here. Fresh Air, Times Square!

Rooms Retirees Want in a Home

This list can be a bit lengthy and subjective, so we have sorted these by the most popular rooms added in Coastal North Carolina. 

Downsizing to a Larger Home

Study/Office: Builders and home designers often use the area where a formal dining room would have been and convert it into an office/study. Why? Because this is often the internet room, mail room, getaway room, TV room, Skype room, reading room, card room, etch. Converting a bedroom also works. 

2nd Bedroom on First Floor: This has been popular for a while because as retirees become seniors, separate bedrooms and health issues often dictate this necessity. Also to consider is that when older friends and/or grandchildren visit, stairs are not necessarily a good thing. 

FROG/Bonus Room: The Finished Room Over the Garage is one of the most economical rooms to build in a home. Since we don’t have basements, the FROG is often transformed into a Man’s Cave, extra bedroom, craft room, storage, game room/pool hall, or a combination of all of the above. 

Downsizing to a Larger Home

Carolina Room/Sun Room: This room typically replaces a screened-in porch and provides you yet another indoor room to watch TV or read. If you move south, our suggestion is to live in your screened porch for 1-2 years and if you need additional indoor space, then close it in. 

3rd and 4th Bedrooms: When you are retired, you want to LIVE in as much of the space on the first level as possible, so put your guest rooms upstairs if possible. 

Formal Dining Room: If you really plan to entertain on a regular basis and/or have a dining room suit you simply cannot mentally or physically depart with, then you need a formal dining room. 

We do remind our clients all the time that it will be just the two of them living in their home 95% of the nights in a year. Therefore, build or buy the home based upon your comfort and size requirements. We think the best example of this is that the space allotted to a Formal Dining Room costs approximately $30,000 – $40,000 of the purchase price of the home. To spend that amount and use it once a year is just not a good financial decision. Yes, we know that your grandmother’s furniture is important, but if you converted that space into an office/study, you will probably use that square footage 24/7 for the rest of your lives. If you are searching for the perfect forever home on the Coast of North Carolina, please contact us today to get your search started. 

Envisioning Your Retirement

In the movie Caddy Shack, Chevy Chase was playing golf and providing his caddy with some tips when he uttered three divine words of wisdom – “Be the ball.” These infamous words have been repeated on golf courses worldwide for decade’s so, how about if we change up the words to read “Be the retirement”?

To be all knowing of retirement is an endless quest, as there are mountains of information on how to retire successfully. The #1 agreed upon essential element to a successful retirement is financial planning, for without proper resources, it’s off to work we go, and go, and go, or…………

Envisioning Your Retirement

The team at Carolina Plantations Real Estate are the self-anointed and self-proclaimed, #1 Retirement Experts in coastal North Carolina. That is a lot to live up to but hey, we are up for the challenge 24/7! Our knowledge of the retirement process, our area and the many opportunities here on the coast is second to none, so let us help you envision your first day of retirement.

Envisioning Your Retirement

Can You Envision it?

You both wake up early, put on some new exercise clothing & full action sneakers and are off for a brisk walk of 2 miles. You wave to the newspaper kid, milkman leaving the Johnson’s house and those other new retirees walking down your street. You get home and begin preparing a healthy meal of fresh, chilled and sliced New Zealand Kiwis and Costa Rican Papaya, along with organic coffee and natural double organic sugar cane sweetener with a touch of Pasteurized skim milk and of course, a 10 oz. glass of fresh squeezed Florida Orange Juice and, one thin slice of 100% Cracked Whole Wheat bread with a smidge of real Wisconsin Butter. Your local newspaper is on the breakfast table, which is btw, located in your beautiful and fabulous new home where you selected all interior/exterior colors, cabinets, hardwood floors, granite countertops, lighting, appliances, plumbing fixtures, carpeting and so on. (And, why you didn’t follow a career in home design is well, beyond you, right??!)

Playing on the wall mounted 30” TV is your favorite cable news channel, which is indicating that the Dow Futures are UP and gas prices are DOWN. You take your spouses hand, bless the food and continue to say how great it is to be married to him/her and how much you love them, which goes on for a good 1 ½ hours.

Now it’s 7:30am. What the heck are you going to do for the next 12-13 hours??

Just don’t retire, envision your retirement!!

Envision Retirement Now

There are many of you who are reading this blog every month who will probably never leave the home, city or state you are living in now once you retire. Well, that is fine because you too need to plan what the heck you are going to do with your time everyday to fill the void of an 8-10 hour work day and 2 hours of commute time. That’s a lot of time slots and appointments to fill.

So, just what can possibly fill your time? THAT, my friends, is as legitimate of a question that I can ask, and the answers very much vary as to your living circumstances. Those that do decide to stay home and not move, will have to really forage to find many of the options listed below as most are found in active communities focused on (younger minded) retirees.

Envisioning Your Retirement

Retiring is not for the faint of heart. You just might find, like so many before you, that you need to get away just to have a break in your busy schedule! And FYI, it’s not all that unusual for a calendar for a retired couple living in a community geared at active retirees to look like the following:

Envisioning Your Retirement

What do you want your retirement to look like? My suggestion is to write out a sample week of retirement and share it with your loved one so that you both are on the same page. If you are single, heck, you are lucky as you don’t need approval or buy in, do ya??!!!

However, this is a pretty serious exercise that costs nothing and can help you from making a major mistake. For example, if you want to do all the above, you better move somewhere or live somewhere where all of these activities are available, right? And that takes us back to Step #1, The Martini Theory. First, find the Area that best matches your lifestyle (weather, medical, sports, entertainment, shopping, dining, etc.) Second, then determine which community meets your social/demographic needs (activities, fitness, location, people, etc.) Lastly, is the well soaked olive, or your home. This is the EASIEST part of your retirement process as there are plenty of great homes everywhere! Allow us at Carolina Plantations to help you find your next home that you can retire in on the Coast of North Carolina!