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!

Are Investors Back???

Back in 2009, a proud young man from Miami called our office to inquire about the value of his investment homesite he purchased in 2006 during a developer ‘big event’ weekend. Believe he had $225,000+ invested in his 1/3 acre nature homesite. According to one of our Brokers here, the young man had also purchased some investment property in south Florida that was not faring very well and he just needed to be reassured that his NC property was still sound.

When my Broker researched the property, he asked the young man if he wanted the truth about the current status and value, and of course he said Yes! So that he had some perspective, we passed along to him that nothing had happened to his homesite in three years in terms of infrastructure (ie roads being paved, curbs, utilities, access to the homesite, etc.) and that there were no homes built yet in this section where 200+ homesites were sold to anxious buyers.

The young man seemed a bit dismayed by the lack of progress and the escalation of broken promises so he naturally asked the Broker what he felt he could get for the property if he were to put it on the market. Well, the reply was “your homesite is not worth a ham sandwich”. There was about 10 seconds of silence and the young man almost broke down in tears.

Investing in land, stocks, bonds, marriage, a business, sports or almost anything can be a nerve-wracking experience. That is why it is always good to take your time and research any investment you decide to jump into. Recently throughout the southeast a number of investment groups have been on the lookout for semi completed developments to invest in. In Brunswick County alone we had over a dozen communities that were in the process of being developed go belly up and leave the original development vacant. Some had roads and utilities while others had partial infrastructure.

In the past several months I know of several WEEKEND LAND SALES EVENTS that have taken place in NC. Homesites have been reduced to a fraction of the initial intended prices and a marketing team comes in, builds a new entrance, surveys and stakes the homesites, advertises to everyone in their massive databases, puts up a tent, brings in 40 sales agents and attempts to use the herd mentality to sell all the homesites in 3 hours.

Some of these marketing groups have been successful and some not as much as the others. The key though is not whether the group that picked this property up from the bank makes money, but whether these are legitimately good bargains. Here are some Pros & Cons that everyone might want to consider:

PROS

  • The prices are reduced
  • Basic infrastructure should be in so that you can build right away

CONS

  • When you have 100 Buyers together under a tent and 50 homesites to sell, you invariably have a herd mentality going on, and many people the world over make huge mistakes in these pressure cooker environments
  • Most of these communities have zero amenities (pools, tennis, fitness, golf, etc.), so chances are strong that most people purchasing these sites will never build on the sites
  • That translates, down the road, to the overwhelming majority of these homesites coming back on the market – which in turn means values will drop significantly as investors simply want to get rid of their investments once they know they are not going to appreciate
  • These marketing groups are not developers. As soon as they have everyone’s money, they are down the road to their next opportunity never to be heard from again.

As a general real estate Broker, I am perplexed as to why someone would risk $39,000 on a homesite in a 4 street community with zero amenities or homes built. Plus, these slick marketing groups don’t even let you know where the community is located! (Don’t ignore all the Warning signs!) Conversely, anyone today can walk into St James, Sea Trail, Brunswick Plantation, Winding River, RiverSea and numerous other communities and purchase a $35,000 homesite in a plantation that has hundreds/thousands of homes built, all infrastructure & amenities in and community activities always going on.

While our market here is doing well, just go to this link and see the number of homesites that are on the market in twenty of the leading plantations in the area: Click Here.

In just these plantations alone there are over 1,100 homesites for sale, so with our current absorption rate we probably have a 5-7 year supply.

If you are going to invest in real estate again, do like you did years ago and research the developer, builder, sales team, etc. before you make any kind of commitment. In the past 7 years the average American has removed one word from the real estate vocabulary, and that is the word “risk”. And if you don’t investigate as to how much risk you are taking on, you just might wind up with a ham sandwich one day instead of a good investment.