How Much Traffic is in Your Future?

How Much Traffic is in Your Future?

Do you think it would be safe to say that most American’s do not enjoy traffic? Granted some have to endure it for their jobs or personal reasons but, does anyone get in the car and go join in a traffic jam because there’s nothing good on TV? For the most part, we believe happiness is a choice. You wake up and if you want to be happy, you do everything within your power to do so. Traffic is also a choice, as you either live near it and deal with it, learn to schedule your time life around it, or reside where the traffic is minimal.

Don’t Let Traffic Get You Down

If you let it, traffic can pretty much run ruin your life, for if every time you want to leave your home you need to consider the traffic patterns outside your driveway and beyond, you are a traffic prisoner. And let’s face the facts about traffic & health – has any doctor ever said that heavy traffic reduces your stress levels?

When it comes time to move, especially for retirement, how much emphasis should be placed on traffic around your home and/or town? If you enjoy traffic, well, be sure Atlanta, Miami and Tampa are on your list! However, if you are normal…,shouldn’t you research traffic patterns of where you will spend your golden years?

Where Do You Want to Be

In a few days, Doug will be turning 62, and for the past couple of years, he has considered buying or renting a home in Florida – primarily for January ad February. Those two months are typically our slowest and being able to go deep sea fishing regularly, and play the horses and dogs, and visit a casino – well, Florida does offer some things we don’t have in Coastal North Carolina.

However, there is this thing called traffic, which no matter how attractive parts of the Sunshine State can be early in the year, they just aren’t attractive enough to endure the rising blood pressure received from that mass of vehicles on just about every highway and byway. Nope, just can’t do it.

How Much Traffic is in Your Future?

Traffic, by the way, is not indigenous to Florida. A couple of weeks ago, Doug drove down to Kiawah Island to see a dear friend and when he left his office in Shallotte, GPS told him his ETA was 4:30 pm. He left an extra half house in case he ran into traffic in and around Charleston during rush house. Ha – boy did he miscalculate! The bumper to bumper traffic in Mt. Pleasant on the northside of Charleston was nuts. Plus, once he crossed over the high-rise bridge in downtown Charleston, the traffic crawled the next 15 miles to the Kiawah exit. Needless to say, he was way late and, unfortunately had more of the same the next day when Doug drove down to Hilton Head for a good buddy’s surprise 80th birthday.

Traffic on the North Carolina Coast

In 1999, Doug left the northern suburbs of Boston for the warm ocean breezes of Wilmington, NC. Traffic was really non-existent here back then and even with all our growth, our traffic today is nothing compared to so many (southern) cities. He lived in Atlanta during the 80s and have often said that for $5m/year, he wouldn’t move back there because his quality of life is far too important. Here is a list of cities that you will never find him living in full time.

How Much Traffic is in Your Future?

Might visit, but never set up a residence there. If you are wanting to flee from the traffic filled cities and move to a slower paced life, then allow us to help you find a new place. We at Carolina Plantations can help you find your next home that you too can enjoy the North Carolina Coast.

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!

Breaking Down 2018 Real Estate Sales in Brunswick County

Residential Sales 2017 vs 2018:

Total # of Homes Sold
2017 = 4613
2018 = 4807 Up 4.2%


Average Sales Price
2017 = $261,925
2018 = $273,436 Up 4.4%


Total Sales
2017 = $1,212,047,561
2018 = $1,307,842,000 Up 7.9%


Breaking Down 2018 Real Estate Sales in Brunswick County

Last year was another strong year for growth in Brunswick County. Leading the way was the continued migration of retirees headed for a laid back, yet, fun and active lifestyle on the shores of southeastern North Carolina. Our area also saw a strong year in beach sales, which means available discretionary funds were more prevalent than in most pervious years. All told, 2018 was a very good year, however, if you were able to remove three factors from 2018, imagine the year that we could have had?

Wettest year on record
Market correction of Q4


The team at Carolina Plantations had its record 12th straight year and increased volume over 2017 by 2.5%, with total sales hovering around $72,500,000. Kudos to Christopher Columbus Creekmore and Seth Barbee for exceeding $20,000,000 each in sales – as that is just an amazing amount of transactions! And congrats to the entire sales and admin team for working so well together and welcoming over 275 new families to Coastal North Carolina!


Here are just a few fun stats for 2018 with regards to sales in Brunswick County:

On average, 13 homes sold here every day, or one home every 2 hours!
Residential units sold were most since 2005!
Highest average sales price since 2007
Days on Market were lowest since 2003

Interest rates for a 30-Year fixed rate currently range between 4.25 – 4.50%. Developers and builders here are trying their best to provide new land and home options as we quickly are scurrying towards Spring – which is our most active time of the year here. Low rates and increased inventory will propel us to another decisively strong 2019!

As we look ahead into 2019, trends we are seeing are less and less of our northern friends are considering Florida as a place to retire. That puts us on just about everybody’s radar plus, a fair percentage of our clients are purchasing or building homes before they retire and/or sell their homes back north. If you are looking to retire or move to Coastal North Carolina in 2019, please allow Carolina Plantations to help you with your process.  We hope that you will consider our beautiful coastline as your forever home!

Our #1 website will be re-launched in March with a brand new look and numerous enhancements! 

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!