We are currently working with customers looking for homes in Sarasota, Savannah, Charleston, the Low Country of South Carolina, Wilmington, NC, and other locations.  If you would like our personalized recommendations of which golf communities in the Southern U.S. best match your criteria, please fill out our Golf Home Questionnaire by clicking on the advertisement at the top of the left hand column below...
   |   
Text Size

        I have been reading lately about many golf courses that are being threatened with development. This is personal to me in that the golf course where I learned to play the game in New Jersey was plowed over to make way for the corporate headquarters of a cookie company. Many of the troubled golf courses today are inside the boundaries of planned golf communities, and the new owners of the clubs want to add more houses where fairways and greens now stand.
        If you are looking for a home in a golf community, you are right to wonder about the viability of golf clubs inside the gates. To ease some of your anxieties, there are a number of questions you should ask the Realtor you are working with, the real estate agency on the golf community’s site, or me if you would like some unbiased assistance.  [Click here to contact me.]

History of Assessments
        Assessments are those annoying, and sometimes large, payments club members are asked to make when an unforeseen event occurs that cannot be fully covered, or covered at all, by insurance. Clubhouses sometimes burn down. An exotic fungus chews away at greens and fairways. A guest of a member goes off a cart path into a ditch because of an alleged faulty golf cart and sues the club. A hurricane blasts into the community head on, or a mudslide wipes out a few holes of the golf course. Ask about the history of assessments at the golf community club you are looking at. If there have been none or just the odd one or two, you may learn that the club had more than adequate reserves.

The Club’s Reserves
        Call it a rainy day fund if you’d like. This is a pool of money that is built up over time by directing a small amount of members’ dues payments to the fund. If the reserves are high enough to cover virtually any contingency, you shouldn’t have to worry about future assessments.
CypressLandinghomeatteeThe reserve fund for Cypress Landing's golf club in Chocowinity, NC, amounts to more than 10% of the club's annual budget.

Who Owns the Golf Course?
        There is a direct correlation between the quality and health of the golf community’s course and its real estate values. A developer who has sold out all or most of the properties in his community, but retains ownership of the golf course, may not care who is the next owner of the country club. All things equal, the most stable owners of the golf club are residents of the community because of their vested interest in keeping the club at the highest quality to protect their real estate investments. To encourage sales of properties in a new development, many developers promised property owners the right of first refusal to purchase the country club at a pre-ordained price when the community was mostly sold out. In other cases, the developer takes over the club and either runs it, hires a management company to run it, or sells it to another party. In any of those cases, a prospective member should ask some tough questions about plans for the golf course and about the management track record of the owners.

Interview the Board of Directors
        A golf community country club run by its members is no guarantee it is run well, although we are hard pressed to find examples in which members mucked it up badly. However, members of a board may argue about investments for the golf course and clubhouse, and those disagreements can spill over into operations. Some board members, used to telling people what to do during their business careers, instinctively think they can run a golf club. That is a mistake. If you are serious about buying into a golf community and want to know how the country club is run, ask to speak with a member of the Board of Directors or, better yet, ask to sit in on a meeting. Most Boards invite their members to all their meetings, and they should be totally fine with inviting a prospective member.
The Landings SavannahMembers of the six golf courses at The Landings outside Savannah, GA, not only own the golf clubs but also the on-site real estate agency and every other aspect of the community.

Check the percentages of residents who are members
        It is true that roughly 50 percent of people who live inside the gates of golf communities do not play golf; and not all of them sign up for social memberships. But it stands to reason that the higher the percentage of residents who are members, the more support there will be for the club’s operations. (Note: Some communities insist that anyone who purchases property must join the country club, an obligation that is too binding for many people but which does, in theory, produce the most stable club financially speaking.) In terms of marketing the community to the outside world, an activity that helps prop up real estate values, the perceived quality of the golf course is key. But if the property owners association (POA) comprises mostly non-club-members, it could be tough to develop a coordinated marketing strategy; and that could fray relationships between the parties. When you visit a golf community, ask about how the club and community work together on marketing; if you find that each entity contributes financial and human resources to the effort, you can be confident that relations between club and community are productive.

        All in all, the safest golf community club is one owned by its members, with no history of assessments, a deep well of contingency funding, and an understanding among members and non-members alike that the perceived health of the golf club reflects well on the community’s real estate and stabilizes property values.

hotc-logoHome On The Course newsletter

Click here to sign up for our Free monthly newsletter, loaded with helpful information and observations about golf communities and their golf courses.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017 09:27

Business Insider: Best cities for Bargain Homes

        It is a brutal reality of real estate pricing that the desirability of a particular area generally determines price. It makes sense; if many people want to live in a certain place, demand goes up. If supply doesn’t keep pace, prices rise. There are still urban areas in non-temperate climates that are magnets for jobs and, therefore, families. Given the steady demand, many baby boomers who have lived in such places for decades are looking to unload their homes and move to lower cost areas of the South.
        But where are the bargains? The South isn’t quite as settled as other regions of the country and, therefore, it is possible to find great towns where the average price of a home for sale is less than $250,000, according to Business Insider, an online service. We don’t know much about Fayetteville, AR, the #1 city on Business Insider’s list for reasonably priced real estate, but we intend to visit there in the coming year and find out what is so special (besides low-priced homes). We are much more familiar with the seven other Southeast cities that made the top 25 list, including: Raleigh/Durham at #2, Charlotte at #8, Sarasota (#14), Richmond, VA (#16), Charleston, SC (#19), Greenville, SC (#20) and Tampa (#24).
        Raleigh/Durham pops up on virtually every best-place-to-live list for its abundance of employment opportunities, top-flight services and entertainment options, a major airport hub from which you can fly to many international locations, and multiple major universities. Oh, yes, the Raleigh area also offers plenty of golf communities to choose as well. A couple of our favorites are Governors Club in Chapel Hill, with 27 holes by Jack Nicklaus; and Treyburn in Durham, a sleek Tom Fazio layout embedded in a beautifully treed neighborhood and part of the McConnell Group of golf courses (one membership yields access to a dozen great golf courses). But those choices only scratch the surface in this megalopolis of opportunities.
TreyburnovercreekTreyburn Country Club was designed by Tom Fazio and is at the heart of a Durham, NC, golf community of the same name. When you join Treyburn, you gain access to the dozen golf courses owned and managed by the McConnell Golf Group.
        Charlotte may have been a tad later in developing than was Raleigh/Durham but it has just about caught up in terms of what it offers relocating couples with an interest in golf. North of the city, sprawling Lake Norman was a natural for golf community development. Popular with those who work in banking and other key industries that have evolved in Charlotte, Interstate 77 helps folks get into and out of town efficiently so they have extra time to enjoy the amenities of lake living after work. Plenty of other golf community opportunities especially attractive to retirees ring the metropolitan area.
        If I had to choose a Florida city in which to live, it would be Sarasota for its location adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico, its sophisticated downtown vibe, and its emphasis on culture (e.g. the Ringling Museum). The huge Lakewood Ranch is almost a city unto itself with multiple golf courses, plenty of shopping and an intimacy that lives up to the promise of the “new urbanism” concept. As for Richmond, VA, we are perennially surprised that some magazine or rating agency hasn’t declared it a top 10 city for retirees. It has just about everything in the way of culture, great food, minor leagues sports franchises, universities that provide continuing education, and some friendly, reasonably priced country clubs, many at the core of golf communities. And although its location less than two hours south of Washington, D.C. is a mixed blessing -– proximity to the nation’s capital but occasionally dicey winter weather -– the pros outweigh the cons in this under-appreciated city.
        For a rundown on all of Business Insider’s top 25 cities with real estate averages under $250,000, click here

Friday, 10 February 2017 04:58

heart banner

Ya Gotta Have Heart; I Almost Didn’t.

        To anyone searching this site for new material the last couple of weeks, my apologies. But I have a pretty good excuse. I had unscheduled quadruple bypass surgery last Tuesday and returned home from the hospital a couple of days ago. I am lucky.

Chest pain

        Because this site appeals to many baby boomers who are in those "susceptible" years, I will offer a few notes and lessons learned here about the last two weeks of my life, and about how the preceding years may have contributed to the intense pain in my chest I felt while in a recliner chair, totally at rest watching a movie, on Thursday January 26, a day that seemed, until the chest pain, not unlike any other. In fact, I had ventured out of the house for a drive to a board meeting at a local non-profit at lunchtime. I ate little at lunch -- soup, a piece of coffee cake and a bottle of water – hadn’t expended much energy and felt just fine. Dinner was slightly less ordinary. (See below.)

        But that evening, the pain I felt in my chest was like nothing I had ever encountered. I know indigestion, and this was no indigestion. It was like two strong tug-of-war teams fighting hard, with the center of the rope at my chest. I had set up my "man cave" in the basement only a week earlier, and by the time I had made it up the stairs to tell my wife Connie of the pain, I was winded beyond relation to the number of stairs.

Please make it the anchovies

pizza with anchovies        I still wanted to believe this was a unique form of indigestion, especially since my half of the pizza we shared two hours earlier included anchovies, a food I eat rarely (and these were not the best-tasting anchovies). But after a few Tums and no relief, I thought we might be in heart attack territory.

Lesson: Chest pain does not necessarily mean heart attack, as the doctors told me later. In my case, the pain was a signal of blockage in at least one of my arteries. (See more below.)

Lesson: Blood pressure readings tell you little about the state of your heart at any one moment. My wife and I took my blood pressure readings before the Tums (170/95) and after (138/90); the doctors later indicated neither was predictive of anything.

The closest emergency room

hospital emergency entrance        The pain was so bad that I really had little choice other than to ask Connie to drive me to the UCONN (University of Connecticut) Health Center in Farmington, CT, just 12 minutes from our home. I would have preferred admission to Hartford Hospital, where I had an earlier surgery and a few other trips to the hospital's emergency room for me and my wife, but UCONN was half the distance.

Lesson: Even if you think you can ride out the pain, or it isn't intense enough to check into, resist the urge to wait. Either call 911 -- I certainly had that option -- or if the hospital is fairly close, have someone drive you. Right away.

        I thought the admissions process in the hospital emergency room ‪at 9 pm‬ was a bit casual for a patient complaining of chest pains. (No other patients were in the waiting room or behind me in line.) I was not given an aspirin immediately, one way to address a possible heart attack, and since I was already in the medical center's computer system, I thought there were too many questions at that point. But the intake person was friendly, showed concern and ushered me into a room within five minutes or so.  And frankly, I wasn't feeling any worse while I sat waiting.

Lesson: Things don't always move in a hospital at a pace that seems reasonable. You're the patient (customer); you have every right to demand an explanation, if not action, when you believe you might be at risk. Many hospitals will send a representative to see you toward the end of your stay to ask your opinion about their services. That's nice, but altogether too late.

Not a heart attack, but...

chest pain        I'll proceed quickly through the diagnostic stuff in the ER. I had none of the customary signs of a classic heart attack; no sweating, no pains shooting up and down arms, no nausea. But the intense chest pains I described to the doctors and the fact that I am diabetic and take pharmaceuticals for high blood pressure and cholesterol gave them cause for concern about my heart. The only way they could conclusively decide about what was at the source of my pain was with an angiogram, an invasive procedure in which dye is shot through an artery, makes its way to your heart and renders beautifully contrasted photos of arteries and veins.

Lesson: I thought a stress test was supposed to determine whether one had heart problems. Not so, said the doctors. I had a stress test -- intense walking/running on a treadmill while monitored by nurses and a doctor -- three years earlier in preparation for another surgery. But the stress test shows how strong your heart is, not necessarily whether there is any arterial blockage. And it comes with risks, especially if you are having chest pains. I opted for the angiogram, which was performed the morning after admission. They administered an anesthesia that permitted me to be awake, but only faintly so; if I had experienced pain, they wanted to hear me moan about it. But there was zero pain involved and the 45-minute procedure seemed to take 5 minutes.

...not a pretty picture

        The pictures showed 90% blockage in three arteries. I was introduced to a surgeon, Dr. Daniel Fusco, who patiently explained the status of my heart and offered a Hobson's choice of two options. (Hobson is the guy who offers you a choice that is in the category of take it or leave it.) Choice one was triple bypass surgery, which carries an extremely slight risk of stroke or death. Choice two was to place stents in the affected arteries, basically providing a pathway for blood around the plaque-ridden areas. The problem with the second choice was that the size of one of the arteries was large enough that failure within a year or two was likely; but doctors do not typically open up a patient to do a single bypass.  After asking all the questions I could, I was confident bypass surgery was the right approach.

heart pillowThe hospital's cardiology nurses give you a cute going away present, a pillow in the shape of a heart. Some of them sign it. But the pillow has a practical use as well; when you cough after the operation, clutching it to your chest helps relieve some of the pain. Some.

Lesson: You might logically ask yourself about how I "chose" my doctor. At this point, it was almost like being at Walmart shopping for a TV and the salesperson says, "Trust me, Sharp is better than Samsung." Trust you? I don't even know you. When I learned Dr. Fusco was "assigned" as my surgeon, but before I met with him, I did some quick Internet research. He had performed thousands of bypass surgeries, had a great track record and everyone praised his bedside manner. I certainly could have phoned friends quickly for any recommendations, but those would have been hearsay. I liked Dr. Fusco when I met him, we talked about family as well as hearts, and I decided that intuition and gut instinct, which rarely fail me, was the best guidance in a situation that needed attending to quickly. It was also fundamental that Connie liked him as well. (After the fact, I learned that Dr. Fusco was a mechanical engineer by training and occupation for some years before deciding to become a doctor; having worked during my career with engineers, I know they sweat the details as much as any professional does. And Dr. Fusco has also performed multiple heart transplants; they typically demand up to 12 hours of rapt attention, and my surgery was to be 3 hours.)

        After the angiogram, surgery was scheduled for the following Tuesday. I felt well enough to return home for the intervening few days but the doctors insisted I stay for the extra prep necessary in the run-up to such a serious operation. It is not fun to be hooked up to a drip -- Heperin, to make sure I developed no clots before surgery -- and to have intravenous tubes that were only used occasionally...or to have monitors constantly beeping nearby...or to have your vital signs checked every four hours. A hospital is the last place you ever want to go for a good night's sleep. But the security of knowing I had immediate help within steps if something should go wrong soothed my anxiety about being away from home.

Lesson: Listen to your doctors about length of stay in the hospital. Trust me, they want you out of there as quickly as possible to free up beds and deal with one fewer patient. If they say you should remain there for an extra day or two, believe it.

Tackling another blocked artery

        The surgery itself was, of course, a non-event for me. That is, I slept through all of it and the total four hours passed as if it were just four minutes. In the hour before the operation, the attending nurse had trouble finding a receptive artery in my arm for the IV, but she was more upset than I (but not that upset). I had no weird dreams while under anesthesia, and I came out of the fog gradually but pretty quickly. When I awoke, my cheery-faced wife and daughter were at my bedside in ICU, indicating to me that something pretty good had happened (that I was still alive). At some point, whether compelled by relief or drugs, I mimicked the Schwarzenegger line and gasped, “He’s baaack!” My daughter liked that. I learned later, when I was a bit more awake, that a fourth blocked artery that was hidden from view (or just didn't accept any dye during the angiogram) was bypassed as well. Dr. Fusco had visited my wife and daughter in the surgery waiting room and told them the operation had gone "perfectly." In the succeeding days, I felt as if that was not hyperbole; mindful that I was on some light painkilling drugs, I still felt wonderful, good enough to chip and putt. And toward the end of my four-day post-op stay, I was feeling especially good. But that was the painkillers talking and the fact that the incision area and cracked ribs hadn’t begun to heal, which is painful.

pawleys plantation country club sI am about 7 weeks away from my first round of golf which likely will take place at Pawleys Plantation Country Club.  Chipping and putting will probably precede that by two weeks.

Lesson: Do not be deceived if you find yourself in the same situation, feeling better than you expect. This is major surgery, you have taken a body check from the equivalent of a 240-pound hockey defenseman (or worse), and my first days at home have demonstrated that there will be pain (although nothing major and only in the incision area and part of the leg near the knee where they removed an artery to use as bypass material).  I found I was allergic to the adhesive on the EKG patches they put on your chest, but a combination of hydrocortisone cream -- though applied nowhere near any incisions -- and Benadryl has helped.  

Diet, exercise and the other lifestyle stuff

steak        I understand there are changes I need to make to my lifestyle in order to keep more trouble with my heart at bay. Before this incident and surgery, I thought my heart was healthy, with no real family history, that the stress test I passed a couple of years ago was a sign of a strong heart and that my eating habits which, if not exactly heart-healthy, were not a threat. Certainly, I will be ratcheting back on the sodium intake, and the red meat I indulged every 10 days or so may become once per month, and less fatty at that. I like tofu, and there are a bunch of things one can do with tofu, although it will never be mistaken on my palate for a one-pound Porterhouse.

        For me, though, it is mostly about activity, or the lack thereof. I am a 68-year old who opts for a golf cart even at times the course is flat and I am feeling up to a good walk. That will certainly change this year. I am also going to force myself onto a treadmill at least a few days a week. There is no excuse not to; through AARP membership, those of us over the age of 65 can obtain a "Silver Sneakers" card which provides free admission on an unlimited basis at many fitness centers. Mine is just 15 minutes away. (You can check if your own health plan includes Silver Sneakers membership here.)

Life is short; live it while you can

        One other lifestyle change I intend to make starting this summer: Limiting excuses for travel and exploration. There is always some convenient excuse for my wife and me not to travel: Get the house ready for sale in a few years, community or personal activities near our home in Connecticut, or as my beloved Brooklyn Dodgers used to say before they won their first World Series, "Wait 'til next year." No more; I just booked a Caribbean vacation for Connie, me, our grown children and their significant others this summer.  Of course, a few nice golf courses are nearby..

        If anyone has any questions, please let me know and I will be pleased to set up a dialogue. This was not an experience for the faint of heart (pun intended), and if I can help anyone feel more comfortable about it, that is the least I can do. Contact me by clicking here. If you are reading this, that means you either hung in there while I was gone, or you are a new reader. In either case, I am deeply appreciative.

        In many of the top golf communities in the Southeastern U.S., prices rose in 2016. In some places the increases were more than 10%, in others in the five percent range. For a variety of reasons, prices decreased in a few excellent communities.
        Regardless, bargains still exist across the board if you choose wisely. Below are the lowest priced properties currently for sale in golf communities we have visited and can recommend. Of course, some of these homes will need a lot of work but the prices give a hint at the other bargains available.
CypressLanding15fromtee 1Cypress Landing on the Pamlico River in North Carolina
        A new home is a big investment, and identifying the best possible location can be a challenge, especially in an unfamiliar area. We can help. If you are planning to purchase a home in a golf-oriented area of the South, simply fill out our free, no-obligation Golf Home Questionnaire [click here] -- it takes less than 10 minutes -- and we will review your responses and schedule a one-hour complimentary phone conversation to discuss which areas and which golf communities best match your requirements.
        To whet your appetite, here are the lowest priced homes currently for sale in golf communities we know well.

Dataw Island, St. Helena, SC
$95,000, townhome, 2 BR, 2 BA, golf view
$149,000, single-family, 3 BR, 2 BA, golf view

Pawleys Plantation, Pawleys Island, SC
$260,000, single-family, 3 BR, 2 BA, cul de sac, 6 minutes to ocean
$198,500, condo, 2 BR, 2 ½ BA, view of fairway

Colleton River Plantation, Bluffton, SC
$529,000, 3 BR, 4 BA, marsh and fairway views
$1 lot (not a misprint), 10 homesites available at that price

St. James Plantation, Southport, NC
$254,900, single-family, 3 BR, 2 BA, 81 holes of golf
$129,000, condo, 2 BR, 2 BA, top floor overlooks pond

Cypress Landing, Chocowinity, NC
$289,900, 4 BR, 2 ½ BA, some river views
$29,000, .73 acre lot, corner location

Carolina Colours, New Bern, NC
$285,000, 3 BR, 3 BA, lake and sunset views
$45,000, .34 acres, includes golf membership initiation fee

Wintergreen Resort, Nellysford, VA
$169,900, single-family, 4 BR, 2 BA, finished basement
$54,900, condo, 1 BR, 1 BA, views of 18th hole of mountain course

River Strand, Bradenton, FL
$279,000, single-family, 3 BR, 2 BA, Lennar home, master connects to lanai
$159,900, condo, 2 BR, 2 BA, views of lake and golf

Lely Resort, Naples, FL
$349,000, single-family, 3 BR, 2 BA, club membership not mandatory
$195,000, condo, 2 BR, 2 BA, fully furnished, golf views

The Landings, Savannah, GA
$289,000, single-family, 3 BR, 2 BA, completely remodeled
$295,000, townhome, 2 BR, 2 BA, lagoon view

Currahee Club, Toccoa, GA
$399,000, cottage, 3 BR, 2 ½ BA, golf view

        Start your search in earnest today. Fill out our free, no-obligation Golf Home Questionnaire, and we will schedule a complimentary one-hour phone discussion to identify golf communities that match your search criteria.

        In many of the top golf communities in the Southeastern U.S., prices rose in 2016. In some places the increases were more than 10%, in others in the five percent range. For a variety of reasons, prices decreased in a few excellent communities.
        Regardless, bargains still exist across the board if you choose wisely. Below are the lowest priced properties currently for sale in golf communities we have visited and can recommend. Of course, some of these homes will need a lot of work but the prices give a hint at the other bargains available.
CypressLanding15fromtee 1Cypress Landing on the Pamlico River in North Carolina
        A new home is a big investment, and identifying the best possible location can be a challenge, especially in an unfamiliar area. We can help. If you are planning to purchase a home in a golf-oriented area of the South, simply fill out our free, no-obligation Golf Home Questionnaire [click here] -- it takes less than 10 minutes -- and we will review your responses and schedule a one-hour complimentary phone conversation to discuss which areas and which golf communities best match your requirements.
        To whet your appetite, here are the lowest priced homes currently for sale in golf communities we know well.

Dataw Island, St. Helena, SC
$95,000, townhome, 2 BR, 2 BA, golf view
$149,000, single-family, 3 BR, 2 BA, golf view

Pawleys Plantation, Pawleys Island, SC
$260,000, single-family, 3 BR, 2 BA, cul de sac, 6 minutes to ocean
$198,500, condo, 2 BR, 2 ½ BA, view of fairway

Colleton River Plantation, Bluffton, SC
$529,000, 3 BR, 4 BA, marsh and fairway views
$1 lot (not a misprint), 10 homesites available at that price

St. James Plantation, Southport, NC
$254,900, single-family, 3 BR, 2 BA, 81 holes of golf
$129,000, condo, 2 BR, 2 BA, top floor overlooks pond

Cypress Landing, Chocowinity, NC
$289,900, 4 BR, 2 ½ BA, some river views
$29,000, .73 acre lot, corner location

Carolina Colours, New Bern, NC
$285,000, 3 BR, 3 BA, lake and sunset views
$45,000, .34 acres, includes golf membership initiation fee

Wintergreen Resort, Nellysford, VA
$169,900, single-family, 4 BR, 2 BA, finished basement
$54,900, condo, 1 BR, 1 BA, views of 18th hole of mountain course

River Strand, Bradenton, FL
$279,000, single-family, 3 BR, 2 BA, Lennar home, master connects to lanai
$159,900, condo, 2 BR, 2 BA, views of lake and golf

Lely Resort, Naples, FL
$349,000, single-family, 3 BR, 2 BA, club membership not mandatory
$195,000, condo, 2 BR, 2 BA, fully furnished, golf views

The Landings, Savannah, GA
$289,000, single-family, 3 BR, 2 BA, completely remodeled
$295,000, townhome, 2 BR, 2 BA, lagoon view

Currahee Club, Toccoa, GA
$399,000, cottage, 3 BR, 2 ½ BA, golf view

        Start your search in earnest today. Fill out our free, no-obligation Golf Home Questionnaire, and we will schedule a complimentary one-hour phone discussion to identify golf communities that match your search criteria.

        Dataw Island is finally getting noticed -– by experts on planned communities and by retirees who know a bargain when they see one. I had a feeling Dataw’s time had come when, after my second visit two years ago, I wrote that the community was pretty near “perfect” in terms of location, given its remote feel yet proximity to the charming town of Beaufort to the west and an ocean beach in the other direction. The golf was darn good as well, 36 holes by Tom Fazio and Arthur Hills.  Read my 2015 review here.
        Dataw is definitely on the map now with its designation as “Best South Carolina Community of the Year" by Real Estate Scorecard, an online service that assesses planned communities (many with golf courses). In announcing the award, the Scorecard’s Margie Casey wrote that, “Property owners revere how life flows [at Dataw] as gently as the tide.” She noted that average home prices had increased almost $100,000 to $414,000 in the last year, which our calculator says is a 30% increase. In my most recent review of Dataw, in 2015, I wrote, “No one looking for a home in Dataw will panic over its housing prices.”
DatawHousebehindgreenonwaterMany homes at Dataw have outstanding golf course views.
        It might be time to take a closer look, if not panic. Current listings show a lot of house available in the middle price range. For example, a $400,000 current listing has 3 bedrooms, 3 ½ baths, almost 2,700 square feet and excellent views of the Arthur Hills Morgan River course. I noted 23 listings under $300,000, a few of them townhomes; one home is currently priced at $95,000, and it has a nice golf course view!
        Nearby Beaufort is a full-service town just 20 minutes away, with a range of nice restaurants, good health facilities, entertainment options, shopping (the mall and boutique varieties) and a branch of the state’s university. The beach at Hunting Island is 20 minutes east on Highway 21. Parris Island and its Marine base is just as close which makes Dataw popular with former military officers.
DatawPinPositionMarkerFor those of us eyesight challenged, top caps on the 150-yard markers on Dataw Island's two golf courses indicate the pin position on the green.
        In her analysis, Margie pointed to the more than 20 clubs that are popular with Dataw’s residents, but the club I like best is the golf club with its two excellent layouts. On my two visits, I noted that the golf courses were well used by the membership and yet in really nice condition. The two layouts are different enough -– the Hills course more a parkland layout, the Fazio more a marshland layout -– that no member should tire of the diversity of play.
        Dataw Island is one of those grown-up communities on the coast that, after four decades of experience, seems to know what it is doing. If you would like a closer look, please contact me to arrange a visit.

        From time to time, people ask me if they can produce an article for this web site on a topic that might be of interest to my readers. For as long as I have been writing about golf communities, Great Britain residents’ have shown strong interest in Florida vacations and real estate. With Brexit looming in the UK and our own political changes in the U.S., I thought an article about investments in Florida by British citizens would be of interest.
        Florida has a strong lure for British expats who are looking either to retire or vacation in the United States. A mixture of sun, sea, and beautiful golf courses make it an attractive option that is leading to many expats to invest in property in the southern US State.
        One of the key reasons that Florida is so attractive to British expats, according to Business Destinations, is that property prices there remain relatively low. Business Destinations explains that many of the properties owned by British expats are not permanent homes and are instead used as second homes during the British winter or for briefer vacations. British visitors to the US are permitted to spend 90 days under the short-term U.S. Visa waiver program and property owners often apply for the B1/B2 Visa that enables them to visit the country for up to 182 days without having to pay U.S. taxes. This arrangement encourages British expats to invest in U.S. properties rather than European properties as they will likely spend longer periods in the States compared to in Europe. Business Destinations notes that Sarasota is a popular destination among British expats due to its location on the Gulf Coast and its proximity to the popular Orlando attractions.
Doralphoto
        Recent political events such as Brexit have also created extra interest in the U.S. real estate market, and specifically Florida. Miami-area television station Local 10 asked real estate experts about the effect of Brexit on property in Florida. Speaking just after the European Union referendum results, real estate developer Daniel Kodsi, CEO of Paramount Miami World Center, said “London was amongst the world’s most lucrative real estate markets; however, [the] UK vote is already causing property prices to plunge, which means that Florida real estate will likely move up the list of busiest global investments.”
        Many British citizens looking to invest in property should find Florida attractive as the real estate market in the UK continues to face uncertainty as the economic ramifications of the Brexit vote constantly change. US news site Reuters, in contrast to Local 10, believes that Brexit could have a negative effect on British buyers in Florida. The site spoke to one real estate broker who said that since the pound sterling had slumped to 31-year lows, “we’ve had people looking that have delayed because their money doesn’t go as far.” He did offer a more positive insight saying that many British expats are delaying, not suspending, investment in Florida.
Floridawaterway
        The beach-oriented lifestyle and golfing scene in Florida means that British retirees will always be attracted to invest in the Sunshine State. One sign that more British citizens are moving to Florida: British Airways is making a direct flight to Fort Lauderdale, according to One Mile At a Time, a travel website. The state boasts more than 1,100 golf courses, many of them world famous and most of them accessible to visiting players. US golfing experts Play Your Course recommends Ft. Lauderdale’s Jacaranda Golf Club as the premier public golf facility in that highly popular area. The course welcomes people from all over the world and is said to be especially friendly for retirees.
        The current economic situation in the world is having an affect on British expats investing in the US, but Florida will always be one of the most sought after places for British holidaymakers and retirees.

        I read articles over the weekend that reminded me of a couple of items that should be on homeowners’ minds as the get ready to put their homes on the market (and, perhaps, move to a warmer climate). One has to do with whom you choose to list your house for sale, the other with when you list it.
        First, many consumers believe that the commission they pay a real estate agency to sell their home is fixed at 6% (or 5% in some states). As I learned in real estate classes, the commission you agree to pay a brokerage if they sell your house is negotiable. True, in many areas, real estate agencies are reluctant to negotiate their fees, but that 6% is not fixed, and you are within your rights to shop for an agency willing to offer you a commission rate of, say, 5%. (Note: The risk is that when your agency publicizes the lower than typical rate in the MLS (multiple listing service), other agencies that represent potential buyers could be less than enthusiastic about pushing your home.)
        More and more homeowners have taken to negotiating the commission rate, and some real estate agencies are starting to lower their rates even before being asked. The national average commission rate in 2015 was 5.26% and industry officials expect a further reduction when 2016 numbers are finalized. Of course, a percentage point difference is relative, depending

The holidays seem like a bad time to list your house for sale.  Not so.

on your home’s selling price. On, say, a $200,000 sale, it amounts to $2,000; on a $1 million sale, it saves $10,000. But if selling your home quickly is a consideration, you might want to pass up the negotiation and instead list your home at a couple thousand dollars more to cover part of the commission. Ask your real estate agent what she or he thinks; after all, you are paying 6% (or less) for their expert advice.
        The other issue has to do with what time of year you sell your home. Based on what I have read, and my own personal experience, the answer is “whenever is most convenient for you.” On the face of it, the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day should be the worst time to sell since most everyone is focused on the holidays, and all their energy to spend is directed toward malls and online shopping. But in late 1986, my wife and I were eager to live in a real colonial home in Connecticut and we took time out from the holiday shopping season to look at a 200-year-old home in Connecticut that was being sold by a divorcing couple. We loved it, they were in a hurry to sell and split the proceeds, and we wound up satisfying our old home urges at a price more than 10% lower than the listed price. I had the feeling that in the weeks the home had been on the market, few other folks had taken time out from their holiday activities to look at it. We had little competition but the sellers had the only traffic they needed.
        Although relatively few people look for a home during the holiday season, you can count on those that do being serious. My conclusion is that the best time to list your house for sale is whenever it fits your lifestyle and timing. At the end of the day, your house is going to sell if it is priced appropriately no matter when.

        When it comes to the right time to buy a home, I trust the consumer’s point of view every bit as much as the so-called housing experts. After all, the consumer has skin in the game.
        That is why a fourth-quarter 2016 survey by the National Association of Realtors may be especially worthy of consideration by those contemplating the purchase of a home this year.
        According to the NAR survey, 78% of those they questioned said “now is a good time to buy a home.” That included 57% of all people currently renting. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed said now is a good time to sell a house, including 67% of people who currently own a home. A relatively low number of homes currently on the market, combined with a bit of pent-up demand, is causing price increases in popular markets. Indeed, 55% of those surveyed said they had seen prices rise in their communities over the last year. And, finally, 44% of those who were asked said they thought home prices would increase over the next six months; 47% said that prices would stay the same.
        In short, the public thinks the current environment is both a good time to buy and sell a home. You can almost hear the sound of real estate agents across the nation rubbing their hands together in glee.

        The median selling price for single-family homes in a group of golf and non-golf communities south of Myrtle Beach, SC, has increased steadily over the last three years. As of the end of November 2016, median selling prices in communities such as DeBordieu Colony, Pawleys Plantation, The Reserve, Willbrook Plantation, and in a selection of the top non-golf communities, showed a $26,500 increase to $336,500 compared with the $310,000 median price in 2014. The 2015 median selling price for these same communities was $320,000, according to the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors. (Our thanks to local real estate professionals Jane Mikol-Gabrielson and Cathy Bergeron for providing interesting data from local reports.)
DeBrodieuTreeinBunkerPete Dye is always full of surprises, as he is at DeBordieu.
        Although the highest-priced communities, such as the golf-oriented DeBordieu in Georgetown, SC, and the non-golf Charlestowne Grant in Litchfield Beach, showed a sharp drop in median prices in 2015 from 2014, prices this year rebounded strongly from 2015; however, DeBordieu’s $749,000 level in 2016 was almost $350,000 lower than the 2014 level of $1.08 million. The number of homes sold over the three years was 24, 24 and 27, respectively, a meaningful enough base of sales to signify that some additional price growth may be in the offing. DeBordieu features a Pete Dye designed private layout with two of the best finishing holes in all of the Myrtle Beach area’s 100 golf courses. It is located just an hour north of Charleston and about 50 minutes from Myrtle Beach International Airport.
Pawleys317frombehindA dike that bisects the marsh at Pawleys Plantation holds the 13th and 17th hole tee boxes. This view is from behind the 17th green, looking back towards the Pawleys Island beach and the Atlantic Ocean just a half mile away.
        The selling price pattern at Pawleys Plantation, where your correspondent owns a vacation condo, also implies that prices could rise in 2017 and beyond. The median selling price of $405,000 in 2016, based on 14 sales, was $39,000 higher than in 2015 (17 sales) but $23,500 lower than in 2014 (13 sales). Pawleys Plantation features one of the most popular and most challenging layouts on the Grand Strand; designed by Jack Nicklaus in 1989, the back nine explodes out onto the marsh, with a unique set of par 3 tee boxes set on the old rice plantation dike that stretches across the marsh.  As I write this, 17 properties in Pawleys Plantation are on the market at an average price of $459,091. Homes in 2016 sold on average 25 days quicker than in 2015.  According to our agent for Pawleys Plantation, Cathy Bergeron, "Prices are going up, and homes are selling quicker."
        The Reserve at Litchfield Beach was one of the few golf communities in the group that showed a steady erosion of prices over the three-year period. The median sales price of $605,000 in 2014 decreased to $579,500 in 2015 and $577,500 through November in 2016. The youngest of the area’s golf communities, The Reserve features a Greg Norman layout that is both friendly to walkers and a joy for those who like to put from as much as 10 yards off the green. More significantly, The Reserve Club is part of the McConnell Golf Group and offers its members full access to the dozen other McConnell courses in the Carolinas and Tennessee, a few of them designed by Donald Ross. At last check, membership initiation fees at The Reserve were a reasonable $4,000 with dues less than $400 per month.
        I know the area south of Myrtle Beach as well as anywhere and I would be pleased to answer any questions, suggest communities that match your requirements or help arrange for a visit to explore the area and its many terrific golf communities. And if I happen to be in Pawleys Island when you are, I would be pleased to serve as your guide around the challenging Jack Nicklaus layout. Feel free to contact me.

Page 1 of 121

decisions-ad

Golf Homes for Sale

Click on any of the following for a chip and putt to some of the best golf communities in the Southeast.

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

North Carolina

South Carolina

Virginia