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The least expensive home in Wexford Plantation is listed for $409,900 and includes three bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms and 2 half baths. It encompasses just over 2,000 square feet but is on a lot of 0 square feet, which implies it might be a free-standing condo, although the listing does not indicate that. On a per-square-foot basis, its $205 compares with the huge home's $550 per square foot.
I played the golf course at Ford Plantation the day before Wexford. Although not as well established as the Hilton Head community, the Richmond Hill, GA, Ford Plantation is every bit as upscale. Like Wexford, its golf course was totally redone in the last couple of years by its original designer, Pete Dye, for a budget busting $7 million, for which all but 15 of Ford's members apparently kicked in serious dollars in added assessments. The precipitant for the redesign was a severe drainage problem that made play all but impossible the day after a heavy rain -- and it does rain heavy in the Savannah area. Although all but the most astute designers probably can't tell the difference between, say, a $4 million and a $7 million rehab, the layout and condition at Ford were superb, and the fact that the course was without damp spots after a few days of on and off rain offered positive testimony to the investment.
While the homes surrounding the golf course were not as relentlessly large as those at Wexford, many communicated lofty price tags. Compared to the most expensive house for sale in Wexford, Ford's premier home, listed for "just" $3.2 million, seemed a relative bargain, but at $615 per square foot from its 5,191 square feet, its fit and finish may be beyond even the expensvie Wexford home. (The carriage house guest suite, the Lake Clara views, the Tennessee fieldstone and art studio give hint at the grandeur of the home.)
The least expensive home at Ford Plantation seems like an extreme bargain given that it sits on a 2.9 acre lot that looks out onto the Dye golf course and is priced at just $475,000. But a closer reading yields a description of a 1 bedroom, 2 bath carriage house of just over 1,100 square feet, certainly habitable for a couple that likes cozy. Alas, the broker with the listing sees it only as temporary housing. "Live on site," the description reads, "as you build your main home." Your friends or family will be perfectly content in the carriage house, and you will save $50,000 if you contract to purchase the property by the end of the year. That is because The Ford Plantation Club will raise mandatory dues by $50k, to $100,000, at the end of December.
For those with the resources and desire to call either of these great golf courses their own, contact me and I will be happy to make introductions to Ford or Wexford...or both.
I'll publish in this space a few notes and photographs in coming days about my rounds at Ford Plantation and Wexford.
We can’t pass up a bargain, and you know you can’t either. Two special bargain homes came to our attention in the last week. The first is a 3 bedroom, 3 bath 18-year-old home in Savannah Lakes Village, a winner community when it comes to inexpensive real estate on a dollar per square foot basis and with some of the most reasonably priced amenities we have encountered. The home looks out to the 8th green of the Tara Course, one of two well-maintained and interesting 18-hole layouts at Savannah Lakes. At 2,038 square feet, the house is priced just a skooch under $100 per square foot even if you don’t factor in the value of the ½ acre lot on which it rests. Combine the low cost of the home with Savannah Lakes’ incredibly reasonable dues for golf and its other amenities, and this home would be perfect as a primary or vacation home in a lake community.
Photo courtesy of Michael Sherard, Savannah River Realty
A second home that struck us as an extreme bargain, and had us dreaming of sipping cocktails while looking out upon beautiful mountains, is a small cabin in Sylva, NC, which we know for the upscale golf community of Balsam Mountain Preserve. The cabin is outside that community but there is ample golf in the area, and the views from fairways, greens and clubhouses can't be beat. One good choice would be a membership at Balsam Mountain’s breathtaking Arnold Palmer design stretched across the top of Balsam Mountain. A good semi-private alternative is Sequoyah National Golf Club, just 23 minutes up into the Smoky Mountains where a $300 annual pass entitles the holder to golf at $39 per round, cart included. (Regular green fees are $59.) At 2 bedrooms and 2 baths and only 1,104 square feet, things could get awfully cozy in this cabin but the huge windows and cathedral ceilings give the place a much larger feel. And at an offering price of just $188,500, the home will take only a tidy little bite out of a budget.
Photo courtesy of Cecelia Coker, Balsam Team
A groundbreaking for the long-awaited Wellness Center at Southport, NC’s St. James Plantation is slated for next week. Completion of the facility is expected before the end of 2016. The Wellness Center is the last amenity promised to the residents by the St. James’ developers. The St. James golf courses, which comprise 81 holes, also broke new ground of a sort recently when they announced play on their sometimes well-used layouts would be on a walk-up basis; no longer is there a need to call for a tee time ahead of play. The golf courses are popular with members who, so far this year, have accounted for 84% of the rounds played; the other rounds included guests of members, a couple of First Tee Foundation events, other charity events and college golf tournaments. Golf dues at St. James, which is managed by Troon Golf, remain comparably low, under $500 per month per couple, less for a single, and including access to many of Troon’s other clubs around the country for a small monthly charge.
Columbia, SC, is recovering from the recent relentless rains and flooding. The Tom Fazio designed course at Woodcreek Farms took a pretty good hit but members and work crews have restored everything pretty much to normal. (Sister course Wildewood suffered less damage; Woodcreek and Wildewood are available for play by members of each for one monthly dues payment.) A little bit of sunshine poked through when New Style Communities, an offshoot of national builder Epcon, announced recently that ClubRidge at Woodcreek, a neighborhood of single-family, low maintenance homes, is under construction. The homes will all be one-story, which should appeal to baby boomers in the area looking to downsize, as well as northerners considering a balmier climate for their retirements. Best of all, outside maintenance is included in monthly homeowner dues.
Columbia is one of those sleeper locations for baby boomers retiring in the Southeast. The town is located at the nexus of a couple of Interstates, making travel in all directions quick and relatively easy. (Our neighbor in Pawleys Island makes it back and forth from Columbia every weekend in about two hours each way.) Columbia, the state capital, is also home to the giant University of South Carolina and all that a major institution of higher learning can add to the vitality of a region. Our agent in Columbia, Mike Wyka, lives in Woodcreek Farms but is also quite knowledgeable about all the golf communities in the area, which include a diverse sampling.
Lakewood Ranch in Bradenton, FL, is about as big as a golf community gets. It started out as a 48 square mile timber ranch owned by the family that founded Schlitz beer in Milwaukee. Over time it has grown into a residential and mixed-use community big enough to have its own zip code. Now a new 235-acre section of reasonably priced villas, townhomes and single-family homes has been announced, with prices starting in the $180s. Called Harmony at Lakewood Ranch, developer Mattamy Homes will construct houses up to 2,700 square feet near a large community pool, fitness center and children’s playground and clubhouse. Although the community of Lakewood Ranch is self-sustaining, with every conceivable service and plenty of shopping, the towns of Sarasota and Bradenton are a short drive away, and the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico less than a half hour.
This “coach” home features a great room and den with cherry wood flooring. Loaded with crown molding throughout and granite galore in the upgraded kitchen. Attached 2-car garage with storage space above. 10-foot sliding doors lead to expansive lanai with views of the preserve behind. A few steps to community pool and outdoor grills. Park-like setting. Two Tom Fazio layouts are icing on a beautiful cake. Only 10 homes in Mediterra listed below $1million, 57 properties over $1 million. Access to all Mediterra listings at Golf Homes for Sale.
OK, so the asking price is just a smidge under our $1 million median, but it is the cheapest home currently for sale in the community named for Jack Nicklaus’ famous “That’s good” to Tony Jacklin at the 1969 Ryder Cup at England’s Royal Birkdale. The two golfers designed The Concession golf course, which is considered one of the best in the Southeast by many golf course rankers. Features on this cul-de-sac-located newly built home include just about everything you would expect, with a surround sound system throughout the entire house, a kitchen a pro chef would appreciate, separate large walk-in closets off the master suite, Roman shower with a spa-style rain showerhead and an outdoor living area with heated pool/spa, water view and fully accessorized outdoor kitchen. Access to all current Concession homes for sale at Golf Homes for Sale.
About half of the 24 homes for sale on the property where Henry and Clara Ford spent their winters are priced below $1 million, only five of them under $600,000. This home packs a lot of rooms into a tidy lot of a quarter acre, but what is outside this cute-as-a-bugs-ear home is almost as important. That includes a 1 BR, 1 BA guesthouse and, nearby, Pete Dye’s Ogeechee Golf Club, named for the adjacent river. Ford Plantation members recently commissioned the octogenarian Dye to redo what was already a great, if occasionally waterlogged, layout to the tune of $7 million. We are looking forward to a go at the “new” course in a few weeks. For listings at Ford Plantation, see Golf Homes for Sale; contact the real estate broker listed there for a full property listings.
Of all eight Cliffs Communities, Walnut Cove may be the most “cosmopolitan” of all, given its location just 10 minutes from Asheville and a less-than-rustic look to the homes surrounding the Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, some of them deluxe townhouses. Prices seem to have stabilized post-recession as quickly as at any of the Cliffs communities and, at present, we count just five homes listed for sale at prices under $1 million, and 35 over that level. The current low price goes to a townhome that is a short walk to walking trails. Photos sure make it seem like a spacious home inside. For a full listing of current homes for sale at the Cliffs at Walnut Cove, see Golf Homes for Sale.
Although Daniel Island, an exquisitely planned community just 15 minutes from Charleston, SC, but set off by itself, offers the widest range of home types, it currently is showing a total of 52 single-family houses for sale, 29 of them above the $1 million mark. With two highly rated golf courses by Fazio and Rees Jones and its proximity not only to Charleston but to the airport, abundant shopping and beaches all within about 20 minutes, it could not be better situated. This lowest priced home is on a small lot facing a 7-acre park and is within an easy walk of shops, dining and the river that surrounds the island. A front porch is there to enjoy the view of the park and to keep an eye on the kids or grandkids. For all listings on Daniel Island, from townhomes to estate homes, see Golf Homes for Sale.
Some serious golfers in South Carolina believe Chanticleer is the best non-coastal golf course in South Carolina, and they will not get any argument from this quarter. The Robert Trent Jones, Sr. layout ranks consistently in the top 5 for all state golf courses. The in-town location of the surrounding community of mostly estate style homes makes Greenville Country Club especially popular with local professionals and business owners. The addition of another excellent golf course, the Riverside club three miles away, only adds to the attraction. This home for sale is on a half-acre tract and features a new kitchen and baths, as well as his and her offices and an outdoor area with a stone terrace and covered pergola. For access to all the listings in Greenville Country Club, check out Golf Homes for Sale.