I could learn to love winter, as least as long as I am working with customers searching for a golf home. That is because when the cold weather kicks in, so too do the searches. There is nothing like that first morning of the season when you fire up the window defroster to get people thinking seriously about a golf vacation home or permanent home in a climate where golf is year round and four seasons means three warm and one in which no more than a sweater is required on most days. (Note: It will go down to the mid 30s tonight in Myrtle Beach, for example, but today’s high was 56 and it was sunny; to a Connecticut boy, that is early May weather.)
Daniel Island Club features a Tom Fazio layout (shown) and one by Rees Jones.
Going where everything is in its proper place
Customers I am working with now are an eclectic group looking for homes across the southeast and hailing from up and down the east coast and elsewhere. For example, one couple from Fort Myers, FL are heading to the Charleston, SC, area with their two sons to begin a new life, most likely on Daniel Island, where all amenities are in and the population and home types meet the family’s needs for diversity. In his 60s, the husband says, “I want what I want NOW, and I do not want to wait five or ten years for someone to find the money to build a proper fitness center and grille room." The 15 minutes to Charleston, many people’s favorite southern town, is a big bonus.
New Hampshire is right next door to Vermont, and a couple from The Granite State purchased a home earlier this year in the RiverTowne Country Club community of Mt. Pleasant, SC, not 10 minutes from Daniel Island. Their son is planning to attend College of Charleston, just 20 minutes over the striking Ravenel Bridge, and RiverTowne featured a home they fell in love with at first sight. Some dedicated readers of this blog may recall that renegade developer Bobby Ginn once owned RiverTowne, but in the wake of his demise, the community did not suffer the same real estate disasters of other Ginn properties. That has made it an attractive purchase for individual home buyers and a New York industrialist who purchased the fine Palmer Design golf course and paired it with the classic Snee Farm layout a few miles away on Highway 17 to form the area’s only duel golf membership plan.
Woodside Plantation features three golf courses and modern homes, many of them with the brick exteriors that are indigenous to the South.
No aching in Aiken
Whereas these customers wanted everything in place, a couple from Vermont I am working with will move to Aiken, SC, next year, likely Woodside Plantation, and eventually buy a lot that will support their new green home as well as a woodworking shop. The husband’s other requirement was for a golf course that permits walking at most times, and Woodside has three such layouts. His wife figured that if they were moving south, it should be to a town that is charming but with enough entertainment and services options to match most northern suburbs. Aiken has that, as well as a downtown area that I have described before as “right out of central casting for small town Southern town.”
They were impressed with town planning in Aiken. “They have a group responsible for what they call "smart development" meant to limit urban sprawl,” they wrote me. “One of their tools they have been using is tax incentives to get new stores to relocate and renovate tired old store fronts. Basically, all the old retail malls are being redeveloped.”
Even a long-time golf pro would be impressed by Reynolds Plantation's Creek Club, as well as its other five fine courses.
An altitude adjustment
A former golf pro and his wife, currently living on Florida’s east coast, have had it with the summer heat in the Sunshine State. They love their community in Port St. Lucie, PGA Village, and want to replicate it somewhere farther north, and at a higher altitude. We will have a serious discussion soon about alternatives that will include Mountain Air, north of Asheville; Kenmure in Flat Rock, NC; and a few communities in and around the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Obviously, the golf pro wants a golf course that is challenging and in fine condition. He will have much to choose from, but his wife is likely to offer judgment on how close the communities they eventually visit come to replicating what they have at PGA Village.
I am enjoying working with a couple from Marietta, GA, who filled out my online golf home questionnaire a couple of weeks ago and have been clear in their requirements, which include ownership of their own golf cart to use on the roads of the community and on the golf course. (In those cases that a personal golf cart is permitted on the golf course, a “trail fee” is charged, typically in an amount between $1,000 and $2,000; also, the golf club may insist that you purchase a cart identical to the ones they rent to golfers.) At this early point in the search, we are discussing potential visits for my Georgia couple to The Reserve at Lake Keowee, The Landings near Savannah, and Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, GA, but in the early stages, everything is open.
Somewhere in the South: Guess the location of this hole and I will give you a shout out in this space. Fill out our golf home questionnaire online and, who knows, you could become a member at this fine club well before next winter.
Are you ready?
These and others of my current customers have personal reasons for relocating to golf communities in the southeast. Some already live in the southeast but want to adjust their thermostats downward in the summer. Some, like a new customer who contacted me today, want to move from inland North Carolina to a golf community within 15 minutes of a beach. If these frosty days of winter have you thinking about relocation to a vacation or permanent home, please take a few minutes to fill out my online golf home questionnaire, send it to me, and I will offer you some initial ideas of which golf communities match your requirements. It costs you nothing and you are never under any obligation whatsoever. If the selections of golf communities makes sense to you, I can put you in touch with a local real estate professional who can answer any detailed questions and arrange for your visit to tour the communities and check out current properties for sale. Please click here for access to our golf home questionnaire.
Friday, 29 November 2013 17:17
A Week in…Upstate SC & North GA
You may have a general idea of where you want to live in retirement, but putting together an itinerary of golf communities you might visit in a short period of time seems like a tall task.
Not for us. If you would like some suggestions of how to spend a week, a weekend or longer exploring golf communities you might someday
call home, please contact us. Better yet, fill out our confidential Golf Home Questionnaire, and we will suggest those golf communities that best match your requirements. Click here to access the Golf Home Questionnaire.
If you would like us to build you a three- to seven-day golf community itinerary, fill out our online Golf Home Questionnaire
For a taste of the kinds of itineraries we’d be pleased to build for you anywhere in the South, here is one that begins and ends in Greenville, SC, one of the region’s fastest growing and most economically stable towns. This itinerary spans seven days and just 188 miles, and covers upscale, lake-oriented golf communities in northern Georgia and the upstate area of South Carolina. (By “upscale,” we mean real estate prices starting in the $400s and rising into the millions. We will feature other itineraries here in the future to fit a wide range of budgets. If you would like us to build an itinerary based on your requirements, or to customize the one below, contact us and we would be pleased to assist you; our services are complimentary.)
Where a community offers a discovery package, we note that; contact us to arrange for the package or for more details. Through our real estate connections in these areas, we can also assist you in arranging a round of golf on member-only clubs.
Greenville – Currahee Club – Reserve at Lake Keowee -
Cliffs Keowee Vineyard – Greenville Country Club – Thornblade Club
Total Drive Time – 4 ½ hours, 188 miles
Starting at Greenville/Spartanburg International Airport
Day 1 & 2
Currahee Club, Toccoa, GA
Homes priced from $400s, lots from $50s
Discovery package available ($129/night)
Jim Fazio golf (18 holes)
Nearest town: Clarksville, GA
Intel: “Currahee is set to become one of the go-to upscale golf communities in the southeast.” If you like a challenge, the Jim Fazio layout is one of the toughest in the South.
The Reserve at Lake Keowee, Sunset, SC
Homes priced from $400s, lots from $100s
Discovery package available (priced seasonally)
Jack Nicklaus Signature golf (18 holes)
Nearest town: Clemson, SC
Intel: “With one of the cleanest lakes in America at its doorstep, a huge community-gathering lawn that sweeps up from the lake to the large and rustic clubhouse (with an excellent Austrian chef at the helm of the restaurant) and the most inclusive club membership available (all direct members of a family have member privileges without fees or dues), there doesn’t seem much reason to leave the enclave.”
Cliffs at Keowee Vineyard, Sunset, SC
Homes priced from $700s, lots from low $100s
Tom Fazio golf (18 holes)
Intel: “Keowee Vineyard (Fazio) is one of the best courses in the golf-rich state of South Carolina…the downhill par 3 17th hole requires driver or three wood from the back tee; the green is surrounded by sand and water.”
Greenville Country Club, Greenville, SC
Homes priced from $400,000
Chanticleer Club, 18 holes by R.T. Jones (redone by Rees Jones)
Riverside Club, 18 holes by W. Langford (redone by B. Silva)
Intel: “The Chanticleer Club…has been hailed as one of the best in the east since it opened in 1970. Greenville Country Club’s other layout, the Riverside Course, was totally renovated in 2007 by noted architect Brian Silva and has been rising in golf course rankings ever since.”
Thornblade Club, Greer, SC
Homes priced from mid $300s
Tom Fazio golf (18 holes)
Intel: “Not only is Thornblade a fine example of a 1980s Tom Fazio course, but it is also the breeding ground for such PGA Tour luminaries as Lucas Glover and Bill Haas (the Haas homestead almost hangs over the 5th green).”
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 19:09
Going through the Hartford Courant yesterday, I was stunned by how many local restaurants in my area of Connecticut are advertising Thanksgiving day brunches and dinners. Call me sentimentally narrow-minded, but I thought most folks spent turkey day at home, cooking and sharing the bounties of the season with family and friends.
Now that my quaint notion is dispelled, I feel less like a heathen for suggesting that the holiday season may be a great time to search for a golf home. Do many people list their homes for sale during the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s? No, relatively speaking, the pickings can be rather slim for obvious reasons: The weather is lousy in many places,
and who wants strangers tromping mud into their houses; many families actually do entertain during the holidays, even if they take their guests to the local bistro on Thanksgiving, and it would be awkward to give those guests the bum’s rush for an hour while potential buyers tour the house; and, frankly, many people just want their homes to themselves during the season. I suspect there is also a “Why Bother?” attitude among sellers who believe no one is looking for a home during the holidays.
Most people who list their homes during the holidays are serious about selling. And that could mean a bargain for the buyer.
This all means that those who list their homes during the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are ultra-serious about selling –- heck, they may have to sell it, for one reason or another -– and their listing price is bound to be sharp and their attitudes toward negotiation likely progressive. That last reality reminds me that my wife and I bought a house in Connecticut in 1986 just before Christmas, from a couple who accepted an offer from us that was a few percentage points lower than their reasonable asking price. You never know a seller’s motivation, but a home open for viewing during the holidays is a sign that the sellers are serious.
Golf communities in the southern U.S. have plenty of homes and lots for sale currently, and most of those will remain on the market through the holiday period. If you are considering a relocation south, and your December calendar is free of obligations on the home front, consider a prospecting trip. As a first step, I invite you to fill out my online questionnaire -– click here –- and I will provide you with some quick, initial thoughts about which golf communities match up the best.
For a selection of properties currently for sale in some of our favorite golf communities in the South, visit our companion site, GolfHomesListed, by clicking here. Happy Holidays.
Saturday, 16 November 2013 10:48
Casual readers of this site know how we feel about retirees obsessing over taxes when it comes time to consider places to live: Taxes are just one component of cost of living. In some cases, it is more expensive to live in a no-income tax state like Florida than in a state with income taxes, like one of the Carolinas. Those worried about fitting their budget to a new location should look at overall costs of living, not simply at taxes.
The costs to maintain a car, including taxes and fees, support our point. It turns out that some states we associate correctly with higher taxes overall actually are reasonable places to own and maintain a car; and some low-tax states are expensive places to own a car. Bankrate.com,
a helpful web site because it deals in fact, as well as a bit of retirement punditry, has ranked all 50 states in terms of overall costs to buy and maintain a car. If you are moving to Oregon with a car or two, according to Bankrate, you win; if you are moving to Georgia, well, start saving.
Although Georgia is the most expensive state in which to own a car, it is the 3rd most friendly tax state.
Georgia tops the list as the state with the highest car costs, according to Bankrate, with an average annual cost of $4,233 per car, or $8,466 for two cars (before any insurance discounts for multiple cars). Taxes and fees seem to be the culprit, the highest in the nation at an average of $1,952 per car, but gasoline costs are up there too. The only other southeastern state on the top 10 list for highest car costs is Virginia, at #9, and with an annual cost of $3,622 per car. Other southeastern states and their rankings and annual costs are listed below.
The Landings at Skidaway Island is just 20 minutes from downtown Savannah, making excursions in a car less costly than in more remote areas.
You might think that high cost, high tax states like New York and Connecticut would be expensive places to operate a car, but they actually rank at #20 ($3,315) and #14 ($3,485), respectively, on the highest cost list. Pennsylvania, at only $2,764, is 7th from the bottom of the list; Oregon, at the bottom, costs just $2,204 to own and operate a car, mostly because annual registration and other fees in Oregon are just $157, compared with $1,952 in Georgia. (The national average is $1,058 for annual fees, and $3,201 for total costs of car ownership.)
Just to confuse the situation further, Georgia ranks 3rd best on one source’s MOST TAX FRIENDLY states for retirees. Kiplinger online cites the Peach State’s income tax exclusion of up to $130,000 per couple over 65, its 2016 phase-out of state property taxes and its relatively modest 4% state sales tax as reasons for the positive ranking. Click here if you would like to go through Kiplinger’s slide show of the top 10 Tax Friendly States for Retirees. South Carolina, Florida and Delaware are also on the list.
If you want any assistance sorting out the comparative cost of living differences by state and even by city as you search for your golf home, please contact us.
Costs of Car Ownership (Source: Bankrate.com)
Ranking (most expensive) with annual costs
# 1 Georgia $4,233
# 9 Virginia $3,622
#16 Florida $3,413
#26 So. Carolina $3,219
#27 No. Carolina $3,193
#29 Maryland $3,158
#32 Tennessee $3,067
#38 Delaware $2,846
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 10:55