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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Home is Where the Hard is: Avoid Complicating Your Search for a Golf Community Home

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        Clients looking for a golf-oriented home for their retirement years come in two general categories: One comprises those who know it when they see it. The other includes those who, when they see it, always think there is something better over the horizon. The former group looks ahead to a fruitful and entertaining retirement; the latter group eventually will look back on missed opportunities. 
        There is no perfect golf retirement home. Such a thing would mean that you meet only friends for life inside the gates of your new community, that the golf course is always in perfect condition and you shoot your career rounds every time you play. The weather is always, say, 72 degrees and sunny, and the homeowner fees and golf dues are a bargain compared with the universe of golf community clubs. You get the drift.
CallawassiehomeandgreenA couple I worked with visited the Callawassie Island community earlier this year with one of the real estate professionals I recommended, and then returned to Connecticut to put their home on the market there. They sold it in a couple of days and bought a home in Callawassie, via a phone call with the agent, two days later.
        You should never settle for a home that doesn’t meet your requirements, but your requirements should be realistic. If you want to live near a beach but you insist that there be a zero chance of a hurricane hitting your area, forget about the coast. Search in the mountains or by a lake. If you choose to join a semi-private golf club but your requirement is that turf conditions be pristine, then build into your budget private country club membership because the public golfers who play your semi-private club will not fix their ball marks and replace (or sand) their divots. Sorry, I belong to a semi-private club and have played many others; those who have no vested interest in your club tend to treat it as such.
        Couples in Category 2, the Never Satisfieds, will help avoid an unfruitful search by defining clearly their requirements before they begin looking for a golf community home. Write them on a piece of paper or send an email to yourself, cc to your spouse –- obviously after you both agree on them. (Send them to me at editor@homeonthecourse.com, and I will be pleased to weigh in on whether they are realistic, and to make some suggestions about which golf communities meet your requirements.) I suggest keeping your list to three or four must haves and, of course, making them realistic (see above).
        To delay a decision to purchase a golf home that otherwise satisfies all your main requirements is to potentially harm yourself financially and, perhaps, psychologically. If you are mentally prepared to reward yourself after a career of hard work and child raising, the longer you wait the more disappointing your retirement will seem. And ever since the effects of the recession of 2008 ended, basically around 2012, real estate prices in the highest-quality golf communities have risen as much as 8% to 10% annually. For a couple with, say, a $400,000 budget for a home, waiting a year to buy a golf community home that, in virtually all regards, suits their lifestyle and golfing style could cost them as much as $40,000 when they finally decide to buy that home, or one like it, in the same community. In other words, they may only be able to afford a $360,000 home if they defer their decision.
        When a couple falls in love with a specific golf community, the hard work is essentially done. All that remains is to find the right home. That doesn’t always happen on the first visit, but if you engage with a professional real estate agent who listens well, visit a few sample homes and share your honest feedback, he or she will keep an eye out for homes that come on the market and appear to meet your requirements. I have developed an excellent network of golf community real estate professionals I can recommend. 
        But first, contact me and we can start the process of finding a golf community that meets your requirements. And, in case you are wondering, there is no charge for my services.

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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.

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