Bank on it: Foreclosures can happen even in best communities


Height of drama:  Bear Lakes' Nicklaus Design Group course may only be nine holes, but every shot includes a great view.


    Many golf communities are hanging in there during these trying times, even if some of their property owners are not.  Bear Lake Reserve in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina had the good sense to build its tasteful roster of amenities early on, including an impressive rustic clubhouse that looks out on the pristine lake below.  The adjacent pool was a beehive of activity when I visited a year ago, and the golf course, which was carved into the top of the mountain according to plans by the Nicklaus Design Group, was one of the most picturesque I toured last year.
    I stayed in one of Bear Lake's warm and comfortable cottages, most of

The cottage is on the market for $309,000.  A couple of years ago its market value was around $600,000.

which are owned by folks who use them a couple of weeks a year and put them on the rental program for the rest of the year.  For some couples, the rental income is the only thing that makes it feasible for them to own.  But in this economy, vacation travel has eroded significantly, and where it hasn't, people are shopping for bargains.
    According to colleague and real estate professional Marian Schaffer, an expert in southern community real estate and the person who introduced me initially to Bear Lake, a lending institution has taken over one of the Dogwood Cottage units, at 2,000 square feet similar to the one I stayed in, and has put it on the market for $309,000.  Lenders don't like to own real estate for more than a nanosecond, and it is reasonable to assume that $309,000 is not their final price.  Dogwood Cottage units were selling for as much as $600,000 just two years ago.  Property tax on the unit is just $800 annually -- no, I didn't drop a zero.  On the other hand, homeowner association fees run about $800 per month, which makes overall carrying costs about normal for similar mountain communities.  When rented, the unit should pull in about $1,000 per week or more.
    Bear Lake Reserve is located in Tuckasegee, NC, about six miles from Western North Carolina University and the pleasant town of Sylva.  For more information about the foreclosure property or Bear Lake Reserve in general, contact me [click here] or Marian via her web site,
The comfortable cottages at Bear Lake Reserve are tucked into the woods of the mountain community.  Many are available to rent by the week.

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