All Right: Customers Take Different Approaches to Successful Golf Home Searches
Two recent clients demonstrate that there is no one-way to skin a cat, or search for a golf home. David and his wife Penny of upstate New York were looking to buy a vacation home quickly that they could use for a month or two of vacation each year and defray their carrying costs by renting it out at other times. That required the home to be in a popular area for family and golfing buddy vacations, and we therefore targeted the Myrtle Beach area, which is chock-a-block with the vacation magnets of golf courses and beaches. David and Penny spent the better part of a week working with real estate professionals I recommended from one end of Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand to the other; by the end of the week, they had put a deposit down on a home in Sandpiper Bay in Sunset Beach, NC, just north of Myrtle Beach. The community features 27 holes of golf and is five minutes from the beach. The couple knew what they wanted and leaped on a great deal.
Bill and Rebecca of Washington State contacted me a couple of weeks ago, and we have been communicating often since. Bill has done many months of research online which, in my experience, can be a blessing or a curse. The blessing part is that by the time you are ready to make visits, you can easily size up which communities offer the amenities you want. But the other side of the coin is that most communities offer the same amenities, especially if a couple isn’t looking for much more than, say, walking trails, a fitness center, a nearby beach and, of course, golf. Things can get confusing if you let them.
Bill and Rebecca targeted an area within a few hours of Charleston, SC, where their daughter recently accepted an offer to attend medical school. Bill is not a frequent golfer but he wants to start playing and has faith that a golf community with a clubhouse and other amenities offers the quickest path to social integration in the community. He is right. Bill’s list of potential communities extends into eastern Tennessee; virtually all of the 20 or so communities on his list will check the couple’s boxes for amenities and for being a few hours distance to their daughter and her husband in Charleston. The next step is to narrow down the geography. (Bill grew up in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and is especially interested in lake-oriented golf communities.)
In both these cases, the customers will get what they want in fairly short order. Dave and Penny had a basic idea of what area they wanted and asked me for recommendations of golf communities that met their criteria and of Realtors who know those communities well. They put a deposit down on a condo at the end of their weeklong visit. Bill and Rebecca are coming from a much longer distance, about 3,000 miles, and it may take at least two separate visits for them to get a good feel for whether they prefer a coastal or lake location. But because Bill has done a lot of preliminary research on specific golf communities, he and Rebecca will make efficient use of their time by visiting only communities that check all their boxes. By the end of a couple of visits, they should have enough evidence to make a stress-free decision about their home on the course.
If you are considering a search for a permanent or vacation home in a golf-oriented area, please contact me for a free, no-obligation consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org
Real Estate Agents Help You Stay Ahead in Search for Golf Home
Not everyone is ready to start a serious search for a vacation or permanent home near excellent golf. But starting a search cold turkey, without any insight into real estate trends and pricing, is like choosing a career without at least going to high school first. You won’t really know what suits you best, and you will be at a disadvantage to all others looking for a job –- or a golf home. Education opens you up to a wider world of opportunity.
...real estate agents provide their clients with free, automated updates on homes that come on the market and meet the client’s criteria.
Therefore, even if you are thinking of a golf home in the future but are not ready for a few years to start your search, you can still get an education that will put you a leg up on others who might compete against you later for that perfect home and community. Unlike most advanced educations these days, the one I propose is free of charge, courtesy of professional real estate agents knowledgeable about golf communities in their areas.
Virtually all real estate agents provide their clients with free, automated updates on homes that come on the market and meet the client’s criteria. All you need to get the process started is to have an idea of the kind of home you might be looking for in the next few years. Of course, you should identify at least one particular geographical market for your search, but you need not confine yourself to just one. (More on this below.) Your requirements should include price range, size of home (number of bedrooms and baths), view from the house (water, golf courses, trees) and any other criteria that are important to you and typically noted in any listing of a property for sale.
You probably don’t want to be buried in emails from too many real estate agencies; therefore, it is best to do a little up-front research to decide which areas are right for you before you start asking for automated listings. The first step is topographical; that is, do you prefer mountains, lakes or the coast for the site of your future home? In my experience, this is an important first step because before you sit down to talk about it with your significant other, you might have different ideas about location (my wife wants to be near the beach, I like the modest summer temperatures in the mountains). Preference, not price, should drive the decision on geography. Price is no excuse to roam far and wide looking for the “best” place to live; there are reasonably priced homes -– by “reasonable,” I count any home priced under $150 per square foot -– throughout the Southeast region. Climate, especially winter and summer temperatures, is well documented on the Internet. In short, there is no excuse for being confused about which general geography you should target.
...there is no excuse for being confused about which general geography you should target.
Of course, since you subscribe to this golf-related newsletter, you are likely to play golf in retirement, and you should have some idea of whether you will want to join a private or semi-private club or be a daily-fee golfer and play around, so to speak. Of course, if your choice is to pay as you go and play the variety of courses in the area you choose, then you may not need to buy a home in a golf community, thereby avoiding some of the homeowner association and amenity fees common to golf communities. Local realtors in golf-oriented areas will be able to point out the best non-golf communities that fit your criteria but with easy access to nearby golf courses.
But most of my clients are looking for homes in golf communities, many with golf course views. Real estate agencies that are located inside the gates of a golf community, as well as local agencies that work with all the communities in a certain area, can set up their clients with an automated update list of homes that come on the market. You can target how often you want to receive these updates; and if Uncle Willis leaves you a fortune in his will, you can change the criteria at any time (such as raising the price range to Beverly Hillbillies territory, if you wish). Over the long term, you will begin to see patterns in price trends in the area you are following, putting you in a better position to make the best buying decision at the appropriate time.
If you would like assistance in working through the initial stages of your search, such as choosing the geography, please fill out our free, no-obligation Golf Home Questionnaire (click here); after I review your requirements, we can schedule a phone conversation to home in on the particulars of your future golf home. I will also be pleased to assist you in setting up the automated updates of listings in the communities of your choice.
Larry Gavrich Founder & Editor Home On The Course, LLC