Here are some golf communities North and South that can be paired up for a year-round golfing lifestyle (lowest current home selling price indicated). Please note that we have not visited all communities in the North.
Queechee Lakes Club, Hartford, VT $179,000, 4 BR, 3 ½ BA condo
Valleybrook Golf Club, Gloucester Twp, NJ $145,000, 2 BR, 2 ½ BA condo
Chelsea Greens, Brunswick, OH $244,900, 4 BR, 2 ½ BA single-family
Woodland Country Club, Carmel, IN $94,500, 2 BR, 2 BA condo
Carillon, Plainfield, IL $145,000, 2 BR, 2 BA ranch home (adult community, 55+)
Applecross, Downington, PA $247,990, 3 BR, 2 ½ BA town home
Kingsmill, Williamsburg, VA $228,900, 3 BR, 2 BA, condo
Country Club of SC, Florence, SC $248,000, 3 BR, 2 BA condo
Cobblestone Park, Blythewood, SC $270,000, 3 BR, 2 ½ BA home
Pawleys Plantation, Pawleys Island, SC $110,000, 2 BR, 2 BA condo
Ocean Ridge Plantation, Sunset Beach, NC $314,900, 3 BR, 2 BA single-family
St. James Plantation, Southport, NC $115,000, 2 BR, 2 BA, condo
Kenmure, Flat Rock, NC $249,900, 2 BR, 2 BA, single-family
Savannah Quarters, Pooler, GA $229,000, 3 BR, 3 BA, single-family
Heritage Bay, Naples, FL $164,900, 2 BR, 2 BA, condo
River Strand, Bradenton, FL $134,900, 2 BR, 2 BA, condo
Voice of the customer
Rich and Lisa are from upstate New York. With our assistance, they identified and purchased a beautiful home in The Landings, the sprawling multi-golf-course community within 20 minutes of downtown Savannah, GA. Rich, an attorney, had remained in New York attempting to sell their house while Lisa headed south last month to touch up their home at The Landings.
We love getting emails like the following one Lisa sent last week:
I've been here in Savannah paradise since June 11 while Rich was in NY working. He called me last Friday and said, "I told my office I was leaving August 2. I am not letting the real estate market dictate my life. We are moving to Savannah by the end of August or early September."
I was like...Whhhaatttt???? So, we are moving, leaving the house in New York, unsold, and writing a new chapter. Rich flew in July 3, and we now have Georgia driving licenses and a bank account here....so quick...my head is spinning BUT soooo happy and so in love with this fabulous community you helped us discover!!!
I know the New York house will eventually sell, so I'm not in a panic. My kids are very happy for us and can't wait to visit; and ME...I've met lovely people here and can't say enough about this place. Once you are here, you realize it's better than all the comments you've read, all the people you've talked to, all the places in the community you've seen.
Thanks Larry... You made us feel comfortable and confident in our choice of where to spend these retirement years...Hope to get together with Y'all here at The Landings!!!!
Living North & South, for $500,000 or Less
A lot of angst goes into a retiring couple’s decision to relocate, and much of the time it concerns family. With the majority of the nation’s big companies still located in the urban areas of the North, our sons and daughters are likely not to follow us South as we retire. Relocation, therefore, means separation from them and, in many cases, from grand-children. For many grandparents, current and future, family exerts a stronger pull than does a warm climate and year-round golf; they decide not to relocate, either staying put or downsizing from their primary homes and moving into smaller homes or condos nearby.
But it may not have to be that way. As my wife and I face some of these same issues ourselves –- although no grandchildren yet –- we are considering what it would take to live half of the year in the South and the other half in the New England area. I know many couples that do that, but none of them live in two golf communities. One couple we know, for example, spends October to April at Willoughby Country Club in Stuart, FL, before returning for the summer to a Connecticut condo that is not in a golf community. (During summer, Ed plays occasional golf on public courses within 20 minutes or so of their condo.) Their three sons and grandchildren all live within two hours of their Connecticut home, two of the families within a half hour. With an arbitrary $500,000 to spend after sale of an imaginary primary home, I set out to create a combination of homes North and South. Because I was after two golf communities, with at least one of them sporting a long roster of activities, I chose Greensboro, GA’s deluxe Reynolds Plantation and Compton, NH’s Owl’s Nest, two communities I have visited personally and whose golf courses I have played and enjoyed; for some pairs of homes costing as little as the mid $200s, please see the accompanying sidebar. Reynolds is located on Lake Oconee, about 90 minutes from Atlanta airport and within 45 minutes or so of the university town of Athens. Despite its remote location, Reynolds is not without services just outside the gates, including a huge supermarket, eight screen movie complex, good restaurants and a new hospital currently under construction. Owl’s Nest is the perfect venue for skiers and golfers, as well as those who find sport in hiking in beautiful mountains. And it is just a couple of hours from Boston for those who have family there, or are diehard Red Sox, Bruins or Celtics fans. The wild card for many who consider owning two homes in retirement are the extra carrying costs. The total of monthly club dues and homeowner fees at Reynolds is not the lowest you will find, but the roster of amenities and activities inside the gates is worth it to the many hundreds of Reynolds residents. You can keep the costs of club membership down at Reynolds by opting for less than a full golf membership (see below), which might make sense if you are only a part-time resident and you are fine playing occasional golf. Owl’s Nest, on the other hand, has a much lower priced membership plan, and if you opt not to join, you can still pay the reasonable green fees (see below) for the semi-private course. Reynolds and Owl’s Nest are just two examples of golf communities with real estate that can be paired up for year-round golf in comfortable climates. There are other combinations among literally thousands that we can put together for anyone looking for a two-home solution. Contact me and I’d be pleased to create some perfect pairs for you to investigate.
The Real Estate
Reynolds Plantation is currently offering a 3 bedroom, 2½ bath cottage with views of the 12th fairway on the Landing Course, one of the sprawling community’s six layouts strung along Lake Oconee. The cottage is priced at just $189,000 and monthly homeowner association dues run a modest $127. With fresh paint throughout, new floors in the main living areas and new carpet in the bedrooms, the house is move-in ready. A master bedroom with private bath is on the first floor for easy access, with a guest room and its own private bath on the second floor. The covered porch is a great place to watch golfers amble down the adjacent fairway. The Meadows #2 at Owl’s Nest is a 3 bedroom, 3 bath condo-style home, which means that snow removal, lawn mowing, and exterior maintenance are included in the reasonable monthly association fees, just $220, and that includes insurance on the property. The home, which is listed at $299,000, features expansive views of the White Mountains and the golf course’s practice range. Those views are maximized from a second-floor master suite (there is also a bedroom on the first floor for those who are stairs averse). Meadows #2 is conveniently located within a short walk of the Owl’s Nest clubhouse and its Sunset Grille where, I can attest personally, the food is beyond the typical clubhouse fare and the sunsets are awe inspiring.
The Club Memberships
Both Reynolds and Owl’s Nest offer club membership options that require some study in order to understand which option is best for you. At Reynolds, for example, there are two dues levels for each type of membership. For example, you can join just the Landings and Plantation clubs for a $20,000 initiation fee and $208 per month in dues and play those courses for a $74 green fee (cart included); if you increase your monthly dues level to $355, you pay no green fees on your “home” courses and gain access to three of the other four golf clubs inside the gates and pay $74 to play them (cart included) when you like. Other combinations give you similar options on up to five courses. The most expensive membership adds the fully private Creek Club -- not even guests of the on-site Ritz Carlton can play it -- whose course is one of the most visual and entertaining I have ever toured. You can switch dues levels once each year, which is a benefit especially for part-time residents who want to lower their costs during those months that they are not using the facilities. For those who think they might want to build their dream home, a Reynolds real estate company promotion started late last year includes the initiation fee with the purchase of a Reynolds company-owned home site (the type of membership depends on the price of the lot). Owl’s Nest charges an annual membership fee of $2,500 per couple. Before June 17 and after October 6, the member plays for free any day of the week. During the summer high season, members play for free Monday through Friday and after 2 pm Saturday and Sunday, but can stand by for play outside those times (for a $30 fee, if they can be accommodated). Couples can add weekend golf to their membership for $850. Members may invite up to three guests per month who play only for a cart fee rate. Members who plan to play a lot of golf can purchase a cart pass for $550 for the year. Those who opt not to join Owl’s Nest can play it as a member of the public, for high season green fees of $65 on weekdays and $82 on weekends.
The golf club memberships for two clubs rather than one and the double homeowners association dues certainly could be a deal breaker when it comes to owning two homes; but there are ways around this that will respect your budget and desire to play year round golf. For example, you could buy a golf community home in the North or South and a home in a non-golf neighborhood in the other place, and play the local public courses (or wait for your private club friends to invite you to their clubs). The point is it is possible to find perfectly livable homes for well under the combined $500,000 arbitrary level we used, and to target golf clubs where membership fees are much lower –- or, in the case of daily fee golf, not an issue.
In any event, the result could be a happy family...and a doubly happy you.
If you are in the early stages of searching for a golf home, or just thinking about where you might want to relocate in the next few years, please contact me and I will be happy to answer your questions and provide some initial ideas of which golf communities best match your requirements. Better yet: Fill out our online questionnaire; once we receive your information -- always in confidence and never shared without your permission -- we can start the process to find you your dream home on the course. Click here for access to our Golf Home Survey.
We want to make this newsletter as useful as possible for you. If you have comments, suggestions or observations about the newsletter, please email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise to respond quickly. Thank you. -- Larry Gavrich, Editor