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June 2012

    June 2012

  Life’s a beach:
Vero tops list
of coastal foreclosures 

   Realty Trac, an online service that tracks and lists foreclosure properties across the nation, has posted its “10 Best Beach Towns for Buying Foreclosures.”  Topping the list is the Sebastian/Vero Beach metro area in Florida where foreclosed properties are selling at a discount of more than 45% to the median market price.  Other metro areas in the southeastern U.S. on the Realty Trac list include Naples/Marco Island (#3 at a 40% discount), Charleston, SC (#5, 34%) and Hilton Head Island (#6,31%).  
    Foreclosures and bank-owned properties are not for the faint of heart, but if you have a bit of an appetite for risk, can engage a savvy real estate agent (we can help, if you want a recommendation) and have the patience to deal with bank bureaucracies, you could save yourself considerable money with a “distress” sale.  One couple we are working with recently purchased a 5,000 square foot bank-owned home in The Landings near Savannah for $699,000.  The bank dropped its asking price on the home $300,000 for a quick, all-cash transaction.  The house cost $1.4 million to build before the recession and was listed for sale at $1.2 million just a couple of years ago.  The buyers engaged a local engineering inspector to give the house and property a thorough going-over, and he pronounced it in solid shape, with just a few thousand dollars in cosmetic touchups necessary.
    If you are interested in looking into foreclosed properties in the Savannah, Charleston, Hilton Head or other areas of the southern U.S., please contact me and I will connect you with real estate professionals happy to show you all the bargain properties in their area.
    To see Realty Trac’s list of 10 best beach towns for foreclosures across the U.S.,  click here. For a listing of a few foreclosed properties currently being shown by Realtors who post properties for sale at our web site, GolfHomesListed.com, see below.

 Foreclosures you
might bank on

  Here are a few examples of recent foreclosure offerings, courtesy of Realtors who are listing properties for sale at GolfHomesListed.com.

Carolina Colours, New Bern, NC

2,144 sq. ft., 3 BRs, 2.5 BAs

Original: $399,000

Current: $275,000

Thornblade Club, Greer, SC

3,779 sq. ft., 4 BRs, 3.5 BAs

Original:  $549,000

Current:  $479,000

Cliffs At Mountain Park, 

TravelersRest, SC

4,800 sq. ft., 5 BRs, 4 BAs

+ 2 half baths

Original:  $1,475,000

Current:  $990,000


 Reader Feedback

     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: editor@homeonthecourse.com.
      I promise to respond quickly. Thanks.
-- Larry Gavrich, Editor

Eve of Construction:  Why this may be the time
to build your dream home

    For many, the thought of building a home from scratch is about as exciting as root canal surgery, or their mother-in-law’s next visit -- and that’s just among those who have actually had the experience of building a house.  For most of the rest of us, we would no more consider building a house than we would perform root canal on ourselves.  Personally, I sag every time I recall building that high-walled fort with Lincoln Logs when I was a kid, only to have it come crashing down when I tried to put a roof on it.  That experience overhangs my appetite to build a real house. 
    And yet, despite it all, my wife and I own a buildable lot in Pawleys Plantation (SC) and still may actually undertake the unthinkable.  We have lived in a half dozen houses together, and they were all someone else’s conception of a home.  We will never truly have a “place of our own” until we build it.  
    We’ve had a taste of what a home or our own could be like.  We tore apart the kitchen in our current home in Connecticut and essentially re-built it from scratch; five years later, it remains the most functional and attractive room we have ever lived in.  To have an entire home to our specifications –- every wall, every appliance, every window exactly where we want them -– well, that is a seductive thought.  I only hope our marriage survives the construction process.
     For those of you who might consider throwing caution to the wind to build your true dream home in a golf community, here are a few reasons why this may be the best time to take that leap of faith.

 Lots to choose among

    It was Will Rogers who advised, “Buy land.  They ain’t making more of the stuff.”  Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a ton of undeveloped land for purchase in the widest range of golf communities.  Take a huge multi-location development like The Cliffs Communities in the upland of the Carolinas; they have been selling property since the mid-1990s and, literally, have only scratched the surface in less than half their available acreage.  At Reynolds Plantation, an hour-plus from Atlanta in rural north Georgia, plenty of developer lots remain.  It may not be lost on frequent readers of our GolfCommunityReviews blog site that both these huge communities are working their way through bankruptcy processes.  But with Metropolitan Life having purchased Reynolds and a deep-pocketed consortium of companies in apparently for the long haul at The Cliffs, lots priced as much as 70% below their high points of just six years ago are beginning to look even more attractive.
     Alternately, you can choose a wonderful newer development like Carolina Colours that may lack hundreds of millions of dollars in amenities but, more importantly, lacks any crushing debt and can offer a perfectly player-friendly golf course at reasonable prices, plus an owner who lives on property.  And at just $49,500 for a lot with a lake view, and at just 10 minutes from the up and coming town of New Bern, NC, you get a lot, literally, for a little.


Lots of cheap lots

    Real estate operates on the simple laws of supply and demand.  As noted above, the supply of lots for sale is overwhelming and baby boomers and others have not returned to the market….yet.  In the market crash of 2008, the values of homes in golf communities in the southern U.S. took a beating.  But “unimproved” lots took a bigger beating.  If you had even a passing notion of the market for golf community properties back before Lehman Brothers, you recall that even grandmas were speculating in real estate, buying an extra condo here and a lot or two there.  Now they are trying to give them away, some literally (see below).  Many lots with outstanding water and golf course views are selling at prices formally reserved for a simple wooded lot.  But if we believe what we read about consumer confidence growing, employment inching up, and new home sales and prices poised for a modest upswing, some of the extreme bargains may start to evaporate in the coming months.

 A cheap lot can ease the pain of higher dues
   I wrote recently at our blog site about a lot that was selling for $1 in the upscale and desirable Colleton River, a community that is beyond the reach of those who either cannot afford or are unwilling to commit to $15,000 annually in club and homeowner dues.  That $1 wooded lot is a bit of an anomaly, but not by much; other “non-view” lots at Colleton are priced in the four- and low-five-figure range (the "sweet spot" is still around $200,000, though).  So consider you have, say, $750,000 budgeted for a home in your dream retirement community.  Now imagine you could purchase a nice lot for, say, $10,000, and build your 3,000-square-foot home for about $200 per square foot (that should get you hardwood floors, nice cabinetry, upscale appliances, a beautiful stone fireplace).  Simple math pegs the construction cost of your new home at about $600,000 –- leaving that extra $150,000 to dedicate to 10 years of club and homeowner dues in a community with two of the best Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye golf courses anywhere.  And keep in mind that by moving, say, from Boston to a place like Bluffton, SC, where Colleton River is located, you lower your cost of living by 25% or more.  That difference for married couples who do not deny themselves a routine diet of life’s little luxuries could amount to $15,000 alone annually.

Current lots for sale
   Check out a few current lots for sale (below) at our companion web site, GolfHomesListed.com.  Any of the real estate professionals who list their properties at the site will be happy to share their entire list of lots for sale, as well as some extreme bargain-priced houses that might be the perfect site for your brand new dream home.  Here are a few samples:

Carolina Colours, New Bern, NC, .74 acre, lake view, $49,500
The Landings, Savannah, GA, .35 acre, golf view, $149,900
Mountain Air, Burnsville, NC, .52 acre, golf & mountain view, $209,000
Landfall, Wilmington, NC, .46 acre, golf view, $175,000
Daniel Island, SC, .34 acre, golf view, $198,000
Pawleys Plantation, Pawleys Island, SC, golf and marsh view, $199,500
Wachesaw Plantation, Murrells Inlet, SC, golf view, $139,000



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