We are currently working with customers looking for homes in Sarasota, Savannah, Charleston, the Low Country of South Carolina, Wilmington, NC, and other locations.  If you would like our personalized recommendations of which golf communities in the Southern U.S. best match your criteria, please fill out our Golf Home Questionnaire by clicking on the advertisement at the top of the left hand column below...
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May 2014

    May 2014

If One Is Enough...

   Most couples are not looking for two homes in retirement.  One golf community home is quite enough, thank you very much.  Here are a select few current golf homes for sale priced under $500,000, all posted at GolfHomesListed.com.

Heritage Bay
Naples, FL

    3 BR, 3 BA, 2-story coach house, 2,100 square feet, overlooks lake and golf course.  Number of upgrades.  Unique aqua-driving range next to expansive clubhouse.  $389,000

Sarasota, FL

    3 BR, 2 BA single-story, 3,252 square feet, in gated community.  Arthur Rutenberg design with 3-car garage.  Easy access to 36-holes by famous Florida designers Dick Wilson and Joe Lee.  $459,000

Reynolds Plantation
Greensboro, GA

    3 BR, 3 BA, 2,000 square foot home on .6 acre with views of the 4th hole on the The Landings course (one of six at Reynolds).  Built in 2007, home is close to Lake Oconee and amenity center.  $489,000

Currahee Club
Toccoa, GA

    3 BR, plus loft, 2 ½ BA with master BR on main floor, solid wood island in gourmet kitchen.  Designed by renowned architect firm of Keith Summerour.  Stunning views of 8th hole on George Fazio layout.  $499,000 

Mountain Air
Burnsville, NC

 3 BR, 3 BA, 1,600 square feet mountain villa (condo) located on top floor; vaulted ceilings, covered parking, one of the most scenic golf courses you will ever see.  Mountaintop airstrip adds to cachet.  $499,500 

Governors Club 
Chapel Hill, NC

    3 BR, 2 1/2 BA, 3,242 square foot home with open floor plan and master suite on main floor.  View of Jack Nicklaus 27 hole Signature golf course.  $427,900 

St. James Plantation
Southport, NC

    3 BR, 3 BA, 2,400 square feet on ½ acre one-level living plus bonus area upstairs with full bath.  Open floor plan and “nature” view.  $439,900

Okatie, SC

    5 BR, 4 ½ BA, 4,100 square foot two-story home with master suite on first floor and views of lake.  Carriage suite above garage.  Walk to sports center and Greg Norman golf course.  $499,000 

Cobblestone Park
Blythewood, SC

    5 BR, 4 BA, 3,950 square feet overlooking 1st tee on one of three nines inside the gates.  Large open family room with fireplace flows into gourmet kitchen.  Three decks overlook pines and golf course.  Huge master bath with separate showers.  $413,990

Green Valley
Greenville, SC

    4 BR, 3 full, 2 half BA, 5,000+ square feet, big brick home with dramatic front portico, three-car garage, large master suite on main level, near Tom Jackson golf course, pool, clubhouse.  $499,000 

Haig Point,
Daufuskie Island, SC

 3 BR, 3 ½ BA, 3,210 square feet, 2/3 acre nestled in woods but with nice view of lake and close to both clubhouse and ferry to Hilton Head Island.  Master suite and enclosed “sleeping porch” on main floor; near first tee of one of the most highly rated courses in the Carolinas, 27 holes designed by Rees Jones.  $460,000 

Wintergreen Resort
Nellyford, VA

    4 BR, 3 ½ BA, 2,492 square feet on ½ acre, three-level home overlooking the 15th green at Devil’s Knob golf course, featuring 18 of the total 45 holes of golf at Wintergreen.  Built in 2006, available fully furnished.  $479,000

Savvy Advice 

   I typically have a lot to say about how best to go about searching for a golf home in the southern U.S. But this month, I yield the floor to a few industry experts, as well as a couple who recently purchased a home in an established golf community.

 “As you explore your new locale, look for special places that you might hope to frequent. Perhaps you will find a candidate for a favorite restaurant within walking distance or an intimate coffee shop where you can start the day with a steaming cup and a fresh croissant. Also consider how close you are to natural beauty such as oceans, mountains, and forests. Since you have the option to choose where you move, this is your chance to get close to as many attractions and scenic points of interest as you can.”
--Dave Bernard at USNews.com

  “…carefully consider the financial pros and cons of the region you're considering. Look for a well-diversified economy -- that means the area is more likely to be able to weather setbacks to a particular industry. In a one-company or one-industry town, your home's value can take a big hit if that company or industry hits a hard patch or decides to relocate. A protracted downslide in a region (or state) can eventually lead to cutbacks in basic public services, from a reduction in bus routes to a smaller police force.”
Source: Money.CNN.com 

   “It takes time to form new friendships, but getting out and meeting people is the first step. One of the best ways to meet others with similar interests is to join a social club. Look for community groups which center around your favorite pastimes. Many communities offer local clubs for hobbies such as book discussion, astronomy, wine tasting, art appreciation and Bible study. Taking part in a volunteer organization also lets you meet people while pursuing a shared interest…Seeking out local classes will help you meet others as well. Try to find classes which are interactive, such as cooking classes or art classes. Plan to arrive early so you will have time to chat with other students before class, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself, even if the other students are in pairs or groups. Most people feel awkward when striking up a conversation with a stranger, but it is worth the risk if it leads to making a new friend.”
Source: 55Places.com

“You’ll also need to evaluate property taxes and sales taxes as well as the tax consequences if you continue to own property in two states. Overall, lower state taxes should not be the main consideration when considering relocating. Taxation rates are always subject to change, especially in light of the financial difficulties of many states. You also need to evaluate energy, food, and other utility costs.”
Source: Jack Hills, financial advisor, at http://saratoga.patch.com/

“There are lots of retirement choices in the Beaufort (SC) area in all kinds of price ranges. We stayed on Dataw Island and enjoyed their “Experience Dataw” package, and also stayed in town at the Rhett House Inn (splurge!). We kayaked with local guides and rode bikes around, spoke to everyone we could, before finally meeting with builders and settling on our future at Dataw…I recommend immersing yourself in any area for a week or so for those places on your “finalist” list, and even then a long-term rental if you are still not sure. We “kicked a lot of tires,” sent for lots of brochures, spent hours on websites, and then narrowed down to our top three final choices, took advantage of the visitation packages for these three areas before settling on Dataw Island.”
Source: TopRetirements.com

Editor’s note: We have sent a few couples to Dataw for visits recently and all had positive feedback. If you would like us to help arrange a discovery visit through professionals we work with at Dataw, or any other golf community in the South, please contact me.

Mix & Match:
Two Golf Homes within easy drive,
less than $500K total    

    There are good arguments for why a retired couple should not consider owning two golf-oriented homes.  First are the costs to purchase the two.  Second are the costs to maintain them in terms of not only upkeep, but also taxes and homeowner association fees.  Third is the cost of golf; it makes little financial sense to carry a club membership -– let alone two of them -- if you are only going to use the club and golf course for a half year at most.
    We understand, but in each case, for a couple that can envision two different lifestyles and living venues on an annual basis, reality can overcome anxiety.  For example, the overhang of the recession still makes bargain purchases available in many

Wachesaw Plantation (top) features a fairly flat, but well bunkered Tom Fazio layout. Keowee Key’s George Cobb course features hills and lakes. Homes in each community, just five hours apart, can be had for less than $500,000.

of the South’s finer golf communities.  Second, property taxes tend to be relative to the value of a property.  Two properties, for example, whose combined value is $500,000 may not carry a combined assessment much larger than if one $500,000 property were assessed.  (An additional homeowner association fee is an issue, but if you can find two suitable properties for less than your budget, you can “bank” the savings and use it to pay the extra fee.)  
    And finally there is the issue of double golf fees. The recession caused a bloodbath in the golf industry, with clubs closing their doors because of falloffs in membership and inability to keep up with maintenance costs. Some private clubs went public, or at least semi-private, but still maintain something of a private club feel. Competition among semi-private clubs increased, and we’ve seen significant consolidation as well. In Myrtle Beach, SC, for example, National Golf Management emerged from the combination of the Myrtle Beach National and Burroughs & Chapin with a portfolio of 22 golf courses; NGM, like its competitors, offers a simple annual joining fee to play any of its two dozen golf courses at deeply discounted rates. This seems to be a trend across the nation: The offer of multi-club memberships for low annual fees (in most cases, green fees are charged but at deep discounts). In other words, you don’t need to join some excellent golf clubs to play their courses.
    A $500,000 budget seems to be the average of what our customers are looking to spend.  We first approached this subject in our July 2013 newsletter, which touted two homes for that price –- one in the North and one in the South. But couples considering two homes may want them within an easy half-day drive, making it a practical, if impetuous, decision to drive to “our cabin in the mountains” or “the beach house” on a moment’s notice.
    Here are some examples of what couples may consider “perfect pairs” of homes for less than $500,000 total.

Winter near Charleston, SC; summer in Aiken, SC
Travel time (by car):  2 hours, 34 minutes

Wild Dunes, Isle of Palms, SC
    Talk about the best of all worlds:  At Wild Dunes, you get a clean and beautiful beach, the thriving nearby town of Mt. Pleasant, providing the widest range of shopping and entertainment options, and Charleston, one of the most popular east coast cities a mere 15 minutes away.  Charleston’s fine regional airport with non-stop service to super-hubs Atlanta and Charlotte, is within 25 minutes.  And, lest we forget, Wild Dunes offers two sporty golf courses, one of which finishes along the Atlantic Ocean so close to the water that a few times the green has collapsed onto the beach. (We knew putting was the most dangerous part of the game.)  A half dozen other excellent golf courses, accessible to the public, are within 20 minutes.
    What’s for sale?  1 BR, 1 BA, oceanfront condo, $225,000

Cedar Creek, Aiken, SC
    When we first visited the town of Aiken, we thought we were on a movie set that included everyone’s notion of a charming southern town, with a village green ringed by live oak trees and quaint shops all around.  Outside town, you’ll find sprawling landscapes with long stretches of white fences containing grazing horses.  Aiken has attracted the horse crowd since mid-19th Century Charleston aristocracy escaped the city heat (and malaria) in the beastly summers. But beyond the southern charm lies a town with plenty of modern conveniences. Cedar Creek features the most reasonably priced real estate in the area and an Arthur Hills golf course that is semi-private -– but, after all, you’ll only be there a semi part of the year, enjoying balmy weather, horse races and fine golf.
    What’s for sale?  3 BR, 2 BA, 2,036 square foot all brick home within walking distance of clubhouse and other amenities.  $258,000
   One home at the beach, and one in horse country = $483,000 total

Winter in Savannah, GA; summer in Big Canoe, GA
Travel time (by car):  5 hours 

The Landings at Skidaway Island, Savannah, GA
   If you are a subscriber to this newsletter, or a visitor to our blog site, GolfCommunityReviews.com, you have heard us tout The Landings many times before.  We do so in large part because two couples we worked with have bought homes there and rave about their experiences in the community; another couple is likely to pull the trigger soon.  The Landings speaks for itself, with six wonderfully tended golf courses, a wide range of real estate options, financial stability (residents own everything) and a “remote” feel even though its front gate is just 20 minutes from downtown Savannah.  And the views of the marsh are among the best in the southeast.
    What’s for sale?  3 BR, 2 Full + 2 ½ BA single-family 2-story colonial located on cul de sac with MBR on main floor.  $299,000
    (Note:  Landings golf club membership is not cheap at around $30,000, but for six lovingly tended golf courses and a responsive, well-trained and well-organized staff, it seems totally worth it.)

Big Canoe, Big Canoe, GA
    With one of the most flexible golf membership options anywhere, Big Canoe is a perfect part-time venue for couples wanting to live in two places without paying for amenities they won’t use.  And paired with The Landings, you get the best of two topographical wonders –- the expanse of the marsh that leads to the ocean off Skidaway Island, and the multiple mountain tops and gorges that cosset the well-organized community of Big Canoe.  The 27 holes of Joe Lee golf ensures that you can always get a game.
    What’s for sale?  3 BR, 2 BA condo with golf course views, screened porch and decks.  $178,900
    One home near enchanting Savannah, one in the mountains:  $477,900 total

Winter in New Bern, NC; summer in Flat Rock, NC
Travel time (by car):  6 hours

Carolina Colours, New Bern, NC
    The developer of Carolina Colours, Ken Kirkman, adopted a conservative approach to creating this successful community. He paid for and built the amenities as land sales justified, never going into any significant debt.  Indeed, the golf course opened well after a number of homes were built and occupied, and only last year did the pool open.  (We were there at the community’s weekly Friday night gathering when the opening was announced, and judging from the whoops and hollers, it was an event worth waiting for.)  The development’s Bill Love golf course is easy on the eyes, a good challenge and flat enough to walk. New Bern itself, the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola, is on the water (the Neuse River) but a good 40 minutes from the ocean.  New homes start just under $200,000.
    What’s for sale:  4 BR, 2 ½ BA, 1,884 sq. ft. Springfield model in Bayberry Park section.  $197,000

Kenmure, Flat Rock, NC
    Flat Rock is famous for its summer theater, but there’s no drama at the nearby Kenmure community, which features well-priced homes, a classic style golf course and an antebellum clubhouse, circa 1850, that would seem at home at Winged Foot, Augusta National or most any renowned old club.  The clubhouse looks out over a fine Joe Lee layout and is beside a heated pool and all the other amenities one expects from a world-class community.  What one doesn’t expect in such an upscale looking neighborhood are single-family homes that start in the $200s.
    What’s for sale:  3 BR, 3 BA, 3,000 sq. ft. “villa” next to property previously owned by poet Carl Sandburg.  Outside maintenance provided.  Includes mini-kitchen in lower-level guest area.  $275,000
    One home in a 300-year old city, one in the mountains:  $472,000

Winter in Cape Charles, VA; summer in Nellyford, VA
Travel time (by car):  3 hours, 36 minutes

Bay Creek, Cape Charles, VA
    Norfolk is the only city anywhere nearby, but you have to cross a 20-mile swath of the Chesapeake Bay to get to it.  And Bay Creek is a resort that, seemingly in the middle of nowhere on the Delmarva Peninsula, competes with the more famous and much more trafficked Virginia Beach (folks from Washington, D.C. and Richmond don’t need to take a bridge-tunnel or a ferry to get to it).  And yet, Bay Creek goes on, largely on the basis of its two fine golf courses, one by Nicklaus and one by Palmer, and because many people do “like to get away, take a holiday, from the neighborhood.”  And you do feel as if you are on holiday at Bay Creek, a new beach club on the inner part of the Chesapeake Bay having added to the laid-back cachet.  The charming little former railroad hub of Cape Charles doesn’t hurt either, and you won’t want for fresh seafood year round.  Sharply priced real estate is also in ample supply.
    What’s for sale?  3 BR, 2 BA, 1,750 sq. ft. single-family home on wooded lot adjacent to Nicklaus course.  $259,900

Wintergreen Resort, Nellyford, VA
    One of the east’s premier combo golf and ski communities, what makes Wintergreen unique is that on some winter days, you can do both:  Ski in the morning and play golf at the foot of the mountain on the 27-hole Stoney Creek course, designed by Rees Jones.  Try that in Vermont or Colorado in January.  Located just 45 minutes from the university town of Charlottesville, Wintergreen and the local Nellyford community are self-reliant, not brimming with food stores or restaurants but with just enough to satisfy those who come for the slopes in winter and the summertime golf, as well as the verdant mountains and exhilarating rides on the Blue Ridge Highway, whose entrance is beside Wintergreen’s front door.
    What’s for sale?  3 BR, 3 BA, 1,567 sq. ft. condo with two fireplaces, including one in one of the two master suites; unit overlooks the Rockfish Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains beyond.  $239,000
    One home on the Chesapeake, one in ski resort:  $498,900 total
    Note:  The two communities feature 81 golf holes combined.

Winter on Amelia Island, FL; summer on Lake Thurmond, SC
Travel time (by car):  4 hours, 42 minutes

Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, FL
    Make no mistake about it:  Amelia Island is substantially a resort, and when you live there, you share the roads, the local restaurants and the golf courses with transients (unless you join the private Long Point Golf Club, but for a part-time resident, the dues may not make sense).  Of course, the flip side is that you truly will feel as if you are on permanent vacation, what with the laid back atmosphere surrounding the long stretch of beautiful beach, the multiple golf courses, and the wide array of nighttime activities.  And if you require a bit of restorative urban sophistication, Jacksonville is just a half hour away.  As with any beach resort, Amelia features a high concentration of condos, but single-family options are available as well.
    What’s for sale?  3 BR, 3 BA, 1,474 sq. ft. condo under a canopy of trees and within walking distance of the Summer Beach area on the desirable south end.  $195,000

Savannah Lakes Village, McCormick, SC
    The real estate fundamental of “Location. Location. Location” can cut a few ways. For Savannah Lakes Village, location is bad news for those who require a sophisticated urban vibe nearby; the community is a good hour from Greenville, the nearest city, and 30 minutes from Greenwood, a nice town with enough conveniences but, still, it’s a half hour away. Yet, location for Savannah Lakes means bumping up against Lake Thurmond (as in Strom), one of those beautiful stretches of water that would appear carved by nature if you didn’t know it was created by damming up local rivers to create hydroelectric power. In short, if you don’t mind a bit of driving for groceries and off-site entertainment, you’ll find two terrific (and quite different) 18-hole layouts, all manner of lake activities, and ridiculously low prices for single-family homes.
    What’s for sale?  3 BR 2 ½ BA, 2,038 sq. ft. on the 8th green of the Tara course. Extra touches include ventless fireplace, hardwood on first floor, and wraparound deck in the back.  $259,900
    Beach resort home and lake home for $454,900.

Winter in Murrells Inlet, SC; summer on Lake Keowee, SC
Total drive time:  5 hours

Wachesaw Plantation, Murrells Inlet, SC
    We tout Wachesaw often as having some of the lowest priced real estate in cost per square foot terms.  Considering the Lowcountry ambience of this gated community, including the lazy Waccamaw River, the high-density of sprawling live oak trees, the tree-lined fairways of the classic Tom Fazio golf course, and its proximity to a beautiful beach (7 minutes away), Wachesaw is a grand bargain. Golf costs are more than reasonable for such a fine club. Less than five minutes to a hospital, between five and 10 to mall shopping and supermarkets, and 10 minutes to Murrells Inlet’s famed Marshwalk with its numerous seafood restaurants.
    What’s for sale?  2 BR, 2 ½ BA cottage with open floor plan, wood burning fireplace, and short walk to clubhouse, pool, tennis courts, Waccamaw River and first tee.  $199,000

Keowee Key, Salem, SC
    The incredibly well-priced real estate in this mature Lake Keowee golf community (George Cobb golf course) makes it easy to own two single-family dwellings in our $500,000 pairing with Wachesaw Plantation.  Keowee Key may seem “out there” in terms of its rural location, but the university town of Clemson is just 20 minutes away, and Seneca is even closer.  You can spend a lot more money up the lake at The Cliffs and The Reserve, two fine upscale communities, but if a lake, a good golf course and bargain real estate floats your boat, your key to happiness may be Keowee Key.
    What’s for sale?  3 BR, 3 BA, 1,734 sq. ft. waterfront home on cul de sac with water views from main and lower levels.  Wood-burning fireplace upstairs, large rec room, sunroom, built-ins, kitchenette on lower level.  $259,900


    If you are in the market for two homes or one home or just beginning to consider relocating to a golf community, please call on us for assistance.  Our services are free and without obligation.  The best way to start the process is to fill out our Golf Homes Questionnaire online.  We will never share your personal information without your permission.  The questionnaire takes just 10 minutes; after we receive your responses, we will offer some initial ideas about which golf communities match up the best.  You can access the questionnaire by clicking here.  And if you would like the personal testimonials from our satisfied customers before you fill out the questionnaire, just let us know and we will be glad to put them in touch.

   Larry Gavrich, Founder & Editor





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