Newcomer Magazine


Posted June 6, 2007 2:44 p.m. EDT

North Carolina is a state whose beauty springs to life from every inch of earth. The diversity and depth of Mother Nature displays itself magnificently from the coast, to the mountains, to the rivers and to the lakes. Chances abound to feel the rhythm of nature’s pulse and to lose yourself in the wild landscape of this state. Relaxation and memories are literally at the tip of your fingers. What suits your fancy? Hop in your car and drive a few hours to feel the swell of the ocean’s waves or take a short road trip to absorb the dazzling mountain views.

In a state that offers extraordinary vacations without the stress of an airport, resort properties are part of every family’s ultimate dream. Vacation no longer has to be something that comes only once a year. A resort property grants you the freedom to take a short weekend trip to revitalize the spirit, a long weekend to relax your body, and an assured place to share laughter and fun with families and friends.

But there are so many choices when looking for that ultimate second home or retirement abode; what questions should you ask when looking to expand your real estate? Well, the first thing you must determine is in what region you want a home. Does the quiet song of the ocean’s deep waters and digging your toes in the sand sound appealing? Or do you want to gaze over mountain crests and feel temperatures cool you down?

John Haynes is the owner of the extraordinary community, The Headwaters at Banner Elk. Living and working in this environment has given him a special perspective. “There’s something reassuring about being in the mountains. One feels embraced by them,” he says. “Mountain property has a certain appeal unlike most others. At many beach destinations, the lifestyle tends to be fast paced and crowded. Here we have lots of room to stretch and breathe. We all live in an uncertain and unstable world, and people are seeking a safe haven. The image that often comes to mind is that of a cabin nestled in the woods. What’s more safe and secure or more American than that?”

The Headwaters boasts prime views at every home site, waterfalls that will ease your stress, and close proximity to a full day of shopping and dining. John asks and answers, “What is it that makes The Headwaters special? We have four mountain ridges with exceptional views of the Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests along with large streams, waterfalls, and two lakes. There are five park areas already developed that dot the site plan with points of interest. Our upcoming clubhouse, indoor pool, tennis courts and amphitheater will provide a central gathering spot for our property owners. A farmstead will offer the opportunity to tend a small garden plot for flowers, vegetables or herbs in the summer. All of this while being only ten minutes from the quaint town of Banner Elk, with its myriad of upscale dining, shopping, and the arts scene of Lees- McRae College. All of this is available at a price point half that of comparable developments.”

But some are partial to the calming ocean views with an element of the mysterious unknown... a whole different world expanding with every further step into the cooling waters. Do you desire the laid back beach atmosphere of flip-flops, floppy hats, and surfing? For me, the beach represents a place to reconnect with myself. I am able to renew my spirit and feel connected to the energy of something greater than myself. The salt air and explosive sunsets produce tranquil thoughts and unbelievable stress relief. Susan Lawing represents Coastal Communities, which has established many wonderful, exclusive beach communities along the North Carolina coast. She states that “Most of our clients that come to our area are looking for either second homes or retirement. They are looking for a lifestyle. For some it may be golfing, boating or simply being close to the shore.” Both the beach and the mountains provide wonderful sites for a new home; you just have to decide which better suits your family’s needs. Do you want the hotter temperatures of the calming ocean, or the cooler temperatures of the rugged mountains? Keep in mind that in order for you to get the cool temperatures of the mountain lifestyle, you need to be above 3,000 feet elevation.

When decided on a general area, the next question to ask is do you want a more metro area or the feel of a smaller community? John Haynes of Headwaters states that, “There are trade offs to each. With a larger town comes more conveniences, but increased traffic, visual pollution and noise. Most people want a happy medium. That is, close enough to major services but far enough out to have pristine views.”

Now comes time to choose your actual home site, home, or condominium. Do you want an active community where there are planned events every week or something laid back?

A community with planned events can be a great opportunity to send the kids off for a fun filled hour or two and get some one-onone time with your spouse. Or a community that doesn’t offer events can be a great chance to get creative with your family time. Do you want a more sophisticated club atmosphere with golf and dining, or one where blue jeans are the normal dress code? Maybe all you do is dream of wearing that cute new dress you’ve been eyeing, but for some, vacation equals sweats, t-shirts, and a baseball cap. Picking a property that is right for you is all about preference.

Are you interested in covering some of your cost by renting out your home, or do you desire the home to be yours and only yours? This is important to consider and ask about, because many communities today do not allow rentals, because it brings a steady flow of random people in who may not have the respect for rules and the value of the property. But some communities fully support rentals, even offering rental property management functions in their office.

Also, when the time arrives to move on and sell your home, how and who will market the property? Does your community offer assistance with this, or is the burden yours alone? Is the developer financially sound? In what stage of the development is the community? It is absolutely crucial to ensure that you are investing wisely in what will hopefully produce much joy in your family’s life.

When selecting the right home for your needs, be sure to search for an amenity package that fulfills all your desires. And last but not least, you have to find something that brings you joy and fits into the budget. Susan Lawing says that, “Home sites range from $200,000 to $300,000, and custom built homes can be anywhere from $400,000 and up.”

At The Headwaters of Banner Elk a lot will cost around $200,000. All in all you typically end up spending around $600,000 for the whole package-an incredible mountain home, long range mountain views, and great amenities.

There are so many incredible places to pick and choose from when searching for a resort property in North Carolina. Just remember the importance of asking questions, following your gut, and finding something that fits every one of your family’s desires!