My go-to Realtor in the Sarasota and Venice, FL, real estate markets, Dennis Boyle, toured a couple I referred to him around his area the last two days. They are looking for a permanent home not far from the Gulf of Mexico beaches. He wrote me the following yesterday:
        “The market here hasn't been like this since just before the crash in the mid-2000s. Some builders have stopped all sales for the rest of February because they can't keep up. Other builders are allocating just a homesite or two a week. There are virtually no resales left to be had in the better lifestyle communities. We looked at communities that [with more than] 6,000 homes in one area of Venice called Wellen Park, where the new Atlanta Braves Spring Training park was recently built. There were no resales to look at. The…choices of lots were sparse. It is similar in Lakewood Ranch and other new community areas.”
        As I wrote recently about the current state of real estate markets in the Southeast, quoting Yogi Berra, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Dennis’ report is consistent with what I am hearing from all over the Region. The fork in the road for couples considering a home in the Sunbelt says, “This Way Now.”

        One of the pieces of advice I offer clients is that, if you have the time and resources, try to visit a golf community you might be targeting as a future home in a couple of different seasons. Travel to some southern locations in, say, spring or fall, and you will get an entirely different feel from a visit in summer or winter. Winter is a good time to find out how you might have to adjust to some climates in the South.
        Today, I received a promotional email inviting me to take advantage of a Discovery Package at the community of Keowee Key in rural South Carolina. It was a good deal – 3 days and 2 nights in an on-site condo with a complimentary dinner for two in the Clubhouse and golf for two on the George Cobb designed course…for $349. However, I thought the promotion at this time was a bit odd – not because it is winter but because, as I write this, Keowee Key has just four properties listed for sale under $750,000; in late 2019, I recall plenty available in the $300,000 range.
        Christine de Vlamming runs the marketing effort at Keowee Key, and I wrote her an email indicating my curiosity about promoting a community with very few homes for sale. Wouldn’t, I asked, that tend to alienate clients who would come to Keowee Key looking to buy? Or, alternatively, wouldn’t it encourage people to take advantage of a “discount” vacation, even if they weren’t serious about living there?
        “We have a series of questions for all applicants that helps us to qualify them,” Christine wrote back within a half hour, “[to] avoid vacations.” She went on to explain that there are some properties for sale but they tend to go on the multiple listing service and come off quickly.
        “We still want to keep the backlog [of prospects], she added. “Many folks do not move… until a year or so later, after they find us. We want them to fall in love with our personality.
        “It’s all working very well despite how it looks.”
        If you would like more information about Keowee or to take advantage of their Discovery Package, I would love to make the introduction for you. There are dozens of other discovery packages available in Southeast Region golf communities. Contact me here and we will figure out an itinerary for a visit to a few of them.