Posts Tagged ‘golf in the Triangle’

Golf Fanatic? 2014 will be a great year for Triangle Golfers!

March 24, 2014
The pose of a Champion! Who will pose at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst?

The pose of a Champion! Who will pose at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst?

The Triangle will be the focus of golf this year as we welcome both the 2014 U.S. Men’s and Women’s Open to Pinehurst in June. It will be a unique opportunity to watch some of the greatest golfers in the world compete. Nothing is more impressive than witnessing amazing golf shots with millions of dollars in prize money on the line. We all remember the great shot by Payne Stewart to win the U.S. Open in Pinehurst or the more recent Bubba Watson shot to win The Masters in 2012. However, if you are like me, you would much rather play golf then watch it. Here are some of the great opportunities to gather your friends and business associates to play tournament golf in the Triangle this year.

The tournament was named after past president Jack Andrews who supported this tournament. We lost Jack in 2013, but he will never be forgotten!

The tournament was named after past president Jack Andrews who supported this tournament. We lost Jack in 2013, but he will never be forgotten!

I would be remiss if I didn’t place the greatest emphasis on my Rotary’s club golf tournament which will be held at Wildwood Green Golf Club on May 6th. It is a 1 pm shotgun start with pizza lunch provided by Little Caesars. The 5th Annual Jack Andrews Memorial Golf Tournament will benefit the many organizations that the Rotary Club of North Raleigh supports throughout the year. More details can be found here or you can contact me directly as I have the inside information on this event. This is an important fundraiser for this organization and without your support, we cannot help the many people we do every year.

 

The Inaugural Holly Hill Hospital Charity Golf Tournament will be held on May 12th at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course on the NCST Campus. Registration opens at 11 am with a noon shotgun start. Cost is $130 per player and more details can be found here. The Lonnie Poole Golf Course is always a challenging and interesting course so you will want to make your plans to participate in this event.

The Wake Tech’s Sixth Annual Athletic Golf Tournament will be held on April 25th at the Eagle Ridge Golf Club. It sounds like a wonderful event with a silent auction, 50/50 raffle and a $5,000 putt for Cash. More details for this event can be found here.

The Northern Wake Optimist Club’s Golf Tournament will be held on April 4th at the Reedy Creek Golf Course. Proceeds benefit kids in our community. There will be a monetary prize for the top 3 teams. The cost is minimal at $65/player or $260/team and it includes both a bag lunch and dinner after the round. For more information, please visit here.

The Camp Royall Classic Golf Tournament will be held on May 5th at the Preserve at Jordan Lake Golf Club. The tournament will help provide life-changing experiences to children with autism at Camp Royall, the largest and oldest camp exclusively for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United States. The cost is $500/foursome. You can learn more about this effort and register here.

On June 16th at Bentwinds Country Club, the Eighth Annual Raleigh Area NFFF Golf Tournament will be held. It will support the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation which supports the families of fallen firefighters. The cost is $100/individuals or $400/team with many sponsorship opportunities. For more information on this wonderful event, please click here.

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Golf Tournament will be held on May 15th at River Ridge Golf Club. It will be a 9 am shotgun start and sponsorships are still available. Please visit here for more information.

The Raleigh Claims Association (RCA) Golf Tournament will be held on May 16th at Wilmar Golf Club. It will be a 1 pm shotgun start and cost is minimal at $50/player to include golf and the picnic. For more information, please click here.

The Ed Shook Golf Classic raises money for the education of developmentally challenged children in Wake County!

The Ed Shook Golf Classic raises money for the education of developmentally challenged children in Wake County!

The Ed Shook Golf Classic will be held on September 8th at the famed Raleigh Country Club. Celebrating its 49th anniversary, this event is one to remember and participate. Sponsored by the Frankie Lemmon School and the Rotary Club of North Raleigh, this event directly assist students with developmental challenges. The school was named after the founder’s son shortly after his death. For more information about this event, please visit here or contact me directly.

This is just a sampling of the golf tournaments throughout the Triangle region. As you can see, there are many opportunities to play golf for a good cause. If you have a tournament that I didn’t mention, please let me know and I will promote it as well. You can email me at Steven@BackNineHomes.com. We always try to show as many tournaments as we can, but it is impossible to know all of them.

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What Motivates me to Sell Real Estate?

September 26, 2013
Snicker at the beach trying to warm up after going to the beach. He was cold and he stayed this way for several hours...trying to warm up!

Snicker at the beach trying to warm up after going to the beach. He was cold and he stayed this way for several hours…trying to warm up!

Aside from the basic reason to earn a living to pay my bills and save for retirement, this is a basic question that has had a profound impact on me and has changed since I first got into this business. Initially, it was a great way to make a living and earn a solid income while giving me a more flexible schedule. However, it has evolved over time to something much more than the income aspect of this business. As I have been prone to say, I could work in retail and make a better hourly salary than I would in real estate as this business can be long hours to include evenings and weekends. My motivation rest in other areas thanks to the personal growth I have experienced since going into business nearly 15 years ago.

My number one motivation will always be my family. Even though I don’t have any children, my wife is a huge source of motivation for me. I want her to be proud of me and give her a reason to tout me as a person and a real estate professional. Income aside, it is more important for me that my wife believes in what I am doing and accepts my chosen profession, despite the fact that it sometimes impacts our vacation time. We are a small, but impressive family. With only a Schnauzer named Snickers, we do not have the financial commitments that many have to deal with as it pertains to the cost of raising children, but we do enjoy travelling and experiencing the world.

We spent a couple of nights at the Empress in Victoria, BC prior to getting on a ship in Vancouver for our Alaskan cruise. It was amazing!

We spent a couple of nights at the Empress in Victoria, BC prior to getting on a ship in Vancouver for our Alaskan cruise. It was amazing!

This leads me to my second motivation for selling real estate…the ability to travel. When my wife and I first met, the only time I had been outside the Eastern Time Zone was as a child in Michigan when we would travel to Chicago. Since we have been together, we have been to Europe twice, Alaska, the Caribbean several times and Tahiti. I have personally traveled to Guatemala and none of this would be available to us if it were not for my career in real estate. This profession gives me the flexibility to travel with my lovely wife. We have additional travel plans and goals and I know that due to my profession, we will be able to travel as much as we would like.

Posing with fellow Rotarian Boyd Bennett and a couple of Guatemalan students who have benefited from the textbooks and computers that Rotary placed in their school. They were very pleasant and thankful for Rotary's presence in their country.

Posing with fellow Rotarian Boyd Bennett and a couple of Guatemalan students who have benefited from the textbooks and computers that Rotary placed in their school. They were very pleasant and thankful for Rotary’s presence in their country.

Another motivation for me is my ability to give back of my time, resources and talents to my community and the world. As a Rotarian, I have had the opportunity to participate in many wonderful activities that have changed people and their lives. From traveling to Guatemala for the Literacy project we support there to driving to New Jersey to work on a home that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, these experiences have helped change me and give me a greater appreciation for my life and life in general. Last spring, many members of my club donated our time to tutor students in Wake county who were reading below grade level. This was a very simple activity, but one that will have a lasting impact on those children as they learn to appreciate reading as I do. Rotary has become very important for me because it has given me a vehicle to make a positive impact on this world. As humans, we impact our world no matter what we do whether it is positive or negative. Rotary helps me make a positive difference in our world. This motivates me to work with sometimes difficult clients so I can donate to causes, whether it be my time or money.

The primary motivation for me is ultimately….the client. For a brief moment in time, I am invited into the personal lives of my clients. I learn more about them than anyone else does as it better assists me in serving them. I remember a client recently who feared to let his child play outside due to the neighborhood. We listed their home and sold it. Now, they have purchased a new home in a community where he need not fear for his daughter’s safety to play outside. Another client wanted to sell her home so she could go back to the care-free lifestyle of renting. She wanted to live in the famed Midtown (North Hills) area and couldn’t afford to buy there. We sold her townhouse and now, she is renting an apartment there and enjoying walking to the shops at Midtown. The stories and examples go on and on…and this is the real reason I enjoy what I do.

I remember my first transaction once I got licensed. I had sold my client’s current home in ten days and as we began to look for their next home, it was apparent when we found it. After looking at several homes, some making an impact on them while others were simply forgettable. When we walked into ‘the home’, her eyes went wide and she began to picture her and her family in that home. This moment doesn’t happen every time, but when it does, it is always rewarding. That day, we didn’t find her a house…we found them a home!

So, ultimately, the reason I am selling real estate as a profession is the people I encounter on a daily basis. Each has their own specific story and I am welcomed into their lives….if only for a moment in time.

What is Customer Service? What should consumers expect?

April 17, 2013
Have you ever waited 30 minutes for service only to be disappointed?

Have you ever waited 30 minutes for service only to be disappointed?

Customer service is an issue that has been prominent in society for many years and no less than in today’s market. Many professional fields require a level of service that can benefit from this debate. As I prepared a presentation last week to a networking group, I thought this would be a great subject for this blog. You see, customer service is important in the real estate business just as it is important for restaurants or retail stores. For professional, customer service is more important since it is more important to remain in business. If I had the marketing budget of a Home Depot or Wal-Mart, I could afford not to focus as much attention to each individual customer/client. But alas, I have a very modest marketing budget, so most of my new business is generated via personal referrals from past clients who have experienced quality service from me.

In this article, I plan to cover a few areas of customer service that many businesses fail to attend to properly. When it comes to service, you must consider why it is important, the communication aspects of customer service, time and details of customer service. In my many years of service both in the retail industry, territory sales and now real estate, I have developed a specific sense of customer service. I had a professor who once told me that one poor customer service experience is like having ten since most people have at least that many friends they will tell. In today’s social media, you can multiply that number by the hundreds. I personally have well over 700 Facebook friends and many people have many more than I do. So, if you are in business, it is important to understand customer service.

Why is it important? As mentioned earlier, unless you have a large marketing budget, word of mouth can be very imperative to your business. It works both with positive and negative. As Shakespeare mentions in his play Julius Caesar, ‘the good a man does dies with him, but the bad lives on forever’. That is not a perfect quote, but you get the gist of his words. If you do not get positive word of mouth, you will never get quality referrals to enhance your business.

Communication is important when it comes to customer service. For one thing, you must speak their language and understand their body language. If your customer is Joe Friday and only wants the facts, you need to simply give them the facts and nothing else. For this type of customer, you do not need to run completely through all of the details as they are not interested in it and you will lose them quickly. Determine their language and speak it. Additionally, you need to understand the basic body languages of your customer. For instance, if your client walks into an office supply store with a focus and the body language that they know where they are going, then you will lose the customer if you stop them to ask them if you can help them. This is me and it upsets me every time an associate stops me when I did not ask for help. It is a “self-service” retail store, so let me self-serve myself. It would be better service if they made themselves available should I have a question. I don’t have any issues with greeting customers, but pay attention to the customer and speak their language.

Time is the most valuable asset any of us will ever own. We can make more money, but we cannot make more time. If this is the case, why do you see retail store associates wasting their customer’s time by not properly stocking the shelves. If you go into a home improvement store and the shelf is out, it can take as much as thirty minutes or more for an associate to get the lift machine with a spotter, block off two aisles and get the product down for you. This is saying that their time is not important to that store and its management. Furthermore, if I walk into a store and the store doesn’t have the item I am looking to purchase, they are virtually out-of-business as far as I am concerned.

When it comes to my business, I always conduct a thorough buyer’s interview to determine what the client wants to purchase to ensure I am not showing them homes that will not meet their needs. When I am working with sellers, I take the time to understand the client, their needs and determine the reason for their selling of the home. Of course, I try to understand and speak their language to ensure I am not wasting their time.

Paying attention to detail is one of the most important aspects of good customer service. A long time ago when I was in the meat business, I improved the sales from $35,000/week to over $55,000/week by paying attention to details. I took the time to understand my customer base and from that, made the decision that we would never be out of pork products, especially on the weekends. The result, we improved sales and thus, had better customer service. It did not result in letters being written to praise the fact that the product they wanted to purchase was on the shelf, but the best reward for customer service is repeat business. By giving my customers what they needed and wanted, sales went up and my department was no longer ‘out-of-business’.

In my current business, the details that are most important for them is the contract and negotiations. It is both my fiduciary responsibility and my customer service credo to give my best in all situations. The ‘devil’s in the details’ as they say, and many contracts that go awry do so because of a lack of attention to details. Every business has details that need to be attended to ensure the best customer experience for your clients. Pay attention to the details.

In closing, one of my favorite professors in college once told me that it is not enough to satisfy your clients, but you need to make them ‘raving fans’ of your business. This is the challenge of any business entity and one that I extend to you today. Make them ‘raving fans’ of your business. In our society, too many patrons are wiling to take less than great customer service. Don’t let your customers take less than ultimate service.

Just this evening, I went to the drive thru at PDQ on Falls of the Neuse. I don’t usually do this for dinner, but as I had an appointment in less than an hour, I needed to get a quick meal since the meeting was apt to go long into the evening. When I pulled up, I was tempted to either leave or go inside as there were five vehicles in front of me. They noticed this and to ensure a speedy service experience, the management sent out two associates to take orders from the waiting vehicles. A situation that at a normal fast food restaurant would have taken 20-30 minutes to get my food, it took less than 10 minutes. They paid attention to the customer’s needs and went above the call of duty to make me a ‘raving fan’ of their enterprise.

Tips for Selling your Home!

April 1, 2013
Selling your home is a process!

Selling your home is a process!

I am often asked about some tips to sell a home. It differs to an extent based upon the market, but generally, I give the same advice to anyone looking to sell their home. As usual, this is not all-encompassing as I am prone to leave things out that I ‘meant’ to put into this post, but the goal is to give you a general idea of what is required to sell a home.

In a great market it is not always necessary to hire a real estate professional to assist you in the sale of your home to get it sold, but you will typically get what you paid for. If you are acting as your own agent, I would caution you that it can be a hard road to travel. First of all, you may have difficulty pricing your home competitively. Often those who do not hire an agent sell their homes for much less than the market value. I won’t get into the specifics, but the research performed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has pointed towards this trend. Much more than price, a competent agent can assist with negotiating the price, terms, repairs, and miscellaneous items that are likely to arise. For instance, an agent can help you negotiate with the mortgage lender or the title insurance company. I had a listing once where I needed to negotiate with the Title company in order to provide a clear title for the buyer. You never know what may come up while you are selling your home and an agent can be instrumental in helping you navigate these special circumstances. Also, an agent can keep you legal. State law requires that all homes sold in North Carolina be accompanied with a Property Disclosure and HOA Disclosure with a few exceptions. These are primarily for information purposes only, but if you do not have one, the buyer can back out of the contract. If you do not have this in place, you will not be protected and may have your home off the market for several weeks, losing prospective buyers, just to discover the buyer has ‘cold feet’ and are utilizing the absence of a Property Disclosure to terminate the contract and keep the earnest money. If you do not have an agent, you may not be protected from this ‘out’.

The main ingredient in the sales process is price. You have to have your home priced competitively if you hope to sell it. This goes beyond any market conditions. For most people, price is the number one determinant to whether they purchase Home A or Home B. If you are not priced competitively, you will lose potential buyers who may think you are overpriced. Even if you are underpriced, the perception will be that the home needs too much work and thus, it is not worth the effort to view the home. I was in a meeting today where the speaker stated, “Perception is Reality”. If you look at it, this is the case. Potential buyers will make an assessment of your home based upon their perceptions. I have seen this many times where my buyer discounts a home based upon a perception they have acquired of a house, whether they viewed the home or not. Perception is important. A quality agent can assist you with a pricing strategy that will work.

As I just stated, perception is reality. So, your home has to give the perception of quality and value if you wish to sell it. You do not have to hire a professional stager, but you will have to look at your home objectively as if you were the buyer. If you have too much stuff in your home, you will have to remove it and put it in storage. A clutter space looks much smaller. So, de-clutter your home is key to selling your home. Look at it this way, you are moving anyway so this is a great opportunity to purge your belongings as all of us have more stuff than we really need. Right?

Cosmetic appeal is imperative to sell a home. Not as much in a strong market, but it is still important. Your home should have neutral colors as the bright colors may be your taste, but the odds are, the next owner will have much different taste. Sure, they can paint the home and will most likely do so, but it may take them a couple of years to get around to painting. Meanwhile, they know they will have to live with the neon green living room. You need to neutralize the space. More than simply taste, cosmetic appeal runs the gauntlet from chipped paint to shabby and stained carpets. The old mantra in the marketing business is “Sex sells”. You don’t see overweight people as spokespeople for a sports car. No, you see models standing in front of a sports car like you would have the same appeal if you purchased that vehicle. It is not reality, but a perception they are trying to sell you. The same goes with real estate. You shouldn’t hire a model to stand in front of your home, but you need to make it as appealing as possible. The home should be in its best condition if you are hoping to sell it for the most money. Of course, if you cannot get these cosmetic repairs done, you will not get top dollar for your home and should price it accordingly. Along these lines, curb appeal is important to get the buyers out of their cars and into your house. I have seen situations where the curb appeal was so bad, my buyers told me to keep driving.

One way to prepare your home to sell would be to differentiate your home from the competition. Know your competition and what they are offering and try to find a way to be better than the competition. This may mean you will have to do more in the interim and have greater cost to get the home ready, but ultimately, it can make the difference; especially in a difficult market. For example, I had a seller in a community where she had 15-20 similar town homes for sale at the same time. There was little she could do to differentiate from her competition on the outside of the home, but instead, she offered to include her high-end refrigerator for the right price. This was about a $2,500 refrigerator where all of  her competitors had very basic refrigerators priced for less than a thousand dollars. She couldn’t price her home higher for this appliance, but we sold her home quicker because of that refrigerator. It made her home more appealing than the competition.

Finally, be willing, ready and able to negotiate any offer that you get. This doesn’t mean you have to accept the offer, but be willing to negotiate every offer. I always tell my clients that we are not going to walk away from an offer to purchase. We may counter the offer several times, but we are going to leave it up to the other side to be the party to walk away from the negotiations. It is hard, but I also inform them to take the emotion out of the negotiations. Buying or selling a home is an emotional process. The more you can separate your emotions from this transaction, the better you will be able to negotiate. Remember, the buyer, in most cases, is emotionally attached to your home. They can see themselves living in your home, raising their children there, sharing special moments with friends and family there. They are emotionally attached to your home. So, to get the better negotiating position on this transaction, you need to remove the emotion from your side. It is a business transaction. You may have put much blood, sweat and tears into your home, and we hope the buyers appreciate all that you have done to the home. Ultimately, they may be planning on changing the house dramatically once they own it. Your taste and their taste may not be similar, so do not get offended if they do not see the value in the remodeled kitchen. Keep the emotions out of it.

In closing, there are many lists you can find online that spell out exact items for you to complete to prepare you for selling your house. These lists are good, but I am not too much into these lists. For one reason, a list gives the perception of being all-encompassing and including everything you would ever need to do. If that were the case, all of these lists would be identical (and they are not). Look at these lists, but ultimately, you need to look at your home as if you were the buyer. What was important to you when you purchased that house? It may not be a bad idea to attend a few open houses before you list your home just to put your mindset into that of a buyer. You can never satisfy every buyer, but you only need to satisfy one buyer. To ensure that you do this, you have to appeal to the masses to give you the best odds of finding that one buyer who can see themselves living in your house.

In many people’s vocabulary, house and home are interchangeable. If you are selling, you need to start looking at your home as a house. It is a product, not your home. Mentally, the moment you made the decision to sell your home, you had moved out of that home. Now, you are living in a house until you can find your next ‘home’.

Upcoming Golf Tournaments and other important items

March 4, 2013
The pose of a Champion

The pose of a Champion

As the Golfing Realtor, I feel it is important for me to emphasis and promote upcoming golf tournaments and other important items. There are many exciting golf opportunities that should impress many people. This post will not have all of the golf tournaments in the Triangle, just some that I know are coming.

Before I get into the tournament schedule, I would be remiss not to mention that the real estate season that is quickly approaching. March tends to be the month that showing and general activity begins to really take hold. The market has traditionally shown that it is tied to the spring and summer seasons. If you have been reading blog, you will know that 2012 was a very successful year for the Triangle real estate market. Sales were up and inventory was down. By some indications, foreclosures in 2013 will be up over last year. If last year’s trends continue, 2013 is shaping up to be another very successful year.

With that said, if you have been thinking of either buying or selling in 2013, now is the time to get your home ready for sale and get it onto the market. The best thing you can do to sell your home quickly is to have it ready for show from the beginning as research has shown that the most showings you will have on your home will be in the first few weeks it is on the market. So, be ready to sell and then call a qualified agent whom you like and trust to help you price your home correctly and sell it in a timely manner. Most people looking to sell a home are doing it so they can either move-up or downsize their living quarters. This means you need to definitely be priced right and showing your best foot when it officially goes on the market.

Now that we got the business out of the way, there are several golf tournaments coming up that may interest you. Also, I have listed several golf outing (not tournaments) that may interest you. As a committee member of the Downtown Links, we have monthly outings and have secured some very nice courses throughout the Triangle. If you are not a member of the Downtown Clubs of Raleigh, you can be my guest to any of these events as I will be at most of them. Please let me know if you are interested in any of these dates.

 

Downtown Links

Wednesday, March 13- Devil’s Ridge Golf Club, 1pm shotgun start

Monday, April 15-Prestonwood Country Club, 12:30 pm shotgun start

Tuesday, May 14-Raleigh Country Club, 12:30 shotgun start

Thursday, June 6-North Ridge Country Club, 1pm shotgun start

Monday, July 22-Brier Creek Country Club, 1 pm shotgun start

August-TBD-Hasentree Country Club,

Monday, September 23-Treyburn Country Club, 12:30 shotgun start

October, TBD-The Neuse Golf Club, tee times starting at 12:30

Thursday, November 7-Lochmere Golf Club

*Some of these dates and details are subject to change.

Local Golf Tournaments

April 9, 9th HNC Charity Golf Tournament, The Preserve at Jordan Lake, noon shotgun start. More

April 22, 4th Annual North Raleigh Rotary Golf Tournament, Wildwood Green Golf Club, 1pm shotgun start. $350 for a team, $87.50 for individuals. Email me.

April 29, RRAR Annual Charity Golf Tournament, Devil’s Ridge Golf Club, 8 am check-in. Details

May 3, AIA Triangle Golf Tournament, Lonnie Poole Golf Club, 1pm shotgun start. Info.

May 13, Wheels4Hope Golf Charity Event, Wildwood Green Golf Club, noon check-in

 

As you may imagine, this is just a small sampling of the golf tournaments that are available this spring. I will add more in the future. If you have a tournament you would like listed here, please let me know and I will be happy to add them to the list.

Golf tournaments are a wonderful way to spend the day while giving back to a great cause. There are typically many opportunities to play golf throughout the area while raising much needed funds for causes that may or may not be dear to your heart. I would encourage you to plan to play in one or more tournaments this year. I have only won a couple of the tournaments I have played, but I have always had fun.

 

 

 

Downtown Links Golf Calendar

January 18, 2013
Lochmere...A Golf Experience!

Lochmere…A Golf Experience!

As a member of the committee for the Downtown Links, I am pleased to announce the calendar that we have do date. The Downtown Links is a group of professional who are also members of the Downtown Clubs of Raleigh, The Downtown Clubs of Raleigh is a combination of the Capital City Club and the Cardinal Club. Each of these clubs are business and social clubs that include many opportunities for networking, each with wonderful dining rooms.

This calendar is for informational purposes and may change at the committee’s direction. If you are not a member of the Downtown Clubs of Raleigh and would like to play one of the beautiful courses we have scheduled, please contact me and you can play as my guest.

March 13th, Devil’s Ridge Country Club in Holly Springs

April, Prestonwood Country Club in Cary. Date and time TBD

May 14th, Raleigh Country Club in Raleigh

June 6th, North Ridge (Lakes Course) Country Club in North Raleigh

July 22, Brier Creek Country Club in North Raleigh

August, Hasentree Country Club in Wake Forest. Date and time TBD

September 23, Treyburn Country Club in Durham

October, The Neuse Country Club in Clayton. Date and time TBD

November 7th, Lochmere Golf Club in Cary

 

Upcoming golf tournament

April 22nd, North Raleigh Rotary Golf Tournament, Wildwood Green Golf Club, 1pm shotgun start

We are excited about this group of courses and it should be another great season. Most of our outings this year are shotgun starts, but not all of the final details have been negotiated. If you are interested in playing any of these courses, please contact me at Steven@BackNineHomes.com to get on the list of players.

To Resolve or Not to Resolve: that is the question

January 2, 2013
Have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.”
– Oscar Wilde,
Irish Writer & Poet

Each year around this time, people around the world make New Year Resolutions and typically by the second, they have failed to keep these resolutions. Too many look at resolutions as a waste of time as they rarely last a week before they are broken. So, what’s the sense in making them?

Resolutions can serve as your goals for the year. One of the most utilized resolutions is loosing weight or working out more. Therefore, you start the year and after a bad day where you eat a fatty meal or you miss your scheduled workout, you declare the resolution broken and go back to your old habits. There are other ways to look at your resolutions instead of all or nothing. Consider it a tool to begin the process of self-improvement. Life is not all or nothing. We are all fallible and as such, none of us can completely change a negative or bad habit in a split second. It is a process.

Studies have shown that it takes 30 days to change a bad habit. This is true, but you can also change a bad habit by being committed to that act for 30 days. Even if you have a bad day and fail to accomplish your resolution that day, start fresh the next minute, hour, or day. Continuing to work on ourselves is the only thing that truly separates us from other species whose only concern is basic survival needs like food, water and shelter. We, as humans, have a need and desire to be more and to accomplish more than basic needs.

I have personally set several resolutions or goals that I intend to work hard to keep. I will not be completely successful on all of them, but I plan to accomplish the ultimate goal of the resolution…changing my bad habit into a positive one. I will not go into my resolutions as they are personal and private, but one involves a healthier lifestyle in terms of losing weight and exercising more consistently. Will I reach my weight loss goal? We will find out, but I will spend 2013 striving towards that goal. I will not give up after a stressful day where I eat those cheese fries that I love, but are not good for me. It is not about a one-time ban on cheese fries that is meant to last an entire year, but rather, it is about reducing the amount of cheese fries I eat in 2013 and ultimately, improve my waist line and health.

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.” 
– Anaïs Nin,
French-Cuban Author

Resolutions are about a daily compact with yourself to improve yourself. We all have our own bad habits that we need to change. So, if you have not yet made your New Year’s Resolutions, it is not too late. Start today…start tomorrow…start next week, just start! Call it what you want to call it, but start.

New Year’s Day… now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” 
– Mark Twain,
American Author & Humorist

I develop my resolutions by categorizing them. I do the same with my goals as life is not about work alone. I typically have professional, personal, spiritual and familial categories. From there, you can analyze each category to determine what you would like to accomplish in each category. There is not a magical number of resolutions you should have and…this is important…you do not have to wait until next year to modify them. As life changes, our goals and plans change. Your resolutions should change or modify as life changes for you. For example, you may resolve to maintain your yard more consistently, then for reasons beyond your control, you have to sell and buy a condo. Obviously, your commitment to the yard will not be applicable. Typically what happens is your focus changes and that results in modifying your resolutions/goals. I could have some home sales goals that would change if I took a sales position for a national builder.

Ultimately, resolutions help us better ourselves…and everyone can be a better person.

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.” 
– Benjamin Franklin,
Author, Inventor & Diplomat

Your resolution for 2013 may be to purchase your dream home. If this is the case, contact me to see how we can make that resolution a reality.

What Golf Community would you buy a home and join the club?

September 18, 2012

Payne Stewart’s Glorious Moment!

 

Last week, I had a meeting with a gentleman who asked me a question that made me think. His question: If money was not an issue, what Wake County golf community and course would you recommend to a client? This question was also predicated upon location not being an issue for the client. With these open options, it made me think. I must admit, no one has asked me that question in the past.

It made me think of all of the great courses and communities here in Wake County. Most people do not realize, but there are nearly 20 golf course communities in Wake County alone, not to mention the Triangle. My answer to this gentleman was simple, “it depends!” This is the number one answer to all real estate questions as the answer depends on different factors. For instance, what types of courses do you like to play and do you want multiple golfing options with your purchase?

For me, I would want to join a club that gives me multiple course options as I get bored with the same course, day in and day out. Variety is so important to me that I rarely travel the same route home. I have always been like that, but others may be happy to have access to simply one course where they can learn all of the nuances of that course and “master” it. Others still may have specific ideas of what type of community. Some may be more interested in older homes with larger lots as opposed to many of our newer communities that have smaller lots and the rooms tend to be smaller. All of these and many more factors can play into your decision.

For me, I would have to recommend a community like North Ridge that has two courses or Wakefield that would give you access to all of McConnell golf courses. Some may prefer single courses like McGregor Downs, which has an amazing course, but only one course. In this blog post, I hope to address some of the great golf course communities in Wake county and give you an idea of which are the better ones.

To start, I need to cover some of the less expensive communities with public or semi-private courses. Among these would be Hedingham, Eagle Ridge, and Crooked Creek. The benefit of each of these communities is purchasing in these communities, you have the option of joining all three as the Fred Smith Company now owns all of these courses and have a membership level for these communities. These courses are very nice and are typically in good shape. Last year, Hedingham was closed for major repairs and regeneration of its greens, fairways and tee boxes. I played it shortly after it re-opened and it played very well. It has many challenging holes to keep your interest, but not so much that you are over challenged and cannot score well. Eagle Ridge and Crooked Creek are very nice courses. I cannot speak too much about these courses as I rarely play them due to driving distance, but as memory serves, they are both challenging and fair at the same time. If housing price is a factor, these communities offer affordable housing, many with great golf course views. Hedingham is the most affordable as it offers town homes for less than $100,000 up to single family homes in the $200-low $300s. Eagle Ridge and Crooked Creek consist of single family homes that tend to be priced in the $200s.

If money is not an issue, then the choices increase dramatically. I will start with the Southwestern Wake communities. There are several and one that I really enjoy is Devil’s Ridge, located in the Sunset Ridge community in Holly Springs. The community is well done and well maintained and the course is always in great condition. Membership in Devil’s Ridge will give you the option to join the Triangle Society with ClubCorp and give you access to several courses in the Triangle. A great way to be introduced to several courses. The community is primarily single family with housing from the mid $200s up to half a million. Membership in Devil’s Ridge is affordable and the course is semi-private.

More high-end in this area would include both McGregor Downs and Prestonwood. McGregor Downs is an exclusive community that is laid out very nicely with larger lots and is a highly established community. Many of the homes were built in the 1980s, so if you want an older community in this area, I would highly suggest this course. Membership in McGregor Downs will give you access to this amazing course and all of the additional community features such as tennis courts and lakes. This club was formed in 1967, so it is one of the oldest in the Triangle. Prestonwood, home of the SAS Championship, is more modern with additional benefits such as 3 courses to choose. All three courses are amazing courses with some very challenging, but fair holes. I have only played the Meadows course and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience (though I didn’t score well). Prestonwood has housing that consist of condos around the $200s to town homes for a little more and tops off with single family homes from mid $200s up to well over a couple million. Most of the lots are smaller than you would see in McGregor Downs, but most are more modern and updated as it is a newer community.

Moving north, you have several options in the Northern Wake area to include Brier Creek, Wildwood Green, North Ridge, Hasentree and many more. I will try to talk about each of these in some detail, but there are too many to cover in much detail.

Brier Creek and Hasentree are very nice courses and are both Toll Brother properties, so membership in one will get you membership in the other. Plus, you can add to your membership access to all Toll Brother golf communities in the U.S. Both communities are fairly new, but Brier Creek tends to have smaller lots than Hasentree, primarily due to the fact that there is more room with this community. Brier Creek course is very nice, but is currently being repaired as many of the greens were infected with a disease, which has caused them to close down the course to rid the greens of this infestation. If they have not yet re-opened, it will be soon. The course is challenging with one of their signature holes being the 18th, which is an awesome finishing hole. This hole offers a blind tee shot and a green that is surrounded by water on three sides. Brier Creek offers housing from condos priced in the low $100s to single family homes over a million. It is convenient to all the amenities that you could ask and very close to RTP and I-540. Hasentree is not as convenient as it is located off Hwy. 98, close to Wake Forest, but the benefits are larger lots and more nature areas. Housing starts in the mid $300s and goes up from there. The golf course is always pristine and the 88 bunkers on this course may make you curse Tom Fazio as they tend to be well placed for danger at every turn. For shopping, you would have to head towards Wake Forest. If you work in downtown Raleigh, the commute can be difficult.

A little closer to Raleigh, you will find both Heritage and TPC Wakefield Plantation. Both are fairly new communities with varying pricing range for homes and smaller lots than can be seen in some of the older communities. To get a larger lot, you will need to purchase one of the larger homes. I have never played Heritage, but had the opportunity to play Wakefield for the first time last week. It was an amazing golfing experience with some very challenging holes. The signature 18th hole is a Par 5 where you aim for the clubhouse from the tee box. The approach shot is over a stream, but do not go long as it elevates quickly towards the clubhouse with two bunkers. My approach shot sailed over the green and I thought it landed in the bunker, but it was not there. With the tall, thick grass, I couldn’t find the ball.

Heritage is a semi-private course located in the heart of downtown Wake Forest. Membership is affordable as it pertains to golf clubs. You only have access to that course along with the swim and tennis. Being closer to Hwy 1-Capital Blvd. the commute to Raleigh is much more efficient than the other courses around it. Wakefield membership offers the 18-hole course, the 9-hole walking course, access to all TPC Network courses and reciprocal golf privileges at all McConnell Golf Properties. McConnell Golf has eight golf clubs in North and South Carolina to include three in the Triangle, Raleigh Country Club and Treyburn being the other two. Membership is affordable based considering what you get for your membership. Even though I don’t live anywhere near Wakefield, I would probably be more inclined to this membership or at least it’s sister club, Raleigh Country Club due to the variety of clubs you can access.

North Ridge is another wonderful course with two courses available. It is located in North Raleigh and offers tennis and pools. I have only played one of the two courses and it was an intriguing experience. Many of the holes have water with a couple of Par 3s that go directly over water on the Oaks course. It plays very nicely with many challenges, but fair. Membership is not the most affordable, and to get the most value for your membership, you need to play multiple times a week. My wife and I almost purchased a home in this community and would have joined this course had we purchased that home. Housing is diverse with town homes in the low $100s-mid $200s and single family homes range from the mid $300s to well over a million. If you have not played this course, I would highly recommend it. I hope to be able to play the Lakes course at some point in the future as I have heard that this course is better than the Oaks.

Finally (but not lastly), Wildwood Greens Golf Club is also located in North Raleigh and is a course all about golf. The John Budwine Golf Academy operates out of this course and offers teaching professionals for any player. The course is very challenging, but fair with several water hazards throughout the course. I am a member of this course as it is very affordable, especially for someone who likes to play other courses. Membership dues are less than $200 a month and the initiation  is extremely reasonable. This course was in place before the community was developed around the course. The community offers homes priced from the low $200s to over $400s. The community is well laid out well with the golf course so you are not crossing several streets throughout your round of golf. If you are on a budget, this is a great course.

I hope you have enjoyed this and please let me know what your preference is. I haven’t covered all of the golf communities in Wake county as there are more than I can cover in this blog. Keep following this blog as I am always talking about individual courses in Wake county and usually focus on one course per blog post.

In answering the question, what community would you join if money was not an issue? I want to hear from you!

North Ridge Country Club and Community

March 24, 2012

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege and honor to play one of the most prestigious golf courses in the Triangle. North Ridge is a private course and one that I have been wanting to play for several years. Thanks to a neighbor who recently joined the club, I had the opportunity to play this wonderful course. We played the Oaks course which was challenging, but fair for all golfers. I actually had a pretty good round, shooting 95, but I must preface my performance a bit. I did play from the Seniors’ tees since I was playing with three seniors so it reduced the yardage considerably. Nonetheless, I shot 95 on a course I had never played.

The two courses include the Lakes and the Oaks, both designed by Gene Hamm and George Cobb. Each course was later re-designed by John LaFoy. This re-designed was to ensure that both courses played fair for all levels of competition. The courses, spread out over 400 acres in North Raleigh, offers very picturesque views and several amazing water holes.

I am always drawn to Par 3s with water and the Oaks had two such holes. Both holes required you to carry the water with very limited area for error without being wet. I personally carried both water holes, landing on each green. One, I had a little too much juice which left me a long putt with most of it downhill. Unfortunately, I was too concerned with going beyond the hole that I came up short and ended up with a very rare 4-putt double bogey. The other one, I was pin high with a fairly level putt. I finished that hole with a par.

In addition to thèse Par 3s on the front nine, the ninth hole offered a deceiving Par 4 with the green protected by a pond. It was deceptive in that the distance to the water appeared much less than it actually was. Thus, I used a iron to get into the fairway, which I was not successful and pulled it left, leaving nearly 200 yards over the water to the green. I got over the water, but again was left and missed the green with a chip shot to the green. The next time, I will use a fairway wood off the tee and aim right where there is plenty of grass for landing without having to worry about the water. It would also give a straight shot over the water onto the green. It may result is a bit longer shot, but a safer shot.

I enjoyed this course and am looking forward to playing it again this year as the Downtown Links have arranged to have an outing at this course. With more knowledge of this course, I should be able to play a better round and take full advantage of this experience. Of course, there is the possibility that we will be playing the Lakes course, which would be fine with me as I would love to experience this course as well.

North Ridge Country Club


North Ridge Country Club is a private club that offers many benefits for its members. Coupled with the golf, it offers a pool, tennis and a fitness center. The fitness center offers personal training tailored to the member’s needs. They offer specialized training for golf or tennis fitness as well as group fitness programs such as water aerobics, Pilates and yoga. The tennis offers junior programs, private lessons, clinics, mixers and tournaments. As a tennis player, I can appreciate good instruction in this area.

The Olympic size pool offers a great way to spend warm summer days. With large decks, pool houses, kiddie pool and covered patio, this is a great place to relax. Just steps from the clubhouse, tennis complex and the 1st tee for the Lakes course, it is a great meeting place for members. Additionally, they have several activities for the youth to enhance their experience with the club. The clubhouse offers a wonderful dining facility that offers breakfast/Sunday Brunch, lunch and dinner.

Membership is modest for what you get. There is an initiation fee and monthly dues with a food minimum. They offer several levels of memberships to suit your needs from Class A to Junior Memberships to Sports memberships and even a trial membership to get to know the club and see if it will be a good fit for you and your family. Prices vary depending on the level of membership and you can contact them through their website for additional information.

North Ridge Community

The community is the gem in North Raleigh and is centered around the North Ridge Country Club. The club was founded in 1967 and homes began appearing soon thereafter. The community is a virtual who’s who of Raleigh business and community leaders. It has become the place to live in North Raleigh with homes ranging from the low $400,000 to well over a million and more. The community offers tons of sidewalks for leisure strolls in the evenings. Conveniently located, it is just a short drive to downtown, I-540 and RTP. Situated off Falls of Neuse Road, it is prime real estate.

Buying in North Ridge, you typically have your choice from traditional to contemporary style homes, many with golf course lots. The community offers townhouses as well as single family homes. With this variety, you will be certain to find what you are looking to purchase in this community.

When my wife and I first started looking for a home, we were very interested in this community and looked at everything available at the time. One of the homes we viewed was the home of the producers of the “Golden Girls”. After looking at all of these homes, we decided to purchase a town home not in North Ridge, but hope to one day call this community home.

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Brier Creek Countyr Club-Discover a New Lifestyle

October 13, 2011

18th Hole at Brier Creek Country Club

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to play for the first time at the Brier Creek Country Club and it was an amazing experience. Brier Creek is located in Northwest Raleigh, near the border of Durham County. This Arnold Palmer designed course offers challenging, but fair holes that are breathtaking with spectacular views on every hole. Your handicap will not inhibit your ability to enjoy this well-designed course. As a high handicap player, I had several opportunities for pars and even an opportunity for a birdie on this course. The more challenging holes offered the better golfers an opportunity to make difficult shots while leaving the lesser golfer spots to lay-up for a better approach shot to the greens. This course, unlike some I have played in the Triangle, is truly a fair and challenging course.

Brier Creek has been ranked at a Top 40 course in North Carolina as the conditions were near perfect. The fairways were well maintained and drained well despite heavy rain the prior day and drizzle on the day I played it. Of course, there were some saturated spots on the course, but very few. Most of the fairways offered safe landing areas for your tee shots despite your length off the tee, but with enough hazards for the very poor tee shots. Several fairways had water hazards and natural growth areas that had to be negotiated throughout the round, but very forgiving for the occasional poor shot.

The greens were well maintained with some speed, but not to the extent that makes it difficult for the amateur golfer to make putts. Many of the greens offered challenging putts, but not like a Donald Ross green where it is nearly impossible to make a simple put. The most challenging and breathtaking green is the 18th. It is an amazing finishing hole with the green being protected on three sides by a lake. The solid tee shot will give you the opportunity to reach this Par 4 in regulation, but a poor tee shot is not a deal breaker on this hole as there are ample areas to lay-up to give you a better shot of getting over the water.

My favorite hole on this course is the Par 3 16th. This hole is difficult, yet very fair. From the back tees, you will have 195 yards, but the blue tees will give you a 178  yard shot to this green. It is all water carry as the green is just off the lake’s edge with some tall grass between the water and the green. The green is elongated and not very deep. Go to long and you may end up in a sand bunker, giving you a delicate shot to hold the green without running off the front of the green. I was fortunate to land on the green from the tee, but with the elongated green, I had a forty-foot put to birdie. Unfortunately, I three putted this hole, but a boggie for me is a good score.

Brier Creek Membership

Brier Creek is a private club with membership opportunities for both residents and non-resident members. Initiation is not as high as you may imagine and Signature membership will also give you access to The Hassentree Club. Club amenities include the golf course, a 40,000 sq ft luxurious clubhouse, driving range, locker rooms, steam rooms, fitness center, banquet facilities, swim and tennis pavilion and much more. For the money, it is a good value, especially if you live in or near Brier Creek. I am not a member, but if we lived closer to this area, my wife and I would have to consider this as an option.

Living in Brier Creek

Living in Brier Creek has its benefits that few areas in Raleigh can compare. With easy access to I-540 and I-40 the conveniences is unmistakable. The conveniences do not end with this as all of the shopping you would need is near by with nearly all of the national retailers within minutes from your front door to include (but not limited to) Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Dicks. There are also several restaurants nearby with choices such as Wild Wings, Carolina Ale House, Red Robin and many more.

The community has all of the benefits you would imagine to include the golf course, clubhouse, pools and tennis courts and social events throughout the year. It is truly an environment that your family can live and thrive with resort style amenities that will make for a pleasant home life. This community has everything you could ever want in a community.

Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh is a 2nd largest Metropolitan city in North Carolina. The economy is diverse with several technology and drug companies located in the Research Triangle Park (RTP). It is one of the fastest growing cities in the Southeast due to the lifestyle this area offers its residents. Real estate in the Triangle has always been a solid purchase as this area has benefited from stable growth over the past several years. Currently, the real estate market in the Triangle has declined due to national trends, but this area remains a mecca for families looking for quality of life along with strong schools and outdoor living. There are nearly 20 golf courses in Wake County alone with several more within the Triangle region and North Carolina. Raleigh and the Triangle has consistently been ranked among the Best Places to Live in the U.S.