Our travels this summer were replaced with the decision to leave Florida after many wonderful years. We took trips out west to Utah and Nevada in late 2021. We thought Mesquite, Nevada, might be a great place primarily because of our wonderful experiences playing golf at Wolf Creek and Falcon Ridge, to name a few. We set up an appointment with a realtor and flew out to Las Vegas for a search. After seeing what was available and the area was not as nice as we remembered, we decided it was not the place to live. The next morning we drove to St George, Utah, for breakfast at a local diner. We spoke with the diner owner’s son, who suggested we might want to look there; it was a growing new area in the high desert with views everywhere. We set up an appointment with another realtor for the next day and canceled the rest of our appointments in Mesquite. We loved the area and the new development. The section we liked was not open for purchase, so they would tell us when it was to open. In February, they released the land, and the costs nearly doubled. The runaways from California had moved into the area, so the idea of living in Utah passed. We looked around the west coast of Florida and other areas, then focused on Pinehurst, North Carolina, golf heaven!
Buying a home in Pinehurst
We found a realtor from a Pinehurst listing online, and our search for homes began. In March of 2022, there were never more than 4 or 5 homes available in our price range, and when they hit the market, they sold in 24-48 hours. Our realtor would constantly look at and video the possible homes; she would also tell us when she did not think it was worth it.
We had to become quick learners of how the bids were made. It was made up of two parts. First, the bid was above the asking price; if it was greatly overpriced, you “passed”; someone else will pay it! The second part of the bid was the “Due diligence money.” We called it the “bribe!” It is non-refundable if you back out of the transaction. The seller receives the check with the contract, and that’s it. A lot different than escrow! The seller, in many cases, took a bid based on the “bribe” since it was money in their pocket if the transaction didn’t close!
We lost out on a few homes; either the “bribe” or the offer was not high enough! The market was crazy enough that the Real Estate agents didn’t have a good idea of how much to bid over the asking price. Talk about a “blind” guessing game!
Our agent found the house we purchased through another agent, with the listing scheduled to go on the market a few days later. She scheduled a video appointment for the first thing that morning. We had a live video walk-through of the house. Based on her description of the home and the video, we proceeded to make an aggressive bid, along with a large “bribe” and a decision time frame. We understand the house was shown 20 times that day!
Pinehurst Country Club Membership
The house included a membership to the Pinehurst Country Club, which was what we desired. We were able to join when we closed on the house and have certainly enjoyed access to 7 of the nine courses owned by the Pinehurst Resort. Two courses, #7 and #9 were recently purchased by the Resort and required an additional membership fee. We decided seven courses were more than enough! They have advanced tee times that you sign up for, so you may not get to play a particular course on a particular day because the Resort also books tee times. It works for us, and we have been able to play Pinehurst #2, the famous US Open course, several times. The quality of all the courses is excellent.
We closed on the house on May 12th and wanted to get some work done inside before our things arrived from Florida. We borrowed an air mattress from our daughter Kieran and a few chairs from a neighbor we met playing golf. As you can well imagine, videos are not the best indicator of what you end up seeing, and the person that did the inspection was not that great. Our first indication of possible difficulties was when a roofer inspected the roof. He held up a ten-by-ten patch of shingles with one arm! The new roof is required! Our Real Estate agent introduced us to a “handyman,” Matt, who had been a general contractor but preferred doing various projects; he worked out great. Janice became the GC on the job, and the projects started.
Remodeling the home in Pinehurst
Janice had painted the condo in Daytona Beach and decided she would paint the inside of the house. The ceilings all were brown or dark beige, making the rooms seem darker, but after a while, we realized they covered up the water damage from the roof. The yard was a mess lots of overgrown trees and bushes and ones that needed to be taken down. The pine straw was several feet deep, with pine cones everywhere. We removed two truckloads of old shrubs from the yard and had ten trees taken down.
Finding sub-contractors here is mostly about who you know. While we made a few mistakes along the way, these folks generally have been terrific. Initially, we met a local gutter contractor who became our greatest source for vendors; he lived here for years and told us he knew all the good, bad, and ugly of the contractors doing work here. With the roof needing to be replaced, he introduced us to a roofing contractor that worked as a sub for the largest roofing company in the area. We were able to get the roof done for about half the cost, great job! He also introduced us to an outside painter, and Jamie did a fantastic job at a reasonable cost. Many windows needed replacement, and Matt did an excellent job replacing them. The kitchen needed to be bought to life “called replace!” Matt did a great job, and it turned out perfectly. Matt introduced us to an electrician who introduced us to his old high school buddy that owned a plumbing company; lots of coordination but “We got ER done”.
Our neighbors were amazed at how it was all coming together over the summer, and by Labor Day, most of the work was completed.
Since we have met so many new people that have moved to Pinehurst over the years and shared their remodeling stories. The consensus is that homes are purchased and remodeled initially, lived in for 20 years and until sold. The new owners then purchase and remodels, starting the cycle again! So purchasing a home in Pinehurst usually requires remodeling.
Our neighbors have been fantastic in welcoming us to the neighborhood and having us over for dinner and cocktails on numerous occasions. These are the most generous and wonderful neighbors, indicative of the locals here in Pinehurst and North Carolina. Everywhere we go, people are so friendly and want to help and enjoy serving your needs. Once we had finished most of the work, we had them over for drinks and horderves.
We had Gretchen, Chuck, Jeff, and Janet. Carla and Ron were unfortunately ill.
Having family near Pinehurst
One of the big reasons Pinehurst ended at the top of our list is that our children all live and work in Raleigh, only an hour north. James and Mary have two wonderful bright children, Collin and Liza. Collin started a special program when entering grade school, and it was total immersion in speaking Mandarin. Liza followed his lead and also went into the Mandarin program.
Last May, Liza was in first grade and entered a contest to speak Mandarin, sing a song, and telling a story. Enjoy the short video; if you understand what she is saying, that’s great. It is just fun to watch. We were unaware the videos were submitted to the University of Maryland from all over the country, and Liza won third place in the kindergarten to 8th Grade Division.
Courtney and Amanda have two beautiful daughters, Izzy and Finley. both excellent students. Finely loves competitive swimming and enjoyed a great summer of meets, and Izzy is 12 going on 25!
Kieran is doing great; unfortunately, she lost her wonderful dog Rocky, who has been with her since she was at Florida State University. She has been very active in selling security software and enjoys living close to her two brothers and nieces, and nephew.
We had the pleasure of joining Courtney and Amanda for Rosh Hashanah on September 25th at their home in Raleigh. It was a full house with at least 20 people enjoying the excellent food, drinks, and company. The children’s Aunt Colleen came down from Long Island, John had not seen her in years, and it was fun to catch up with her. Amanda’s mother, Ann, was the co-host and, with her friends and family, added so much to the enjoyment of the evening. This was undoubtedly a huge advantage for our living close by in Pinehurst.