Thinking about the Sun Belt for a winter residence? Before making a million-dollar decision, consider these factors
A PGA Professional and golf real estate expert weighs in.
Jason Becker, PGA
January 25, 2019
See the full article on golfadvisor.com
Is moving south a million-dollar decision, even if you’re not buying a million-dollar house? Yes. Let me explain…
Using Florida as an example, each day, more than 1,000 consumers from the north relocate to the Sunshine State. Approximately, 34% of those folks are Baby-Boomers seeking a club community to reside in during the frigid winter months. These communities could involve golf, tennis, yachting or some combination, all in one convenient setting.
The options are endless; there are 600-plus golf communities alone in Florida to choose from. In Palm Beach County, for example, you will have 177 golf communities to filter through. In addition to the different membership options each club offers, you then have to begin to understand the real estate markets within those communities, or outside the gates if you so desire.
Back to the million-dollar question, the decision must not be taken lightly and you will need a lot of facts to make a confident one. Consider the numbers:
- The average buyer has a $420,000 budget for real estate
- Buyers have an average initiation budget of $32,000 into a club community
- Dues at most Florida clubs average $7,100 per year
- HOA fees and other ancillary expenses could add up to $15,000+ annually.
Using some back-of-the-scorecard math, project 15 years ahead and you can see why this is a million-dollar decision. This is why it is so important to gather all facts and have resources available to use for the search.
My job is to educate you ahead of the journey to find that perfect club and community.
In 2018, we saw a number of interesting trends in the marketplace for clubs who are preparing for new members in 2019. In Florida alone, over $1 billion was invested into clubs and amenities by existing members and management staff.
A few major trends we saw were:
An increase in female-friendly health and wellness programming
Healthier menus and casual dining initiatives
Social programming such as wine tasting and travel clubs
Enhanced security programs for member safety
Concentration on landscaping to increase home values within the club
These trends show a concerted effort by clubs to offer you, the consumer, a great experience and to make a confident investment. Be sure to keep these factors in the back of your mind during the search.
Let’s consider the Top-5 factors that you need to consider ahead of making the million-dollar decision. Thousands of your predecessors have made the transition and noted where mistakes were made. We have compiled the findings and extend to you as a road map to avoid a wrong decision:
1.) Determine your geographical region of choice.
This can be a bit difficult if you don’t know the lay of the land from Arizona to Florida, but there is plenty of information and sound advice online and through trusted individuals like a local PGA Professional. Consider these factors before determining a marketplace:
- Do you want to be near water (ocean or lake)?
- What are your nightlife/social expectations?
- Is living near a major airport important? Healthcare?
- Do you still want to experience seasonality?
- Are you a flatland or foothills person?
Answering these questions and thinking through the possibilities will help you overcome the geographical dilemma and get a bit of clarity.
2.) Do you want to be in a club or golf community?
If so, this is where the fun begins for you as a prospective member.
There are 48 different geographical marketplaces across the southern U.S. with 25+ club communities within those markets to filter – about 1,200 private club community options in total. I agree, that’s a lot to search online. My company, Golf Life Navigators, can filter those communities in a matter of minutes based upon your specific wants/needs and amenity desires. Once you arrive at a list of about four to six communities that meet all of your budgetary expectations, you can plan your visits accordingly and take advantage of being a prospective member. Enjoy this process; it is what you have been working for!