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Old 04-25-2015, 11:32 AM
 
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I currently own a small lot in Brunswick county (Seawatch). Luckily, it was one of the first lots built, so it has all of the utilities available. Wondering if I should build on the lot, or cut my losses, sell the lot "for a song" and purchase an existing house. Thoughts?
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Old 04-25-2015, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,251 posts, read 19,777,911 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffBinder View Post
I currently own a small lot in Brunswick county (Seawatch). Luckily, it was one of the first lots built, so it has all of the utilities available. Wondering if I should build on the lot, or cut my losses, sell the lot "for a song" and purchase an existing house. Thoughts?
The questions are un-answerable without further information.

Do you want to live at Seawatch? Apparently there are only 9 houses built. Do you want to live in a ghost-town? Do you believe that Seawatch would recover?

Can you afford to take a loss?

OTOH, there is a glut of lots available and no houses for sale. This is according to the Carolina Plantations website. Thus, it sounds more realistic to build on the lot. Since you have utilities, it also seems practical.
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Old 04-25-2015, 02:40 PM
 
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Really depends on your personal situation. There are so many variables. I know of lots that sold for 150K+ a few years ago that are now being sold for +/- 30k. That's a pretty significant loss or it would be to me anyway.

When you say "cut your losses" I infer you you will not get out what you put in.

I would think it mostly depends on where you want to be. If you like your lot, your neighbors, the view, the prospect for future growth/equity, I would say build on it. If none of the above and your bank account allows it (I assume it does since you are asking), get what you can out of it and put the cash toward something that does fulfill the above.

Then there is the issue of building vs a home ready to move in. Building is going to take 6 months to a year but you get to choose everything which may or may not be fun to you. Regardless, I think a new house is going to take more "extras" than a resale. Resales will often have more landscaping done, window dressings done and many other odds and ends that help make a house livable that just are not included in new homes without paying more.

If you want your house, your way, then build it. One the other hand you can find some very nice homes at decent prices if you are patient and shop around.
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Old 04-25-2015, 05:41 PM
 
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Can you find out the developers plans for this stalled development? When it opened in '04 the developer (Mark Saunders) promised a marina, a beach club and a 23 acre amenity campus. To date none of this has been built.

Seawatch at Sunset Harbor - Bolivia, NC | Community Reviews & Real Estate Guide

Sellers are asking anywhere from 10,000.00 and up for those lots right now. It might be worth it (for those prices) to keep the lot and hope things improve.

Can you sit on it and buy something in a more established community?
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Old 04-25-2015, 05:52 PM
 
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Purchasing an existing house is cheaper 90% of the time, assuming you use discretion in your choice of house. Unless your tastes are way out in orbit you can almost always find a "dream home" pre-existing in a desireable place. Despite my way out of midstream tastes and needs, it took me less then 3 months of casual looking to find a perfect place. You just have to look. And, if you haven't yet looked, don't even go there (build). You'll *********rself.

Building is very expensive these days, there are questionable quality issues galore, and custom? you can, in the end, multiply the costs times 2.0 to 2.5. (so, if you are not Warren Buffet, forget it).
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:16 AM
 
Location: New Jersey
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Sorry, but the reality is that Seawatch is a complete bust... in ELEVEN +- years there are 5 or 6 houses completed out of I believe close to 1,000 +- lots sold, it's a shame, as you drive through now you see that everything is overgrown, the signs indicating future neighborhoods are so old and faded that you can hardly read them and the huge billboards and sales trailer are still there and manned every day watching for more unsuspecting innocents to come in and look and make a quick exit. It's a very sad situation for so many that purchased lots from this dishonest developer who has never made good on ANY promises, no amenities built.... NONE. Unfortunately it seems that cutting your losses may be the only way forward as there is certainly no market for an individually owned lot in there.
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Old 04-26-2015, 08:39 AM
 
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I wasn't familiar with Sea Watch. After reading about its history, it does sound pretty sad. I have to agree at this point that it is a loss. It is inevitable that someday the land that is Seawatch will develop into something and may be something to pass on to grand kids. But, I'm not sure it would be worth the legal and financial burden in the interim.
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
132 posts, read 159,337 times
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On this topic does anyone know what the status of any of the land owned by the developer in question? It seems they still have significant land holdings in Brunswick county that have not been foreclosed on.

What will happen with these properties? Is the developer still in business and actively building or will they be sold to another developer?

I thought they were bankrupt and all their property was taken over by they banks but this does not appear to be the case.
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Old 04-26-2015, 12:26 PM
 
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Mark Saunders, the developer, owned almost 1,200 parcels of land in Brunswick County. He relinquished 750 parcels of property to the Bank of America to settle a $78M loan. It is reported that he raised as much as $175M (maybe more) in capitol selling lots to build homes on.

He had a very valuable CAMA permit to build a 270+ slip marina on the ICW. He failed to do so and the permit has been revoked after he sat on it for several years.

On top of that he was selling lots for $200K but when he had to pay taxes on unsold lots he stated they were only worth $55K. This has led to a number of delinquent tax payments and law suits. When the bank took possession of the 750 lots mentioned above, the bank paid the almost $2M in delinquent taxes so titles could be transferred.

The HOA at Seawatch continues to charge property owners dues on amenities that do not exist for land they can not even access because there are no roads. Many lots now have leans on them because owners refuse to pay.

Coastal Companies is the "umbrella company" with about 300 employees that Sanders owns that in turn is comprised of over 40 limited liability company's that include home design, construction, real estate brokerage, vacation rentals, golf course ownership, mortgage brokerage, timber management, and the design and development. Because of this structure, any law suits have a difficult time peeling back corporate layers to find the real money.

It appears that the lots now owned by the bank and its Trustee ( a liquidation company) are trying to move forward and complete infrastructure so that those lots can now be sold. It does not appear that their will be any amenities. Lots not owned by the bank are not included in any planning but it is possible the liquidation company could buy additional lots from owners. I certainly don't expect they would get what they paid for them.

Just seems to me this Mark Sanders made a lot of money, maybe a hundred million or more, then put up a legal smoke screen and shell game to move and dump what was left of his mess into the hands of banks, attorneys and mostly onto the backs of the people that trusted him to create a home.

I believe most of this to be accurate (and opinionated) after reading several articles from new papers etc that were published over the past 4-5 years.
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Old 04-26-2015, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
132 posts, read 159,337 times
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Interesting. Thanks for the info. As I mentioned one or more of the LLC's still owns other properties in Brunswick county, including a big spot on Oak Island where the beach club was supposed to be.

The concern is what will happen to this property since the beach club will not be built. They could sit on it for now and then ten years from now who knows what will eventually be put there. It is zoned commercial recreation.
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