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The real estate market continues to stay red hot! We continue to get more and more questions about investment properties and just those looking to move their primary residence. So, I’m pleased to introduce our readers to our Guest Blogger, Larry Gavrich. Larry is an expert particularly in Golf Communities. He has written extensively on the subject so we should all benefit from his expertise. You can also re-visit my original article on Golf Real Estate for additional information.

 

 

Golf Communites

After visiting and writing about hundreds of golf communities over the last 10 years and helping dozens of couples, mostly retirees or those about to retire, identify the golf community best suited to them, it has become clear to me that some questions about golf communities are worth addressing and some best left alone.

Let’s start with those questions that are pretty much a waste of time:

 

Will the residents in the golf community like us, and will we like them?  When I am asked this question, my response is straightforward:  “Are you likable?”  If so, you will make friends, and probably quickly after you join the community’s golf club.  Keep in mind that in the typical golf community, everyone is from somewhere else.  Current residents recall their own anxieties about moving to a new place, and they will do all they can to make you comfortable.  (From a selfish standpoint, they are also happy you moved there to help stabilize the real estate in the community and pad the membership rolls of the club.)  Also, given human nature, folks who spent a few hundred thousand dollars on a home are not apt to admit readily to a stranger that they made a mistake.

 

Will we be bored if the community is at some distance from an urban area?  Many golf communities, especially those with bargain real estate, can be as much as an hour or more from an urban area that offers entertainment, restaurant and other services.  If you have ongoing medical service needs, the advice here is to look at communities closer to a city with a major hospital.  For others, the boredom question is easily answered with a multi-day visit to a community you are targeting.  Most offer “discovery packages,” low-priced stays that include lodging, maybe a few meals, a round or two of golf and access to the community’s other amenities.  You will learn over the course of a few days if activities “on campus” are enough to sustain you and if the distance to the nearest city is tolerable.  (Note:  I am happy to assist those interested in arranging a discovery package.)

 

Many customers ask me about the financial stability of a community.  Most communities will open their books to serious prospects; and if they don’t, my advice is to move on to another community that has nothing to hide.  If a community you are targeting is owned by its residents, ask specifically about the financial “reserves” available for both the homeowner’s association and the golf club.  These are the monies available in case of unexpected expenses, such as hurricane damage, a lost lawsuit (if insurance doesn’t cover it all), etc.  In most communities, reserves are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range.  If the community is still owned by a developer, read the covenants to determine when the developer turns the community over to its residents and who will own the golf club at that time.  (Note:  In most states, developers are required to turn the community over to residents when property sales reach a certain point, typically around 75%.)

 

Of course, golfers will want to know the extent of the golf costs, both the initiation fee and ongoing monthly dues.  Most initiation fees these days are of the “non-equity” variety, which means you will not get any of it back when you resign your club membership.  I counsel my customers to focus more on the monthly dues than on the initiation fee.  Imagine you have set a budget of $400,000 for your golf home and $10,000 for initiation fees for the club.  Let’s say you fall in love with a community but the initiation fees are $25,000, and yet you identify a home you really like priced at $375,000.  Since your happiness will very much be tied to your social life in and around the club, consider the higher initiation fee as part of the cost of your home, rather than two separate items.  In total, you will still come in under budget.

 

I have visited and researched golf communities in which there are no initiation fees and no dues; golf membership is part of the homeowner association membership dues.  In general, semi-private golf clubs — those with memberships but that permit outsiders to pay green fees to play — have modest initiation fees (a couple thousand dollars) and monthly dues (between $200 and $400).  Fully private clubs tend to charge the highest initiation fees, and dues can approach and pass $1,000 per month, especially if multiple-courses are part of the club.  But, then again, I have visited fine private golf community clubs with initiation fees under $5,000 and dues under $500.

 

There is a lot to consider when searching for a golf community home.  If you would like assistance in sorting out country club and golf community options, please contact me at editor@homeonthecourse to arrange a no-obligation phone discussion.

 

 

Larry Gavrich is the founder and editor of Home On The Course, LLC, whose mission is to assist those looking to relocate to a home in the Southeast US near excellent golf.  In the last 10 years, he has visited and reviewed nearly 200 golf communities.  A licensed real estate agent, he has helped dozens of couples find golf communities that match their requirements and interests.  His blog site, GolfCommunityReviews.com, features more than 1,500 articles and reviews written by Mr. Gavrich. 

Good Friday

March 25, 2016 — Leave a comment

Good Friday blank image

 

The darkest day in history was when Almighty God laid on His Son the sins of all mankind. And Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, carried our sins to the cross, suffered, and died. He paid the “wages of sin”—death.  Even though it was midday, the world went totally dark for three hours as the Savior surrendered His life and died. He did it all so that those who trust in Him wouldn’t have to live in the darkness, bondage, and death sentence of sin. When He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), it was really just the beginning…
The brightest day in history was coming—in just three days.

Are You Sure?

October 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

Being sure is important in business. Being sure allows you to freely and confidently make decisions. So, sure about what you ask? Are you confident that none of your employees are stealing from you?

In my business, we deal with Dental Practices located all over the world. Consistently throughout all of the practices that we serve there continues to be story after story of staff members who have found a way to steal money from the practice. There seems to be a never-ending number of methods that this can occur.

And trust me, when it happens, the numbers can become staggering.

The fraudster is almost always someone who has been there for years and has earned the trust of the doctor or owner. Many times it starts out small, likely even with the intent that they will return the money. Unfortunately, the small amount was intended to solve an issue in their home life but the issue persists. However, when it goes unnoticed and whatever problem existed continues; their judgment slips again and so it goes…..

It isn’t always a masked bandit or a horrible person that will steal from your business. That would make it much easier to identify. Often it is the least person you would ever expect within your organization.

As a business owner you should put safeguards and checks and balances in place to prevent what starts as a temptation into spiraling into something much larger. Some of the checks and balances that our On-Site Practice Analysis Team recommends are:

  • Deposits are made on a daily basis
  • Internal controls over cash
  • Reconcile the books daily
  • Internal audit trails on the practice software; minimum of 1x per week
  • Check the deleted files internally in the practice software
  • Stamp checks “Deposit Only” immediately
  • Different people run audit trails and check each other’s work
  • Carbon Copy of receipts
  • Fidelity Bonding your staff

Just to name a few….

The above are literally just a few of the items that should be completed as part of your internal business processes. Most of these are daily functions so they can’t be just left to chance or performed randomly. It has to become how you operate every single day.

For many small business owners the list above can seem daunting. The thought of trying to train everyone to do these things can be even a little uncomfortable. When in fact this could be suggesting that there is a trust issue. I would encourage you that there isn’t a trust issue, but rather good business processes. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.

 “Trust, but verify” – Ronald Reagan

 I will admit that implementing all of these systems can be cumbersome. However, when each of these are in place there is a sense of clarity and peace that comes along with knowing that they are in place. Fear and doubt are reduced which allows the Doctor or Business Owner to concentrate on the other areas of the business.

Whenever a business doesn’t have the time, expertise, or human capital to do certain parts of their business they outsource the job to a professional in that field. My colleagues, some of the brightest CPA’s in the business, serve our clients by taking on these functions and processes for them. I have personally witnessed the relief that occurs when the doctor releases this burden as he outsources this to the professionals. It is like hiring a team of the brightest financial minds at a fraction of the cost of only one employee. Creating this financial team, as an extension of their office staff, provides for the surety that is desired.

So, are you sure?

Even if you answer yes, does it make sense to put these safeguard procedures in place?

 Or, should you outsource this part of the business to a professional for the ultimate in peace and clarity?