The Five Myths on Retiring in the South

“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” That quote is by a guy named Niels Bohr, a Danish physicist and Nobel prize winner.

When I saw that quote, it kind of reminded me of what I do in a very narrow, niche market of the resort and retirement business in real estate. This is different than regular residential real estate in whatever city you may live in. This is retirement, this is a resort, it’s emotional, things can move quickly. It very well could be the best years of your life, and what I’m here to talk about are the five myths on retiring in the South.

It’s a narrow field, I’ve made a boatload of mistakes, and I’m still learning, but I like the industry, and I’ve been doing it for 35 years, so we’re going to talk about the five myths right now.

Myth number one. People tell me all the time through the years, “John, this is my last house.”

Well, it’s not really going to be your last house, most of the time. Now, I’m generally speaking here, but many times they tell me that, and within a year or two, they’re looking for another home. The one they have is too small, it’s too big, they like the community, they want to upgrade, they want to downgrade, all kinds of things. So, it’s not necessarily your last house. I will also tell you, as people tend to get older, sometimes they go back up North to be with family, so it’s a very real thing that can happen.

That’s myth number one. “This’ll be my last house.”

Myth number two. “I want to rent first.”

This is not a good idea. People tell me this all the time, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a realtor, I’m saying that because people come down and they decide to rent, and I can tell you right now, because my clients tell me this, bad idea. You’re never fully accepted by owners in the community because they think you’re transient, they don’t think you’re going to be around long, and you’re just not part of the group. People have told me that they’ll walk up to them and say, “You’re the renters, aren’t you?” So, this is not a good idea. You have plenty of time to come down and look at areas, do your homework, “Is this something we would like?” and everything else. But renting for six months or a year, it really isn’t a good idea.

Myth number three. “I have to find the perfect house.”

Let’s back this up a little bit. It’s not the perfect house, it’s the perfect area to start. I’m here in Hilton Head, Bluffton, South Carolina. You have an area here. You have an area in the mountains, the Carolina mountains. You can go to Florida. You have to find that area first, then drill down a little bit and find what community you like. If you want to live in a gated community, which one? Look at several. Once you find that, I always tell my clients, “If you find the right community that feels good to you and you like it, I will find you a house there.”

So, that’s typically how you do it as opposed to people coming in, “I need to find a house.” It’s find the area, find the community, then we’re going to find the home. That’s how that typically works.

Myth number four is people tell me: “They’re going to come down, and they’re going to look at model homes and try to find their dream home.”

Well, that’s not that great of an idea. There’s not much of a plan there. They’re going into random model homes and try to find, once again, their perfect house. They’re going to run into a realtor, in South Carolina at least, that’s going to represent the builder or the developer, they’re not going to represent them, so they’re going to be doing some struggling there to try to find where they should retire, where they should buy resort real estate.

My advice is, you could do plenty of homework online. You could find a good realtor, someone who has a lot of years experience, that makes a lot of sales in the local market. It’s the typical 80/20 rule. 20% of the realtors are going to do 80% of the business, and you can find them online. Well, people find me online. They look at my Facebook. They look at my Twitter account. They look at my Instagram account. They check me out, which you’re welcome to do. But anyway, that’s myth number four.

Myth number five. “I don’t need a plan. I can just come down and drive around the area and check things out.”

That is not a good idea. You need a plan. Most of the clients that I run into in all the markets I’ve been in, in Florida, the Carolinas, now in South Carolina, through the years I’ve run into people that show me a binder this thick. They’ve got a plan. They know the weather. They know the taxes. They know everything. You don’t need that, but the point is you need a plan. Most people I run into, they don’t have a plan, and they’re just driving around, looking. They might be one or two years out, but trust me, you need a plan.

So, those are my five myths when retiring to the South. I hope you picked up a little something in there. My name is John Weber. I am with Charter One Realty, here in the Lowcountry. I sell real estate, resort and retirement real estate to people in Bluffton on the mainland, Hilton Head here, on the beach.

It’s a busy time of the year, it doesn’t look so bad. Hilton Head is a very, very famous place. It actually has been nominated and won the best island in the United States. You can search that on Google and find that. The second largest island on the East Coast next to Long Island, so it’s a great spot. Great beaches and everything else.

So, my cellphone, 843-295-2114. You can go to my website,, and you can check me out. It’s important because you’re going to need a buyer’s broker to help you find your resort retirement home, so come down to South Carolina and find your dream home.