In the 1990s, millions of people dreamed of following the wealthy celebrity trend of golf course living. Some of the homes on golf courses can fit a more standard three-bed-two-bath that dominated American suburbia, and continues to be a standard. But more people were attracted to lavish mansions with their multi-car garages, stunning lighting, and majestic views. Golf course homes (and those located nearby) also boasted private security for residents, and close proximity to a popular type of athletic club: a golf course, naturally.
It’s easy to understand why someone would invest in a home that comes with the beauty and splendor of 18 holes on a bright, sunny day. Who wouldn’t want to live in a palace in a fantasy garden? In the past, the biggest concern for people living on or around golf courses was flying golf balls. There is no shortage of people who have complained to their local golf courses about the hazard of flying golf balls – an inevitable and possibly dangerous risk you’ll take when living next to a golf course. Some people who own golf course homes acted quickly, installing shatter-proof or shatter-resistant windows. Others weren’t so proactive, and have the window replacement bills (and in some cases, relationships with construction companies and window installation companies) to prove it.
Today, though, when we talk about golf course homes, the first thing that real estate agents and other professionals in the industry might tell you is that these homes have seen a dramatic reduction in value – sometimes as much as 25%. The popularity of golf is waning from what it once was, and golf courses and real estate agents who specialize in these types of homes have been feeling the strain for a number of years.
There is no one person, entity, or otherwise to blame for the drop in value for these wonderful and beautiful homes. Like every other industry, the 2007 Financial Crisis hit the golf industry as hard as it hit every other industry, and many courses were left struggling. Unlike most of the other industries, though, golf hasn’t made the return necessary to bring these homes back to the value they had or may have had around the year 2000. Some are left wondering what happened to the once-great country club sport, which peaked in popularity over a decade ago. The explanation for the decline of golf is actually fairly simple, according to some golfers: the only reason that it became so popular in the 21st century had everything to do with Tiger Woods, and all of the press that he attracted to his games. But Woods’ subsequent scandals and absence at recent tournaments have affected golf. However, before Tiger Woods, golf was already declining. Woods brough golf back into the light, inadvertently glamorized the sport, and suddenly, people who would never have tried golf found themselves on the course. The same could be said of most of the homeowners who lived on golf courses – since residents of the courses have never been forced to pay fees, anyone willing to pay for the property could be found living on a golf course, and happily so.
But neither golf nor golf courses can compete with videos games, the clear recreational activity of choice for young people; cheaper real estate, which was always a competitor; private golf club services, which offers the opportunity to play at a reduced rate, or the lack of development or technological advancement for the game of golf. All of these reasons are part of the decline of golf courses, and the homes therein, but this doesn’t mean that you are stuck in your home forever. So, what do you do if you need to sell you golf course home?
‘Dead malls’ are a well-documented phenomenon that have taken the internet by viral storm. Young adults and older adults are still surprised to see how their local malls have fallen to e-commerce, Amazon and eBay taking large portion of these customers. ‘Dead golf courses’ are next on the list, and their real estate values are feeling the effects of the decline of golf as much as malls felt it with the rise of e-commerce. With this, understand that neither malls nor golf courses are going to draw the attention that they once did, nor will any real estate whose value is its proximity to a mall or golf course, even a huge mall, or a beautiful golf course. Even if you purchased your home for a hefty price just a few years ago, some homes on golf courses are selling for one-quarter less than the owners have paid, on average. Some are selling for up to fifty percent off of their purchase price.
Know the Risks – for Potential Buyers.
Golf balls-to-the-head or through-the-window aside, one of the unfortunate trends of this marked decline in golf and its real estate is the golf courses’ own efforts to save themselves, namely through skyrocketing dues, and demanding that some of those dues be paid by residents. This might not have been a problem today, had buyers been required to do so in order to purchase the home. But since fewer and fewer people are even playing golf, the notion of being forced to pay dues for a sport in which you have no interest has landed some golf courses in court.
Even considering couples and individuals who enjoy golf, and would love to live on or near a golf course, there is still the question of the fees. Some fees can run nearly a quarter of a million dollars – enough to buy two homes in some parts of the country. Assuming you’re lucky enough to find a buyer willing to risk having to pay even more for the privilege of living on or near a course, you’ll still have to make clear to them whether or not they’re obligated to pay these fees when they purchase your home.
Selling Your Golf Course Home
Selling a home isn’t easy. Choosing to hire an experienced real estate agent is the best move that you can make, but a necessary move if your home has special circumstances, and being located on or near a golf course would count here. Make sure that you’re honest and forthcoming with your real estate agent, and they just may find you the offer you’re looking for.