Saga of the Golf Course

I’m not trying to be difficult.  I’m trying to understand.  How does a realtor who works in this community and who’s husband is one of the people in charge of getting current homeowners to purchase shares to “save” the community golf course not know what was going down?

We went to the meeting on Sunday evening and apparently they have known about this for “quite some time” (their words, not mine).  The course has been in disarray for awhile and yet no one ever said a word about it.  If you look at all the real estate listings for our community, they all boost about the fact we have a “world class golf course.”

Unfortunately, they need to stop advertising this on the website because the golf course has lost many members due to its deplorable condition.  That goes for the tennis courts which are also in disrepair and have been for sale for the past 2 years with no bites.

The pool has several broken umbrellas and not enough shade for those of us who do belong to the pool.  I haven’t used the weight room yet due to my illness but I can say the restaurant is pretty darn good.  We have enjoyed a few meals there and I can’t complain about that.  The help is friendly and accommodating.

I received lots of backlash from people in the community because I voiced my distaste on how they continue to use scare tactics (your home value will go down 10-30% if you don’t purchase a share), the place will go into further disrepair if we don’t save the golf course,  a developer will build what ever they want, crime will go up, won’t have any control of who lives here, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Since we are not even here 2 months, this angers me, and if the neighbors don’t like it, too f’n bad.  I am looking into an ethics complaint to the Board of Realtors due to the fact our sellers realtor works for the real estate company here in the community. Everyone kept saying, “we’ve only known about this for 2 weeks.”  Well, I call bullshit on that.  At the meeting it was brought up 3 times about how they have known about this for quite some time and that about 30 people were initially brought into the clique to discuss options.

THIS IS WHY I’M UNHAPPY ABOUT THIS SITUATION.  I have invested alot of money into our new home and I don’t appreciate not being told up front so I could make a more solid decision about where I would live.  We thought we had done our due diligence, we just didn’t realize we were being lied to.  Two weeks ago we stopped by the golf course to see about purchasing a membership. Not one person said a word about the course closing. Imagine how hot I’d be right now if we had purchased a membership?

We have discussed and decided to opt out of the purchasing of a share or two.  At this point, I don’t trust the information being given to me.  If they can lie about it to our faces, what are they possibly not telling us.  If they can choose not to disclose this to people purchasing in this neighborhood because it wasn’t yet public knowledge, what else aren’t they sharing with us?

I have made my decision public and my neighbors can hate me if they want. I only wish for the best outcome and for those who can afford it, good for them.  Save our community, and if the HOA tries to take it over and we get to vote on it, our vote will be no.  I don’t want to own a golf course.  I don’t want to be financially responsible for it.  That is not why we purchased in this community.

So for now, they can do what they want.  I am backing out.  My neighbor’s house is for sale and it was sold but just yesterday a new for sale sign went up in the yard, guess they were really obligated to tell the buyers what was going on, I just wish we had been given the same opportunity.

Is this a case of coercion/extortion or just out and out lies?

South bridge golf course

SOUTHBRIDGE

This is the name of our new community where we just purchased our forever home.  Six months of planning and investigating the community you would think would’ve been enough.  As it turns out, no matter how much you research or how many questions you ask, if it’s a lie, it’s a lie.

In the mail on Friday, we received a flyer.  A four page, colored, glossy flyer.  Headlines read, “PRESERVATION & RESTORATION EFFORT … Must act now to keep the Golf Course / Green Space available for our neighborhood”

WTF???

As I continued to read this very colorful flyer, it continued with information about 3 informal meetings to be held at the Golf Course club house.  Our deadline to commit:  September 1, 2019.

Turning the page, there is an Equity Share Commitment Form, which basically states we agree to purchase shares, to be paid in full for $5,000 per share, meaning the privately owned golf club will now become the communities responsibility to maintain.

The next page (3), explains the current leasing management is turning the golf course back over to the owners and the current owners, who don’t live in the Savannah area, will be closing the course and will begin looking for a development organization to buy the property to build additional residential units that may include homes, condos or even apartments.

This action will most likely:

Devalue everyone’s home located in the neighborhood by 10 – 30%

Cause the green space to become unkempt and grow wild

Create construction traffic for years along Southbridge Blvd.

Add approximately 1,000 cars and 2,000 people to the neighborhood

Create lower cost housing within the neighborhood

and finally, HOA would have no control over the new residents or their house keeping.

HOWEVER:

A group of Southbridge residents known as the Southbridge Savannah Golf Group has negotiated an affordable opportunity for the community to have this golf course/green space revitalized and create a positive outcome.

The fourth page then consists of how this can be done:

An LLC “will be created” (meaning one is not created yet so how do we know what this will entail) to allow anyone to purchase Equity Shares to fund raise 2.5 million dollars.  This is a one time only offer.  This 2.5 million dollars will purchase the land and set up a new management team.  They say shareholders will have benefits but they don’t say what type of benefits.  Payment will need to be received by September 15, 2019.  A total of 600 shares are available.

And guess who is heading all of this?  A man by the name of Abbott.  His wife was the realtor representing the sellers of the house we purchased in the middle of June.  And it seems another realtor is in charge of the sale and is in line to receive her commission on 2.5 million dollars.  This realtor is despised by many of the homeowners in this community for various reasons.  Seems everyone has a horror story about her and her real estate dealings.

I’m a little perturbed about this whole thing especially when those who are involved and are in line to profit from these dealings are telling the rest of the community they just found out about it 2 weeks ago.  This I know to be an out and out lie.  On July 11th, my husband and I were in the clubhouse having dinner and we happened to be having a conversation with two gentlemen, one was the auditor for the city of Savannah and the other was a financier who lived in the neighborhood.  They both told us the golf course was going to be closing and the land for sale.  Now mind you, we specifically asked about the finances of the golf course prior to purchasing and closing on our house on June 17th.  We were told everything was solid.  Nothing to worry about. 

Upon hearing this news, we thought for sure they were joking or just misinformed because surely they would have disclosed this information in recent real estate dealings.  This was not the case.  Now it makes me wonder why so many of the real estate women who own houses in this community have sold their homes or have them for sale this year.  And to think we almost purchased a home on the golf course owned by the despised realtor.  We didn’t like her from those dealings nor have we been fond of any of the realtors who work for Southbridge reality. 

Rather than hire an attorney, I will be contacting the Board of Realtors to do the investigation as this was not disclosed to us during our dealings with purchasing this house.  My realtor didn’t even know about it.  It was a close held secret only being discussed among a handful of people, several who hold a real estate license and those who will profit from this sale.

I don’t like how this came down.  I feel they were sneaky.  I feel they were liars.  I feel like I, along with others in the community are now being coerced into owning a golf course we didn’t want to own.  I feel as if I’m being threatened.  My property value will go down if I don’t participate.  My HOA fees may go up to $1,700 per year and who knows, since golf courses never run on a profit, how much higher will my yearly HOA fees go up? And we will have no recourse but to pay them if we want to continue living here.  It will be a money pit, never ending expenses.

Some of the amenities in the community which drew us to it were the pool, (which is also in disarray), the tennis courts, (which when I posted my protest on Nextdoor, one of my neighbors privately contacted me and told me the tennis courts had been for sale for the last 2 years) exercise room, restaurant, and golf course.  Our HOA fees weren’t that high so again, we made our decision on what was presented to us.  However, if I had wanted to pay $1,700 per year for HOA fees, I would have purchased in the Landing, or some of the more prestigious neighborhoods in Savannah.

Tonight we will go to the meeting where I will take notes and report back as to what they are going to try and cram down our throats.  I honestly do not have another move in me so moving again is just out of the question, but I truly want to get to the bottom of this and feel a full investigation is needed, especially to those of us who just purchased homes in this community and were never given a heads up so we could make a more informed decision when spending our life savings on a house.

The Board of Realtors will be getting a phone call from me in the morning because I will be representing the people in the community who are just as angry about this as I am.