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07 Sep 2021

Once you land in Landfall, you will never want to leave

By ROB YOUNG  »  Photos by G. FRANK HART

There are those nights outside — the grill going, cocktail glasses at the ready — that seem like an affirmation. It’s what they wanted, what they needed.

John and Kelly Conway moved to Wilmington a couple of months ago, settling in the Landfall community. They had lived in Greenville for years, decades, really, but the coast beckoned. “We just needed a change,” Kelly Conway says.

Besides, Wilmington is dear to Conway’s heart. She attended E.A. Laney High School and several family members are still closeby. Most live in Burgaw, while her dad lives in Carolina Beach. “We wanted to live closer to the coast, and this is my home too,” she says. “We have four children between us, all of whom live in Greenville, which is only a couple hours away.”

Wilmington just made sense. So did Landfall. In fact, it was the only community the Conways considered.

A Varied Lifestyle

Comprising 2,200 acres, including 320 acres of conservation land and Intracoastal Waterway access, the Landfall community has long drawn residents from near and far, mostly for its varied lifestyle offerings.

There’s a lot to love. Some of the Landfall realtors make their home there as well. “I lived in a beautiful hundred-year-old home in Forest Hills for over 20 years and decided I wanted something that wasn’t an antique,” Landfall agent Sam Simmons says. “I had grown to enjoy visiting a family member in Landfall and had fun times at the club. I could live anywhere in the area, but when I began to look, Landfall just seemed like the natural choice. I have been very happy here and can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

The Country Club of Landfall contains courses designed by Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye, while the Cliff Drysdale Sports Center boasts 11 tennis courts, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and fitness facilities and equipment. Amenities also include activities as varied as bocce and knitting, to yoga and PIlates exercise groups.

“We wanted to live near the golf course and be on the water,” Conway says. “Landfall seemed like the right place.”  

So does their home -- a 5,256 square foot house with five bedrooms, 4½ bathrooms and a three-car garage. “When we decided to move to Wilmington, we contacted our realtor and began looking right away. We would just travel back and forth,” Conway says. “We put offers in on several other homes. They were just selling so quickly. Then our realtor contacted us about this one, which wasn’t even on the market yet.”

Built by Bill Clark

It’s worked out exceedingly well.

Bill Clark Homes built the Conway's residence. Based in Wilmington, the homebuilder constructs homes across southeastern North Carolina, mostly in Wilmington, Greenville and the surrounding areas. Bill Clark and his son Heath run the family business. Heath, who played baseball at East Carolina, built and also lived in the Conways’ home.

As many as 15 builders have constructed houses in Landfall to use as their residences, mostly for the same reasons as others in the community: location, amenities and security.

“We refer to our home as a coastal farmhouse. There are just so many special touches within the home,” Conway says. “We feel very fortunate knowing he built it for himself and his family.”

Farmhouse Chic

Among those special features, Conway counts the outdoor area, especially the cabana, grill and swimming pool. The interior features dark wood floors and wide staircases, one in the front and another at the rear. The kitchen contains a large island, contemporary appliances and tasteful countertops. “We love to live in the kitchen,” Conway says.

The top floor contains four bedrooms, including a bonus room and built-in cabinets and desk area. Sets of barn doors contribute to the farmhouse style. The master bedroom is downstairs, and storage space and closets are plentiful. A large, backup generator can power the house in case of hurricanes or other emergencies. The Conways even bought some of the Clarks’ furnishings.

“We just appreciate their decorating style,” Conway says. “The window treatments go really well with the house, and the lighting is tasteful.”

Landfall Benefits

But beyond coastal farmhouse, Landfall features several other types of homes. “One of the charms of Landfall is the non-conforming architectural style,” says Landfall agent Karen Thompson. “We have Mediterranean homes next door to Lowcountry, contemporary or transitional — we have it all. We have an Architectural Review Board that has to approve the building plans, so all of the homes are very tasteful.”

Already, the Conways love the Landfall community. “We like that it’s gated. It has a great clubhouse with a dining and bar area. It’s been newly renovated, and it’s a great place to go and drink cocktails and watch sporting events,” Conway says. “Then our neighbors -- it’s a closely knit street, which makes it very easy to socialize. We live in a cul-de-sac, so it’s been very easy to meet everyone.”

Her sentiment is especially significant given the effects of Covid upon towns, neighborhoods and communities.

”The community and club have seen unprecedented activity and usage during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Landfall realtor Nikki Johnson says. “The private, gated community living that Landfall offers makes for a safe haven to buyers who are relocating from big cities and looking for a place to land where they can work from home while their families have opportunities to stay healthy and active.”

Going to Market

Overall, the Conways’ experience in finding a home is indicative of the Wilmington real estate market. “The market in Wilmington has been strong for years, but it hasn’t always drawn the frenzy of buyers that it has today,” says Landfall realtor Kelli Lazzaro. “The competitive real estate market stems from a mismatch in supply and demand. In Wilmington, it’s definitely a
seller’s market.”

The market decidedly tilts toward newer homes. “The trend that is most prevalent, and it is not a new trend, is that buyers are determined to buy homes that are new, or nearly new, especially ones that have been totally renovated,” Landfall realtor Alison Bernhart says. “The most overwhelming aspect of the purchase of these newer homes is that buyers are willing to pay substantially more for a new home, not just 10 percent more, or a few thousand dollars more, but more along the lines of 20 percent more.”

Landfall is poised to help in the buying process. “I love being a part of a small boutique firm who can focus on clients’ needs not only in real estate, but also Landfall’s homeowners associations, the Country Club of Landfall. New buyers are not just clients to me, but they are neighbors, fellow club members and lifelong friends,” says Landfall realtor Becky Spivey.

The Conways appreciate the hospitality. “We loved working with Landfall,” Conway says. “They were just absolutely terrific. (Our agent) was patient and represented us very well. Since we lived in Greenville, it was more of an effort to visit houses. But if we were home and wanted to see one, she would just stop whatever she was doing and arrange it.”

“We didn’t want to live anywhere else,” says Conway. “Our house is just perfect.”

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