“This is an excellent time to buy a homesite and build your dream home. There is light at the end of the tunnel during this time of economic uncertainty,” says icon Gary Ingersoll. Why does his opinion matter so much? Gary’s extraordinary career in sales, marketing and development of upscale private communities spans 45 years and is going strong. He has a unique perspective and a profound understanding of real estate market cycles, having endured four recessions from which the economy came back stronger than before.
“This is a unique situation,” Gary explains, “because never before has the United States experienced four major crises at once: the high cost of oil, the stock market crash, the banking sub-prime mortgage meltdown, and the uncertainty of a presidential election.” Gary believes the situation has already begun to improve because the election is over, the cost of oil has stabilized, and the government is bailing out banks so they can begin to lend money again. These three factors will have a positive effect on the stock market as well.
In light of these developments, Gary is optimistic about the economy turning around, and believes that real estate will always be a reliable, profitable investment. His prediction: The economy will be more stable by the summer or fall of 2009.
Gary began his distinguished career in real estate in the early sixties. He graduated from college and sold insurance in northern Minnesota. His real estate career took off when he heard about a new, private, gated community being developed. It was the first of its kind and offered lakefront living, golf, and tennis. Everyone, including Gary, was interested in this unique community. Gary visited the development and realized that selling real estate would be more profitable than insurance. He also recognized the appeal of living on the water. He got his real estate license and joined the sales team.
During the course of his career, Gary estimates that he’s sold a billion dollars’ worth of homesites. His dramatic success in real estate allowed him to retire in his early 40s. After a brief break, he missed the excitement and began consulting and sales training in the industry he loved.
Gary has worked with approximately 50 communities including some in Cabo San Lucas, California, Houston and Nevada. He’s also been involved with numerous southern communities such as Governors Club, St. James Plantation, River Landing, Reynolds Plantation and Bald Head Island.
He invented the ‘launch,’ which has become a widely used marketing tool for many new, private communities. Gary says it is the best way to jump-start a new community: “The launch gives local people an opportunity to get in on the ground floor and benefit from lower prices and excellent
incentives,” he explains.
Over the years, Gary has seen some major changes in the real estate market. “Years ago golf course communities were the first choice for retirees,” he says. “Today people love waterfront living. Due to the scarcity and expense of oceanfront property, many people can’t afford to live there.” In 2002, Gary and his two partners, Ralph Teal and Joe Brinn, started a company called Plantation Sales, and they are currently developing a new, luxury community, Hilton Head Lakes in South Carolina. Gary says, “Lakefront living is a less expensive alternative to buying coastal property, and that’s why we’ve created fresh water lakes at Hilton Head Lakes.”
Plantation Sales developed Hilton Head Lakes because of its perfect location. Built in South Carolina’s Low Country, the community is enveloped by natural beauty. It’s conveniently located 15 miles from Hilton Head Island, with its wide, white sandy beaches and renowned golf and shopping, and historic Savannah, GA.
The Secret to His Success
The key to Gary’s success is his ability to set and achieve goals. He wanted to be the number-one real estate salesperson, and also to become one of the world’s best hunters.
While growing up and watching Tarzan movies, he was intrigued by the secret site of the legendary Elephants’ Graveyard and dreamed about traveling to Africa. Gary’s success in real estate gave him the opportunity to go on exciting hunting safaris on all six continents. He’s extremely grateful that his real estate career gave him the financial means to see so many amazing places.
When Gary discovered that there were only three major hunting awards in the world, he diligently pursued all of them: the Weatherby Hunting and Conservation Award, the Safari Club International Hunter award, and the Conklin Award. There are only six people in the world who have won all three prestigious awards, and Gary was the second hunter to do so.
An important aspect of winning these awards is contributing to conservation organizations. Gary has an enviable record of giving back to the hunting community through volunteerism and financial support. He has underwritten, often solely, conservation projects in the United States, Asia and Africa.
Gary has given back to the hunters and the real estate industry by sharing his experience and knowledge with people who want to succeed. After achieving his goals in real estate and hunting, Gary decided to share his love of hunting with his grandson. In 2008, he took the five-year-old to South Africa for his first safari. Gary now has three grandsons and looks forward to taking all of them on exotic safaris. He’s also written a book about his hunting adventures, which will be published in 2009.