As prospective Members explore Reynolds Lake Oconee, they discover a variety of distinctive neighborhoods and home styles, and they quickly learn that the community caters to a broad range of lifestyles. Equally important, they meet experienced Reynolds real estate professionals and Members along the way who have an intimate understanding of the community because they call it home.

That insider perspective is what elevates the Reynolds real estate team beyond those found at other communities, and also delivers peace of mind to new, prospective Members as they look to buy or build the home of their dreams.

Pleasant Introductions

The vast majority of new Members at Reynolds Lake Oconee discover the community and its amenities through lifestyle packages—one- to three-day immersion visits that allow them to see and experience the Reynolds way of life in whatever fashion they choose.

“Most of our customers have worked very hard to not be treated like part of the herd,” explains Dave Short, the community’s senior vice president of marketing, sales, and strategic planning. With that in mind, Short and his team have allowed those lifestyle visits to evolve organically over the years with an emphasis on flexibility. “We want their visit, as they do, to focus on the things that most excite them about potentially living here, so we delight in the opportunity to personalize a customer’s visit with us.”

Contemplating a Purchase

As prospective Members continue their discovery of Reynolds’ 12,000 acres, they meet with real estate agents who essentially serve as their tour guides, leading them through the various neighborhoods and sections of the community, sharing information about the distinct lifestyles that each of the diverse home styles can offer, and answering questions aimed at revealing the true nature of what it’s like to live here.

“It’s invaluable that I came here on a discovery trip—a lifestyle visit—and fell in love with it in a three-day period of time,” says Micki Tanner, an agent who first came to Reynolds from Chicago in the winter of 1998 and moved into her new custom-built home less than two years later. “A lot of people call us and ask to stay a week or two, or even a month, but it doesn’t take that long to discover if it’s for you.”

Don Weir relocated and retired, (at least temporarily), to Reynolds more than 25 years ago. For about a decade and a half, he watched the community grow and its golf course menu expand from two to almost seven courses; but soon learned that he couldn’t play golf five days a week for 15 years without yearning to take on other challenges. So, Weir pushed the pause button on his retirement about a decade ago and began a new full-time career as a Reynolds real estate agent.

As Weir acknowledges, most prospective Members enjoyed (or are still pursuing) successful careers, but their perspective has changed. They want to know if living at Reynolds will be as enjoyable for the people they’ll meet as it will for the area’s natural beauty and the amenities that Membership affords them. “We formed golf groups, theater, and dinner groups,” Weir says of his and his wife’s assimilation into the community, “and I’ve made friends that are among the best in my life.”

“You know you’ll find a beautiful house, that’s the easy part,” adds Debbie Daly, an agent who moved to Reynolds in 2019. As she acknowledges, most prospective Members are focused on the social aspects: Will I be welcomed? Will I make friends? How will I meet people? The answers often take the form of the agents’ personal experiences, whether those occurred in 1994 (in Don Weir’s case) or, for Debbie, more recently.

“It’s part of the culture here to be welcoming,” Daly says. “Everyone knows that. That’s why they came here, so it’s self-perpetuating. If you meet someone new you, welcome them, you invite them to come to your next barbecue. That’s just the way it is.”

Building on a Dream

For many new Reynolds Members, the prospect of building their dream home is equal parts exciting and overwhelming. Most have never taken on a project quite like it. For this reason, Reynolds offers its Signature Home Collection, featuring 12 different home designs, each one customizable to cater to each Member’s individual needs and preferences.

During the homebuilding journey, the new Member will most likely meet Robert Steverson, director of the Signature Home program, who was born and raised nearby. Stephenson not only provides local insight into the community, he also personifies the southern hospitality that defines the area. “Being raised in the community that we live, you want to do things for people and help people,” he says. “That’s one of the traits that I bring to every client meeting. I want to do whatever I can to make their experience better.”

The Signature Home program uses five different builders. Some, like Gary and Nancy Pierotti of Camden Homes, bring a unique perspective since they’ve called Reynolds home for more than 25 years, in four different residences, with different layouts and amenities and in different areas of the community. “We’ve touched all the bases,” Gary says.

In fact, when the Pierottis built their first home they had yet to enter the industry as builders themselves, so they can empathize with what a new Member is experiencing. “When you have that expectation that you can build anything you want within reason, you immediately think that you have to make 1,000 decisions,” he acknowledges. “But a lot of the decisions come along for the ride based on the design.

“There are probably a hundred features that I can rattle off that we have experienced with customers based on how people want to live and what they can afford,” he continues. “It’s very helpful that we can relate to that.”

Necessary Transitions

As they learn about Reynolds and the various entry points that exist—each one defined by residence category and location—prospective members quickly realize that becoming a resident is remarkably easy. Yet, Short makes sure that his sales executives also effectively convey the ease with which homeowners can transition to a new residence or sell their home and Membership altogether. “People’s lives can evolve in more than one direction over time,” he acknowledges.

Short understands this based on his own experiences. “When I first moved here, I bought a house on the golf course. I can go out and walk five holes in the sunset,” he says. “But I didn’t have an appreciation for the lake that I’ve gained since I’ve lived here. So maybe when I retire, I’ll move to the lake. A lot of people go through that evolution.”

In fact, about 75 percent of the real estate transactions at Reynolds are resales. According to Short, many developers wouldn’t allow for so much flexibility, but that level of freedom is paramount to the Membership experience, and it’s something that Short and his team promise each new Member when they move in.

“The very best incentive that you’ll ever give a Member to recommend the community to one of their friends is that you delivered what your handshake promised them,” he says. “That’s a big deal for me and for our organization.”

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