No Place Like Home: 12 Oaks

Beautiful Homes and Great Schools are Just the Beginning

“I do not see ourselves ever moving,” says Benjamin Passwaters.

Those are risky words from a man that moved his family four times in two years. Benjamin and his wife, Stacey, fell in love with a home — and lifestyle — in the 12 Oaks neighborhood in Holly Springs and insist they now have planted deep roots.

Keegan, left, and Connor Passwaters ride to and from school in the family golf cart. Most residents of 12 oaks walk or “cart” to Oakview Elementary school, which is less than a mile away.

The family’s moves were fueled, in part, because Benjamin works as a real estate agent in Wake County and sees a steady stream of great properties, beautiful homes and new developments come across his desk.

The Passwaters family: Benjamin and Connor (left) with Stacey and Keegan.

“That’s the drawback of Benjamin’s career. Moving is easy because you’ve got your real estate agent right there,” says Stacey.

The Passwaters almost missed the chance to see the 12 Oaks property that would become their forever home. “It was the last of several homes we saw that day. Our boys love looking at houses, and they said, ‘Let’s see one more,’” says Stacey. “The kids walked straight through the house into the backyard. It’s a great space to have all fenced in.”

The former model home checked all the boxes on the Passwaters’ must-list: home office, downstairs guest suite, playroom, three-car garage.

“It fit the lifestyle that we needed,” says Stacey.

“We love the atmosphere,” adds Benjamin.

Jokingly nicknamed the mayor of 12 Oaks, Benjamin has helped more than 20 families move into the community and served on the Board of Governors.

Walking trails, swimming pools and the 7,000 yard golf course are popular neighborhood amenities.

“I’m down at the clubhouse a lot, and I love to introduce new people to the community,” he says. “In 12 Oaks, you don’t just sell the homes, you sell the lifestyle.”

12 Oaks living includes access to multiple pools (one with a waterslide), tennis courts, workout facilities and a clubhouse with members-only dining room, bar and special event space.

The neighborhood’s calendar of events is filled with activities like tennis clubs, yoga classes, mah jongg and bridge. Seasonal events like Breakfast with Santa are big hits, especially with families, which make up a large majority of the residents.

For many, including the Passwaters, the Jack Nicklaus designed golf course is a big draw.

“I grew up playing golf and played in college,” says Stacey. “We wanted to expose our kids (sons Connor and Keegan) from an early age.”

12 Oaks family golf nights provide a great opportunity. “You take your time; they really encourage youth participation,” she says.

12 Oaks is less than a mile from Oakview Elementary School. Benjamin drives Connor, a 2nd grader and Keegan, a kindergartner, to school on their street-legal golf cart.

“In the mornings, you’ll see 40 kids walking together to school,” he says. “Our kids have friends throughout the community.”

“They’ve done a really good job with green spaces, too,” says Benjamin. There are several playgrounds and open spaces, as well as walking trails, throughout the neighborhood. There is even a community garden.

There are nearly 1,000 homes in 12 Oaks, with about 600 more to be added in the final phase of development. Several builders have constructed homes with a range of exterior styles and features.

“(Homes) have their own characteristics; they aren’t cookie cutter,” says Stacey.

Prices start around $400,000 and sizes range from about 2,500 sq. ft. up to more than 4,000 sq. ft.

Holly Springs Towne Center is a quick two miles away, and provides plenty of shopping and dining options, including Target, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Ulta, The Mason Jar Tavern and Rise Biscuits and Donuts.

The clubhouse at 12 Oaks has a members-only dining room and bar and hosts a thriving social scene.

The Passwaters live on Green Oaks Parkway, the main artery of 12 Oaks that runs from the neighborhood’s entrance to the clubhouse, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. On Halloween, the street fills up with trick-or-treaters, says Benjamin. The kids find friends and run ahead while the parents sip witches brew served by a neighbor.

“It turns into a big party for the parents too,” he says.

A fenced backyard with an outdoor fireplace and grilling Patio are well-loved elements of the Passwaters’ home.

On Christmas Eve the street glows with the lights of hundreds of luminarias, a neighborhood fundraiser to benefit the swim team.

12 Oaks Facts

Located at:
Holly Springs New Hill Road & Green Oaks Parkway

Base Schools:
Elementary: Oakview Elementary School
Middle: Apex Friendship Middle School
High: Apex Friendship High School

“I love being on this main street,” says Stacey. “You really see a lot of movement through the community. It’s fun.”

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