I have always loved household furnishings. From dishes to sofas and everything in between, I have very serious ideas about style and function. When I was looking for dishes, the set had to have a pleasing coffee cup – definitely not a mug but also, not a tea cup. I looked for three years to replace the light fixture for my kitchen, 10 years for the bedroom pendant light, and since I moved here 15 years ago I have yet to find the right exterior sconces. To be sure, I do love the thrill of the hunt.
There are so many brave and loving people helping others in this world that I admire like nurses and firefighters and teachers. I hope that in my way, I am truly helping people achieve their dreams. I never have felt I was “selling” anyone a home, but rather helping them navigate the complicated and emotional path to ownership. In some cases I am more of a counsellor and stress management advisor than a sales agent. Clients frequently try to think for both sides of the equation and do not consider that their risk tolerance is not the same as the other party’s. Helping people think about what they can and cannot control is one of my functions. One of my sellers once said “it’s an old house, of course there will be wood rot.” A perfectly reasonable assumption. The wood rot however, will never pass the termite inspection and the buyer’s financing will likely not be approved without a clear report. Fixing the wood rot was a no brainer in the big scheme of things and was not going to be negotiable. Most importantly, I believe in staging! As a consequence, I will jump in to help with the physical labor working alongside clients to make sure we have the best photos. My grey/blue pillow from my own home has appeared in numerous photo shoots and anything I can offer to maximize the online clicks is worth it to get top dollar for them.
Every client is surprised when problems with the sale arise. I am always on the lookout because I know they are coming and it’s only a matter of what new issues will arise and when. In one instance after a hurricane, my buyers were getting close to closing but the neighbor’s tree had fallen on the property they were to purchase. Tree experts were booked up with life threatening emergencies, but this precariously leaning tree threatened their new home. The neighbor was renting the property and reaching the owner was not easy but, through persistence and insistence we got it done in time to close on our scheduled date.
Working with first-time home buyers on a tight budget gives me the opportunity to play auntie and take care of them. Working with middle-aged clients with similar life experiences often creates new friendships. Many of my clients are from among my church friends and working together deepens that friendship as we weather the inevitable storms. I so enjoy out of town clients and showing them the ropes of Charleston. It captured my heart on a long weekend 15 years ago and I hope the same for my buyers. Folks looking for a second home often appreciate the thorough, and prompt follow up to their questions from afar as they negotiate long-distance. I love the interaction and learning about their personalities and why they love what they love about a home.
How could I not love this job?
It doesn’t matter whether you are a Lowcountry native or you just fell in love with Charleston like I did, with more than 5,000 real estate agents in the Charleston market, you might ask how should I choose an agent to help me purchase wisely and find someone who will look after my interests?
Hire a career professional
There are not more than 5,000 agents making a living as a professional real estate agent. Many, work part or full-time at other professions, some work part-time by choice, and still others have a license just to represent friends and relatives. There is however, no substitute for a full-time, experienced agent who has seen many potential pitfalls and can recognize great opportunities when they arise. Additionally, there are many details to be addressed in any real estate transaction, and having someone whose only job is to see your purchase through to completion is critical.
Hire someone to protect your interests
New construction buyers are frequently not educated about their own consumer protection. They arrive at a model home to be greeted by a friendly site agent. It’s important to remember that as nice and professional as those agents may be, they are not primarily focused on protecting the buyers’ interests but rather on the interests of the company that pays their salary. Make sure you have someone on your side who understands the details of the contract you will sign and can manage the details and deadlines along the way to protect you financially. Remember, the seller pays your buyer agent’s fees so hiring an agent costs you nothing and protects you on everything.
Hire an expert
Everyone “knows someone” in real estate (especially here in the Lowcountry) and whether it’s a friend or relative, think about how that relationship might be affected when issues inevitably arise. Would you rather have that conversation with a person who can be neutral and objective, or find yourself in conflict with issues unrelated to the matter at hand? Consider the benefits to the friendship by hiring an expert – after all, it is a business decision.
Hire a Realtor®
As Phil Dunphy on Modern Family has said, he’s not just a real estate agent, he’s a Realtor®. A Realtor® is held to a stricter code of ethics than real estate agents. Having confidence in your agent’s ethics and knowledge of best practices will help you sleep at night. Realtors® are members of a national organization and are required to take additional continuing education courses to insure they are up to date on the most current laws and the best practices. Make sure you select a Realtor® to insure you receive the best possible representation.
Hire a CNE®
Only a small percentage of agents throughout the country are Certified Negotiation Experts. Advanced, continuing education is required to achieve the CNE® designation. I recently interviewed agents in Chapel Hill, NC for clients who were moving there from Charleston. I did so because they had a bad experience with an agent in Asheville, NC while looking for a vacation home. After talking with three Realtors ® with this particular designation, I referred two of them to my clients. They went with my first choice and have been delighted with the outcome and closed on a new home last week. When interviewing agents ask if he or she is a Certified Negotiation Expert. It can be a huge asset to have someone on your side that is more effective in using a variety of techniques to achieve your best outcome.
– Terry Bell-Aby, Realtor®, CNE®
dunes properties of Mount Pleasant is pleased to welcome the agents of Places, LLC to our family of professional Realtors®. We have combined to offer expanded services to clients throughout the Charleston, SC area, and most specifically in Mount Pleasant, SC where Places has been a leader for years.
Chris Anderson, Broker-in-Charge of the Places group says “dunes properties is an established, luxury-oriented real estate firm that consistently ranks in the top 10 in sales in the Charleston market, so we are confident this move will expand our marketing scope and greatly benefit our clients in the Mount Pleasant/East Cooper/Charleston markets.” Laurie Thornhill, Anderson’s long-time partner in Places agrees. “I feel certain that our level of service, professionalism and expertise will only be elevated with this new integration with dunes properties.”
We are currently constructing an office at 835 Coleman Boulevard for our corporate staff and growing group of Mount Pleasant, SC agents. The Places group will remain at their current office at 400 Hibben Street in the Old Village through the end of this year. The majority of the team will be joining us in the Coleman office once construction is complete in early 2017. Several others have chosen to work out of The Real Estate Studio, our office at 214 King Street in the heart of Charleston, SC’s historic shopping district. Both offices are under the leadership of Broker-in-Charge Catherine Parker.
“We are very pleased to further expand our presence into Mount Pleasant,” says dunes properties’ President Randy Walker. “It’s no surprise that Mount Pleasant is growing very quickly. We are so happy to welcome this group of agents who have served this area for years and have consistently represented buyers and sellers in the area’s most prestigious neighborhoods.”
dunes properties is pleased to announce the addition of three agents to our family of experienced, professional Realtors®. Danny Hughes has joined our Mount Pleasant Team. Taylor Tillman has been added to our historic downtown office, The Real Estate Studio and Russell Buhrer has joined our office at Bohicket Marina, which serves the areas of Kiawah, Seabrook, Johns and Wadmalaw Islands.
A lifelong resident of Mount Pleasant, Danny Hughes knows the Charleston area like few others. In 1997 Danny became one of the first residents in the community of Daniel Island, where he lives with his wife, Pamela, and their English Springer, Abigail. During his 40+ year career with the SPAWAR, Danny conducted a number of real estate transactions on his own behalf, and now dedicates himself full time to providing that expertise to his clients. Danny can be reached at email@example.com or 843.200.9164.
A hometown girl, Taylor Tillman grew up with a love for the Lowcountry. Before recently making the transition to real estate, Taylor previously worked for Roper St. Francis Healthcare as a medical assistant, where she offered exceptional care and developed a keen interest in people. Taylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843.437.6369.
A native of Annapolis, Maryland, Russell Buhrer first began coming to Charleston in the early 2000s. He grew up vacationing and spending summers on Kiawah Island with his family. He has recently co-founded a real estate solutions and investment company in addition to joining our Kiawah/Seabrook office. Russell can be reached at email@example.com or 443.995.4620.
dunes properties is pleased to announce the addition of three agents to our family of experienced, professional Realtors. Jack Wilson and Deb Dugal have joined our Bohicket Marina office, which serves the areas of Kiawah, Seabrook, Johns, and Wadmalaw Islands. John Grimm has joined the team at our Isle of Palms office.
Jack Wilson grew up in Charlotte, NC. In 1999, Jack entered the real estate business dealing primarily with land acquisitions and overseeing high-end residential developments all over the southeast from Texas to Virginia. Jack has been married to his wife Renee for over 30 years and they live on Seabrook Island, where he will specialize in representing buyers and sellers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704.661.9843.
In love with the historic charm, and of course the beach, Deb Dugal permanently relocated to the Charleston area 2 years ago. She describes this move as her “new beginning.” She lives on Kiawah Island and has joined The Kiawah Seabrook Group at our Bohicket Marina location. Deb can be reached at email@example.com or 843.608.1343.
Originally from Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay area, John Grimm has lived in Charleston and the surrounding communities since graduating from the Citadel in 1979. John had a successful career as a Ford dealer for 30 years before embarking on a second career in real estate. He will be working from our IOP office. John can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 443.883.5146.
dunes properties is pleased to announce the addition of Prescott Hughes and Jesse Slowikowski to their sales teams in Historic Charleston and Folly Beach.
A native of South Carolina, Prescott Hughes grew up with a strong passion for championship golf and the numerous outdoor activities that the Lowcountry has to offer. Prescott is a graduate of Clemson University, where he majored in Travel and Tourism. He decided to pursue real estate after spending time with both the local and non-local clientele on the golf course. Prescott will be working at The Real Estate Studio at 214 King Street in Charleston and can be reached at 843.722.5618 or email@example.com
Jesse Slowikowski was born in Baltimore, Maryland and spent the majority of his summers in Ocean City Maryland, where he built an affinity for the beach and surfing lifestyle. Jesse attended the University of Maryland at College Park where he graduated with a BS in Kinesiology and groomed his “inner fan” as a Terp. Drawn to a city with a rich history, warm weather and palmetto trees, Jesse moved to downtown Charleston in 2009. Jesse will be working from the Folly Beach Office at 31 Center Street. He can be reached at 843.588.3800 or firstname.lastname@example.org
dunes properties is pleased to announce the addition of Matthew Brockbank and Angela Armstrong to their sales teams in Historic Charleston and Mt. Pleasant respectively.
Matthew Brockbank was born in London, England and moved to the states when he was four and to Charleston when he was 14. His unique past and upbringing have given him the ability to enjoy both the city and quiet beach life. Matthew will be working at The Real Estate Studio at 214 King Street in Charleston and can be reached at 843.722.5618 or email@example.com.
Angela Armstrong has worked in the Charleston real estate market since 2005. She is also the owner of both Charleston Property Concierge and Daniel Island Property Concierge. Raising four boys has sharpened her talents for both negotiation and problem-solving. Angela will be working from the new Mt. Pleasant office at 1510 N. Hwy 17. She can be reached at 843.800.5042 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re pleased to welcome the staff and agents of GQRE. Our companies have combined to offer expanded services to clients throughout the Charleston area. “This opportunity is exciting,” said Jay Dixon, Partner for GQRE. “By teaming with dunes properties, we will be able to expand our agents’ markets and utilize the wide range of dunes properties’ proven services from their four office locations.”
Under the agreement, GQRE’s staff and agents will be joining dunes properties. Their current office on Highway 17, in the heart of Mount Pleasant, will be rebranded as dunes properties of Mount Pleasant.
“We are very pleased to expand our presence into Mount Pleasant,” says dunes properties’ Director of Marketing, Traci Magnus. “The area is one of the fastest growing along the Charleston Coast, and we welcome this group of professional agents who specialize in Mount Pleasant.”
GQRE’s Broker in Charge, Catherine Parker, will continue her management responsibilities for the Mount Pleasant Office under the dunes properties brand.
Welcome agents and staff of GQRE! We’re so happy you’ve joined the dunes family.
The Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS® just announced the graduates of the 2015 class of The CTAR Leadership Development Program. Sixteen local REALTORS® completed the program, which is designed to provide those with interest in taking a leadership role in the Association and their community the education and training to enhance and develop their leadership skills. Two dunes properties agents from our Isle of Palms Office, Ginn Maiers and Susan Petty, were among the graduates.
The two-month program includes three sessions, each focusing on a different aspect of leadership development: teambuilding, communication, community activism and effective leadership. Speakers for the various sessions include local business and community leaders like Cindy Grosso of Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette, Mt. Pleasant Town Councilman Mark Smith, Chris Zoeller of the Post and Courier, CTAR President Matt DeAntonio and President-Elect Michael Sally. The program’s keynote address was delivered by Elizabeth Colbert Busch at the final session.
“We designed this program to help our members develop their leadership and communication skills, which will help them not only if they choose to pursue a leadership position with the Association or in the community, but also in their day-to-day business. We provide the opportunity for our members to learn from those who have achieved success in real estate as well as other industries” said Wil Riley, CEO of CTAR.
Photo credit Meghan Weinreich
dunes properties is happy to welcome Greg Gelber and Susan Petty to our family
Originally from New York, Greg has called Charleston his home for many years now. A graduate of College of Charleston, Greg is an expert on downtown Charleston and will be working out of our Real Estate Studio. His background is in finance and investments.
Where is your favorite restaurant in Charleston and what do you recommend there? Edmunds Oast and the Fresh Charcuterie Board.
Have you read any good books lately? I recently read Boomerang by Michael Lewis and really enjoyed it. It gives a great perspective on other countries and how they were impacted during the recession.
Susan is South Carolina born and raised. In the south, there is a commonly used acronym…GRITS…”Girls Raised in the South” or perhaps men might say it stands for “Gentlemen Raised in the South”. Since she was a skinny little 2 year old, she often visited the coast for family vacations. It has always been a lifelong dream of hers to live near the coast. In 2005, that dream was met when she moved to Hilton Head. In 2015, she then moved to Mt Pleasant to be nearer her family and the Charleston coast. Because living near the coast of South Carolina has been a dream come true, her goal is to help make that dream a reality for others who share in the dream of living on or near the coast. There is nothing finer than to live in South Carolina…just ask any GRITS.
Where is your favorite restaurant in Charleston? I have two favorites: Burton’s Grill in Mt Pleasant and Long Island Cafe on Isle of Palms. What do you recommend there? Everything! They both have a fabulous menu of scratch made, locally inspired foods of fresh ingredients.
What is your favorite activity? Taking my grandchildren to the beach to play in the sand and waves.
Have you read any good books lately? The Magic by Rhonda Byrne
Do you have any pets and if so, what are their names? Two years ago I adopted an adorable Schnauzer via the SPCA in Orangeburg, SC. He was skin and bones when the county dog catcher picked him up, but I saw his potential when I spotted his photo on PetFinder.com. I decided to name him Walker, not because he and I love to walk together, but because The Church of the Cross in Bluffton, SC has a pipe organ that was made by JW Walker & Sons, Pipe Organ Builders of England. While living in Bluffton, I sang in the church choir. I love music of all types but especially praise and worship songs. For that reason, I thought it would be nice to name my “fur baby” after one of my favorite musical instruments.