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North county real estate market mixed bag

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By Everett Ballenger

The first half of 2016 seemed busier than the numbers would indicate. It certainly was a mixed bag.

The market has been somewhat down on the face of it, but there were some bright spots. I know the numbers do not show it yet, but the latter part of the first half of 2016 we did see some encouraging traffic, and June’s closings were outstanding.

There were some bright spots though, and we will look at each area individually, but Lady’s Island had an excellent first half.

August 2016 (1)

I suspect the availability of “affordable” housing offered by the national builders is enticing first-time buyers to take the plunge and purchase their first home. This is especially true as rental housing is getting harder to find, and rents are rising faster than mortgages. Here’s a look by community:

Beaufort: The importance of the overall effect of first-time buyers cannot be overstated. One reason we had the start of the real estate collapse back around 2006 was that property got too expensive, and first-time buyers stopped buying, thus the knock-on effect throughout the industry.

I wonder what effect the lack of “new” affordable housing in the city of Beaufort has or will have on any potential population growth. I could get into the demographics of boomers and millennials, but space would not allow it. The city of Beaufort was pretty flat with the exception of the median price drop.

Mossy Oaks was down across the board, with a significant drop in actual sales. Inventory was up 18.5 percent.

Port Royal is a surprise. The area is usually up among the better performing districts. Unit sales were down -26 percent, but there were nice price increases for the “Average” and “Median.” Inventory was down a high 63 percent.

Burton was a little surprising, as there are some national builders active in that area. Sales down some 14 percent were noteworthy. Prices up strongly at +23 percent average and + 15.6 percent median.

Lady’s Island had an excellent first half of 2016. Sales volume were up +30 percent and unit sales up +43 percent. The only negative was the average sales price was -8.5 percent. For years Lady’s Island was the real estate hotspot of Northern Beaufort County. But like everywhere else it was hit hard by the real estate downturn.

Over the last year or two, the island has reasserted itself as the leader in single-family home sales. With national builders moving ahead at a pace with new reasonably affordable new construction, I see no reason the island’s strong showing should not continue into the foreseeable future.

Everett Ballenger is the owner of B.I.C. Ballenger Realty and former president of the Beaufort County Associations of Realtors.

Real estate numbers bode well for 2016

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By Everett Ballenger

This month we will take a snapshot of the May 2016 real estate market. We would not normally just look at one month for a year-on-year review, but May is normally a good indicator of how the market will perform   through the busy spring selling season.

One should take into account that for homes to close in May, the contracts were very likely written in March and April. So again decent real estate sales in May really indicates how the first 40 percent of the year has performed.

Over the last two years the housing market has been up on the year before (other than October 2015), which was down a little on 2014. Here we are only looking at the five areas we normally cover, Beaufort, Mossy Oaks, Port Royal, Burton and Lady’s Island.

Three Year Review of the Month of May
Three Year Review of the Month of May

Certainly May 2016 showed some healthy gains across the board. Actual units’ sales were up close to an impressive 14 percent.

Prices did show some increase over 2015. This is encouraging to see. Some “hot” metropolitan areas have seen some significant rises in home values, and Northern Beaufort has lagged behind this appreciation trend.

Land values are still down, especially in some gated communities, but if the single-family home market remains strong, it can only be a matter of time before buildable lots start to attract attention once more.

As of May 15, there were 397 active single-family homes for sale in our five main areas, and 192 pending sales with a listing volume of $51,087,473.

One would have to say that May 2016 was a pretty good month overall, and bodes well that the real estate market remain strong throughout the rest of the year.

Everett Ballenger is the owner of B.I.C. Ballenger Realty and former president of the Beaufort County Associations of Realtors.

Beaufort strives to save live oak near Boundary Street construction project

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The recently-pruned live oak stands tall after surrounding scrub trees were removed to improve the oak’s health.
The recently-pruned live oak stands tall after surrounding scrub trees were removed to improve the oak’s health.

As construction crews begin clearing the way for a realigned intersection of Boundary Street and Robert Smalls Parkway/SC 170, Beaufort city leaders are working to save a century-old live oak located at what will be an improved First Street. The tree is a 51-inch diameter live oak and is likely between 100 and 150 years old, arborist Michael Murphy said.

“Live oaks are an important part of Lowcountry culture as well as Southern culture,” Murphy said. “These iconic trees have come to identify the South. Every historical Southern event seems to have happened under or near the canopy of a live oak. This tree’s location, in a prominent site on a future bend in a new road which would place it in the view of all who would be using the new road, is reason enough to preserve and maintain it.”

“We recognize that we can’t save all the trees affected by this project, but when we have a chance to save a live oak, we are certainly going to try,” said David Coleman, senior project manager for the City of Beaufort. “When this part of the road is completed, this big tree will help anchor the end of the road as it starts to bend at the river,” he said.

RESPA change effective date extended to October 3rd

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Beaufort County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR) is alerting its members and the public of the alternate effective date for implementation of the changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and Truth in Lending Act (TILA) or TRID (TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure). Originally, the changes were slated for August 1, 2015. However, as of late last week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a proposed amendment which would move the rule’s effective date to October 3, 2015.

“We certainly welcome the extension, but we continue to urge all REALTORS® to be aware of the changes coming in October so that there are no delays at the closing table,” said BCAR CEO Janet Gresham.

Highlights of the new rule include:

• A new loan estimate document which replaces the Good Faith Estimate and the initial Truth in Lending disclosure.

• A new closing disclosure document which replaces and combines the HUD-1 and final Truth in Lending disclosures.

• Loan Estimates must now be given to consumers within 3 business days of applying for the loan.

• Types of loans covered include most closed-end consumer mortgage loans. The rule does not apply to Home equity lines of credit, reverse mortgages, mortgages secured by mobile homes or by dwellings not attached to the property and creditors who make five or fewer mortgage loans in one year.

The South Carolina Association of REALTORS® will be offering members a training webinar on July 23rd to address the RESPA changes. REALTORS® are encouraged to visit to register.

Beware the real estate scammer

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By Will McCullough

While the modern real estate industry uses a wide range of “checks and balances” to protect individuals from fraud, the common utilization of digital marketing in today’s world has opened the door to creative scammers, con-men and all around scumbags. While I personally have seen only a few blatant attempts at real estate related “scams” over the years locally, those few could have been utterly catastrophic to the unsuspecting potential victims. I was motivated to choose this topic for today’s column because my most recent related experience took place just last week and, as this specific scumbag initiated a scam I’d never seen or heard of before, I felt it important to share.  But, before I share the details, please allow me to reintroduce you to a few catchy sayings you may have heard before:

1. Believe but verify.

2. There’s a sucker born every minute.

3. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

4. Don’t take any wooden nickels.

5. Ask no questions, hear no lies.

All that being said, here’s what happened: I had a client who was looking for a rental property to reside in on Lady’s Island.  Deena and I normally don’t handle rentals but wanted to help this person.  Anyways, we were contacted by the client last week and they, apparently, had found the “perfect rental” on Lady’s Island via and asked if we could investigate it for them before they sent the owner their deposit.  Upon a little standard research, we found the home offered for sale in our MLS by a reputable local agent but not offered for rent. We thought that was odd so we then located the rental listing our client had found posted on The contact number for the rental listing was a Chicago area code.  This sent up a “red flag”, I know the listing agent personally and he’s not from Chicago. We then tried to contact the listing agent but were unable to reach him. As it’s not totally unheard of for a person to attempt to rent a property themselves while simultaneously listing it for sale via an agent, we went ahead and called the number on Trulia.  I mean, come on, it’s Trulia right?

And then it got weird …

When we called the number, an individual answered who allegedly spoke little English. They also had a really bad phone connection. There was enough clarity to eventually exchange email addresses and cell phone numbers for texting. I realized later that, despite my best efforts, he apparently thought I was a potential renter and not an agent.  Or he didn’t care. In hindsight, who knows? In any event, below please find an extremely condensed version of our two days of text/email conversations:

Me: I have a client interest in renting your home. I will contact your agent directly.

Scumbag: I am renting myself due to bad experience with Realtor and tenant.

Scumbag: Renting myself. You don’t have to contact agent anymore.

Me: How can we gain access to view the home?

Scumbag: Drive by tonight and look through windows.

Me: How do we get the key to see inside?

Scumbag: OK, sounds good. Send the $1000 deposit and I will send you keys.

Me: My clients will not send a deposit until they have seen inside and have an executed lease.

Scumbag: OK, understand we need to trust but other people want my house too.

Scumbag: OK, my wife says we will take half deposit then send keys.

Me: No, we will not send funds until we have viewed inside and verified ownership, etc.

Scumbag: We are a God fearing family and treat others this way. Send half deposit and we send keys.

The above communication examples continued to repeat, varied slightly, in a frustrating circle, via email, text and garbled phone calls, for some time. I then finally received a response from the listing agent whom I’d contacted earlier. As it turned out, the property was not being offered for rent, only for sale. As a matter of fact, the owner had yet to even move out and was still living in the home.

Here’s what happened in a nutshell. This individual found the legitimate “for sale” listing of the property in question online.  He then created a bogus (and tantalizingly below market) “for rent” listing for the same property on utilizing the real “for sale” listing’s online pictures and details and was attempting to convince potential local renters to send a deposit to his Chicago mailing address after instructing them to simply drive by and “look through the windows”. He made this seem plausible and realistic by expressing his love of “Christian values” while simultaneously feigning a lack of mastery for the English language.

It’s OK though. All was reported to the appropriate folks. What’s the moral of the story?  Always remember to apply the appropriate “protect your fiscal backside” saying of your choice listed earlier before sending anyone money for any reason.  As a bonus, we may have at least helped initiate a catchy new saying: Think twice before you post your home mailing address to someone you are trying to scam.

Attorneys, lenders and cool shades

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By Will McCullough
I only buy cheap sunglasses. I mean really cheap. We’re talking single digits. The reason I only purchase the most inexpensive shades possible is because I have a track record, which spans decades, of quickly breaking them. As a matter of fact, when I broke my last pair a few months ago, I swore I wouldn’t buy any more unless I could find a seemingly unbreakable pair for under $20.
The reason I share the above information with you is because, about three weeks ago, Deena and I were walking along the shores of the Beaufort sandbar together, and she found a pair of beat up old sunglasses buried in the surf. Broken and covered in scratches, they looked like they’d been bouncing along the bottom of the river for months. With the exception of our boat, the sandbar was completely empty and, had it not been for the friends we had with us, the sunglasses in question would have quickly found their way into our trash.
“Those are Costa Del Mar sunglasses!” our friend exclaimed. For the record, this meant nothing to me. The only time I honestly get excited about fashion is when Marvel Comics releases a new superhero T-shirt. However, the catch here was that, while I’d personally never heard of “Costa Del Whatever,” my friend had. And, not only had he heard of these fancy high dollar shades, he knew that they came with a lifetime warranty for replacement against breakage. In a nutshell, he had detailed knowledge, based on personal interest and experience, about a topic that just might prove valuable to me.
In the world of real estate, we agents often find ourselves in a comparable situation. We’ll work with a buyer who has finally found the property of their dreams, made an offer, received a contract and then asked us the inevitable questions. What closing attorney should I use? What lender should I use?  What inspectors should I use?
Unfortunately, despite the fact that we local agents work with a wide range of supporting entities and definitely have personal opinions on who is best equipped to help you, the truth of the matter is that recommending a specific lender, attorney or inspector would be a violation of our ethics standards. We simply are not permitted to recommend, or attempt to sway you, in the direction of any secondary provider of real estate related services. In short, even though I know for a fact that the real estate lender, attorney or inspector equivalent of “Costa Del Mar” rocks, I can’t recommend them to you above the real estate equivalent of “Sunglasses-R-Us.”
What I can do, however, is give you a list of the general criteria I find important in selecting supporting entities for my own personal real estate transactions.
Within arms reach: For my personal transactions, I prefer to utilize an entity where I have a specific individual, with whom I have established a trusted personal relationship, as my point of contact. In short, I want to be able to walk into their office and speak to them face to face when I have a question or problem related to their facet of a transaction. While email may be a convenient form of communication, so is a “choke-slam.” I recommend keeping your ability and options to directly communicate open.
Experienced: I’m not just talking about overall years of experience as in the case of an entity that serves at a national level; I’m talking about someone who has served successfully in the hyper-local market as well.  Do they know the Beaufort market like the back of their hand as it relates to their aspect of real estate transactions? Are they respected in the community? Do they have past local clients who would recommend them? Don’t be afraid to ask.
Reachable: This one is easy. Your transaction is important to you. It should be equally important to those who guide you through a closing. If your initial calls or emails are not returned in a timely manner, you may want to shop around.  The last few years have been tough on agents, lenders, attorneys and inspectors alike.  Don’t settle for someone who does not display their appreciation for your business via timely responses.
Frankness: Despite misguided popular opinion otherwise, the customer is not always right. Sometimes they’re dead wrong and I personally want to utilize an attorney, lender or inspector who can, in a tactful manner, explain to me that my preconceptions are incorrect or unrealistic when that’s the case. A good supporting entity exists to serve your best interests in a transaction, even in the rare cases when their opinion of “your best interests” is hard to hear.
In closing, while your agent will likely give you a list of several lenders, attorneys and inspectors to choose from, it’s your responsibility to find the entity that fits your scenario the best.
And speaking of “fit,” as it turns out, Costa Del Mar sunglasses not only fit well, but coincidentally, only cost about $19 shipping and handling to be replaced/repaired by the factory!

Will and Deena McCullough of Lowcountry Real Estate can be reached directly at 843-441-8286 or via email at

Free: Beachfront lot with incredible views

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By Will McCullough
As someone who supports his family solely via the selling of property in the Beaufort area, I’ve had to step out of my comfort zone this time in order to focus on a local piece of real estate that, while exceptionally beautiful and offering a location that puts most others to shame, is not available for purchase. This one-of-a-kind deepwater parcel offers a sandy beach and breathtaking 360 degree views of the waterways surrounding downtown Beaufort, Lady’s Island, Port Royal and Parris Island. Under normal circumstances, one would expect only a few to be able to afford unrestricted access to such an incredible property. But, here in the Lowcountry, we can all come and go as we please. Well, as long as you have a boat.  Or, maybe better yet, a friend with a boat. Oh, it also needs to be around low tide.
By now, most local readers already knew the parcel of real estate I was referring to, but, for those of you visiting the area for the Water Festival, please allow me to introduce you to the Beaufort Sandbar. The Beaufort Sandbar is an island that appears just offshore from the Waterfront Park in the Beaufort River when the tide is low. Many visitors to the area are surprised to learn that the local deviations between our high and low tides can vary as much as 9 feet. This significant drop in water level can reveal sandbars, or little islands, that make excellent locations for waterfront fun, socializing and relaxation.
While there are many popular sandbar “hang outs” in the area, each with their own merits, the Beaufort (or “downtown”) Sandbar is unquestionably the most popular and iconic. Finding it is quite easy if you are in the downtown area. Simply walk out to where the swings front the river at the Waterfront Park and look out a few hundred yards in the rough direction of 2 o’clock. If it’s within a few hours of either “side” of low tide, you’ll see a collection of boats encircling a sandy little island in the middle of the river.  Yep, that’s it.
One of my personal favorite aspects of the Beaufort Sandbar is, as I alluded to earlier, its utter lack of exclusivity. Beaufortonians of all ages, backgrounds, income and occupation arrive on its temporary shore via paddle boards, kayaks and boats of all size and shape. This eclectic mix of folks enjoy a relaxed sense of freedom seldom found on public beaches, with both dogs and kids running freely while grills are fired up, horseshoes are tossed and footballs are caught.
I’ve lived in the Beaufort area since I moved here in 1993 to serve as a Drill Instructor at Parris Island and I’ve always considered the Sandbar to be one of my favorite places.  For me, it has always induced a pleasant and surreal feeling of being surrounded by “all things Beaufort” while seeming a world away.
Best of all, this year, the Beaufort Sandbar has finally been given its Water Festival recognition, being immortalized by local artist William Rhett III as the festival’s 2012 official logo appearing in print, online and across the back of scores of T-shirts. It’s a beautiful piece and, if you’re lucky, you might be able to pick up a print at his gallery located at 901 Bay St.
In closing, if you are visiting and considering a potential move to the area, feel free to swing by a local real estate office and pick up some information on what’s available. Just know in advance that one of the nicest examples of local real estate is not available for sale. But you’re welcome to visit it at any time.

Will and Deena McCullough of Lowcountry Real Estate can be reached directly at 843-441-8286 or via email at

The (extra) cost of doing business

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By Will McCullough
Have you ever planned to contribute to the local economy by purchasing something you really wanted only to be surprised by extra, seemingly unexplainable, expenses? No, I’m not talking about feeding the parking meters while shopping along Bay Street; I’m talking about the closing costs associated with purchasing a property in the area. While experienced real estate buyers are stereotypically fully aware of exactly what closing costs consist of, most first time buyers are not.  So if you’re a potential first time buyer of real estate in the Lowcountry, please read on.  On the other hand, if you’ve already “been there, done that,” I’ll understand if you choose to stop reading now and skip forward to Terry Sweeney’s “Happy Winos” column. (For the record, I’m still waiting for him to review one of my favorite wines but he’s apparently prejudiced against the whole “volume meets cardboard box” packaging concept.)
Now that we’re left with just the first time buyers, please allow me to explain, in general, what closing costs are. In short, closing costs are not a single individual fee paid to some nameless entity when you buy a home. Instead, the term refers to the combined accumulation of multiple fees due to multiple sources for services rendered on your behalf during the transaction.  In other words, instead of one big charge, it’s a whole bunch of smaller charges added together. The following are a few examples of some of the individual items that, when combined together, make up some of what we refer to as closing costs.
Home Inspection: While a buyer is not normally required to have a home inspection before a purchase, it is my strong recommendation that you do so. A good home inspector can discover a wide range of “latent defects” or “problems nobody knew existed” before a sale is finalized. As the saying goes — “An ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure.” The cost of the inspection depends on many factors but, in a nutshell, one can expect to pay an average of between $250 to $400. This charge is often paid at the closing as opposed to when the actual inspection is conducted and, thus, becomes one of the fees that make up part of the closing costs.
CL100 Inspection: Normally required by lenders and commonly referred to as the “termite inspection”, the CL100 inspection checks for just about anything that would degrade the stability of a wooden structure.  While this obviously includes termites and other timber destroying insects, it also includes excessive rot, moisture in the wood and certain fungi. Like the home inspection above, payment for the CL100 is normally deferred until closing.
Appraisal: If, as opposed to paying cash, you are getting a loan on the property, an appraisal will likely be required by your lender. Basically, the appraisal’s purpose is to ensure that the sales price agreed upon does not exceed the actual current market value of the property. This protects both the buyer (from over paying) and the lender (in case you default and they have to foreclose and re-sell).
Attorney Fees: If you are purchasing a property in the state of South Carolina, you will be having an attorney represent you in the transaction. In short, the job of your real estate attorney is to ensure that all the contractual “T’s” are crossed and “I’s” are dotted, that you are receiving a clear and marketable title free of liens and that you fully understand the wide range of documents, fees, etc., associated with the closing.
Lender Related Fees: This is a topic that warrants a detailed column of its own but, in general, there may well be fees or up front costs associated with the type of loan you have secured for the property and, if so, these costs will become closing costs as well.
While the above list represents some of the services that, when combined and paid for at closing, make up what we call “closing costs,” it is by no means complete. Actual costs will vary from transaction to transaction, so I highly recommended that you discuss the topic in detail with your agent before you make your first offer.
Oh, and try out the boxed wines too. I’ll take the convenience of that little plastic spout over those annoying corks every time.

Protect the clumsy and hide the secrets

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McCullough mug

By Will McCullough
A few days ago, I was previewing a home with another agent. (I won’t give her name.  I’ll just say that she’s one of the two people in the picture that accompanies this column and, chivalrously, leave it at that.) It had rained the night before and, as she stepped out onto the property’s dock, she slipped and fell on the wet wood leaving her with a head to toe series of bruises. In fairness, I should mention that the unnamed person in question could likely find a way to fall during a laying down contest, but the fact remains that the entrance to this dock was at a very steep angle and it would be easy for anyone, not just a gravity-challenged person, to fall and get hurt. A little “no-skid” in an area that obviously needed it could be the difference between selling a home and getting sued.
Here’s my point: We live in a litigious society and, if you’re inviting complete strangers to come in and tour your home, it is in you best interest to take a good look at it in advance from a safety perspective. In addition, it may be wise to take a few minutes and ensure that items of an overly personal nature disappear during showings. So, based on personal experiences, below please find some home staging advice that goes beyond all the standard “put out fresh flowers”, “hide family pictures” and “get a new welcome mat” guidance.
Some people are accident prone: It’s also a fact that some of those clumsy folks are going to eventually tour your home. Before you put your home on the market, take some time to tour your property constantly asking yourself the question “How would a clumsy person injure/kill themselves here?” Fix those loose steps and railings, cover those open outlets and lay down a bit of no-skid.
Some people bring kids:  As agents, we all do our best to watch over our buyer’s kids while showing a home.  The parents, obviously, do the same. But accidents can and do happen and it may be a good idea to consider stowing poisons, knives and scissors if you are opening up your home for others to tour in your absence.
Some people are stupid: OK, in this case I’m referencing the sellers. Let me start by saying I personally have no problem with guns. I grew up hunting, was a Marine for 10 years and I’m completely comfortable stating that Deena and I both have concealed carry permits. So here’s the little bit of staging advice I would have believed unnecessary earlier in my real estate career.  If you own a gun, do not leave it loaded and laying around during a scheduled showing. Three times in my career, I’ve come across a loaded gun in plain sight during a showing. One on a bed stand, one leaned against a wall and one, yes believe it or not, lying in the middle of a kitchen island. Trust me, I’m all for the Second Amendment, but if you’re inviting strangers to come in and tour your home, make it disappear behind lock and key.
Some people are thieves:  As individual agents, we often show property to groups of people. The happy potential buying couple is often accompanied by their parents and friends. We all honestly try our absolute best to keep everyone with us as we focus on showing your home but it is often inevitable that individuals will linger and split off in different directions. If it’s valuable to you, it’s probably valuable to someone else.  Make it vanish in advance before you discover, months later, that it’s vanished permanently. This also includes prescription drugs.
Some pets eat people: OK, that’s probably not true but some people think it is. Potential buyers want to see every inch of your property if they are seriously considering it and many will not tour the back yard or garage despite your advance assurances that your dog is “friendly.” I love pets too, but if at all possible, make them go before you show.  Keep in mind that you want them to write an offer and I have had buyers refuse to get out of the car for fear that “Cujo” was going to pin them down by the jugular the moment we got out.
Some people have secrets:  And you might be one of them. So before you allow your home to be shown, please ensure that your collection of porn and/or illegal drugs disappears. Buyers want to look in closets to determine if their stuff will fit and your alphabetized collection of freaky DVDs will be in plain sight when they open the door (true story). Buyers will also want to tour every inch of your 5 acre parcel to ensure that you are not growing cannabis on the grounds when they find your baggies on the vanity filled with it but they may be hesitant to do so because you are also “breeding pit bulls” on the property (yep, another true story).
So in closing, if you’re looking to sell your home in a competitive market, be sure to focus on the curb appeal and hide pictures and clutter. Oh, and the porn, drugs, valuables, rabid critters and dangerous stuff too.

Will and Deena McCullough of Lowcountry Real Estate can be reached directly at 843-441-8286 or via email at

If not you, who?

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By Will McCullough
When considering putting your property on the market, I think it’s very important that you interview at least two or three potential listing agents. In the Beaufort area, there are literally hundreds of licensed real estate agents and finding the right Realtor to represent you can make a huge difference in seeing your property sell in a timely manner and for as much as possible.
In complete honestly, it isn’t always a matter of just who’s “better,” it’s often more a matter of “who’s a better fit” for you and your specific needs. That being said, I wanted to share what I’ve always considered the best question I’ve ever personally been asked by a potential client during a listing interview. The question was simple: “If you couldn’t recommend yourself or even an agent from your company, who are a few other local agents you’d recommend to list our home?”
Please allow me to be completely up front, as a local agent myself, I’m obviously biased. However, truth be told, there are many incredibly good agents in the Beaufort area and I thought it would be a fun topic to publicly answer the above “who else?” question. Please know that while, yes, I personally hold the following agents in high regard, this is by no means a complete list. So, without further delay, here are just a few of the many local agents, from multiple companies, who quickly come to mind when personally answering the above question.
Christi Trumps, Tideland Realty:  I’ve interacted with Christi on multiple occasions over the years while working through various showings, offers and contracts. Her wealth of experience and genuine pleasant demeanor always appear to serve her clients well and, I can say from personal experience, allow for very smooth communication when working as an agent opposite her in a transaction.
Mike Ray, Coldwell Banker: Having represented clients opposite of Mike on several occasions, I can honestly say I really respect how he works. And “how he works” is hard. From what I’ve seen, when Mike is looking for an answer for his clients, he’ll dig until he finds it. He returns calls and emails quickly and doesn’t hesitate, at all, to initiate his own when the need arises.
Kim Carswell, Ballenger Realty: Kim is a true professional who appears to represent her listing clients exceptionally well. I am a personal fan of having a strong marketing message and quality promotional materials for listings and, as a competitive observer, have to say that I honestly respect the heck out of her work.
Bryan Gates, ERA: Bryan’s a very nice guy.  The real thing too, not just an act. While I haven’t done a large amount of transactions personally with Bryan, I can’t help but think that his high degree of genuine care for people in general would have to pass on to his clients and I think that, coupled with his years of experience, likely make for an awesome agent.
Pat Harvey-Palmer, Hometown Realty: I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of professional interactions with Pat over the years and I can say, without question, that her volume of experience puts most of us in the local industry to shame. Whatever your problem, she’s likely already “been there, done that” … and “done that” well.
Gary Glasser, Lowcountry Real Estate: In the interest of fairness, I’ve done my best to highlight quality agents from other companies and abstain from listing any of my co-workers at Lowcountry Real Estate. Gary, however, rates an exception. Reason? My impressions of Gary were formed when I myself was with another company. Gary’s straight-talking style, depth of knowledge and prior-USMC life experiences have always seemed to guide his clients well.  I have no doubt that will continue to be the case for many years to come.
When it comes down to it, what matters most is finding a local agent, from a reputable company, whom you feel will both market your property aggressively and relate best to you personally. While Deena and I would welcome the opportunity to potentially serve you, we also can’t deny the fact that the above list represents only a few of the many excellent local agents available to choose from.
Bottom line, take your time and interview a few agents before you sign on the dotted line. An extra day or two spent making comparisons can end up, unquestionably, being time well invested!

Will and Deena McCullough of Lowcountry Real Estate can be reached directly at 843-441-8286 or via email at

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