In more than 17 years in the real estate industry, Jim Grady of Charleston has seen some surprising changes—stratospheric home prices, growing preference for work-from-home offices and affinities for condos and apartments over single-family homes for millennials. One element that will always remain for him, despite any climate, is the collective value he instills in all his agents to cultivate relationships and trust with each client.
“For me, it’s all about relationships because real estate is literally a relationship/customer service industry,” said Grady, branch manager of Coldwell Banker Realty in both Mount Pleasant and downtown Charleston. “We have approximately 125 agents between the two offices, and the value of honoring that relationship is the first and most critical step of every potential transaction.”
Clients need someone they can trust to answer real questions about the place they choose to live with their loved ones. Concerns include questions such as:
- Are new homes as structurally sound as my grandparents’ 1950s home?
- Will the foundation hold up to old age or crack in the first two years?
- Is the cost so prohibitive that I will never be able to pay it off? Will I be able to sell again for a profit?
- What is the local crime rate?
- How close am I to shopping centres, schools and churches?
If that sounds too complicated or too much trouble to bother with, each member of Grady’s team will make the entire process much easier to handle. If they don’t know the answer, they’ll put you in touch with someone who does.
“For example, if you have concerns about home quality, hurricane requirements, structural integrity, et cetera, we refer you to home inspectors, contractors and structural engineers,” Grady said.
He and his agents cover every part of the greater Charleston area. Each of Grady’s agents has their own specific focus—such as condos or oceanfront property—or helps clients with special requests and conditions. There is always a good match on the grid.
“One agent I know focuses on Alzheimer’s awareness in their marketing strategy, and other agents focus on breast cancer awareness,” he said. “This kind of specialty is highly individual and may be case-oriented.”
Grady’s agents also work with industry professionals such as mortgage experts, home inspectors, contractors and attorneys.
“I want my agents to be the best educated and most ethical in dealing with customers,” he said. “And when I hire, I look for agents—whether brand new or experienced—who seek knowledge, competence and growth…and who are committed to customer service at every level of property.”
Grady’s approach has paid off in some rewarding ways. In the past two and a half years, his team has nearly doubled the firm’s closed volume, and Grady himself has been recognized as a top 100 company executive in the country.
However, Grady is not one to brag. Rather, he celebrates the lasting camaraderie by saying, “Customer relationships are practically the whole heart of our business. And if we honor this relationship in every transaction, we’ll always have their trust…and maybe make a new friend.”
By LC Leach III