BY VICTORIA HILES

Special to The Post and Courier

Joe Stroud uses his human resources background and bachelor’s degree in psychology to help him run his job in real estate.

In particular, Stroud relies on one of his senses to navigate him toward finding the right home for his clients.

“From the moment we step out of the car I’m watching their reactions,” Stroud says. “The more we go around, I can cater to everything they want. I don’t want to sell you something, I want you to buy it because you love it.”

Stroud enjoys teaming with his wife to buy and sell houses in the Charleston area. It’s something he did on the side. He wanted to make it his full time career but wasn’t sure how.

The Indiana native took his first step in 2004 when he earned his real estate license. Joining Keller Williams Realty the same year, he noticed how certain remarks came up again and again from his clients. They wanted to buy a new home but were stalled because they were still in the process of selling their old one and could not move forward until they did, Stroud says.

Stroud heard his clients, spurring him to find a solution. He responded by starting the Builder Trade In Program at Keller Williams Realty in Mount Pleasant.

“We want to buy, sell or rent a home. We bring in an investor to trade a home in so they (the clients) could buy a new home. It helps them buy a new home fast. It’s a ‘win-win’ or no deal, and this to me is a ‘win-win,’ ” Stroud says.

According to Stroud, deal-making happens when real estate agents understand the market, the guidelines that must be met and of course, the client. There are two problems that builders face in the real estate market – finding the workforce to build the homes and obtaining permits needed to start construction, he says.

To keep up on the permitting side, he attends International Residential Code meetings, most recently on July 1 in North Charleston. Anything mandatory is discussed here including fire, plumbing, electrical and building codes and their implementation dates.

By the looks of his office and the long, overhead cabinets lined with colored sticky-notes, it’s not hard to predict Stroud is making notes of those deadlines. He marks his yearly real estate goals with a visual reminder above his assistant’s desk.

Much of his business involves client referrals. “I had 90 percent referrals in 2012 and that is so important to me. I try to make 20 contacts a day, sometimes new people, sometimes current ones. I try to ask, what can I do for you?” Stroud says.

His encouraging approach comes from his mentor, the late Zig Ziglar. The motivational speaker believed in a variation of the golden rule called the platinum rule. It means to treat others the way they want to be treated, Stroud says.

His mornings often begin by listening to Ziglar’s online podcasts. Stroud uses them as inspiration and a reminder that one way to be successful is to work well with those around you. He believes in this tactic, bringing in his colleagues to provide feedback when he has a question about a transaction.

Stroud has more than his own agenda in mind when doing so.

“At Keller Williams, there is a culture of sharing and helping each other. I run things by someone and agents come back to me with their own question. When someone leaves me, I want them to feel like they got more out of it than I did. That’s always my goal,” Stroud says.

One common takeaway from a conversation with Stroud is learning the value of treating people well. He recalls a transaction where he arranged and paid for a plumber to fix something on a home that was near closing. He did it to please the customer and show that he was listening.

Stroud believes people have to accept that sometimes you have to make small sacrifices to make a sale, but the tradeoff is worth the effort.

“In a residential deal, all you have is your reputation. When I do a good job and the clients refer me, that’s how I grow my business,” Stroud says. “I never want to tell clients they’re wrong. It’s not about being right, I just want to get the client in the house.”

For more information, contact Stroud at 843-343-7844 or jstroud@StroudFineHomes.com.

Victoria Hiles is a freelance writer living in Charleston.