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Real Estate News — Local buyer’s agent to head state real estate associates group; Wall-Smith procures CRS designation

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Real Estate News — Local buyer’s agent to head state real estate associates group; Wall-Smith procures CRS designation

David Kent (Provided).

Property rights will be one of the top issues for a Mount Pleasant associate slated to take over as head of the state’s top Realtors group next year.

“I’m looking forward to serving my fellow Realtors of South Carolina as their president elect and protecting the individual property rights of the citizens of South Carolina,” says David Kent, partner of The Real Buyer’s Agent. Kent calls the company “Charleston’s first exclusive buyer’s agency.”

Peers recently named Kent the 2015 president-elect of the state Realtors association.

As the heir apparent, Kent will attend all executive committee meetings and state and national conferences to prepare him for taking over the volunteer presidency next year. He also steps in when the president can’t attend an event or speaking engagement.

The state Realtors association represents all the regional realtor associations when it involves national issues.

According to his company, Kent and his agents’ team have consistently provided clients with “fervent representation and superior service.” He promotes further education about buyer representation and elevating the standards within the real estate profession.

Kent has taken part in the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council advisory board since 2008. He’s served as president of Charleston Realtors association, CTAR’s Multiple Listing Service and Charleston Trident Home Builders Association.

Having racked up real estate transactions, experience and a proven track record, Debbie Wall-Smith took the next step — earning a top home-sales designation.

Wall-Smith, a broker with Charleston Metro Homes, received the Certified Residential Specialist title. It’s awarded by the Council of Residential Specialists, the largest nonprofit affiliate of the National Association of Realtors.

Just 37,000 Realtors nationwide have claimed the designation, which requires they have completed advanced professional training and “demonstrated outstanding professional achievement” in residential real estate, according to the Realtors association.

The credential gives home buyers and sellers assurances that the agents follow the Realtor ethics code, are up to date on “tactics and technologies,” and are proficient at helping home buyers and sellers maximize profits and minimize costs.

Wall-Smith, a Charleston Trident Association of Realtors member, is broker-in-charge of Charleston Metro Homes. She’s an Accredited Buyers Representative and E-Pro Certified.

“If superior representation with a caring touch is what you expect when buying or selling real estate, you can count on me to be a real estate professional who provides exceptional service and dedication. Honesty and professional ethics are paramount in my client relationships,” she says.

Reach Wall-Smith at 843-345-1095, or

Real estate associates Jess Healy, Lee-an Little and Nikki Kibe recently joined a large firm’s Mount Pleasant office.

Healy explored other opportunities before returning to Keller Williams Charleston-Mount Pleasant “with more experience and compassion for doing what she loves most, serving others,” the company says.

She launched her real estate career more than a decade ago. Her “tenacious character is undoubtedly what buyers and sellers need in Charleston’s active housing market,” the agency says.

Little, who likewise recently partnered with Keller Williams Realty in Mount Pleasant, will specialize in residential property sales in the Charleston area.

According to Keller Williams Charleston, she brings “a fun, vibrant energy to the market with a strong background in customer service.” She loves spending free time with her husband of 18 years “who keeps her laughing and her young teenage son who is just like his dad.”

Raised in Pennsylvania, Kibe comes onboard with Keller Williams in Mount Pleasant and will focus on residential property sales in the Charleston area.

She attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, receiving a bachelor of science in natural science and master’s in biology.

After college, she joined the Army, serving the last four years as an engineer officer at Fort Benning, Ga.

She moved recently to the Summerville area and got involved in real estate. “She has continued to maintain a very strong work ethic, self-discipline” and professional experience to set herself apart, the agency notes.

Kibe’s enthusiasm to learn and grow combined with Keller Williams’ extensive training will translate into “building relationships and assisting clients with all of their real estate needs,” according to the company.

She spends time away from work with her family and two dogs as well as exercising and scuba diving.

Two homes spanning more than 2,000 square feet and priced in the low $200,000s are the latest model floor plans from Ryland Homes.

The builder recently opened the professionally decorated models at Reminisce, a new-home community on Gaslight Boulevard in Summerville. The neighborhood stands off West Butternut Road, west of Old Orangeburg Road.

The models consist of the 2,153-square-foot Griffen II, priced from $205,000; and the 2,632-square-foot Pendleton II, which begins at $225,000.

According to Ryland Homes, The Griffen II offers an open floor plan with three bedrooms and two baths and featuring a large family room and formal dining room. The design can accommodate an optional fourth bedroom and third bath, Ryland notes. It can be built with a choice of six “elevations,” or front looks.

The Pendleton II counts four bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths, including a downstairs master suite. Ryland can expand the plan to five bedrooms and three baths, with optional guest suite or study.

All told, Ryland offers eight floor plans — including two one-story designs — at Reminisce. The models range from 1,409 to 3,621 square feet and are priced from $180,000 to $254,000, says Gayle Jinks, vice president of sales and marketing at Ryland Homes in the Charleston region. Floor plans can be adapted for up to six bedrooms and dual master suites.

Ryland, which has 18 home sites remaining in the first phase of Reminisce, plans to build 140 homes at the community, Jinks says.

Reminisce residents have access to the noted Dorchester II schools. Community amenities include a swimming pool and play area.

Visit or contact Angela McMicking, new home sales at Reminisce at 843-832-8920 or

Ryland Homes operates in 28 markets nationwide and has built more than 300,000 homes and financed more than 250,000 mortgages since its founding in 1967.

An Iowa native who likes to travel, dance, exercise and volunteer has signed on with a Charleston-based real estate brokerage as an agent.

Carolina Real Estate Connection recently welcomed Pricilla Svendsen, who moved to the Charleston area 14 years ago.

She graduated with honors from the University of Northern Iowa with a liberal arts degree and minors in psychology and leisure services. “Traveling, dancing, creating and exercising are her pastimes,” according to Carolina Real Estate Connection.

Svendsen also plays an active role in “leading and coordinating volunteers” with Sea Island Habitat for Humanity. And she wears “several different hats” in ministry with Seacoast Church. The efforts have given her “a wide range of experience in assisting people, leading projects and managing a variety of programs and events,” the agency says.

“She loves a good project with a rewarding outcome and is excited to help others in the capacity of homeownership,” Carolina Real Estate Connection notes.

A Charleston area nonprofit organization that promotes environmental best practices on the job and at home recently named an expert at bringing in money.

The Sustainability Institute introduced Katherine Westmoreland Richards, who joins the team as a fundraising consultant and will lead its Lowcountry Giving Day campaign.

Richards previously held posts as director of operations and development at the Maquipucuna Rainforest Reserve in Ecuador and the founder of LoveMaqui. She also was involved in an educational outreach campaign in Ecuador, Canada and the U.S.

She received double degrees in international business and management studies from Western Carolina University and Avans University of Applied Science in the Netherlands.

An experienced real estate advocate who lives in Summerville gained a certificate citing that she’s a pro at helping servicepeople move.

Cindi-Jean Garrett recently earned a Military Relocation Professional designation, which indicates she can assist military families around metro Charleston.

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She’s an agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Southern Coast Real Estate.

Garrett, who at a younger age lived in New Jersey and Florida, moved to the Lowcountry in 2011 and resides in Summerville.

She attended Presbyterian College in the Upstate. “It was there that she realized that South Carolina was a place she wanted to call home, eventually,” the Southern Coast agency says.

After graduating from college, Garrett served in the Army and is an Iraq War veteran. “She has great organizational and interpersonal skills,” according to the Dorchester County-based real estate firm.

Garrett and her husband Matthew have two children, ages 8 and 5.

Reach Garrett at

While the share of homes facing repossession had been declining steadily in the Charleston area, the pace picked up markedly in January, a real estate analytic firm reports.

Foreclosure rates in metro Charleston-North Charleston sank to 1.48 percent in the first month of 2015, down 0.78 percentage points from the same period a year earlier when the rate was 2.26 percent, says CoreLogic, a national firm that studies housing data.

The local share of houses in foreclosure remains higher than the national rate but only slightly. The U.S. rate was 1.46 percent in January, down 0.58 percentage points from 2.04 percent a year previous.

South Carolina’s foreclosure rate similarly fell to 1.46 percent in January, off 0.56 percentage points from 2.02 percent a year earlier.

Separately, the mortgage delinquency rate fell sharply in Charleston-North Charleston.

According to CoreLogic data for January, 3.76 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared with 4.87 percent for the same period last year, a 1.11 percentage point decrease.

By comparison, the U.S. delinquent mortgage rate sank to 4.02 percent, down 0.99 percentage points from 5.01 percent a year ago.

Home loans that are 90 days or more delinquent dropped to 3.98 percent in South Carolina in January, down 0.87 percentage points from 4.85 percent a year before, CoreLogic notes.

Ample experience in “one-on-one” business dealings should bode well for Andrea Harrison as she enters the real estate field.

That’s the thinking of Century 21 Properties Plus, which welcomed her to its Mount Pleasant office. She will specialize in residential property sales in the Charleston area, the agency says.

Harrison worked in the Charleston hospitality and tourism industry for more than a decade and has owned a business for eight years.

Century 21 Properties Plus says her Charleston market expertise, “along with the skills she has acquired working ‘one-on-one’ with clients and customers,” make her more than qualified to represent home buyers and sellers.

“This is an exciting career move for me,” Harrison says, “and I am pleased to be associated with the Century 21 Properties Plus team.”

Sales started this spring at a small new Ryland Homes community in Dorchester County, made up of moderate-sized houses at bargain prices.

Ryland Homes markets three and four-bedroom homes at Limehouse Villas. The village of 23 home sites rests along Limehouse Drive and Palermo Avenue — west of Jamison and north of Ladson roads in Summerville.

The homebuilder completed a model home, the Hartwell. It will premier in Limehouse Villas at a community grand opening in late April.

The two-story, 1,666-square-foot sales model boasts three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, sunroom and a two-car garage from $182,000, says Gayle Jinks, vice president of sales and marketing at Ryland Homes in the Charleston area.

Ryland Homes, headquartered in southern California, intends to offer five ranch and up-and-down floor plans. The Limehouse Villas homes will range in size from 1,172 to 2,250 square feet and in price from $163,000 to $199,000, Jinks says.

A natural gas community, Limehouse Villas sits “within minutes of shopping, dining and employment centers and offers easy access to major arterial highways and Charleston International Airport,” the builder says.

Visit or contact Leigh Mason at the Limehouse Villas sales office, 843-851-0279.

An umbrella group over Coldwell Banker United, Realtors doled out home relocation trophies to the Charleston regional team and to a top area vice president.

Cartus Broker Network honored its agencies and associates with Platinum Excellence and Five Star awards last month.

Billed the nation’s leading real estate network, Cartus touts 804 firms representing 3,000 offices and close to 106,000 agents.

The greater Charleston market region took home platinum and five star honors as did Aiken, Charlotte, Columbia and York County.

The 2014 Cartus Broker Network International Conference took place mid-March at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa in Palm Desert, Calif.

Coldwell Banker United, Realtors Carolinas Region grabbed both Cartus Destination Services awards, “which recognize brokers who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in customer service and sales conversion,” the company says.

“Brokers such as Coldwell Banker United, Realtors help make the move to a new location easier for each of its customers,” says Gerald Pearce, Cartus executive vice president of broker services and affinity services.

“Winning the Destination Services Awards honors the efforts of our sales associates in welcoming newcomers to our area and helping them feel comfortable with their surroundings,” says Paul Dunkle, senior vice president of relocation, who oversees the region from Charleston.

He individually earned a Platinum award, something fewer than 26 percent of the Cartus Network’s principal brokers achieved for 2014.

“The Platinum Award has long represented extraordinary accomplishment,” Pearce says.

“Receiving a Platinum Award is a high honor, and something that we worked for consistently throughout 2014,” says Dunkle, who credited a team effort from his staff.

Dunkle also captured a Five Star award, which recognizes brokers who have met or exceeded their individual objectives for “outgoing broker-to-broker referral closings” during the calendar year.

“This speaks volumes about why our brokers are such highly valued partners: their commitment to our mutual success,” Pearce says.

According to the local Coldwell Banker United office, Dunkle began in real estate in 2000 with Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services in Pittsburgh.

He moved to Charleston 11 years ago and gained the Charleston Relocation Director position in November 2006. He became general manager in Charleston in May 2012. The Columbia/Aiken relocation director responsibilities were added then and Charlotte/York County in April 2013.

Coldwell Banker recently changed his title to senior vice president, relocation. He travels to the Charlotte and Columbia support centers weekly.

Dunkle stays active in the military market, working closely with the USAA MoversAdvantage and Navy Federal Credit Union RealtyPlus programs.

He helps with opportunities for active and retired military personnel who are buying or selling a home to receive cash back, based on the purchase or sales price of their home, when using a “preferred Coldwell Banker United, Realtors agent.”

There are also free referrals to experienced real estate agents from nationally recognized brokers, a personal real estate coordinator to provide guidance throughout the process, community and neighborhood information and special discounts to help with moving.

Contact Dunkle at or

Cartus is part of Realogy Holdings Corp., a publicly traded global leader in real estate franchising. For more, visit; or

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