Episode 4 of Small Business Spotlight with Mosaic Marketing, Marcel Blanchet, Director of Digital Marketing, welcomes Bill Sullivan, a real estate agent from Little River, South Carolina with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate & Elliott Coastal Living elliottcoastalliving.com . They discuss why working with a top agent, who is experienced and trustworthy, can go a long way in ensuring your property sells at top dollar, or that you buy for the best price in the market. Marcel asks Bill about choosing the right real estate agent as well as how important it is to interview agents while looking for one that is also compassionate. Answering the question, "Does my real estate agent have my best interests at heart?", Bill talks about how important referrals are, as well as his support team, and market trends and analysis. Marcel and Bill discuss how real data is important when it comes to investment analysis, neighborhood-level market performance, and the long-term impact of your decision to buy or sell.
Bill really focuses on finding a compassionate agent who understands you. Let’s face it — buying a house is a stressful task, especially if you're facing a divorce, having a baby, mourning the death of a spouse, or getting married. You need an agent who is patient with you and your circumstances.
Bill also talks about marketing and how important websites with value-added content are a real plus along with how social media has changed how he communicates with his clients.
From mosaic marketing, this is a small business spotlight show that gives small businesses a spotlight to what they can do.
Yeah, yeah, thank you very much. Thank you very much. And welcome to episode number four of small business spotlight with mosaic. And I'm Marcel Blanchet. Che here. And I've got a fabulous guest today. This gentleman actually is a real estate agent that I've met on my travels. And he's currently from Little River, South Carolina. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce Mr. Bill Sullivan. Hi, Bill. How are you doing? Hey, good morning, Marcel. Thanks for having me. What a beautiful day here in South Carolina. And it's so nice to meet with you and talk with you about choosing the right real estate agent. We've got a lot to talk about. Because real estate is crazy. And it's really crazy down here in South Carolina, though, tell me a little bit about yourself. And how did you get into real estate? Yeah, I'm originally from Connecticut. The Woodbury Waterbury area. I was an agent for Coldwell Banker. I've always been an entrepreneur since graduating college at the end of the 80s. I have a background in financial planning to stock brokerage sales. So real estate was the one license I probably didn't have. It's probably the most fun job I've ever had. So I think I probably waited too long. But I love it moved down here to Myrtle Beach a couple of years ago. couldn't be happier. Just love the area. I love the people. So in a really good spot right now. How long have you been down here in the Myrtle Beach area, but a year and a half? I was lucky enough to get in here before COVID. And then you know worse we all know what happened there. So I was able to at least get my feet wet and get myself somewhat established. Unfortunately, we came out of it. We had a really good year down here as far as real estate sales as we did all across the country. Markets changed a lot since the beginning of the year. But you know, this is a great place to live. So we have a lot of people from the northeast and around the country that come here. It is a beautiful place and the weather is good here. Little River and North Myrtle Beach and Conway and what are some of the other hot areas? Well, Pawleys Island is always a good choice along with Murrells Inlet, which is on the south side of Myrtle Beach, both beautiful towns, it gets a little bit quieter as you go either north or south of Myrtle Beach proper. So they're really good areas to explore. Not as much inventory down there. But inventory is a problem all around the country. So it's nothing unique to those areas at this point in time. You know, one of the things that people always ask me regarding the real estate down here is flooding. Everybody's always worried about hurricanes. And you know, in Connecticut, they have flooding. I mean, we've had hurricanes and tropical storms and just the recent tornadoes. So what do you say about it? Well, yeah, I mean, flooding is a real issue down in the Myrtle Beach area. I mean, we are the lowlands of South Carolina. So as a realtor, it's very important for me to understand where those flood zones are, and to make sure that my clients aren't going into a potentially difficult situation down the road. Yeah, it's one of the first factors we look at when we're out searching for homes, particularly for people out of state that do not realize that we do have flooding problems, and it is an issue, but we have a lot of homes down here that don't flood. So that's the good news. I think it's important that
a person is like yourself is transparent. Let people know what's going on. You know, I like the idea of getting to know the agent. What do you think about it? Well, I think that's extremely important. I mean, you know, you're developing, we're both developing a relationship as time goes on. And we're talking about an investment. That's one of the biggest investments you'll ever make in your life. So it's important to have that and it's important to have trust and communication. It's a true relationship. You know, our markets different down here. It's not like back in Connecticut where we go out looking at houses on one Saturday, and we don't find anything next Saturday we go out. A lot of times we have people coming in most of the time we have people coming in from out of state. So we go out to look at houses for a couple of days, and then they go back so I lose them for a while. So it's even more important for me to establish a continuous line of communication and develop that relationship because when they come down again into two months, three months, six months, we've been talking
about these things we've been talking about where to look, we've developed a relationship. So when they're ready, and we find the perfect spot, we're both on the same page. So it communication and relationship is even more important because we're not down the street. We're playing right away for a lot of people. So Right, right, that's, that's an important point, that you're not right down the street with some people that are coming from out of state, which is something that people should really consider making sure that they can talk to you. But you can talk on the telephone or FaceTime with people and say, I'll tell you what, with COVID it's turned marketing in our business completely upside down. Because, yeah, I mean, I had to learn about zoom, I had to learn about FaceTime and do it properly, I had to put my fears away for doing those things are how I look on the camera, how I act. So yeah, it's a huge thing. Now, as a matter of fact, after I leave you, I have to do a video tour for people in Connecticut, have a house up in Little River. So it's becoming a really important part of what we do down here. And it's part of our toolbox now, that's become indispensable. Now, should people like interview agents? Because I mean, you represent not only buyers but sell right, you know, to people interview agents? Yeah, I mean, my feeling on it is, I think probably one of the big knocks on unreal tours in general, is that we have the perception that it's an easy job, and that everybody out there is doing it. That's a huge misconception half the realtors in the United States don't sell one house a year. So it's important that you interview and you select somebody that that's keeping up on their education that studies the market that looks at the stats, it's their profession and not something they dabble in on the weekends to pay for, you know, a boat, or maybe the kid's college education. There are the top 20 or 30% in the country that are doing all those things to educate themselves so that we could educate customers and clients because like I say, this is one of the biggest transactions you're ever going to make in your life. If you're not interviewing people and finding out what a marketing plan is or how they're communicating with you. It's a huge mistake we have we have realtors out there that when they go to list the house, they have the three P's. They place the sign on the front yard, they place the listing in MLS, and then they pray. There's no marketing campaign, there's no communication. So yeah, I think interviewing an agent is critical. I think it is too if you want a real estate agent that's going to have your best interests in heart. Someone that has passion and conviction, and honesty, and someone that you can trust. Yeah, I think interviewing is a very important part of getting the right real estate agent. Yeah. I mean, if you had a half-million dollars, and you were gonna put it with a financial advisor, I'm pretty sure you'd probably make the same decision to go out and interview a few of them. You just want to give a half-million dollars to somebody you don't know. So yeah, it's critical, because, as I say, it's a huge asset for you. And I think referrals are important too. What do you think about referrals? Well, yeah, I mean, you know, referrals are important in any type of business. It's critical in our business. And I think, with Google reviews, and Facebook reviews and Zillow reviews, any good realtor on their back of their mind knows that that's really important. A good realtor is going to make sure that they're bending over backward to satisfy the client. Because we want a good Zillow review. We want a good Facebook review because referrals are the lifeblood of any business. Yeah, that's very important. Yeah. Most referrals and testimonials, really important. Yeah, absolutely. There's a built-in trust factor there with the referral. And you know, what, also with a real estate agent, like so, you'd have a support team, right? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there is so much to this business. You know, we have contracts and amendments. And you know, there's a lot of law, there's a lot of dates, you have to keep track of, you know, we have an office staff that keeps us on track. I consider the lawyers that are for my clients, too, as part of my team, the house inspectors that I recommend, bug inspectors, the termite inspectors, they're all part of my team. And they've developed a trust with me that when I give those referrals out to my clients, it's an extension of my service in my reputation. So teams absolutely key
Particularly in this market, because we have so many out-of-state clients. So people come down here and they look to us for direction on just about everything from, you know, where's a good place to eat? Or where can I store my boat or what's the best beach? So we really have to do things differently in a second home resort market, then that, I would do back home in Connecticut because we're truly a point of contact for the area, we're talking about even inspections, people that need to inspect your house or selling your house, what to do to get the best price for that house, your team provides all that information to the seller or the buyer, in many ways. And you do too because you can then go out and grab that information from your team members and support people that you have, which I think is very, very important to have a good support team. It gives you a high level of customer service to every customer. And I think that's it's very important. We also talked about side ideas that you give people like where to store their boats or parking on the beach. Saturday, I was at the beach and I couldn't believe all the cars that were being towed from different parking lots because people don't know the rules or regulations. But you do and you pass that on to me, which was great information. Oh, that's important. I think people, those little things, and the big things are important. Yeah, like I say we have to be the local experts down here. I did a YouTube video on beach parking in cherry Grove. And hopefully, they'll save some people some money from not parking in those spots. They shouldn't be okay, let's talk about that. So you have a YouTube channel, right though? I do. I do. And I try to post the video on there weekly in my general lane with that channel is just to educate people from outside our area on our area. So beach parking or did one on the St. Patrick's Day Parade, you know, I try to do it always on something local, or a market overview. So I try to make it a value-added channel. And really a place for people to go that are curious about maybe moving to the little river. Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach area. So anywhere along the Grand Strand. And also you have a Facebook page itself, right? Yeah. Oh, yeah. And all that gets posted out there. Oh, Sullivan. On Facebook thing. Yeah. Yeah. Bill Sullivan. Elliot coastal living Realty. Let's not forget about the real estate office. So Better Homes, Better Homes, and garden right on sea mountain Highway in Cherry Grove in North Myrtle Beach. So yeah, yeah, right down the street from the beach. So that's all the support team. And you know what's important? Also, you let people know about the risks. You know you want to be realistic, provide proactive mitigation of risk
to me, but yeah, well, as we sit down here, we have flood risks. So we have to keep people out of that. Also, it part of my job as a realtor is to keep an eye on the market, look at the statistics, try to find trends, where I think things are going there's a lot of talk about this market being another 2008 right now, which it just isn't from everything I've read everything I've studied. This is truly a housing shortage market. It's not a bubble. With single-family homes, the builders after 2008 never kept up building new houses to meet the demand of a growing population. So now, this is where we are, we have people that are just scrambling to buy houses, I think maybe where we might see a little bit of a storm cloud later on this year is with inflation coming in and affecting second homes and investment properties down here condos, beachfront condos, things like that, I think that could potentially pull back some of the demand in those areas. And those will be the first areas that we see where prices will start flattening out. And I'm starting to see little cracks on oceanfront condos right now, where I think that those values might just start to be peaking. So it's something to keep an eye on and stay educated not. Now we're talking about real data. Now when it comes to investment analysis, neighborhood-level market performance, and long-term impact buyers' decision to buy or sell their decision to sell what you do as a professional real estate agent, and one that I truly recommend. And people should look for this professional real estate.
Okay, that one that just is doing it part-time.
One house a month
man or a woman that really really is compassionate, truly
has conviction like so.
So when we're looking at real data, we spend the time looking at it and doing something. Yeah, I mean, it's critical. Like I say, I have to educate myself so that I could educate my client's data is just so important. And I think one of the things that I'm seeing in particular thing about the data this month is that through the end of April, single-family home values in the Myrtle Beach area are up 22%, whereas condos are only up 2.4. So while people are reading the headlines about how big single-family house values are way up, which is true, there are condo values that are way up as well. But, you know, the data is starting to tell a different story. So I'm really kind of focus right now on where that condo data is going to lead us. Are we peeking out there? Is it a really good time for our people that have bought 234 years down the road to sell? So yeah, I mean, data is critical for education for all of us. Know, it's also important to
have an agent is a passion. One understands
buyer and seller, let's face it, buying a house is a stressful task. I mean, there are people that are facing divorce, some women having babies at this time, and they're trying to find a home, some people that are mourning a death of a spouse downsizing, trying to deal with all those emotional issues, you need an agent who's patient, and you, I really see that as a very patient person, and look to see that you have the buyer and sellers interests in the inner, I really do feel when I talk to you that you really do have the buyer and sellers interest
in your product. And I love that about. Let's talk about track record. You've been selling homes as a real estate agent for years. Tell me about your track record. Yeah, I'm one of the top agents in our, in our company, I work really hard to prospect and inform clients to two kids in college. Marcel, it will make you hustle. So it's important. I'm a competitive guy. I like to see my name on the top of the sales list every month. So yeah, I mean, I've done everything from a couple of million-dollar homes down to lots of 40,000. So and everything in between. So it's Yeah, it's fun. I love this job. I love the competitiveness of it, I love the people I meet, you know, generally, when we're done with a transactional bottom, my clients end up being friends of mine, because, you know, we just, we bond and you know, and it's a stressful situation, people bond during stressful situations, I always think of my clients as friends. Yeah, getting to know someone that you can get along with, I got to know you. Of course, you have a genetic, but also start to talk I bonded.
It's important to have someone that you can trust to some notoriety. Yeah, I mean, you know, I've been top listing agent for a few months, I've been top sales agent of few months as well, you know, I mean, we have some super agents in our office, they keep me on my toes, sometimes they're hard to beat. But the great thing about when you're hanging around with, with those types of agencies that we're able to bounce ideas off each other, we're able to educate each other, we're a team as well because we help each other out constantly rooting for each other, looking for better ways to do things for our clients. And I think that's what all the top agents all around the country do. They bond together. And they truly look for ideas to help their clients down the road. So I have great people I work with I love my office. I love my people. I've certainly learned a lot from them over the past couple of years. And hopefully, I could pass on my knowledge along to some of the new people. Right, looking at something is choosing the right real estate agent. Is it important to look for just like top guys and gals doing it? Or what is the most important? Well, is it important to hire a top producer? Yeah, I think it is. But the other side of that too, that I think you have to look at is is a top producer so busy that they can't give you personalized service. So you really want to plant you want somebody that knows what they're doing. You want somebody that educates themselves, somebody that's on top of the market, but you also want somebody that's very communicative, somebody that when you call, they're going to pick up the phone. We're in a culture right now, but I'm kind of a stickler for good service whether I go to a restaurant or insurance or
Something but when I pick up the phone, I want to talk to somebody, I want to talk to the person that I'm dealing with. And I think that's even more important in our business because it is a stressful transaction. So my clients know if they're texting me, or they're calling me, I'm gonna pick up the phone. And I think you want that with any realtor. So communication, communication is key here. If a top realtor or any realtor for that matter, doesn't have the time to do that. I think you're probably gonna end up frustrated. Yeah, yeah, I think you're right. It's something that's important. But you don't need a top seller if you're choosing an agent. But you're right. If that guy is like, too busy for you, that's not the guy for you, either. It's nice to get somebody that knows what he's doing. Or she's doing. What we do here are marketing and advertising. So let's just talk a little bit about marketing and advertising in real estate. Do you guys have a website? Yeah. Well, what's the website? ellia. Coastal living reality calm. Okay. Yeah. So you have a website. It's important for realtors to have websites. Yeah, I mean, it's indispensable right now. But it's one thing to have a website. And it's another thing to utilize it and try to maximize that exposure. So there's a difference there. And what, what is the difference? Well, you have to let people know that you do have a website. I think, for any website, you're going to have to add content, it's going to have to be value-driven. clients don't want to hear all the time that I'm the greatest realtor, I just sold this. I just listed this. Today's clients are sophisticated. They want to know where can I go to get my car fixed. They want to know beaches, they want something value-added. Tell me about a neighborhood. Tell me about a specific condo development. What should I be looking for? What are the school? What are the schools' government like? Right, the crime, things like that, you know, some of those things. There's only so much we could say because of the laws, real estate laws. But I mean, people want value. And I think a website has to offer that it has to
you have to separate yourself from everybody else because everybody has a website. How about social media? What do you think about social media? Well, like anybody in business, whether it be real estate, or your business, or Coca Cola, we've all had to embrace social media, I consider it an important part of my business plan because I do videos as we spoke before. And I think that's important because as I said, a lot of our clients are from out of state. So it gives me the opportunity to put my face and my voice and my mannerisms in front of them in a way that I just otherwise can't. So it gives potential future clients an opportunity to kind of get a feel for me. So I think it's critical. Well, no, this has been a great, great interview. Thank you again, for coming on episode number four of the small business spotlight with mosaic and we've been talking about choosing the right real estate agent, and so much for being a guest today. Yeah, Marcel. I'm thrilled to be here. Thanks for inviting me and enjoy our paradise. So we're gonna have a fun summer. Hopefully, we get some more of our fellow Connecticut people down here and find out what only having three seasons like. That's right. So mosaic marketing has a new Southern office here in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. And we're going to be helping small businesses down here is as we are helping small businesses back in Connecticut to thank you very much again, Bill. Thank you, everyone. And we're here to help others. Thank you.