If you were asked to imagine the perfect real estate agent, you might start with someone who has lived in Charleston her whole life. Better yet, you’d want a team—two people raised here, so each could bring a different perspective to each sale. This team would have a deep understanding of the area and would have lived through the ups and downs of the real estate market. Each would be distinguished as a Realtor and a Charleston Area Top Producer. To make this duo really special, you’d add expertise in another field, like social work and interior design. Put all these attributes together and you have Keys To Charleston Real Estate, the combined efforts of Saida Russell and Caroline Ragsdale, a team that works for the downtown real estate firm of Disher, Hamrick and Myers.
As locals, Russell and Ragsdale know the intimate Charleston details that affect home buying, like the latest flood insurance regulations and which neighborhoods get rowdy at night. Ragsdale, a former president of the Preservation Society, can advise buyers about the specific rules of the downtown Board of Architectural Review.
A longtime interior designer who holds a degree in interior design from the University of Georgia, Ragsdale can help clients stage their house, or envision a house’s potential for buyers. “In one case, I could see how moving a wall would change everything,” she says. Russell, a graduate of Ashley Hall School and Duke University, is a retired Navy commander and social worker. She brings a therapist’s ear to clients’ needs. “I understand people’s motivations,” she says. For example, when a newly divorced client was focused on buying downtown, Russell could see that she needed to be in a more social environment. She encouraged her to consider neighborhoods with more vibrant community activities. Russell reports that her client is now enjoying a busy social life.
The pair specializes in Charleston’s historic downtown, where each of them lives, but also knows West Ashley, Mount Pleasant and the islands. To their credit, if a client’s interests lie outside their areas of expertise, they will steer that client to other agents.
Although Russell and Ragsdale are serious professionals, they take pride in the relationships they have developed.
“This is a people business, and we’re people-people,” says Ragsdale. “People-people with business sense.”
Barry Waldman is principal at Write Stuff Communications, a PR and marketing firm for non-profits and small businesses. Reach him at:firstname.lastname@example.org