Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus wants to form a bond between Realtors and the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp. where the Realtors could send the EDC prospects and the EDC would ensure that the Realtors get their commission if a deal is closed.
Lazarus said he envisions a Realtors Day at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, for instance, where the EDC could highlight the resources it has to help Realtors in those cases where agents might be approached before the EDC by a prospect looking for industrial land.
“We’re on the same team,” said Brad Lofton, the EDC’s CEO. “How can we leverage each other to create jobs?”
Laura Crowther, CEO of the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors, said that some years ago, some local commercial Realtors lost their commissions after they gave prospect information to a former Horry County economic development organization.
That caused a mistrust that she said the association has been working to rebuild. Crowther is the EDC board secretary.
The association was instrumental in developing an online relocation guide the EDC uses to help employees who transfer to Horry County from elsewhere.
Crowther said the association has been trying to introduce Realtors to the current EDC and what it does.
“It’s been a slow process,” she said.
Additionally, Lofton and other EDC officials have spoken at association events.
Crowther said she believes it could be that Realtors will need a written agreement that their commissions will be protected for them if they tell the EDC about a prospect.
Lofton had such an arrangement with Realtors in Georgia, where he was an economic development director before moving to Horry County.
Crowther said it would be unusual for a residential Realtor to learn of a prospect looking for an industrial site, but not so with commercial Realtors.
“They’re in touch with a lot of businesses, a lot of manufacturers,” she said.
A comfortable working arrangement between the two groups could generate jobs, which in turn will ramp up the need for more housing.
Crowther said she believes that EDC memberships could benefit individual Realtors as well as economic development.
“Collectively, everybody can benefit from being part of the EDC,” she said.
Lofton would welcome the additional eyes on potential new employers.
“There’s one of me and there’s 1,800 Realtors out there who are smart and have contacts all over the country,” he said.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.