When Lance Stopper first came to the Grand Strand in 2005 and got his Realtor license, he shared office space with Craig Memory at Century 21 Boling Associates.
Since then, Stopper and Memory branched out on their own, Stopper founding Stopper Realty and Memory, The Myrtle Group.
For Stopper, that was in 2009, just as the area’s real estate market was sliding to the bottom of the recession.
Now the two have merged and recently acquired a Century 21 franchise of their own. Their combined businesses have become Century 21 Stopper & Associates.
Stopper said that being able to tie into a global real estate network helps to snag listings the company might not get otherwise.
“The most important thing is we’re dealing in a second-home environment,” Stopper said.
What the franchise allows, he said, is for him and his associates to be able to talk by phone with out-of-state second-home owners and snag listings for the properties they want to sell. Prospective buyers as well might be more likely to find those listings with the network link.
Stopper recalled the time when Januarys were “almost like a ghost town” for Realtors, who could sit around, twiddle their thumbs and watch the clouds move across the sky while waiting for buyers.
“It’s amazing what 10 years have done,” he said.
Nowadays,more people come to the Grand Strand year-round, and the opportunities for home deals exist in January as well as in April, May and September.
Retirees and soon-to-be retirees are a big driver of today’s market, Stopper said, but his company’s customers come from across the demographic board.
“We’re actually getting people from Florida selling their homes and moving here,” he said.