"Endearing, honest, and positive" is how buyer and seller clients describe their experience with Charter One Realty agent and partner, Johnny Ussery. Johnny's client-centric philosophy and "Real Estate the Right Way" approach have made him highly accomplished and sought-after. Johnny has consistently been in the top 5 agents throughout the Lowcountry and was recently honored as South Carolina's #3 real estate team by Real Trends The Thousand 2020.
With a wealth of knowledge in real estate and development, Johnny is fully invested in his clients' needs and understands the 'who, what, where, when, and why' behind their decision to buy or sell. Catch up with Johnny Ussery, as he talks about how he got his start in real estate, how the industry has changed over the years, and tips for buyers in the Lowcountry.
Charter One Realty: Tell us about your start in the business. How did the first year go?
Johnny Ussery: I started with Lighthouse Realty in 1980 and then joined the Melrose Company and sold at Melrose on Daufuskie Island from 1985-1990.
John Reed then recruited me to join the sales team at Colleton River from 1990-1995. We then developed, marketed, and sold Belfair from 1995-2000 when we created Berkeley Hall and marketed and sold it from 2000 to 2005. After successfully developing three prominent golf communities, we began the development of Hampton Lake. When the Great Recession hit in 2008 I moved to Gateway Realty, a resale brokerage firm that I owned with several business partners. In 2017 we merged Gateway into Charter One Realty where I now help customers buy and sell homes and homesites throughout the Lowcountry.
Charter One Realty: What’s kept you in the business after your initial success?
Johnny Ussery: I thoroughly enjoy helping individuals and couples accomplish their real estate goals and dreams. It is very rewarding in that many clients become close friends.
Charter One Realty: What’s one common mistake you see prospective buyers make?
Johnny Ussery: Waiting too long to act. I share with my buyers and sellers that when they are ready to move to the next chapter of their lives to go ahead and start the process. We aren't guaranteed another breath, so what are we waiting on!
Charter One Realty: How has technology changed the industry, and what does it mean for buyers?
Johnny Ussery: More information for buyers and sellers. Technology is good but you still need the personal touch of an individual realtor to advise and direct you.
For example, many people go to Zillow for information, and that is fine. However, more than half the time Zillow is incorrect, so use it if you like, but take it with a grain of salt. Consult with a professional for the facts.
Charter One Realty: If you weren't working in real estate, is there anything else you could see yourself doing?
Johnny Ussery: Teaching coaches how to coach youth basketball or baseball in a way that teaches the fundamentals while at the same time modeling good character for the kids. I would also like to play more golf with my wife. We used to play basketball together but those days are over.
Charter One Realty: What advice do you have for buyers looking in the Lowcountry?
Johnny Ussery: As I shared earlier, make sure you are working with a full-time real estate professional who has experience and knowledge of the local area. If you were going in for brain surgery, you wouldn't want someone who does surgery part-time or who has only done a few. You want the best who has a track record of success.
Charter One Realty: Where are you from originally, and how did you come to live in the Lowcountry?
Johnny Ussery: I was born and raised in rural North Carolina. My wife, Genie, and I grew up together. I actually used her bassinette as our parents were friends. She went off to NC State and I went to UNC and in spite of that, we have been married 43 years!
We came to Hilton Head on our honeymoon in 1977 and moved there in 1980.
Charter One Realty: How have you seen the Lowcountry change — from both a personal and professional perspective — over the years?
Johnny Ussery: The speed of growth of the Lowcountry has been far beyond what I ever imagined. We loved it in 1980 when we moved here and continue to love it in 2020.
Now, we have a full-service community! We have fabulous arts programs, great recreational outlets, superb restaurants, top-notch medical professionals, and communities that fit all needs!
Charter One Realty: What are some of your favorite aspects of life in the Lowcountry?
Johnny Ussery: The weather and the people. Very few people here were born here. Thus, they made the decision to move here. No one made them move like in corporate America. I think that is one of the reasons we have so many nice people here!
Charter One Realty: Do you have a personal motto or mantra that guides you?
Johnny Ussery: Under-promise and over-deliver.
Charter One Realty: Please complete the sentence: “Home wouldn’t be home without . . .”
Johnny Ussery: Home wouldn't be home without my wife Genie, our four children, and our fifteen grandchildren.