Tom Jackson’s love for the Lowcountry began in the early 1980’s when his parents retired to beautiful Hilton Head Island. In 1985, after many visits to the island, Tom was offered a real estate sales position with the Melrose Company during the initial development stages of the golf communities on exclusive Daufuskie Island. Tom and three other successful real estate professionals from Hilton Head foresaw the inevitable boom of the sleepy little town of Bluffton and started a general brokerage real estate firm in 2001. Tom is committed to excellence using his years of experience in the area real estate market and his understanding of people to match the right buyer to the right property. His clients, whether buyers or sellers, often become lasting friends because he earns their trust and delights in producing results above and beyond their expectations.
In our recent, Meet the Agent interview, Tom talks about how he got his start in real estate, why he loves living in the Lowcountry, and advice for prospective buyers and sellers in our area.
Charter One Realty: When did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in real estate?
Tom Jackson: I started my career in real estate in Gainesville, GA where I began with developing some apartments to sell. A short time later, I came to Hilton Head Island and was introduced to Bob Kolb who was in the process of developing Melrose on Daufuskie Island.
Charter One Realty: Tell us about your start in the business. How did the first year go?
Tom Jackson: I started on Daufuskie Island in Developer sales at the age of 25, a green rookie for sure. The first year was tough and I basically worked for free but I was confident that the development would be successful. Soon after, we had our first big closing of around 400 Melrose Memberships, and The Island Club began.
Charter One Realty: What’s kept you in the business after your initial success?
Tom Jackson: After a successful career in development sales on Daufuskie Island, I started my first company on Daufuskie in 1990. It was a general brokerage company and found my niche for sure. I later sold that company and we started Gateway Realty in 2000 at the gate of Belfair.
Charter One Realty: What’s one common mistake you see prospective buyers make?
Tom Jackson: Many buyers will overthink the process. If you like the area and want to be here, finding the community that suits your lifestyle is essential. The Lowcountry has many great communities and it's hard to go wrong once one knows the type of amenities and community they like!
Charter One Realty: How has technology changed the industry, and what does it mean for buyers?
Tom Jackson: That has is been the biggest change as most will spend hours now looking online and researching areas, communities, and homes. Learning what each community has to offer is not something that can be found online. It takes an experienced Realtor to explain the ins and outs of each community.
Charter One Realty: If you weren't working in real estate, is there anything else you could see yourself doing?
Tom Jackson: Not really. I love all of the friends that I have made over the years. I enjoy showing the Lowcountry to potential buyers, as this area is hard to beat if anyone travels to other places. We have a real sense of community here.
Charter One Realty: What advice do you have for buyers looking in the Lowcountry?
Tom Jackson: My advice is to find an experienced Realtor who knows the area and can guide you through all of the communities. An educated Realtor can introduce you to the area and show you several communities that match your needs and price criteria. Once you've settled on a community, an experienced Realtor will be extremely valuable in negotiating on your behalf. If you're looking to build, your Realtor can recommend several builders to help in the construction of your dream home. Bottom line, it is important to interview and select an experienced, full-time Realtor that will help the process run smoothly.
Charter One Realty: Where are you from originally, and how did you come to live in the Lowcountry?
Tom Jackson: I am a Georgia native. I grew up in Gainesville and attended the University of Georgia where I played football. Eventually, my folks bought a place in the Lowcountry. After coming to visit, I understood the draw of the Lowcountry and decided to make it my home. The rest is history as met a developer, began my career here, and haven't looked back since.
Charter One Realty: Please tell us about your neighborhood and your home.
Tom Jackson: My wife, Tiphany, and our youngest son who is a senior in high school, live in Belfair. We enjoy all of the aspects of life in Belfair, especially the friendly residents and the great sense of community. Outside of the community, we love the old town charm and small-town feel found here in Bluffton.
Charter One Realty: How would you describe the vibe in the Lowcountry?
Tom Jackson: There's no place like the Lowcountry and the vibe is very laidback. We enjoy our time on the river and spend many a weekend exploring the area by boat. Bluffton is eclectic and has a small-town feel with great dining, shops, and GOLF. Another great aspect about living in the Lowcountry is the beach, and it's only a 15-minute drive to Hilton Head Island where you'll find some of the best beaches in the country.
Charter One Realty: How have you seen the Lowcountry change - from both a personal and professional perspective?
Tom Jackson: The growth in our area has been tremendous. As the area has grown, it has brought many new people to the area and also helped to get many more services that we now enjoy.
Charter One Realty: Do you have a personal motto or mantra that guides you?
Tom Jackson: Treat all like you want to be treated!
Charter One Realty: Please complete the sentence: “Home wouldn’t be home without . . .”
Tom Jackson: My family!