Michael Sally, a Realtor® with Carolina One Real Estate in Summerville, didn’t grow up wanting to be a real estate agent. He had another career in Virginia Beach when his wife’s brain tumor diagnoses brought them home to Hanahan and forced him to find a job that would produce income for his growing family.
But boy is he glad he did.
“I never thought I would love the industry so much,” he says. “I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
With his wife recovered, Sally has spent 15 years in the business, earning distinction as one of the top 10 percent of Realtors® in the area numerous times. He loves working intimately with families during their happiest, and sometimes their saddest times – whether helping them find their dream home or selling the home their recently deceased parent lived in for 60 years. “We not only become friends, we become part of their family,” he says.
Sally also has been a tireless industry advocate, serving in leadership positions in the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors®, including a stint as president in 2016. He has served on the state and national associations as well, traveling to Columbia and Washington regularly to lobby on the industry’s behalf.
“We’re the keepers of the land,” he says. “We’re the ones fighting for flood insurance. We’re fighting for homeowners every day. We’re fighting for private property rights. People don’t even realize we’re carrying that torch.”
Being named Realtor® of the Year was a humbling experience for Michael Sally. As the winner’s bio was being read, it began to dawn on him that it was his life being described.
“It was pretty humbling to be sitting in a room of top agents in the Charleston area and to receive this award. I was totally unprepared for it,” he says.
Sally’s journey to real estate agent began in 2003, when the real estate market was on fire. Jobs and money were pouring in. Then the market melted down in 2008, providing agents like Sally an education instead of an income. “Looking back, I feel lucky to have gone through it,” he says. “I learned a different mindset. When business wasn’t coming easy, I had to really work for it. I couldn’t have learned that in a university.”
Many agents quit the business, but Sally persevered and broadened his perspective. He says his service to the industry and the community give him a wider lens to understand the function of real estate in the greater scheme of things.
“A lot of agents experience the business but not the industry. You need both because we’re part of a bigger picture,” he says. “Realtors® move the needle.”