Toni Hardigree: Success = Hard Work, Community and Living Your Best Life
Story by Cindy Reid
Photography by Emily Roscher
Toni Hardigree, real estate agent and Broker—as well as 2014 & 2015 Effingham’s Best Real Estate Agent, and Distinguished Sales Society Award Recipient—says she didn’t start out wanting to be in real estate, in fact her childhood goal was to be a first grade teacher.
“I really thought I would be in elementary education,” she says. She worked instead in banking management before transitioning into Real Estate more than 15 years ago. Finding that real estate was the perfect fit for her, Toni worked as an agent for four years at Platinum Properties before buying the company in 2010. Platinum Properties has flourished under Toni’s leadership and today is very successful.
Toni says the key to her achievements in real estate, and life, is loving what she does.
“I absolutely love what I do. And if you ask people who know me or work with me, they will tell you, it’s true, because it shows in everything I do.”
Toni works alongside daughter Kelsie, who is an associate broker, and together they have more than 25 years of real estate knowledge and expertise they use to assist their clients in achieving their housing goals.
Effingham County residents are family. “We take immense pride in representing so many of our friends and associates with all of their real estate needs,” says Toni.
An Effingham County resident for more than 20 years, Toni is also a dedicated community advocate and volunteer. She is the current 2022- 2023 President of the Rotary Club of Effingham County, an organization she has been involved with for many years, including a term as Effingham County Rotary Chairperson for Service Projects.
“This year I will have been a Rotarian for ten years” she says, “serving in numerous roles and on many special projects including Star Student, Speech Contest, Volunteer of the Year Award Banquet and Family Fun Day, formerly the Special Olympics.”
She is also on the Board of Directors for the Effingham Chamber of Commerce.
“I love the interaction with all our different businesses and how we come together to promote Effingham County as a wonderful place to live, work and visit as we work towards bringing tourism from Savannah to our communities,” she says. At the Chamber, Toni has also served on the Leads Group Member and Events Planning Committees.
Challenges & Rewards
Every business has its challenges and rewards, and real estate is no exception. It may look easy from the outside, but there are a lot of moving parts to every transaction, from the initial inquiry to closing the sale.
“I absolutely love what I do but it can have its moments. Working through the selling process with people is different every time. The fun part is when people are selling and moving into a new house. And helping first time home buyers get into a house—that’s very rewarding,” says Toni.
Toni says she loves to list and sell properties but typically the managing broker’s role is managerial. She says her personal challenge is the division between being a boots on the ground realtor and being behind the desk. She says, “I do like managing, but I also like getting out there. But in the end, it all works out. I am busy but that’s because I like it that way!”
She credits her daughter Kelsie with helping out and overseeing the property management side. Kelsie became involved with student housing while attending college and subsequently managed several apartment complexes before bringing that expertise back home to join her mother at Platinum Properties.
“Seeing Kelsie grow in the company is very satisfying,” says Toni, “and she keeps the property management side running very smoothly.”
And they also have a new agent, Amy Greene, who previously was a real estate photographer before getting her real estate license. “I talked to her like a friend and suggested she interview at a lot of agencies, and I was so pleased when she ended up coming on with me. She’s awesome and I love training her, too.”
Toni says she has learned a lot about people from managing her company.
“Owning my business has taught me that everyone comes to the table with their own experiences and that helps my team create our own ideas. It is all about doing it better and faster,” she says. “And although we are very well established, we are always open to innovative ideas.”
One key factor in the work day at Platinum Properties is Buster. Buster is a one year old Cavapoo, which is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle (typically a Miniature Poodle or a Toy Poodle). Buster is the official office greeter, and he never misses a day—or a client!
“He is our therapy. If anyone is stressed out or having a difficult day, he just knows! He makes sure to give you affection and attention until you can’t help but feel better,” says Toni.
Buster also goes with “Dad,” Toni’s husband Greg Hardigree, one of Effingham’s premier custom home builders, to check on the various job sites. “Buster goes with him to greet the crews. He loves going to work!” laughs Toni.
In her spare time, you are likely to find Toni in her garden. “Being able to have down time outdoors in my garden, just taking care of it or simply watering my flowers, that’s how I decompress. My garden is my thing!”
She and Greg also really enjoy getting together with their five children, and especially with their grandchildren. “We love the grandbabies!” she says.
Their favorite place to travel is “somewhere tropical on the beach. We do one or two vacations a year, the Caribbean usually. That’s our favorite “far away” place.”
The Hot Real Estate Market
The current real estate market is a hot topic, as residents see the value of their homes soar. “I have owned Platinum Properties for 11 years and have not seen this level of sustained market before,” says Toni. “A lot of people are saying ‘the bubble will burst’ but I tend to disagree. Yes, interest rates may have gone up, but they are still very good. I think until we get more inventory the market will remain good and strong.”
To sellers she advises they understand it will be a quick sale because multiple offers are coming in for every property, so they need to be prepared.
Regarding renters, she says, “We manage annual and residential rentals, and that market is just like the buying/selling side—it’s very hot with multiple applications per listing. And like the purchasing market, there aren’t enough rentals out there. So the prices are high.”
To buyers she says, “Definitely in this market you need an agent to represent you and write offers that are strong for you—the ‘highest and best.’ Make sure your agent understands this current market, especially for first time buyers who are having a tough time getting in contract due to multiple offers.”
For all your real estate questions, contact Toni and her agents at Platinum Properties, a full-service real estate company serving clients with buying and selling residential and commercial property as well as land. They want to help you achieve your real estate dreams!