Carolina One’s Lisa Saari Costas


Lisa Saari Costas’ life has taken her all over the world as a military wife. She created a career for herself as an educator in the various states and countries where she lived — even spending years with the Department of Defense Dependents Schools. But in all the places she lived, Saari Costas always knew she wanted to come back to her hometown of Charleston, the city of her birth and her heart.

After moving back in September of 2011, Saari Costas decided it was time to refocus her career, and she left teaching to begin a new one in real estate. After getting her license in 2012, she spent three years with a local brokerage in Charleston before an old friend from high school convinced her to make a move to Carolina One. “He was the broker at the James Island office, and he urged me to join the company,” she recalls. “We had coffee, discussed some things and addressed some concerns of mine. I joined the office on James Island, and it’s been incredible. Carolina One has been working in Charleston for over 50 years, and we really have so many resources at our fingertips. Within my office alone, there is so much knowledge, and that’s a great environment for an agent or broker to thrive.”

Over the last nine years with Carolina One and throughout her real estate career, Saari Costas has proven herself to be honest, forthright, approachable, knowledgeable and relatable. “I know what it is to be coming from a different state and having to buy a home on a weekend,” she says. “It’s stressful. Buying a home is stressful even when you know the area, much less have no idea of the area you’re moving into.”

Which is why Saari Costas invests a great deal of time with her clients. “I take my time and get to know them,” she says. “As Realtors, it’s our job to get to know what our clients want and need and understand where they’re coming from. You have to listen and get really good at being a listener. Of course, they also have to do their due diligence so they can give us a starting point of what they like or don’t, what areas appeal to them. We’ll do planned visits and look around at various neighborhoods—not even the houses—just to get a feel for what feels right to them. I’ve spent eight-hour days driving clients around, looking at different areas across Charleston.

“In all of this, you have to be on and really know your industry. Your clients will ask questions, and it’s your job to be able to answer or know where to go to get the answers if you don’t have them.”

Saari Costas has a passion for her work that comes through when she speaks, stemming from her personal experiences of buying and selling homes—sometimes almost blindly—and the desire to help ease people through that process. “This is about your clients and serving them,” she says. “You have to want to help them and want the best for them, and you have to be willing to go the extra mile for them.”

As a sixth-generation Charlestonian, Saari Costas may have something of a natural advantage in knowing the area, but she still admits that she doesn’t always know everything. “Charleston is constantly changing,” she says. “But you have to be able to tell your clients what’s going on. I’ll visit areas to see what’s new, read about what’s coming to the area, network with people who know. There are always new restaurants, new hotels, new shops to check out, and you have to stay in touch with what’s changing.”

Trust is something Saari Costas sees as key to a good client-Realtor relationship, and hers is a career that speaks to the level of trust her clients place in her. “This isn’t just a job,” she says. “A lot of these people become friends, and that relationship goes years beyond a transaction. In all the time we spend getting to know each other, there are often bonds that form. Sometimes you just click. I have friends that have done multiple transactions with me—one found me after reading my bio, and now we’ve done four or five together. But it also goes both ways. I have friends who have known me for 30 years, and when they wanted to move to Charleston, they came to me. I think that people know they can trust me because I’m a straight shooter. That’s important when you’re trying to find a place that you’ll put down roots and make a home for the next however many years.”

As skilled as she is at her work, Saari Costas—and all Realtors in the current market—face the challenge of a lack of inventory, as well as high interest rates and prices that have skyrocketed with no indication of coming down. “That’s a huge hurdle to overcome, especially in the case of first-time buyers,” she notes.

In whatever transaction and with whatever client she may be working, Saari Costas invests herself completely, letting her buyers and sellers see the person that she is and the person they have in their corner. “This is an important decision, and my clients know that I’m not there to sell them anything they don’t want,” she says. “I’m helping them find their Charlestonian lifestyle. This is a special place, and I love helping people make it their home.” *

Liesel Schmidt lives in Navarre, Florida, and works as a freelance writer for local and regional magazines. She is also a web content writer and book editor. Follow her on X at @laswrites or download her novels, Coming Home to You, The Secret of Us and Life Without You, at and

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