Charleston Charm Crosses Atlantic in Venture

Posted by Kristina L. Skalak — November 12, 2009

Debbie Fisher Establishes Business with Europeans

Two realities have met— akin to a flood tide rushing into the marsh grass — and created an opportunity for a new business. The Lowcountry has been a magnet for the international set for hundreds of years, and today the business of real estate remains under the microscope of analysis, seeking new ideas.

Debbie Fisher, the broker-incharge of Handsome Properties, pulled the two together. Mrs. Fisher has created ties across “The Pond” by starting a new venture. It all resulted from Frédéric Raggio, the owner of French real estate company, admiring Handsome Properties’s current Web site. Mr. Raggio and his family have been involved in French and European real estate for many years. Although educated in the U.S., Mr. Raggio was born in St. Tropez and has lived in the South of France and Paris for many years. He speaks several languages and is even a trained pastry chef. Debbie Fisher tells us that Mr. Raggio appreciates diverse cultures, travel, food and, especially, high-end real estate.

Hence, it is no surprise why Debbie Fisher hired Mr. Raggio to manage Handsome Properties International, a division of Handsome Properties, Inc. They are going to represent many brokers in France, offering highend rentals and sales. Some of the properties that will be offered will include pied àterres in Paris, Old World vineyards, seaside villas and palatial estates. The sales prices range from 1 million to 20+ million Euros, and the rentals are upon request.

With Charleston’s sophistication and strong ties to Europe, the opportunity to expand horizons seems obvious, but doing it is another matter. Credit goes to Debbie Fisher for having the vision to pull this together. She believes many would jump at the opportunity to purchase a European escape if they felt the process were not too complicated. Therefore, Handsome Properties has made sure they have all the connections that they may need and an international real estate specialist. They also have an international team to guide clients through the process from beginning to end.

One of the major deciding factors and an added bonus in starting up this venture was that there would be reciprocity with the European brokers; these brokers are allowed and encouraged to advertise Handsome Properties’ current listings. Advertising is encouraged on their Web sites and in their print media. This would give European exposure to all of the firm’s current listings, which suits Americans as well as European buyers who recognize the opportunity that the U.S. presents at this time. The current global economic climate meets a strong Euro, and the combination provides a strong buying opportunity just when many are hoping to sell.

Time will tell exactly what this international package will do to increase sales activity in Charleston and put Charleston more firmly on the map for Europeans to visit and explore. Other real estate firms have dabbled in crossing the Atlantic, but this is the first time a local firm has put so much into the details of the process, so as to address potential complications early in the discussions.

Those interested may visit Handsome Properties’ new International Web site at

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