Surf or Sound Realty Review: Is it Worth It?

Steven Porrello

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Steven Porrello

January 4th, 2023
Updated January 4th, 2023

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Surf or Sound Realty Review

Overall rating | Customer experience | Agent quality | Brand visibility and reach | Service value | Locations | Methodology

✍️ Why trust us: We strive to provide objective recommendations and advice. Learn more about how we research.

Founded in 1978, Surf or Sound Realty is a small brokerage on Hatteras Island serving all seven of the island’s villages. With 2 main offices and roughly 6 agents on staff, Surf and Sound specializes in premier oceanfront and soundfront homes, most located in the Outer Banks, North Carolina.

Below we’ll analyze Surf or Sound in four main areas to help you decide if it's the best option for you.

Bottom line: Do we recommend Surf or Sound Realty?

⭐️ Surf or Sound Realty: Overall score

4.125

4.0

4.5

4.0

4.0

Ratings based on 1–5 scale, with 5 being the best

After looking at Surf or Sound Realty closely, we think the brokerage is a good value. It offers all the services buyers and sellers need to successfully close on a real estate transaction. It's active in the local community. And buyers and sellers alike are very pleased with the professionalism and quality of the brokerage.

The realty's agents have more experience than most realtors: 18 years, versus the industry median of eight years. The ratio of agents to listings is also very high: roughly 216 listings per agent.

Surf or Sound Realty may be reliable, but that doesn’t mean you should skip properly evaluating its agents. Whether you’re buying or selling, we highly recommend you sit down and interview at least two or three agents (from numerous brokerages if you can) before dedicating yourself to one.

🏡 Compare agents, save money! Try Clever’s free agent matching service. Choose from top local agents from the best brokerages, get built-in savings. Learn more.

Surf or Sound Realty: Our in-depth breakdown

Reputation and customer experience

📊 Our rating: 4.0/5


  • Generally good third-party reviews

  • Applause for professionalism and expertise

  • 170+ complaints over property management services on BBB

We analyzed 13 reviews for two agents, which were mostly positive. The aggregate customer rating across all sites is 4.95. That’s very high when compared with similar brokerages in the same area.

We also ran these 13 reviews through an AI program that detects emotional language. Some common themes on both positive and negative reviews were the following:



🟢 Top positive themes

🔴 Top negative themes

  • Knowledge

  • Expertise

  • Professionalism

  • Market

Negative, neutral, and positive reviews were fairly balanced. This is despite the fact that reviewers will often use third-party sites to tell about a bad experience more often than a good one.

Sound's property management services had an aggregate rating of 3.6, as well as a 1-star rating across 25 reviews and 176 complaints on the Better Business Bureau. Again, these reviews came mostly from short-term renters and vacationers and may only impact you if you plan to use their property management services.

Agent quality

📊 Our rating: 3.5/5


  • Average agent has 18 years of experience

  • Roughly 216 listings per agent

According to Realtor.com, three of its agents average 18 years of experience. But the company website doesn’t link properties to the agents representing them without you signing up with an email.

Based on the total number of listings (at least 1,300), we can assume each agent handles around 216 listings, which is very high. That could mean the agents are either hard-working and fast or spread thin and may not give your property sale or home search the close attention it deserves.

Even if the agents seem experienced and knowledgeable, we still recommend evaluating whomever the brokerage connects you with. Always spend some time interviewing individual agents: ask them about their sales numbers, how many transactions they close per year, how long they’ve been in real estate, and references from past clients.

Brand reach and visibility

📊 Our rating: 4.0/5


  • Decent digital exposure and brand reach

  • Roughly one agent for every 2.6 sq. mi. of Hatteras Island

Compared with similar brokerages, Surf or Sound Realty has decent brand reach and digital visibility.

Surf or Sound has a tight-knit local network. Six agents and two offices service a small island of only 15.8 square miles. That means there's roughly one agent for every two or three square miles. The tighter the network, the more easily the brokerage can connect homes for sale with buyers.

Around 9,900 people search “Surf or Sound Realty” and other branded terms on Google each month. The website also gets just over 38,900 visits every month and has 1,300 active listings. Those are good numbers for sellers, since greater visibility can introduce your home to more buyers.

Service value

📊 Our rating: 4.0/5


  • Basic services to buyers and sellers, but no specialities

  • Experience with numerous property types

Overall, Surf or Sound Realty Realty provides a good value for a brokerage that charges full commission (5–6%). Agents assist buyers in numerous property types:

  • Primary residences

  • Second homes

  • Rental properties

  • Vacation homes

  • Undeveloped land

  • Commercial properties


It also provides sellers with the standard services you’d expect from a full-service brokerage, including a CMA to gauge home value, assistance with listing and marketing your home, and guidance through negotiations and closing. The brokerage doesn’t appear to offer common services like drone photography or 3D walk-throughs, though.

» MORE: The Best 2% Commission Realtors (2022 Rankings)

Keep in mind: if you sell your home through a Surf or Sound Realty agent, you’ll most likely pay fixed commission rates — whatever the local competitive rates are. For reference, here are the market averages for North Carolina, where Surf or Sound Realty does business:

State

Avg. listing fee

Avg. total commission

Avg. cost*

North Carolina

2.86%

5.60%

$18,500

* Based on each state's median home price from Zillow

» MORE: Average Commission Rates Across the U.S. 2022

💰 Top agents, big savings:

Clever’s free service matches you with top local realtors from the best brokerages (like John L. Scott) but negotiates big savings.

Sellers save thousands on listing fees. Buyers can get cash back after closing.

View agents

Additional info about Surf or Sound Realty

General contact info (corporate office)

📍 Address

40974 NC Hwy. 12

Avon, NC 27915

☎️ Phone

(888) 950-7873

📱 Social media

Surf or Sound Realty local offices and contact information




Office location

Phone number


Avon office

40974 NC Hwy. 12

Avon, NC 27915

(252) 995-6052

PO Box 100

Avon, NC 27915


Salvo office

26204 Rampart St.

Salvo, NC 27972

(252) 987-1444

PO Box 270

Rodanthe, NC 27968

Other Surf or Sound Realty services

This review is focused on Surf or Sound's core real estate agent service. We’ve listed its other services and links to their respective websites below.

Make sure you shop around to get the best fit and value. Don’t go with a Surf or Sound service just because of the convenience!

Next steps: Start interviewing agents!

Interview multiple agents (ideally two to three) to ensure you get the best fit and value. Remember: always hire the agent, not the brand. When you’re ready to start searching, check out our guide on how to choose the right real estate agent. Clever’s free agent-matching service makes agent shopping fast and easy, and it can save you money.

🚀 Ready to get started?

Sign up below to get matched with top-performing agents in your area! Compare options, choose the best fit, and save money.

  • Sellers get a pre-negotiated discount on listing fees (avg. seller savings is $9,600.)
  • Buyers can get a rebate after closing

Clever is 100% free with no obligation. Give it a try today!

View Agents Near You

Rating methodology

We evaluate brokerages based on four core criteria we think will help readers make informed decisions. We broke those criteria down into discrete metrics so we could make the score as objective as possible. Here’s a quick breakdown of that criteria and methodology:

Do most people who work with this brokerage have a generally positive experience? Are there any red flags?

What we looked at:

  • Average customer ratings across various third-party review sites, like Zillow, Realtor.com, and Google

  • The content of those reviews, via sentiment analysis tools and manual reading, to pull out key positive and negative themes and summarize key risks and benefits

  • The Better Business Bureau profile for formal complaints

How strong is the agent team? What are the chances of ending up with a solid realtor that will meet different needs, preferences, and availability?

What we looked at:

  • Total number of agents vs. offices to gauge how wide the selection is

  • Average experience of the entire team, based on public agent data on sites like Realtor.com and Zillow

  • Average annual transactions per agent, sourced from RealTrends or brokerage-provided data, compared with the industry average

How much "brand power" does this brokerage have? Does it increase awareness and get more eyes on your listings, more showings, or quicker offers?

What we looked at:

  • Social media presence across all major consumer-facing social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram)

  • Online audience size through web traffic volume and monthly Google searches for the brand name

  • Marketing reach, like listings on all major MLSs and populator listing sites like Zillow and Realtor.com

How does the brokerage compare with other conventional brokerages? How does it compare with the market rates for commission (~3% listing fees)? Are you getting too little, the right amount, or more service for the tentative fee?

What we looked at:

What we consider "full service" for a real estate brokerage:

  • Professional home valuation

  • Advice on how to stage your home

  • High-quality professional photography

  • Listing on a multiple listing service (MLS) and home-buying websites

  • Open house management

  • Negotiation

  • Assistance with paperwork

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