With the acquisition of a Leland-based law firm, a South Carolina real estate firm is expanding into North Carolina.
Nelson & Galbreath, with offices in Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Charleston and upstate South Carolina, as well as in Atlanta, just closed on its purchase of Rhodes Law Offices at 503 Olde Waterford Way, Suite 201 in Leland. That firm’s owner, J. Randall Rhodes, will remain with the new firm for a year, according to Nelson & Galbreath spokesman and builder services managing attorney Forest Ellis.
When he opened his practice in 2007, Rhodes was one of the first real estate law offices in Leland, Ellis said, adding that now, Rhodes was looking at retirement and had listed his firm for sale with a brokerage. The brokerage contacted Nelson & Galbreath about the opportunity.
Nelson & Galbreath were also approached by Ryan Homes, a national homebuilder with whom it works frequently. Ryan Homes has plans to develop projects across Brunswick County and into New Hanover County and encouraged Nelson & Galbreath to expand into the area as well.
“We work with a division president of Ryan Homes in Horry County who is overseeing their expansion into North Carolina,” Ellis said. “One of our partners has expansion goals for us; Brunswick County was a natural next place. Randy [Rhodes’] firm was ideal for us since he had established relationships with builders and the local real estate community, and a staff already in place.”
Rhodes’ current paralegals will remain with the firm, Ellis added.
Nelson & Galbreath specialize in residential real estate closings, working both with builders and with real estate agents.
“Between 35% and 40% of our business is focused on Realtors and helping them and their clients,” he said. “A larger portion is working as one of the preferred attorneys for homebuilders. Having a preferred attorney firm makes the logistics simpler for builders: they can drop off keys and documents in one place, knowing that the firm understands their process. We work with several homebuilders of different sizes, and we focus on tailoring our services to the needs of each builder.”
Until the firm hires an attorney to serve the Leland office, attorneys and other staff from Nelson & Galbreath’s Greenville, South Carolina office will shuttle back and forth as needed. Ellis will be among them. He is a University of North Carolina Wilmington graduate and, before attending law school, worked as a Realtor in Wilmington from 2002-2008 with Laney Real Estate, Maus, Warwick Mathews and Prudential Commercial.
Nelson & Galbreath will hold a meet-and-greet event in Brunswick Forest on May 21. In the meantime, the firm is updating its online presence and the signage for its new office.