By JIM PARKERThe Post and Courier

Lisa Richart likes to tease her husband: “I spent six years putting him through dental school.”

She can joke about it because that time lead to profitable careers for spouse and wife alike.

In just seven years, Lisa Richart has emerged as broker-team leader with Re/Max Advanced Realty and soon will be broker-in-charge of a new West Ashley office. Jim Richart, meanwhile, heads a general cosmetic dentistry practice on Northbridge Drive west of the Ashley.

“He has been great,” Lisa Richart says. “I wouldn’t be able to do this without him.”

Known for her cheerfully talkative personality, Richart says her three-agent team that also includes Candi Bower and Kevin Ortega and part-time assistant Julie Tortorici sold 60 houses last year.

The Michigan native has moved up the company ladder rather quickly by keeping track of real estate trends and taking advantage of them. “I’m one of those people who gets focused and goes with that,” she says.

Richart (pronounced like “Richard”) specializes in Real Estate Owned (REO) properties, banking parlance for homes taken over by the lender after a foreclosure.

While home values can be underwhelming — she’s dealing with one case where the residence is worth $24,000 — the work is steady.

The move to head up the new office at 1350B Ashley River Road, which should open by June, stems from a desire to deal with Fannie Mae, U.S. Housing and Urban Development and other organizations that typically work solely with the office managers, she says. Richart adds that she will continue to be a “competing broker” selling real estate even while overseeing the office.

Richart says she also will be able to branch out in a brand new field, “cooperative short sales.” Re/Max and Bank of America on a national level designed one such program called “Dignified Transaction Solution.” The bank will pay the seller $2,500, waive any deficiency judgment invloving cases where the owner might owe a lender down the road and speed up paperwork on a short sale — where the bank agrees to accept a purchase price below the original loan value.

She says Chase and Wells Fargo are other lenders pursuing similar programs.

Not so long ago, Richart was a neophyte when it came to short sales. She first heard about them when dealing with an investor-client in 2008. Not even knowing about such sales, she Googled the term and paid $79 to buy a booklet, “How to Become a Short Sale Agent.”

From there, she began handling dozens of the time-consuming but often beneficial sales for homeowners, which were just catching on at the time. Today she is a Certified Distressed Property Expert.

Another trend, this time during the housing boom, is what launched Richart in her profession.

She and her husband, whom she met while in college at Western Michigan University, spent years rehabilitating homes before he decided to pursue dentistry. They moved to Charleston, where he studied at the Medical University of South Carolina. They have two girls, Lauren, 11; and Lindsey, 8. When not working, the couple like to go boating and entertain.

When Lisa Richart was looking to return to work as their children were growing up, her husband suggested real estate. She got her license and joined ERA Tides Realty, soon after switching to Prudential Carolina Real Estate (now Carolina One Real Estate).

At Prudential, she was rookie of the year. Her primary market was real estate investors seeking to cash in on the housing surge, which included apartment complexes converting to condominiums and townhomes. She stayed at Carolina One until 18 months ago, when she joined Re/Max.

Richart says she has “amazing support” from the national company, which describes itself as the world’s largest. “When we go to conferences (and) I tell prospective clients I’m a Re/Max agent, they say, ‘Oh, good!’ I get referrals from other Re/Max agents.”

For more information, contact Richart at 843-810-0403 or visit www.LisaRichart.com.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.