My first position was with Lake City Insurance Agency. I wasn't qualified, but Junior Malone took a chance and gave me a job. I taught myself to type because we didn't grow up with technology like kids do today. I worked for Junior from 1975 until 1981 and during those years became a licensed agent. Junior Malone passed from this life way too young and hopefully I expressed my gratitude for the self esteem I gained from the confidence he placed in my ability to do the job.
Those years gave me a license and experience that enabled me to quickly find a position at Twin City Agency in North Little Rock when we relocated there from my hometown. I worked there until I was offered a position with a better salary at Mark Williamson Agency in Little Rock. Then came an office manager position for Frank Schulte in his Nationwide Agency in Sherwood until we moved to Oklahoma in 1989.
Pryor, Oklahoma is a small town with an honest to goodness Main street. It is a comfortable place to live and only a forty-five minute drive to Tulsa. God blessed me with a part-time job with an agency owned by a wonderful couple, Jerry and Linda Russell. We only lived there two years, but the friendship with them has remained. I have wonderful memories of that time spent in that windy little town.
The Army sent us to Ft. Lee Virginia in 1991. After settling in, I began to search for a position with several local insurance agencies. Either there were no positions open or what they offered in salary paled in comparison to what I had previously been compensated. I changed course and started looking in the newspaper for employment.
The Progress Index, a local paper, ran an ad for a property manager for Whittle and Roper Real Estate. I had no idea what a property manager was, but I needed a job, so I applied. I was hired with the agreement that I would become a licensed real estate agent, and my second career was launched. After a year of managing rental property and watching a crew set tenants meager belongings out on the street due to eviction, I knew this job wasn't for me. So I transitioned to sales.
After coming into the office at 8:30 every morning for two weeks and sitting at my desk wondering what I was supposed to do, the receptionist asked me why I was there so early every day. I explained that I'd always worked an eight to five job and I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do. I finally learned that since I was self-employed I could set my own hours, sort of. Until I began actually listing and selling property, then the hours revolved around the time of day the clients were available.
I remember my first sale as if it was yesterday. Completing the offer was terrifying! But I managed and the offer became a contract and the contract became a closed sale. The commission check was mailed to me and I remember it was $1,500 and some change. Now, I have a last closed sale that happened about three months ago. It is the final transaction I will ever do as a Realtor.
Very few of my clients were unknown to me, and if I didn't know them at the beginning of our business relationship, I certainly knew them at the end. I do have some favorites, like the young couple in church who bought their first home from me. She and her sister had been raised by their single mom and had never lived in a house they owned. After she and her husband had signed all the documents making them the owners of their modest home, she cried and so did I. I've never forgotten that.
There are also clients that have trusted me with the sale of their home and the purchase of another one several times. If you are reading this, you know who you are. Many, many have relocated to other areas of the country and unless we became facebook friends we have lost touch, but I remember them.
So many of my co-workers are dear to me and there is no way I can name them all. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention Lois Spencer. We sat side by side almost since the beginning. She was my go to person when I was unsure about what I was doing and she always accepted my calls. She covered for me while I was on vacation and I returned the favor for her when she needed to be away. She is my friend.
And John Powell, my broker for 21 of the 23 years I've been in this business. He has the patience of a saint and though a wonderful broker replaced him in our office when he left, I still miss him. Thank you John for your help and advice when a situation became somewhat chaotic.
When I spoke with my current broker and told her I was retiring, she asked if I was sure about doing that. I told her, when you get more joy out of selling a book than closing a real estate transaction, it's time. At the end of November, Long and Foster returned my license to the state of Virginia, and I have applied to Metro Referral. My license will be with that company for referrals only. I will not be listing or selling.
The photo at the beginning of this post was taken as I was about to walk away after cleaning out my desk. I started to pick up the box and decided to take a picture. If one only looked at what was in the box, it would seem there wasn't much to show for twenty-three years. But the results of those years are my past clients residing in homes all throughout the Tri-cities and many states in America. Hopefully they think of me fondly as I do all of them.
Books, blogs,words...my new career.