On the 22nd of February I landed in Dallas around 2 in the afternoon. My destination that evening was Austin where I had a reservation at a local hotel. The purpose of this trip was to visit the newest members of Associated Realty of the Americas in San Antonio, Austin and Houston and to host personal interviews in Dallas.
Well, the weather was not cooperating. The drive to my layover, Austin was fine, but, then, the weather changed. The forecast was rain, snow and sleet. First there would be the rain, then the dissipation to sleet and snow. Not a fun! I left at dawn the next morning for the, roughly 100 mile trip to San Antonio, where I was to meet up with Janis Morgan and company. (I purposely) arrived early for the meeting, hoping to luck out and beat the weather before heading on to Houston.
The Legacy office is located on the north side of San Antonio. While I arrived early, prepared to wait until the scheduled meeting time, right behind me came Janis Morgan, a CIPS, and an owner of the firm. Gracious, as a Southern woman can be, she took me back to her office and, after tiding up some needed business, including asking her husband, Neil to come by earlier than expected, we got down to business.
This was my first personal meeting with them and I came away very impressed. Janis is the seller. Neil is overseer. Also joining us was their go to person, Jule Nordhaus. Together they make a formidable team. Our meeting lasted about an hour and a half culminating in Neil playing a small prank on me in which we all shared a good laugh. It created a very good bond.
Before leaving I received a cook’s tour of the over 11,000 square feet of office space they occupy. It is a beautiful, single story, building with several conference rooms, executive, staff and Realtor offices, all introduced in a magnificent entry space, so pleasing and tasteful. Within these confines, 200 professional Realtors, hang their licenses and practice their trade. It is truly an environment for success for both customers and Realtors, alike. Janis shared stories about her partners, especially about the general manager of the overall business, whom both she and Neil have the greatest of respect. A nice visit … and a wet retreat, found me driving the 200 miles to Houston. I arrived there in late afternoon and settled in as the snow began to fall.
The next day it was off to meet with Margie Kaplan, CIPS, who had invited me to join her at the monthly meeting of FIABCI-Houston. The event was held at Polo’s Restaurant northwest of downtown. A beautiful restaurant, we were to have a sumptuous lunch of Caesar Salad, baked salmon topped off with Key Lime pie. I actually met Polo, himself, and was pleased to offer him my praise for one of the best preparations and presentations I can remember.
Around 30-40 members of the local chapter were in attendance and Margie and I had a good opportunity to get acquainted while the members arrived. Chief among them was Christi Borden of Prudential Gary Greens, Realtors. She also happens to be president of the Houston FIABCI chapter. It was all very pleasant.
As we sat musing with our salads, someone approached our table and said ..”Carl, I heard you were going to be here, and I just had to come to say hello.” It was Lisa Kurrass, the current President of FIABCI-World, and a Realtor-Property Manager in Houston. Lisa and I had very briefly met in Hawaii at the FIABCI Pan Pacific meeting and it was kind of her to be so thoughtful. One can hardly appreciate the heavy weight of the crown worn by the world president of such a prestigious organization. First, her duties are extensive and exhausting. Second, she receives no compensation, other than the thanks for service. Finally, such an endeavor requires the use of a great deal of personal resources. As an example, she is on 16 different UN commissions and/or committees dealing with a wide range of world problems from water conservation, agriculture, global climate, third world aide etc. So, just being in the same room was a great honor.
We were treated to a talk by a young man who uses nothing but the internet to promote his business. He talked about social networking and why it works. Great talk, and very apropos for an older guy, who, like me, in a world that I have not come to understand, but do resent. Education complete (20 minutes) I have changed my mind. Epiphanies are wondrous!
After all was said and done, I bid farewell to Margie, the mother of 4 girls, the oldest being but 12. Margie, as our residential representative in Houston, enjoys a strong reputation and a very good business. She deals exclusively in high end boutique with a total of four on her team. She is a delight and I am so pleased to have her part of us.
I then immediately left and drove to Austin where I spent a restful evening at the Sheraton Hotel, just off the freeway, not far from the location of my next meeting.
I arrived at the beautiful offices of Laura Duggan, president of West Austin Properties, located in an old Mansion not far from the State Capitol. She introduced me to her associate, Patrick Birdsong. And then we sat and talked about a variety of issues, getting to know one another, on a personal basis, for the first time.
Laura is one of the most well known Realtors@ (Insert picture) involved in international marketing in the United States. She holds, among many designations, a CIPS and makes it her job to understand the goings on of every major real estate market in the Country. While much could be learned from her, timing was an issue, as she had a noon presentation to prepare for, and I needed to be in Dallas for an early afternoon meeting before flying out. We had time to discuss, among things, a potential commercial affiliation and I was pleased to learn that her office was moving in that direction. Consequently, we agreed that, as soon as the work was finished in that regard, they would become our commercial affiliate also. I left shortly before 11 in the morning for the three and half hour drive to Dallas.
I met with April Brown and Lynette DeBose at a near downtown restaurant. Charming ladies both are with Keller Williams Associates.
April is very much interested in getting involved in both high end residential sales and also the international part of the business. A graduate of SMU, she has a strong marketing background. (She offered to help me maximize usage of my Face Book presence. I am excited about that opportunity.) She also advised me that the coming weekend she will begin her CIPS training. Her enthusiasm in contagious and I am pleased she will be joining us.
Lynette, in another life, was an executive in the telecommunications industry. Poised and articulate, it was a joy to meet her. She is specializing in commercial real estate at Keller Williams, basically being involved in the acquisition for clients of multi-tenant buildings. She noted that Dallas is a great place for such a business because the cap rates are among the highest in the nation. AREA is pleased to have Lynette as part of our team.
It was then off to the airport where I took a wrong turn and instead of getting on the interstate, happened upon a toll road going in the opposite direction. By the time I recovered from that fiasco and found the freeway, traffic was beginning to accumulate and, as I approached the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, was backing up in dramatic fashion. My car rental location was off-site and the sweat began to pour as I also realized that I was not exactly sure how to retrace my original steps. Without going into details, they were about to close the door on my flight as I raced down the gateway and onto the plane. I arrived in Tucson at 11:15 p.m. and was home, in bed at 12, the stroke of midnight. I slept very well that night knowing that the trip was so successful.
By the way, did you know that Texas maintains an embassy in London? This is another example, that “The Eyes of Texas”, truly, are international. Welcome aboard our Lone Star Affiliates! We are proud to be your associates! “Drive Friendly!”