It was 1981 and interest rates were over 20%! Recession and Inflation had joined forces as voices of gloom and doom seemed to prevail.
Nationally, agents by the hundreds of thousands were fleeing real estate services, looking for “real jobs”. Thousands of Real Estate brokerage firms were closing their doors. Never, it seemed, had the real estate industry looked so bleak.
My father, who had recently been displaced by a corporate reorganization and was recovering from a light stroke, did the unthinkable. He decided to open a full-service real estate company.
In those days a new real estate broker could start his or her own firm. (Today there is a two-year minimum experience requirement.) However, he needed the approval of local realtor-brokers in order to join the Board of Realtors.They could not imagine how he, a new broker, could possibly survive when seasoned brokers were folding. Nonetheless, permission was granted, even if it was permission to fail.
Friends and family alike wondered if his judgement was impaired, but it didn’t matter. Dad had hope, and he had a plan.
“In a few months, the real estate market will rebound.” he told us. “While so many agents are inactive, I will have just enough time to get a good start. And when the market improves, I will be ready.”
Working out of a one room home-office, dad set out to find creative ways to help anxious sellers and buyers. In the process he educated first time buyers, first time investors, and showed sellers how to “hold the paper” for seller-financing with a minimum of risk.
Listing by listing, sale by sale, buyer by buyer, Richard L. Eppley Real Estate (there were no licensed associates at first) began to develop a reputation for customer care, client support, and high ethics in real estate transactions.
By the time I joined the firm a few years later, dad’s insights were confirmed.
Together we have seen many changes. Read more →