What was your first job in the realty industry?
I started out my career in commercial real estate doing commercial leasing of retail space, but decided that residential real estate was more my passion because I enjoyed helping people achieve their personal life goals.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Gurnee, IL, a small town north of Chicago. When I was 12 my family relocated to Houston where I have spent most of my life, living on the far west side (Memorial and Katy). I graduated from Strafford High School and attended the University of Houston.
What is your favorite free-time activity?
I like to spend my free time traveling with my family in our motorhome. We have traveled as far south as Florida and as far north as Wisconsin. We seem to always be drawn the beach, but we have also enjoyed our trips to the Grand Canyon and Caddo Lake.
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed?
After a stressful day there is nothing better than sitting on the couch and being attacked by the three dogs for a good face wash. I have two lab mixes and an Australian Shepherd, and something about their unconditional love lowers my stress immediately. The only thing better is when my two boys give me a hug and simply say, “I love you Dad!”
Growing up, what did you want to be?
I always had a passion for cars growing up, and I always thought I would end up in the auto industry, but that never happened. I am still fascinated by cars and trucks and have dreamed to own a 1966 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible.
If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why?
I would want to have lunch with Donald Trump. First I would want an upfront seat to see that hair. I mean, just think, there is a stylist that gets paid a lot of money to make his hair look that precarious.
Then I would look forward to a conversation about how he built his real estate empire and try to glean some information on starting my own. I think you should surround yourself with successful people and learn from them, because they can save you a lot of time by avoiding mistakes.
Where is your favorite place to hang out?
My favorite place to hangout is at the lake. I find that being out by the lake is calming and I know it is a place the whole family enjoys. There are so many activities to enjoy. There is nothing like a swim in the lake on HOT Texas afternoon.
What do you love most about the industry?
I love that there is something for everyone in real estate. No matter what station in life you are in, you must have a roof over your head. I like working with first-time homebuyers as much as I do empty-nesters. I just love helping solve people’s real estate equations. Everyone has such unique situations, that I look forward to meeting new people all the time.
How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents?
I like to laugh! If you can’t have fun in real estate you are doing something wrong. I work with many types of transactions, from normal resale to short sales and foreclosures. I find that laughter is the best medicine when it comes to the stress of a real estate transaction, and I truly pride myself on making my clients enjoy the time that we spend together. I know too many people that can’t even remember their real estate agents name a month after closing. I hope to never be one of those agents.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
Being the Amazing Karnack. Sometimes transactions feel like the old Johnny Carson routine, when he holds an envelope up to his head and state aloud the answer to the question inside the envelope.
Trying to guess what the other parties of a transaction are thinking, and make proposals in such a way that you can influence the outcome, is the what I find to be the most difficult aspect.
In the end, you want to create a win-win situation for all parties involved, but sometimes you just have to do what is best for your client.
Where do you go to network and meet new clients?
I like donating my time to give back to the community. I am a member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, ticket services committee; a den leader for my son’s cub scout den; treasurer of my home owners association; and I participate in various charity functions that support animal rescues, social programs and education.
I feel that what goes around, comes around. So if you sow good will, it will come back three-fold.
What has been your greatest accomplishment?
I truly feel that being a father is my greatest accomplishment. I have two boys in elementary school, and there is something about the way they approach the world and have no sense of cultural diversity because everyone is the same to them. It just lets me know I must have done something right.
What was the last good movie you saw or book you read?
I don’t have a lot of time for books or movies, unfortunately Spy Kids was the last movie I saw. It was actually quite clever.
What is your favorite restaurant?
Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille. I love Perry’s! I don’t know what is better, the steak or the pork chop. I do know I will not leave without enjoying an order of the fried asparagus. The service is fabulous and the wine list is not bad either. I think I know where we are going for dinner now…
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Houston?
I really think we should preserve history, so I would pick the Niels Esperson Building. The architecture is great and has been preserved so well.
What kind of car do you drive?
I drive a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. So versatile, room for the kids and luggage, yet rugged to enjoy off road or on the beach. Top on, or top off. It is super flexible!
Smartphone or Paper?
Definitely smartphone. I used to be a post-it master before smartphones; now everything is in the phone.
What is your favorite city after Houston?
I love Boston! The history in Boston is just amazing. It truly is a walking city, so you can spend days seeing and doing. I am always amazed at the new things I find there.
What is your advice for someone new to the industry?
Learn how to market yourself on the Internet.
What’s your favorite Real Estate iPhone/ Blackberry app?
I like my HAR application because it never fails that a client wants to know about the house down the street that they saw driving up. With this app, I am able to pull up the property and even schedule a showing.