WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “A” and “B”

That’s a funny question you are thinking. “A” is the first letter of the alphabet, and “B” comes next. Everybody knows that. True, but I am thinking about A bigail and Betty, two real estate sales associates that were licensed under me when I was active in the brokerage business.I opened my own office in March of 1965. (Gosh he must be older then Methuselah by now) Almost. Anyway about August of that year Abigail asked me to sponsor her for a salesman’s license. She stayed with me for 20 years and almost every year was the top or close to the top among what later became 25 agents.

A few years after she came to work she married a nice man named Jim, and they moved into a rented house in a modest part of town. Every few years they would move to a larger more prestigious home. On many occasions Abigail would call my attention to a “bargain” in a residential property. “Why don’t you and Jim buy this for yourself”?, I asked. “Oh   no” she would say, we live in a much better property. “Besides we want to get our car payments paid off before we buy”. To make a long story short, “A” was very successful. If the truth were known, some years she had more net income then I did. Unfortunately she and Jim never invested in Real Estate. Jim passed away several years ago and Abigail had to slow down. She left me in 1985 when I closed my office and worked for other brokers over the years. Today she is living in very reduced circumstances on social security and a small pension from Jim’s company. She was a good associate, but she never prepared for her retirement, and she never possessed any entrepreneurial spirit.

And then there is Betty. She was working for another broker and had not made a sale in 6 months when she approached me to ask if I would let her “move her license”. It was always a toss up who was going to be salesman of the month between Betty and Abigail once Betty learned the business.

After about five years Betty came to see me. She came in the office, shut the door and began to cry. “I’m sorry Henry”, she said, “you have been so good to me, but I am going to open my own office in a few weeks.” Most Realtors are entrepreneurs, and Betty was only following the pattern. I had a choice to become angry or to breathe a deep sigh and wish her well. I choose the latter.

Betty and her husband Al opened an office on the ground floor of a downtown office building. They both worked hard. Betty did the selling, and Al even after he got his broker’s license did the follow through so necessary in a successful real estate office.

Because of their success, they soon attracted many of the town’s top salespeople, and within a few years had outgrown the 5 room downtown office. A widening of a major cross street near ColonialPark left a reasonable sized but triangular tract of land that Al and Betty purchased for very little since no one could figure out what to do with it. They built a very prestigious two story office building on this tract for their Realtor office.

When Betty first started with my Realtor office, she and Al owned a small brick ranch home in Fountain Park. Betty worked hard in that subdivision of about 500 homes and was soon known as “The Queen of Fountain Park“. It became almost impossible for anyone else to get a listing in that sub-division. When their home was paid for, they began buying other SFRs, and used the income from the unencumbered properties to pay off their latest acquisitions  as quickly as possible.

Later after they built the office building near Colonial Park, they were able to buy a bigger house in that subdivision.  While I am not exactly sure, today they own about 15 deluxe fully paid for single family homes and other property worth well in excess of $2,750,000. Remember this is Wichita Falls, TX. If these properties were in California they would be valued at over $5,550,000. On the other hand if they were in Arkansas they might be worth $1,250,000. Either way they bring in a net of over $25,000 per month.

Al is ill these days with a debilitating disease. Betty and Al closed their own office, and rented the building to another business. Betty worked for another agency for a year or two and was one of the leaders in that office. She has since retired to take care of Al, whose health continues to decline. Unlike Abigail they have more then enough income to provide Al with the medical help he needs.

While I understand that everyone does not have the entrepreneurial spirit, if you do, for goodness sakes begin investing in notes and real estate for yourself. If all you ever do is “flip” notes, or act as a factor referral agent, you may make an excellent living like Abigail and Jim, but you will never build independence and wealth like Betty and Al.

Now that you know the difference, what are you going to be, an “A” or a “B”?

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