What area do you focus on?
I sell real estate primarily in the Nocatee / Ponte Vedra communities although our Team sells throughout St Johns and Duval County. My wife Jamie and I have lived in the Del Webb Ponte Vedra community in Nocatee for over 9 years. Jamie is also a Realtor.
Why do you do what you do?
Frankly, I don’t like people telling me what to do. I also don’t like the idea of having a job where no matter how hard I work someone else determines how much I make. I like to succeed or fail based upon my own efforts, creativity and experience. Being a Realtor allows me the opportunity to live my life doing it my way!
What is your background?
Right out of college I was an investment analyst for several years, a SVP in commercial lending for a mid-west bank and then I entered the real estate business over 35 years ago.
Was there a certain experience that helped you to become a Realtor?
I have always been fascinated by real estate even before becoming a Realtor. My first experience was in buying farms when I was in my 20’s, then commercial development and investing and most of my Realtor career has been in residential real estate services. Becoming a Realtor was just a natural progression from what I was already doing.
What aspect of your work do you enjoy most?
IMO most successful real estate careers are 20% real estate and 80% problem solving. I like the challenge of trying to make things work out when everything seems to be going in the wrong direction. That is where experience really comes in handy. Most buyers and sellers have no idea how many things go wrong in the typical real estate transaction that they never knew about. That is because agents often work behind the scenes to solve problems or address situations before they become problems.
Did you have a mentor?
I did have a mentor during my early years and I often think about how he impacted my life. He started as a milkman and he died a multi-billionaire. He had many principles he was guided by and he often shared his thoughts by writing them down on a little flash card and giving them to those he was with. Two of his sayings he loved and lived by were also my favorites, “Time Kills Deals” and “Follow a trail of dirt…pick up dirt. Follow a trail of gold…pick up gold”. Anyone in business knows the wisdom of the first saying. The second saying took me a few years to fully appreciate how wise and true it was. Give it some thought!
How has being a Realtor changed your life?
Over the last 35 years of being a Realtor I have learned many life lessons that have spilled over into my personal life. I can’t think of very many professions where you become such a part of your customer’s life. Sometimes I am a Realtor, advisor, marriage counselor, sounding board, strategic thinker, the hero and the one to blame. I have learned that you never learn anything while you are talking so be a better listener. Don’t procrastinate because “Time Kills Deals”. I have learned to be sympathetic, compassionate, understanding, how to be firm when necessary and flexible when it is called for. It is an honorable profession although there is substantial room for improvement.
What sets you apart?
I am experienced at what I do, well trained, creative, and I believe I work well with others. Those are the qualities that I bring to the table and they have seldom failed me. Our Team is the personification of those principles. In addition, we are strong marketers, we work tirelessly, we help each other whenever there is a need. Our bench is deep, and we have many life experiences that makes us who we are.
What is the key ingredient for success in this highly competitive business?
I believe the National Association of Realtors says that the number one thing our customers are looking for is to have confidence that their agent knows how to take them thru the process to their desired goal. It can be a scary undertaking and the stakes are high. For most people selling or buying their home is the biggest transaction they have ever done and certainly one of the most important. Conveying to prospective customers that you are the right choice is the goal. When we go out into the market sometimes it becomes quite obvious that they aren’t looking for the best agent, the most knowledgeable or experienced agent…they are looking for the cheapest agent. Since customers often don’t know what qualities are important to getting the job done they go with commission cutters or people they know but have no real experience, no business success, no marketing, no real familiarity with the marketplace they are working in. These issues have always been a factor in the market especially during the good times. Almost 60% of the agents in business right now have been in the business less than 5 years and many are working for companies who have no formal training programs or experienced management. Convincing potential customers that dealing with a proven, experienced and successful agent, Team or company is the best chance for them to be successful is, and always has been, the real challenge!
What was one of the nicest compliments you have received as a realtor?
“George you started as our Realtor but ended as our friend”.
What do you love about St. Johns?
It is exciting to live in a county where there is so much going on. I have never lived in a place quite like it! It is a very positive atmosphere with almost everyone working to make their communities a better place. In Nocatee, where Jamie and I have lived for 9+ years, well over 50% of the land mass is reserved for preserves, greenbelt, community parks and trails. I think that is a great example for others to follow. I think the developers in our county understand they are working in a very special place and want to do their part to make it even better. Economic growth, top rated schools, location, roadways and of course our waterways are all very unique assets that make St Johns County an incredible place!
Are you concerned that new development will jeopardize the beauty of northern St. Johns?
No! Ask anyone who has witnessed slow development, or no growth and it will be painfully obvious which you would prefer. As long as our county leadership and business community continue to work hand in hand to make St Johns county the best in the state we have a long and exciting future in front of us.
To connect with George visit https://mentonandballougroup.com/
St. Johns Magazine