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In this episode, we celebrate the inspiring journey of Allen and Barbara Doeringer, the dynamic duo behind Whippet Properties.

From their serendipitous meeting in the real estate industry to enduring personal challenges, they have successfully navigated their professional and personal lives together for over 25 years.

The discussion explores their start in a manufactured home community, the establishment of their real estate careers, and the formation of their own brokerage. We found many parallels between our lives in this story, because our own business journey included developing a mobile home park a few miles from where the Doeringers worked and a later transition into real estate brokerage.

They share insights on working as a team, handling crises like terminal illness and divorce, and the impact of COVID-19 on their business.

Their story highlights the importance of leveraging individual strengths, the value of patience, mutual respect, and the benefits of creativity in overcoming market challenges.

Join us for an engaging conversation filled with wisdom, resilience, and the power of teamwork.

Contact them through their website at https://whippetpropertiesflorida.com/ or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Whippetpropertiesflorida/

00:00 Introduction to Allen and Barbara Doeringer

00:21 How Allen and Barbara Met

02:43 Starting Their Real Estate Journey

03:16 Personal Challenges and Growing Together

06:14 Building Their Own Brokerage

10:54 Naming Whippet Properties

14:08 Working as a Team

19:15 Navigating the Real Estate Market

24:54 Overcoming Challenges and Future Plans

33:17 Conclusion and Contact Information

Transcript
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Welcome to another episode of celebrating small family businesses.

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Today, we are celebrating Allen and Barbara Doeringer of Whippet

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Properties and maybe something else.

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So Hi guys.

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How are you?

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Good morning.

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Great.

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How are you doing?

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Wonderful.

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Wonderful.

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Well, I recall that we talked a little bit and you guys have

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actually been working in real estate together for something like 25 years.

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So.

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Tell us a little bit about your, you know, your, how you met and your, your

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history together and what it's like working with each other for that long.

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I, I don't know that I want Alan to tell his side of the story because,

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uh, it's, it starts with a phone call.

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I was still in Pennsylvania and, uh, I called down, there was a sales position

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open at a manufactured home community.

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I had never done real estate.

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I was working in banking for 17 years, but I was trying to move down to Florida.

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My son and daughter had already moved here.

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Do you want to tell your story about the phone

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No, you go ahead.

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Yeah.

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I'll, I'll add my two cents worth if I need to.

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anyway, um, I did take the position.

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Our house in Pennsylvania hadn't sold yet.

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So my late husband at the time, he, uh, he stayed behind for about six weeks

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till we finally did get our home sold.

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But the very first day that I set foot in this sales office, I met

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Alan and he was assigned to train me.

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Yeah.

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And she's been training me ever since.

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And has she, has she accomplished anything?

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Not much.

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Now I'm, I'm a slow learner.

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Sounds about right.

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Sounds about normal.

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Yeah, exactly.

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Me too.

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Anyway, he says I was not very.

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Nice on the phone call.

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And I find that hard to believe because, you know, I'm always

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nice when I talk on the phone.

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But, uh, the story is I had called the manager at least three times

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and she had never returned my call.

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So what did I say, Ellen, according to you

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Well, you just told her that, um, or you told me to tell her that, uh, if she's

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not interested, just forget about it.

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And you kind of, you just hung up.

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So I thought, well, that was kind of rude, but.

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As it turned out, she's not rude at all.

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She's very nice lady,

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as

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some boundaries.

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as he was trained.

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All right.

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So that was, uh, you said a manufactured home.

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So here in Florida, that was, um, I 90s, right?

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So

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it was 1999 and you didn't need a real estate license because

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the homes were on leased land.

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So we both worked together as a team there, um, until the owner sold out

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of new manufactured homes and then he.

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Paid to have all of us get our real estate licenses so that we

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could all stay together as a team.

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He formed a small real estate company at the time.

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Now, during all of this, um, my husband was diagnosed with, uh, terminal

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cancer and Alan was going through a terrible divorce, so we were kind of

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leaning on each other going through traumatic experiences at the same time.

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So we became the best of friends.

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And as, uh, the story goes, my husband passed away not too long after that.

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And Alan got his divorce.

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And then we ended up starting to date a while later.

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What a great way to start a relationship as

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good friends.

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That's, uh,

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Yeah, we were

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really good

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make me wait a year.

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She made me wait a year before, before she accepted my proposal to marriage.

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Well, I had to check them out a little further.

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See how much more trainable you are there.

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Yeah,

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Exactly.

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Exactly.

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I thought you were going to say,

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go ahead, John.

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Allen, I thought you were going to say she made you wait a year

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before she'd go out on a date.

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And I remember, I can't remember what the, the name of the

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doctor, somebody, she was a radio personality, but she was, she had a

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show about dating and that was one of her, Right.

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Primary rules.

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If you're, especially if you're leaving a difficult relationship or whatever,

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and you know, wait a year before you get into another relationship.

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Because so many times people jump, you know, they rebound right into, you

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know, from, from one situation into a mirrored situation that they just don't

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recognize the familiarity, the similarity.

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Right.

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Mm-Hmm.

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Well, it helps when you work together and you're, you're friends

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for a couple of years before that.

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So you pretty much get to know each other well.

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I would think so.

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Yeah.

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And you've seen each other in this case, you've seen each other under all sorts of

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stress and which a lot of relationships don't, they don't have that experience.

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They don't have that to draw on.

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You know, they're everybody's got their happy face on and

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they're putting for the best foot

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forward.

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And then, And then, all of a sudden they get the, Oh, I didn't realize,

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And

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the ironic part was, uh, both of us were married, uh, to our

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other spouses exactly 32 years,

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Wow.

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Ah, also very, very supportive of moving forward together because

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you had a very similar amount of experience with those relationships.

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right

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So now we've been married together 22 years,

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um, this

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week.

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And so we always tell people that we've been married 54 years.

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You

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have

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not to each other.

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There you go.

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That's a great conversation starter right there.

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Yeah, we decided to celebrate 50 years of marriage four years ago on a

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cruise because we said well We're not gonna live long enough to hit 50 years

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together, but we've been married that long just not to each other So we did it.

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Who cares?

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What a great reframing too.

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Awesome.

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So, um, what was the transition, I guess, when, you know, you, you're

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currently in a, you, you have your own brokerage, you have your own business.

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So when did, when did that start?

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Well not not soon enough Actually, we we lived in Davenport.

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We worked for a builder after we left the of the community

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that had the manufactured homes.

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His, uh, real estate company really didn't take off, but we ended up

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working as a team, uh, for a builder in Davenport, which is near Disney.

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And, um, we actually built our own home.

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There in the same community.

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So once they were sold out, then Alan took off with all the resales.

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Cause we knew all of our neighbors.

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We know most, most of the people in there.

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And, uh, he shifted me off.

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We were, we were married now.

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So he shifted me off to work.

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Back with a real estate company as a transaction coordinator, so that

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we had a stable income coming in.

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Because of course, when you're working in construction, you know,

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or resales, you know, you don't get any money until that closes.

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So there were months that might go by that we weren't, no income was coming in.

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So I, I went and got a stable income while, um, he, his, um, Line up of

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homes were getting ready to close,

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I see.

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Okay.

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So the transaction coordinator is, was more of a salaried

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position than I, than depending on

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those commissions.

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Okay.

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But anyway, do you remember what happened Allen as to why I got my broker's license?

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no, but I'm sure you'll remind me.

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Well, we were working for this small company, the small real estate

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company, um, a husband and wife.

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They were both British.

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And um, we had one instance where we were on vacation and there was going

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to be a closing and our broker only had to get a couple of papers signed.

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Well, I mean, we had done.

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Everything, you know, for the transaction, but she decided that she was going to

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take half of my commission simply because she had to get a couple of papers signed.

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And it really, really upset us.

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And I said to Ellen, I said, you know what?

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It's time for me to go get my broker's license.

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So that this never happens again.

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But unfortunately we lived in a 55 plus community where you could not

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have a business out of your own home.

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There was a lot of restrictions through the HOA.

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So I did get my broker's license, but I stayed with the company

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because I got that, we kind of came to a better agreement because

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she knew I could leave at any time

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and, uh, so she was a lot more fair with commissions after that.

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But I didn't want to go out and have to spend all this money, you know, with, uh,

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an office and, you know, all the overhead and everything I really didn't need.

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So I stayed as a broker associate, uh, from 2009 until we moved to Florida, or

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I'm sorry, not Florida, but Tampa in 2020.

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okay.

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So the strategy of getting your broker's license and setting yourself

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up to open a business was enough to accomplish your task without

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actually opening the business.

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Right.

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Pretty cool.

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Pretty cool.

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But then we moved to Tampa and, um, decided that, uh, now's the

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time to start our own business or Barbara's own business.

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And, and we did.

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Yeah.

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But what happened when we moved to Tampa?

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Oh, COVID hit and

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everything shut down.

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Yeah, it was within a week.

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Um, we had this new real estate company.

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Nobody was looking at homes.

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Nobody was going out of their home.

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No one was going to restaurants to eat.

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Nothing, nothing was happening.

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So it was very stagnant for the first

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year.

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The first couple of years, it was very slow.

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It's really only now starting to pick up for us.

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Okay.

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And so how did you manage through COVID if it's alright to ask?

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Well, it wasn't easy.

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I mean, we did a lot of networking with people that we knew from

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over in the Davenport area because we were there 20 years.

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Now, what you didn't ask me was why we named our company Whippet

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Properties, which a lot of

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people, that's the first thing they ask.

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that's

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I was supposed to be the broker of record for a friend over in Davenport who

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was from England and all of her niche.

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Were British buyers and sellers, and she was going to form her own company and

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just have me as the broker to help run it.

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And then COVID hit and I was actually all the paperwork was

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done with the state of Florida.

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Everything was handled.

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Everything was ready to go.

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And we were, um, you know, on our way 4 weeks in, she, she closed.

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She resolved after just 4 weeks because of COVID because nobody

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could come over from England.

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Nobody could go over there, you know, to England.

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I mean, everything was shut down and she knew she couldn't make it because

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that was her only, you know, niche.

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That was her only sales area.

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So there I was again, you know, well, I either go back to another franchise,

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which I was with or start my own.

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And, uh, this friend was well known to another friend of mine

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who owned two Webbett dogs.

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And we sat in her living room, uh, Alan and I and, and she and her

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husband and the two Whippet dogs.

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And we were trying to figure out, okay, now do, cause she was

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going to be one of my agents.

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Do we go back or do I form whatever?

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We were trying to come up with a name.

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And Alan says, well, here's the dogs.

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He says, what about Whippet properties?

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And I loved it because I thought, okay, I can do a lot with that.

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That's catchy.

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You know, we can use Devo's theme song and whip it good.

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And, you know, come up with all kinds of cute taglines and, um,

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giveaways and marketing materials.

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So that's how it came about.

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I

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see.

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Very cool.

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Well, yeah, that's, and that's a, like you say, it's a much catchier name

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than say, you know, A and B properties.

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I think a lot of people, you know, Alan and Barbara would just go right

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to A and B because the old, uh, yellow pages, you know, you want to

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be in the, in the AAA and the, so you get the first listing and all that.

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But, but,

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Right.

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And who's going to remember a Doeringer Realty, you know,

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nobody cares, but everywhere I go, they go, Oh, you're whip it.

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There you go.

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So

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we used to go to chamber of commerce meetings and they would always call us Mr.

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and Mrs., Mr.

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and Mrs.

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Whippet.

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Great branding.

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I mean, you

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couldn't pay for that.

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I know.

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Yeah.

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Wow.

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No.

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And the logo that I had created, you know, I, I wanted them to have, you

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know, just a tiny little piece of a Whippet dog on the end of a home.

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And, and, uh, they did a great job and yeah, we've had a lot of fun with it.

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We really have.

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Oh,

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In some of her marketing brochures, she has herself cracking a whip.

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So

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And that goes back to the training, you know, trying to train you for 25 years.

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Yeah, You beat me to saying that.

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Yeah.

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That's what

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I

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need.

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Well, what do you, what do you find most gratifying or most enjoyable

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about working together as, you know, as, as family, as spouses?

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you want to answer that Ellen?

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Well, yeah, the one thing I've always said about working from

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home is that you're always working.

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Which is kind of true because, you know, at the drop of a hat, you can get

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a phone call and have to do something.

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But when there's two of you together working, um, you can share tasks.

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Um, actually recently I've put my real estate license as inactive

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and I'm now handling more.

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of the marketing and administrative tasks for Barbara.

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So that gives her more time to concentrate on, on sales and grooming customers.

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So that's worked out very well for us, but it's good to have your right hand man,

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more or less, and she's my right hand man.

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I'm her right hand man.

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So

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Yeah,

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We've always worked together great as a team.

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Um, and I know some husband and wives, you know, they go, they love being out at work

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because they get away from each other, you know, but I have my little office set

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up downstairs, you know, off the kitchen.

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He's got his office upstairs in our den.

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And so it works out because we're, we're separated that way, but we have, uh,

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each other to lean on, you know, if, if I've got paperwork that needs done, or

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I need photos that put in a listing or, you know, I need marketing materials.

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Print it out, whatever it is, you know, Alan's right there to help me do it.

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So it's worked out so well because i'm the organized person.

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He's really good, you know with handling stressful situations Um, i've never

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met anybody that has more patience than alan does and me, you know, i'm like You

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know, and he's like, oh, it's it's okay, you know So So he's always handled, um,

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customers well that way too, if we have a volatile situation with a customer.

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So our personalities, um, that are so different have really,

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um, made this teamwork work.

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Cool.

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Excellent.

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That, that just leads right into the next question.

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I pretty well answered it actually, because it was about like, how do

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you guys defy, divide the, the work?

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How do you, you know, did you identify your individual strengths early on

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and, and, and, you know, work to those strengths and, and separate,

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like I'm, you know, I'm a tech geek.

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You know, I do all the tech and Connie computer, Connie and computers,

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they have a very uneasy piece.

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So we, you know, it kind of naturally falls that way.

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But for you guys, it sounds sort of similar.

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Um,

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yeah,

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sounds, sounds like If I heard right, Alan, you're, you're the, not only

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the, the calm, uh, anchor, I guess there, but a calming force, but also it

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sounds like maybe on the creative side or, or, or do you share that equally?

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I kind of tend to think that Barbara is a little bit more creative than me,

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but I can take her creative creativity and, and put it into practice.

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Okay.

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Okay.

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something physical.

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Yeah.

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And he's better with the technology than I am.

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Okay.

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Okay.

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When I have a computer problem, it's, uh, I'm calling that one.

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yeah,

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Speed dial

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or speed yell.

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yeah,

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Yes.

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I can really relate to what you said about having the, you know, the separate spaces.

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And, you know, we, even when we had a physical office, we were at opposite

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ends of a building that had once housed many more people than just the two of us.

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So we were, uh, you know, we, we get together for lunch and

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say, well, how's your morning?

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But now we're right there.

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Yeah, now we're six

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feet apart.

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If we're in the same office, I don't think it's six feet.

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Not even

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Yeah.

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And I know there's, there's a lot of, um, you know, family teams or husband

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and wife teams that, that don't work out.

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So you, you really have to have that right personality combination

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or, you know, different skills and strengths that compliment each other.

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And, and that's what is with us.

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You know, I'm very, very organized, not so much Alan, but he knows where

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everything is and he can get it done.

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I make a list of things that need done.

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Um, so we, we know how to, to work well together.

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I mean, it's, uh, it's pretty much been a blessing.

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Outstanding.

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worked well for 20 plus years.

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go.

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Yeah.

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We're going on 20, 22 years married, but we're going on 25 years.

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We've actually worked together.

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Right.

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And those years that where you were, I think you said 2009 to 2020 where you

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were, you know, you were the broker working with the other lady and Alan,

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you were working in the construction.

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Was there any overlap between your work at that point?

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Were you like working together separately or really just

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Well, we had, we worked in the same building, the sales office.

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Um, we had separate offices.

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Um, my, my office was much nicer.

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Because I gave it to him.

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As you gave it to me.

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Yes.

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Oh, um, but anyway, yes, we had separate offices.

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We were two separate employees for, for this company.

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And, um, but we still bounce things off of each other and, and helped each other.

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When the situation called for it.

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Um, but I think he meant when I went to work for the other company.

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Um, and as a transaction coordinator, but we still worked

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well together then as well, because,

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you know, he would be busy maybe with a new construction home and need

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help with, you know, Something on that, as far as paperwork and things

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of sort, which I'm really good at.

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Um, I would have, you know, a full time job and I ended up

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training new agents as well.

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I got my certification to do that when I was a transaction coordinator.

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So he would come up with ideas, you know, that I could help

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in training programs as well.

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So we, yeah, we still kind of ran ideas by each other and, and, uh, pretty

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much worked together that way too.

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And I was actually only there.

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Uh, a couple of years because once all of the new construction ended up paying

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out and now we were just on resales, I actually went out into the resale market

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too, and, uh, worked with people from, uh, the England, the United Kingdom, because

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that was a very hot market at the time.

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So Alan stayed in our community and sold a lot of resales there while

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I was out working in, uh, outside communities that had a lot of

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British buyers coming over to buy.

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Okay.

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two different niches going on at the same time.

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So we had a different British invasion.

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I remember a friend, uh, , this was back in the early 2000s, I think, but

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he was, he came over a couple of times and, and he was looking at property

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and he said he knew several people who owned property in the Davenport area.

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And I always wondered what it was about Davenport that just became this

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little, you know, collection point, but,

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uh, I never, it

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was Disney.

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it was a bedroom community for Disney World.

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And for, uh, most of the British buyers who were buying homes for

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investment, uh, they would buy them, maybe use them as a home.

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themselves for a couple of weeks a year, but the rest of the time they

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were being rented out to other Brits that were coming over to visit.

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And, um, it was quite lucrative for them.

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Uh, but then it became oversaturated and, and I think it still is today.

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But one, one nice thing that happened from that and me having the British

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market niche was that in 2008 when the market totally crashed and

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mortgages, you know, went belly up and it was a really bad time.

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Um, I contacted a lot of my British.

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Owners, homeowners, and they were doing short term rentals,

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you know, in the Disney area.

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And I said, you know, I said, they're not, they weren't going to get many people

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renting their homes because of the market.

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And people had lost so much money.

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So I said, how about if we turn those into long term rentals and that way, you know,

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you will have a solid, uh, steady income.

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The renters will pay for all the utilities and, you know, you'll have,

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uh, you know, something to work with.

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with until the market turns around again, which would probably be a couple of years.

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So that was when, you know, I had the creative idea to pivot, you

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know, to keep ourselves in business.

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And at one time I actually had 30 long term rental listings.

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Wow.

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And it wasn't the same, you know, amount of commission income you get from a

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sale, but it was still money coming in that we wouldn't have had otherwise.

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So Allen and I were always good that way too.

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And you know, when a, when a situation would come about, we would, you

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know, figure out, you know, together.

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How do we change this?

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You know, how do we pivot to make it work?

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So,

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That's so important to business.

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And, and, you know, even though, Well, yeah, you own your own brokerage,

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but whether you're working for somebody else or a combination, it's

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Being able to adjust quickly and so what you did you got curious and

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that's you know, that's so powerful.

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I really respect that

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yeah.

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And, uh, he really helped me on that as well, you know, because there were things

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that would come up with tenants, you know, that the owners were in England.

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So if they needed something immediately, you know, they didn't really have property

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managers looking after a lot of their homes, but Alan would drop everything

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and run and look, you know, if a water pipe, you know, was leaking or whatever.

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So, um, you know, there, there was a lot of things we did

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together, even on the rentals.

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Cool

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Mr.

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Fix it.

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It's just that simple.

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Yeah.

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yeah Value added.

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Wonderful.

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Is there a particular, I would say challenge, you know, you guys have

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got a kind of a unique perspective and being together so long and working,

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you know, together and separately.

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Is there a challenge as a, as a, you know, couple in business

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that you've overcome that, that others could learn a lesson from?

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Oh, boy.

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Um, the only challenge that I can think of is, uh, being able

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to diversify your strengths.

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Um, you know, of course, we all have strengths.

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We all have weaknesses.

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And when we were working in the same community, you know, with seniors,

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um, The challenge for me was my lack of patience because, uh, you know,

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a lot of people that are, you know, elderly and have specific situations

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come up where they're, they can be very testy is a good word to put it.

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And, uh, and Ellen always had the most.

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patience for that.

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As far as challenges for each other, I really can't think of any because

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we've always worked so well together.

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But I will say that when you are a couple or a family, you have to figure

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out those strengths and weaknesses and try and pass on whatever you're weak at.

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To another person so that, you know, you all work together to make it happen and to

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And the job gets done.

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right,

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Okay.

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Okay.

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So,

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there were certain people that I just could not work with, you know,

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like I, I just, Oh man, I've had enough, you know, but he would take

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over and make it work because he had the patience and the personality.

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That he could, you know, smooth everything over and get the job done.

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And by focusing on those strengths, did you find that in each working to their

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strengths, did that make it better for the relationship, stronger, strengthening

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the relationship by doing that?

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I believe so.

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Yeah.

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Yeah, I think so because I think we really, um, admire

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each other and understand what each of us can or can't do.

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And, you know, I think when you give each other credit, you know,

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cause I would admit, Hey, you know, I, I can't handle this person.

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I can't do this, you know, but I knew he could.

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So I think if you give each other the credit, For what you are good at,

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you know, that that's a bonus because you, you can't, you don't working as

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a family or a couple, you don't have the time to be jealous, you know,

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because they can do something you can't, or, you know, to be wishing

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you were more like them or whatever.

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You just have to understand everybody's different and everybody has a different

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way of working with challenges and you, you just toss it over to the person

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that's going to get it done the best.

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And flexibility.

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Right.

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And you, both of you have shown a lot of flexibility with pivoting.

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I mean, you've pivoted how many times now?

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Oh yeah.

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Quite a few,

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And that's admirable!

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Because especially as we get a little older, we don't like to do that as much.

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But we actually have to do it more, I think, older than what

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we did when we were younger.

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I agree.

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and even now, you know, even now with the market, the way it

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is, it's been very difficult.

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I mean, we know how difficult real estate is right now.

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Um, it's just been, uh, especially at, since moving to Tampa, which we did

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for our daughter and granddaughters, you know, that was the main reason.

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And family is everything to us as it should be.

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But it's been an uphill battle because, you know, you come into a new area, a new

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market, you know, that is saturated with realtors that have been here for decades.

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And so naturally, you know, you're an unknown, you know, you're in a

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new place and you're unknown and you've started a new company and

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people don't know your experience.

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Um, and some don't care, but.

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But, um, we've, we've really been fortunate and blessed to have picked

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up business over here now too.

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In fact, I'm on my way over to Davenport this afternoon because we

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still get occasional listings over there, which we have an agent over

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there who handles everything for us.

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And, uh, you know, she gets a good split for doing that.

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Um, but I've just picked up, um, a listing in Lutes this year and I'm

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getting another one in the Tampa area.

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And we just traveled all the way to Bonita Springs to help out a friend,

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uh, with her parents home.

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So you never know where you're going to end up, but.

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Um, we're starting to be more known, and I think networking for that, because

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unless you're out there networking, and that's how I met the two of you,

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um, people really don't know you,

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and they don't know your personality, and they don't know if they can trust you.

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Um, and, and, you know, it's the old saying, Pete, whoever,

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you know, like, and trust.

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So that's starting to finally come back to us where we're getting referral business.

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And, uh, it's, it's enough, you know, I didn't come over here to try and be,

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you know, a six figure income realtor.

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I just wanted to have enough business to see us through for a few more years.

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And it's, it's happening.

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and to pay for those cruises.

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Yeah.

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Which of course, Alan is wanting another one for his birthday in July.

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So

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that's booked.

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Have you been a good boy?

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So that's what's next.

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I think I have.

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Good.

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Well if it's booked, I

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whip, that whip works good.

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it does.

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Yeah.

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That

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Oh goodness, so much wisdom in all of this.

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I think the lesson I want to tease out of that last little part you were

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talking about is that it does take time.

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We live in these times of, of, you know, fame and instant fame and appear,

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appearance of instant fame and then social media and big splashes and, you

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know, hey, look at me kind of stuff.

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But, but the real, The real guts of it is it takes time to get to know people

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and, and, and they become familiar and that trust is built over time.

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It doesn't, it doesn't, it has to be earned.

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It's

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It's absolutely right.

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Because I'm, I'm just into my fourth year as my own company.

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And the first year we lost because of COVID.

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So you're talking maybe three years, but, uh, going into this year, I'm just now

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seeing, I mean, we had a little bit of business, but not, not enough, but this

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year I'm just now seeing a turnaround.

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So yes, it does take time.

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Wonderful.

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Wonderful.

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And the other thing I really wanted to come back to and call

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out was the, uh, you were talking about, you know, giving credit.

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I think especially in families There's a tendency in families to, to

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take each other for granted, right?

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They've, they've always been there and they always will be.

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And, And, and we don't always give our families our best, right?

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We, we save our best for the outside world and the people we're trying to impress.

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And we feel like we don't have to impress our families

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because they're stuck with us.

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And so there's a tendency not to do those things that say thank you

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and, and give credit and, and edify each other and, and really, you

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know, And credit or recognition.

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I learned in my short corporate career that recognition matters, and

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it goes so far, just a little bit.

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And it's really important.

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So kudos for that.

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It absolutely does.

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And, and, and I know Alan is.

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to.

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I mean, we always tell each other, you know, thank you.

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Thank you for helping me with this.

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Thank you for doing that for me.

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Um, you know, and always support each other, you know, and what

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we're trying to do, you know, I'm proud of you, you know, good job.

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Um, so even if it's family, those things need to be said,

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I'm proud of you is something I don't think we could ever hear enough.

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Yeah.

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That's just a perfect place to wrap.

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Thank you so much for spending this time with us and sharing

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your story and your journey.

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And we, , we wish you the very best.

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I want to make sure I get, , connection points in the, , show

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notes to how to reach you.

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So I know, , you have a website.

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What is the website?

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That is whippetproperties.

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com.

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No, it's whippet properties florida dot com.

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There's no of in there, but it's whippet properties florida dot com.

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Excellent.

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We'll get that in there and any social media links that you want to put in

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there, we'll put those in as well.

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Okay.

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It was great.

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Absolutely.

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And tell Polk County hello for us.

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Thank you for having us.

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We will see you soon.

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Thank

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Thank you.

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Enjoyed it.

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