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Adjusting sales, Oklahoma City Realtors president learned to adjust to a whole new business

JT Brown, 2020 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, at the McGraw Realtors office at 16301 N May Ave. [CHRIS LANDSBERGER/THE OKLAHOMAN]
JT Brown, 2020 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, at the McGraw Realtors office at 16301 N May Ave. [CHRIS LANDSBERGER/THE OKLAHOMAN]

For JT Brown, life began at 60.

A whole new kind of life did anyway. After a long career in retail, he sailed into real estate, a whole different kind of business.

He had to learn how to sell all over again. Once he did, there was no turning back.

Brown, 70, a broker with McGraw Realtors, is 2020 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors. He talked about his transition to a second career in a recent email interview.

Q. You were in retail for 40 years? How did you get into the real estate business? What did you do in retail and why leave it?

A. I started my retail career at 16 at a specialty store in my home town. I worked retail all through college and that's where I landed out of college. I had all different types of positions from sales to department manager to store management, district and ultimately regional management. Retail took me to many locations in Texas, California, Arizona, Indiana, Missouri and finally to OKC.

I burned out. Nights, weekends were all a blur. I felt I had to fulfill my bucket list career and was prepared to start at the bottom if that's what it took. I left, got my real estate license and took to it like it was meant for me! I loved it then and I've loved every minute of it since.

Q. You were Rookie of the Year. You must have hit the ground running. Talk about starting out.

A. My philosophy in real estate has always been "failure is not an option." I was 60 years old and starting in a new industry that I didn't know much about. I knew how to sell, so that was never a concern, but I had to learn how to sell a house. I was always a get-up-and-go-to-work person, so I continued that and went to work every day, sat at a borrowed computer and began soaking up everything I could about the industry.

I made alot of mistakes because I refused to listen to advice on what would work and what wouldn't. I just had to do things myself. My big concern was how to get in front of people who were interested in buying a house. I was in an industry where people came to me to buy things. That wasn't the case here.

Fortunately, I worked with another agent who had three listings of new construction in Moore. He also had another job and wasn't available to sit on them during the week. He gave me that opportunity and I started sitting on them, doing an open house, every day.

During my down time — and there was a lot of down time — I learned how to sell a house. I taught myself how to sell a house. I used an old retail trick of "features and benefits." I parlayed that concept into selling a house and I still use it to this day. I started slow, built momentum fast and in four years built enough business to where I opened my own company.

Q. You have a family in real estate. Who? And how have they influenced you?

A. My grandfather was a Realtor and so were two of my uncles, my dad's brothers. They worked hard and built a good business that provided real well for themselves. I grew up in a blue-collar family and my grandfather wore a starched white shirt every day — even on weekends. It was kind of his trademark. I will never forget him. Come to think of it, that starched white shirt might have been the reason that attracted me to retail LOL.

Q. What was the best experience you've had in real estate?

A. I love working with people. I love working with first-time homebuyers and with military families. I love working with seniors. Every sale I close becomes my favorite. I become emotionally attached. I have worked on multiple generations of the same family — grandparents, parents and now their children.

Q. What was the worst or most challenging experience?

A. I had a closing once bust at the closing table. My client was nine months pregnant and the seller backed out without explanation. Refused to close. My clients were champs and while it was distressing, their family and church family supported them until I could find them another house, and I did.

Q. What's your take on the OKC housing market?

A. This is going to be a good housing year. Interest rates are incredibly low; home prices are stable and on the rise; builders are building; and its an election year. January for our market had double-digit increases! We are off to a great start. It's a great year to sell and a great year to buy!

Q. When you are not showing houses or doing other work, what do you do for fun?

A. Every chance I get I want to spend time with my grandchildren. They are growing up so fast and their lives are changing daily. Otherwise I am content to be with my pets and help homeless animals find homes.

Q. Any advice for new Realtors?

A. Get up, get dressed and go to work! There's business out there and it's your job to find it. Failure is never an option.

AT A GLANCE

• Name: JT Brown.

• Title: President, Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors; broker manager, McGraw Realtors.

• Date of birth: Oct. 1, 1949.

• Birth place: Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

• Family: Father of one daughter and grandfather of three.

• Education: BBA in Business Management: Stephen F Austin University.

• Other Realtor positions: National Association of Realtors, member, Board of Directors; Oklahoma Association of Realtors state director.

• Civic: Chairman, Oklahoma Housing Foundation.

• Church: St John's Episcopal Church, Norman.

• Passion: Animal rescue.

• Reading: "Dare to Lead," by Brene Brown.

• Watching: PBS.

• Listening to: Aaron Neville.

Related Photos
<strong>JT Brown, 2020 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, at the McGraw Realtors office at 16301 N May Ave. [CHRIS LANDSBERGER/THE OKLAHOMAN]</strong>

JT Brown, 2020 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, at the McGraw Realtors office at 16301 N May Ave. [CHRIS LANDSBERGER/THE OKLAHOMAN]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-491559ae1ca77929515773c2240fa9ee.jpg" alt="Photo - JT Brown, 2020 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, at the McGraw Realtors office at 16301 N May Ave. [CHRIS LANDSBERGER/THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" JT Brown, 2020 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, at the McGraw Realtors office at 16301 N May Ave. [CHRIS LANDSBERGER/THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> JT Brown, 2020 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, at the McGraw Realtors office at 16301 N May Ave. [CHRIS LANDSBERGER/THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-bfdffa11a630e5dedf378c053a2dcd26.jpg" alt="Photo - JT Brown, 2020 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, at the McGraw Realtors office at 16301 N May Ave. [CHRIS LANDSBERGER/THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" JT Brown, 2020 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, at the McGraw Realtors office at 16301 N May Ave. [CHRIS LANDSBERGER/THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> JT Brown, 2020 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, at the McGraw Realtors office at 16301 N May Ave. [CHRIS LANDSBERGER/THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure>
Richard Mize

Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked... Read more ›

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