Maryland: 558 Ejendomsmæglere

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The year was 2006, property values were skyrocketing, homes were at a premium and it was clearly the best time ever for a young real estate enthusiast to step out on his own and open a new brokerage — oh wait, it wasn’t. Mike Draper had always said he did not want to be a typical, pencil-pushing, clock-punching employee, and as the real estate market went up in flames around him in the 2008 crash, it was quite clear he had gotten his wish. Yet as other businesses were paring services and cutting corners, Mike’s solution was to build a foundation and establish an ethic that focused less on making the sale at any cost and more on fashioning a harmonious relationship among buyer, seller and broker that would put the right person into the right home at the right price. Turns out, paying attention to clients is the way to weather financial storms. Who knew? If there is a hint of chess grandmaster Gary Kasperov in Mike’s modus operandi, he readily admits it. “I like being able to have an idea, develop that idea into a strategy, implement that strategy and realize either the success or failure of that idea,” he said. “I’m constantly learning each and every day.” He enjoys sharing those lessons with his brokers, hearing their concerns and helping them better engage with their clients. Mike doesn’t like selling, he likes connecting. This of course will be a keen disappointment to those who enjoy being herded into a purchase they’re not comfortable with by a slick-talking sales rep, but for them there are always used car lots. Buying a home is indeed an emotional experience, but Mike counsels his agents to minimize the emotion and instead focus on each property’s strengths and weaknesses. That way, with their eyes open, a client is more likely to settle in a new home that will be a long-term joy. An agent, Mike believes, works for the buyer and seller but also the community. “Because a strong, vibrant community fosters stable neighborhoods and personal opportunity, we know how important it is to be engaged, Mike says in his company’s mission statement. “We take pride in our community and it shows in our agent’s commitment to playing vital roles in a wide spectrum of community organizations.” In other words, putting good people in good homes elevates the entire neighborhood. As such, Mike is a member of multiple professional organizations focused on property rights and landlord stewardship, his work through the Hagerstown Home Store helps people negotiate a path to home ownership, something many of them never thought they would be able to do. It’s a time consuming career, but does leave some time for tennis, the local music scene and — prepare to be shocked — video games involving high levels of strategy. Mike’s deck overlooks Hagerstown’s celebrated Hagerstown City Park, where he and his wife Julie can view the activity and natural beauty with his rescue pup, a wire-haired terrier named Riley.
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