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VOL. 132 | NO. 169 | Friday, August 25, 2017

Professionalism & Charm

After 30 years, Meredith McDonald still passionate about real estate

Sarah Boxer

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Entering the upscale offices of Doug Carpenter + Associates on South Main, veteran residential real estate agent Meredith McDonald radiates Southern charm and professionalism.

McDonald has sold homes for Hobson Realtors for 30 years and her passion for the job becomes immediately evident, as she describes her work as a “fun business.”

“My favorite aspect of the job is that every day is different,” she says, smilingly brightly. “There’s never a day where you say, ‘I don’t think I’m going to get dressed today.’”

The Ole Miss graduate moved to Memphis after college because she remembered shopping trips to the Bluff City when she was a young girl living in a small Mississippi town. Her bright blue, fashion-forward outfit she wears today is proof that her sense of style carried over into adulthood.

Realtor Meredith McDonald has spent her entire 30-year real estate career with Hobson Realtors and still describes her work as a “fun business.” (Daily News/Houston Cofield)

But she didn’t always dream of being a Realtor.

“I kind of just came to the decision,” she said. “It was a Sunday night and I said, ‘I think I’m going to get my real estate license.’”

She chose Hobson Realtors because of its reputation and small staff. Founded in 1972, Hobson Realtors is located at 5384 Poplar Ave. at the corner of Poplar and Valleybrook and employs some of the most experienced real estate agents in Memphis.

The company boasts more than $5.5 million in sales per agent every year and lists a large share of the higher-end market, primarily in Midtown and East Memphis. However, listings also include properties in Germantown, Collierville, Cordova and Bartlett, as well as in Shelby, Fayette, and Tipton counties.

Skeptical at first, her husband, Paul, a fellow Ole Miss graduate, not only ended up supporting her decision by helping raise their two young boys – he became her partner.

“We’re a team – but he goes his way and I go mine,” McDonald said. “He’s showing something right now that I couldn’t show.”

She also refuses to discuss their business when they are at home.

“We’ve managed to stay married,” she says with one her infectious laughs.

Joel Hobson III, principal owner/broker of Hobson Realtors, called McDonald “definitely one of the premier agents in Memphis” and cited her strong work ethic.

“Meredith McDonald is the hardest-working agent I know and goes overboard to make her clients happy,” Hobson said. “She probably works 70-plus hours a week, and I have tried to get her to slow down but she just loves helping people achieve their dreams. She never met a stranger and gets along with everybody.”

John Loebel, Financial Federal’s senior vice president and manager of residential lending, has worked with McDonald for more than 20 years. He says her professionalism, knowledge about the Memphis housing market and dedication to her craft bring in a great customer base and repeat business.

“Meredith is unbelievably good at what she does,” Loebel said. “She’s such a professional and we can always count on her.”

The admiration is mutual, as McDonald is quick to compliment Loebel and Financial Federal.

“He makes them (the customer) feel at ease – the bank stuff is usually boring and frustrating but he makes it funny,” she said. “Once you go to his group, it’s like you don’t have to think about it anymore.”

She says she loves real estate because she gets to make people happy and watch them, their families and their homes grow and evolve over time. McDonald also enjoys how her job is always changing and she never knows what to expect.

“One minute I’m meeting the electrician, the next meeting I’m meeting with a buyer, etc.,” she said.

She never minds going above and beyond the call of duty for her clients, telling a story about killing a wasp for an 86-year-old client.

“I probably looked like ‘I Love Lucy’ trying to spray it, but I knew she was coming back in town and I didn’t want the wasp to get her,” she says, jokingly.

She also has had some funny experiences with clients over the years.

“I’ve walked in on someone in the shower and made up many a bed trying to make the house look good.”

McDonald suggests that the most challenging aspect of the real estate market in Memphis today is a lack of inventory, as housing prices continue to go up while the supply of homes declines. She also says there are the daily challenges come with every job.

Still, she encourages people who are interested in a real estate career in Memphis to pursue it as long as they are willing to work hard.

“You’ve got to be on duty 24 hours a day,” she says.

There’s no slowing down, she elaborates, noting that she refuses to turn her phone off at the end of the day because buying a home is a scary process and she wants to be there to hold her clients’ hand throughout.

When she’s not answering emails, calling clients and showing homes, McDonald enjoys gardening, traveling (but only for long weekends because she doesn’t like being away from work for too long) and spending time with her family – especially her grandchildren. She also loves relaxing in her home that her family has owned for 29 years.

Despite the challenges inherent in the residential real estate business, she does not have plans to stop anytime soon.

“You just have to go with the flow, listen to buyers and sellers, and always be there for them,” she advised. “You can make it what you want.”

PROPERTY SALES 56 289 2,908
MORTGAGES 55 226 2,009
BUILDING PERMITS 108 1,002 6,703
BANKRUPTCIES 42 248 1,225