I don’t believe that life’s journey is meant to be a solitary endeavor in whatever one’s chosen line of work is. Mentors serve as great role models by helping us grow and making life more meaningful. I am no expert to this age-old concept. Aside from my family’s support and guidance, there are three real estate mentors/educators that played an important role in my life in terms of influencing me, from them leading by example, to persevere and succeed in opening and running my real estate appraisal business and real estate firm.
My first mentor was Dan Mohr, who at the time was the owner and lead instructor of Dan Mohr Real Estate Schools. Dan was one of the hardest working men I have ever worked directly under (and tallest, towering at 6’7”). His father was an Army drill instructor who helped write their training manual a number of years ago. Dan followed in his father’s military footsteps by attending a military school, The Citadel. While at the Citadel Dan played on the basketball team with Pat Conroy. When I was working at Dan’s real estate school, Pat was writing a book about their senior year called “Losing Season”. While manning the phones Pat would often call in and ask to speak to Dan about his recollections of the season, coach, and teammates. It was a unique experience talking to Pat and listening to him crack a few jokes about Dan, as only Pat could do. As a student and employee of Dan’s, I hung onto every word of advice he offered. He was dead serious but once you got to know him, he had a wonderful sense of humor. To this day, Mary Staton and I, run our real estate business like Dan ran his school, as a husband and wife team. The one thing that stuck with me about Dan was his business/life philosophy, “Whatever it Takes”. Dan literally did whatever it took to succeed and I’m lucky to have had the privilege of learning and working under him.
Prior to going to work for Dan Mohr, I enrolled in the real estate broker courses at Alamance Community College (ACC), since Dan was not offering them at the time I needed to take them. My expectations about the quality of instruction at ACC were not very high since Dan had established such a high bar of excellence in real estate education. Boy was I surprised how wrong I was and quickly realized during my first broker course how fortunate I was to have another master real estate instructor in the late great Everett Mogul. Everett’s teaching style was totally different from Dan’s. Dan was more of a hard nose dig it out of the book kind of guy, while Everett had the gift of helping his students more easily understand a comprehensive and often complex subject matter. Everett had a wonderful sense of humor too. When it came to the wording of a test question’s fairness (which were often designed to trick you or create doubt or confusion in your mind), his standard response was that “life’s not fair, the fair is in Raleigh. It has cotton candy and all kinds of good stuff, they even have someone who will guess your weight”. In regard to reading the course material, he liked to tell his students, “If you have indoor plumbing, take it with you”. From a classroom lecture point of view, it was a sight to see. The real estate course 500+ page book that he taught from was so worn from use that the hard-bound cover had come apart. He would walk around the classroom holding his tattered book like a minister talking about various topics and reciting sentences and page numbers from having memorized them. Everett made learning fun. Unfortunately, as fate would have it, Everett did not show up to teach one morning and the class was dismissed. I found out the next day that he had died of a heart attack. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to have known and studied under Everett. He was one of Alamance County’s finest walking, talking, real estate encyclopedias. Although his life was cut short, his legacy lives on.
After Everett’s passing, I finished up my broker courses with Dan Mohr and ended up going to work for him shortly thereafter. While employed there, I decided to enroll in the Residential Real Estate Appraisal courses (R-1, R-2, & R-3). Upon completion of these courses I needed one more required appraisal course, G-1 (one of three courses required to be a commercial appraiser), to become eligible to take the residential real estate appraisal exam. As was the case before, Dan was not offering the commercial appraisal course at the time. As a result, I found the course being offered in Raleigh by the owner/instructor, Archibald “Baldy” Williams, of Triangle Appraisal & Real Estate School. While it was not as convenient to commute to Raleigh, it ended up being another blessing in disguise to learn under Baldy and get to know him. Baldy is from Wilson and never graduated from high school since he was recruited to play football for Carolina (yes, hard to believe but back then you apparently didn’t have to have a high school diploma, and yes, that was back in the day when they wore leather football helmets, and he has a scar on his forehead to prove it). Baldy is another master real estate instructor with real-world experience having been in the construction business (both residential and commercial), an appraiser, the former owner of a mortgage broker company - Atlantic Mortgage, and the current owner of an appraisal management portal company. He is hands down the best storytelling instructor I have ever had the pleasure to listen to, informative and funny. One funny story I recall Baldy telling in class one day was when he was a little boy he rode his pony into the local hardware store and it pooped on the floor. While his story was unrelated to real estate, he recognized the importance of not taking oneself too seriously and having a sense of humor. To this day Baldy is politically connected with the North Carolina Appraisal Board, the Appraisal Institute, and the North Carolina Professional Appraiser’s Coalition. I am blessed to know Baldy, he is more than a mentor, he’s a friend and a class act.
Yes, mentors no doubt play a very important role in all our lives. Why not take some time today to reflect and give thanks to some of the mentors that have had a positive influence in your life?