For Jeffrey Fagan, inspiration comes from everywhere – his family, his peers, and the industry he’s proud to serve. He hopes to raise the bar for the latter, and he’s making it a top priority during his time as president of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association (ORRA).
“Professionalism, in my view, is one of the most critical things that realtor associations across the country need to address,” he told GrowthSpotter.
Back in 2014, working in concert with colleagues, Fagan helped develop a program called the Gold Key Certification: Excellence in Professionalism.
“I had been getting frustrated with the apparent lack of professionalism in some of the realtors with whom I was coming in contact. And by virtue of my being a regional vice president over 18 offices and 500 associates. It’s a need.”
And poor performance, he notes, shines an unflattering light on the industry and profession
“It’s not rampant,” he adds, “but it’s enough of a concern that over time you can deteriorate the public confidence in the profession.”
It’s one of the topics on which he plans to lead the ORRA membership forward, and those who knew him as a child wouldn’t find it surprising.
Fagan is the youngest of three boys, their father a lifelong Navy submariner. Born in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia to a family with strong ties to New Orleans, he says that people – even back then – saw him as a driver.
“I’ve always had leadership qualities,” he says, relating a childhood story wherein his Geometry teacher called his mother with a complaint that he sometimes failed to pay attention in class; his mom queried further.
“The teacher said, ‘Well, he’s talking to the people sitting around him, showing them the things I just taught because he catches on so fast.’ And my mom, said, ‘And you’re having a problem with that?!’”
His father encouraged left-brained pursuits – the science field – and Fagan complied; his college degree is in Animal Science, which was his first career. Then, around 2000, the agricultural economy began to fail. Faced with the choice of moving back to Virginia with a company that couldn’t protect him from further layoffs, the recently divorced father chose to stay put.
“I had two kids, one of whom lived with me,” Fagan recalls. “I had a mortgage, a car payment … but my son was in his teens and I had promised him he’d graduate from a Florida school. I didn’t want any more disruption in his life.
“I thought, ‘I’ll do what I gotta do.’”
What he did, of course, was get his realtor’s license and along with that – in time, anyway – a new wife. He and Vicki, who is still a sales associate for Watson, have been married nearly 15 years.
“She’s my biggest inspiration,” he says with admiration, noting with humor that it took him three asks to finally get a date.
“She was the single mother of two young children. She had bumped up against the glass ceiling where she worked and she was invested in herself, trying to figure out a different way. She earned her real estate license at night…. And she sold over $2 million in real estate in her first year; she was Rookie of the Year.”
The Sanford couple enjoys time on the water (he scubas, she prefers snorkeling), with family (together they have four children and two grandchildren) and amid the growing attractions of their town. Foodies both, they’ve been careful about spending too much time dining out since embarking on a keto lifestyle.
“We both love to cook and have adapted into this really nice practice of crafting pretty great food,” he says. They’ve lost a combined 60 pounds since the switch.
“It’s fun,” he says. “We’re having a good time.”