An Exclusive Interview with Jim Jones of Lake O Real Estate
Hi Jim, please give us a short introduction about yourself.
I am originally from Kentucky, a rural area, similar to Okeechobee. I moved to Okeechobee in 2000. I owned a trucking company there, served on the school board, parks and recreation, and economic development committee.
When and why did you decide to move to Okeechobee?
I first came to Okeechobee around 1980 to fish with my uncle who had retired here. My grandfather got me hooked on fishing at an early age, so fishing on Lake Okeechobee, one of the best bass fisheries in the United States was like a dream come true. I loved it and started coming here once or twice a year for about 10 years. I bought a small place here with a friend in the early 90’s and spent more time here. After closing the trucking company, I decided to relocate here and start a career in real estate. In 2005, I obtained a real estate sales license. In 2015, I obtained a Broker’s license and opened Lake O Real Estate.
Please tell our readers about your family and family life.
I am married to Melissa Davis, who is a registered nurse at Raulerson Hospital and a lifelong resident of Okeechobee. Even though she is not an owner of Lake O on paper, she is very much involved in all the decisions we make concerning the business. We have 5 children, 10 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild between us. We enjoy the rural lifestyle here, things like fishing, relaxing around a fire, and having barbeques with family and friends.
What do you love about what you do in the real estate business, and how have you helped people?
I enjoy helping people fulfill their needs, wants, and sometimes even dreams in real estate. It is the art of the deal that I truly enjoy. It is so true that sometimes in order to make a deal work you really must think outside the box. Some deals just fall into place, while others require much more effort. It’s the feeling of accomplishment when the deal is done and seeing people satisfied, whether buying or selling, residential, commercial, or agricultural.
I have been blessed to work with many different real estate agents who have been willing to share information and give advice along the way. The network of Brokers and agents I have established business relationships with is very large and continues to grow. Here at Lake O Real Estate, I have 4 very capable agents who are extremely important to making this business a success. They share the same core values, honesty and integrity, always. Their input is important in helping me make business decisions every step of the way.
What comes to your mind as to some of the significant changes you’ve seen as a real estate professional in recent years?
The internet and ability to view properties and gain information keystroke fast is amazing. Sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, our company’s website and several others allow buyers to view and obtain information 24 hours a day on properties within minutes of the agent putting the listing on the multiple listing portal. Also, the ability to email documents and have customers electronically sign is speeding up the process and making it more convenient for all parties. It has been challenging, but we have kept up with these changes.
What are your future plans?
We are moving into a new location in mid-January, 310 NE Third Ave. One block north of Hwy. 70 just behind Regions Bank and across from State Farm Insurance. This new location will serve us and our customers well. I don’t see us adding large numbers of agents, although we have room for and hope to add a couple of new agents in the coming months.
What is your philosophy on business and life, and what inspires you?
Maintaining a business built on reliable, honest, and hard working people is important. Not being the biggest or flashiest. Treating our customers with the respect they deserve is part of our philosophy. I think life should be lived in the middle, not the far left or far right. These positions seem to create an atmosphere of less respect and less tolerance for one another’s views and beliefs. Christian values and family are very important to me. Striving to improve and be a better person, operate a successful business, and maintain a level of respect would be my goal.
CLOSING: If you have a need to buy or sell real estate in or around Okeechobee, I invite you to call us. We would be glad to discuss your needs and hope to earn your business. Thanks to all the folks I’ve had the pleasure of working with and for, and I am looking forward to meeting many new customers in the coming year.