Each year, the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR) honors a member that most personifies REALTOR® in spirit and ethics, through service to his or her profession, peers and the REALTOR® association. For 2016, Ward Arendt, with Marilyn Arendt Properties, was selected as the most deserving of this prestigious recognition.

Ward Arendt

Ward Arendt

What was your first reaction when you learned that you were the 2016 honoree?
To tell the truth, I was stunned. This was not on my radar at all. Marilyn, my wife, and I were on Thanksgiving vacation visiting Marilyn’s aunt in Portland, Oregon. We were walking back from our favorite coffee shop and I got a call from [HAR Chairman] Mario Arriaga. Usually, when Mario calls, there is a problem that needs attention. Reluctantly, I answered. The HAR Executive Board was there with the news. I was truly honored.

What does this honor mean to you?
When I began my career in real estate in 1996, I was told by Chairman Jim Peters and Bob Hale at a networking meeting — “get involved.” I did. I joined every advisory group at HAR. Meanwhile, Marilyn and I were developing a boutique real estate firm. Over the years, both Marilyn and I have been heavily involved with the community and our profession. We have both had the advantage of our parents strongly encouraging us to stand up for our beliefs and our professions. This honor, I hope, will encourage me to continue helping our Association to be strong and to mentor fellow REALTORS®.

What do you find most gratifying about your work as a real estate professional?
Before I was a REALTOR®, I had no idea what our profession did or represented outside of facilitating a real estate transaction. What I found was that REALTORS® were engaged in all facets of our lives.

Association volunteers were at another level. They were trying to make a difference working for higher standards, private property rights and honorable business practices. The HAR staff maintained an environment that was conducive to collaborative engagement of ideas and work products. This makes volunteers feel that their time is highly valued.

With the incredible resources available to me as a REALTOR®, my ability to give our clients the best of my knowledge and make their transaction seamless is most gratifying. Without being involved with our Association and our community, I feel that my clients would only be underserved.

What advice would you offer new real estate professionals or folks considering entering the real estate profession given current market conditions, opportunities and challenges?
New real estate professionals should find a mentor within their firm. All the education and work experience is helpful, but may not give you the tools for successful transactions. We always recommend that a new REALTOR® find a sponsoring firm that can give them training. This is important for both residential and commercial real estate. Continuing education above and beyond the mandated requirements for both newbies and experienced professionals is our byline. Go to class. Don’t do this online. The discussion in class is almost as important as the materials covered.

Also, get involved with HAR by volunteering to be on an advisory group. You will then be an important part of what makes HAR the best REALTOR® association in the United States.

Contribute to TREPAC! Think of it as business insurance.

The most important thing is DO NOT get discouraged. It takes at least six months to gain enough momentum to be self-sustaining.

Do you have any other thoughts or comments?
Houston is an incredible place to live and work. As Houstonians, we have a can-do attitude and the ability to change adversity into a successful strategy. Real estate professionals have the ability to make a difference in our community and families.

When Marilyn and I travel, everyone we meet is curious about the Texas—and specifically Houston—view, and our ability to overcome obstacles and succeed when other parts of the country or world are struggling. The answer is complicated but obvious. Texas and Houston were founded by people that faced and overcame great adversity, yet prevailed beyond their wildest dreams. They pushed the limits of conventional reality and are still pushing. Texas has attracted the best, brightest and hardest working and the most fun loving people in the United States.

His philosophies, achievements and continued dedication to the real estate industry and community service are clear evidence of why Ward Arendt is the obvious choice to be 2016 REALTOR® of the Year.

Congratulations, Ward!