Gail Lyons and Don Harlan
When Gail Lyons (ABR®) and Don Harlan (ABR®) began representing buyers in Boulder, Colorado in 1985, they didn't know how much opposition they would face from their peers, or how far they would go to defend the fledgling practice. Sixteen years, two state association presidencies, five books and 56,000 students later, the two are among the most well respected authorities on buyer's agency in the country and are at the top of their careers.
"Now it's normal," Lyons says of buyer representation. "But back then everyone resented realtors who chose only to represent the buyer." It was during those early days of buyer's agency that Harlan and Lyons say they felt so strongly about the idea that they were compelled to get involved. They joined a task force that examined the lawsuits filed against buyers' agents and began teaching other Realtors the then new practice. Before long, the buyer-activist duo caught the eye of the National Association of REALTORS® , whose leaders asked them to teach at the national meetings.
"From that point forward, we were national experts," Lyons says. It was this dedication to and tenacity for buyer's agency that made them a natural choice for REBAC's Hall of Fame inductees.
"They are an excellent organization," Lyons says of REBAC. "And I'm delighted that NAR purchased them. It is allowing REBAC to grow in so many new ways. It's nice to be recognized as a part of that."
Together Harlan and Lyons have taught hundreds of seminars all over the United States and Canada, traveling up to 60 days a year. "We've always believed that if you're not out there doing what you're teaching, you probably have no business teaching;" she says. Which is why more recently, the duo has scaled back their seminars to teaching one ABR® course every other month. With 57 years experience between them, the two are now working together in the same office in Boulder, representing buyers in a small, but full service agency.
For years, Harlan had been in the commercial real estate sector in Denver, but last year joined his business partner (they are both married; but not to each other, Lyons quips) in her Boulder office, Boulder Real Estate Services, Ltd. Together they have co-authored numerous articles and books that are considered "Bibles" of the industry. Both have earned the GRI, CRB, CCIM and DREI designations. In addition, Lyons has the CRS and Harlan the CRE. Each has been local board president, state president, board and state REALTOR® of the Year, long-term NAR directors and chair of NAR committees.