The flashy life of some traditional REALTORS® never appealed to Hugh Ryall. The Lexington, South Carolina buyer's rep and co-owner of Earth Available Realty with his wife, Carol, instead chose the path of Realtor tranquility – or at least one that after 25 years in business, has lead him to it. From his home-based business, complete with lily pond, Canadian geese and serene landscaping, Ryall talks about the chaotic first days of buyer's agency. "I started representing buyers eleven years ago," Ryall says. "I was one of the first ones in the state to get it going. I was definitely not popular with my peers then. I was the odd man out."
But Ryall credits his clients for his determination to stick it out. "I recognized that buyers wanted better representation and we weren't giving it to them," he says. "I began educating other Realtors on buyer's agency and had to get them to work with us. It wasn't easy because it was new and anything new has a sense of foolishness attached to it."
But there was nothing foolish about REBAC's decision to induct Ryall as a new member of its Hall of Fame. Not only his early involvement, but his consistent practice of the buyer's rep philosophy have stood out as an exemplary model in the industry. "After a lot of work, buyer representation has finally been accepted by the real estate community," he says. "And it makes sense. Each side of the transaction needs a specialist. We have specialists for our doctors and dentists, our financial advisors. Why not one for buying a home? REBAC has been the one platform where we exclusive buyers agents can tell our story."
One of Ryall's stories has been a life devoted to teaching. For 40 years, Ryall has been teaching Realtors and others in the Carolinas the finer points of negotiating, marketing, sales, and more recently, the ABR®, through his Hugh Ryall Seminars. He also is a Protestant minister who teaches courses in care giving, which he links to his experience with buyers. "Teaching how to care for people is an outgrowth of buyer representation," he says. "It's about having a trusting relationship with your customers."
Ryall and his wife work from a home-based business. The company offers an "a la carte" menu of services, supporting Ryall's philosophy that today's better-educated home shoppers are ready for the unbundling of real estate services. "Today's consumer is so much smarter," he says. "I see more opportunities today for Realtors to represent buyers alone and sellers alone too. Our clients can pay a flat fee or separate fees for different services. Because of the Internet, they don't need assistance with some aspects of the transaction. It's important to give them a choice."