WILMINGTON — Ken Lundy, who’s been in the real estate industry 42 years and is retiring, recalls he had been in the business a year or two when the interest rate hit 17 percent.
“Then you had to become real creative,” said Lundy of Peelle, Lundy & Clifton Realtors in Wilmington.
He thinks it’s time to step back to spend time with wife Jackie and family.
“It’s an excellent profession if somebody is willing to work. It kind of looks easy to people not familiar with the business, until they get into it,” he mused.
Lundy grew up along what’s now called Nelson Road with his brother and four sisters. His parents, he noted, both lived to be 92. Many longtime residents will remember his father Homer who ran a clothing store named South Men’s Wear for years in downtown Wilmington.
Like Ken Lundy’s real estate partner Butch Peelle who taught school before going into real estate, Lundy also started in a different field. He was a supervisor for General Motors for 10-plus years where he was promoted twice and 100 people worked under him.
“I actually gave up a really good job. Butch was a good salesman back then, too,” Lundy said with a laugh.
Peelle, who is Lundy’s first cousin and a WHS classmate, was starting to become successful in real estate, and the two men and their wives sat down and agreed on the real estate partnership, said Lundy.
In his new work Lundy was more independent than he’d been with GM and he got to meet people and had more variety in work compared to General Motors supervision where it was basically the same thing every day, he commented.
“Here it was pretty much different every day,” remarked Lundy.
If he were to guess, he completed about 2,700 or 2,800 closings during his career. All 42 years he made the “One Million Dollar Club” for attaining at least $1 million in sales. And twice he was president of the Clinton County Board of Realtors.
In addition, he built 24 apartment units by Wilmington College and managed other apartment units and will continue to do some of that.
One change that’s taken place over the years is that in the past there was more opportunity to get to know clients.
“If you were looking for a house, you’d ride with me to the house and I got to know you. I can’t remember the last time someone rode with me. They all want to meet at the house, and now most of your clients have already been on the Internet and know all about the house before they even go look at it,” Lundy said.
He attributes his success to growing up around here and as a result knowing people at the start, and also to just working hard — spending a lot of hours on the job.
You have to be there for the client, he said. “If you’re a good servicer, you’re going to be a good salesman,” said Lundy.
He did squeeze in time to coach Wilmington College men and women’s tennis teams for about 14 years, and twice served as YMCA board president.
A retirement open house is scheduled for next Wednesday, July 1 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the firm located at 822 Rombach Ave. in Wilmington.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.