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Full Circle

Today’s writing gets personal, and requires a bit of backstory, so please bear with me and follow along.  I promise you it’s worth it.

I moved to Central Texas in 1992.  A college graduate from UT, I had just washed out of my corporate Fortune 500 job and found myself working for a group out of Austin that owned a chain of World Gym franchises.  They had now decided to open a location in Killeen and wanted me to manage the pre-sale and then run the facility.  I was 26, I had a bachelor’s in business finance, and here I was renting an apartment in Copperas Cove and managing a future gym-to-be from a trailer in front of a jobsite at the 440 Plaza, all on the heels of Desert Storm.  Nowhere to go but up.

I left that job within six months, bound and determined to move back to Austin and figure out my life, when I changed course based on a random conversation with an appliance salesman from the McDuff’s across the parking lot.  It was then that I decided to get into the real estate business.

Listen, at this point, I was taking advice from anyone.

So Ray from McDuff takes me in for an interview with the man who would become my first real estate mentor, Richard Casto.  Rich was fairly fresh out of the Army but had a lengthy history of sales experience and it showed.  He was a natural, and had only been in business for a few months he already had his own establishment, “Del-Rich Realty”.  But Richard wasn’t a Broker, he was sponsored by Allen Cloud of Cloud Real Estate.  Thus, if I was going to start on Richard’s team, I needed to get a license and be sponsored by Allen Cloud.  I began real estate classes immediately.

Six weeks later, after a rush of in-person classes at Hall’s Real Estate Institute and a state exam taken with a #2 pencil, I became a freshly-minted, licensed Real Estate Professional.  But, prior to being official, I had to be sponsored.  As a new licensee, to pay a visit to a legend like Allen Cloud was a big deal.  He ran one of the biggest outfits in the area (with the family having been in business already since 1908!) from his expansive office on the 2nd floor of their Colonial style building on WS Young.  A true Killeen landmark.  

Allen also had a rich history of service to his community.  He was President of the Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors, had served for years on the Killeen City Council, and had even been Mayor of Killeen.  This, along with numerous other accolades and accomplishments, made him (in so many words) the GOAT.  And all I had to do was get him to sponsor me.

Then I met Allen Cloud.  One of the nicest, most approachable people I have ever known.  For all of his accomplishments and successes, here I found myself in a great conversation with a friendly, down-to-earth guy.  It made me realize what was true greatness was about and made me like him immediately.  On that day I began my real estate career, having become sponsored by Allen Cloud in his office in Killeen, Texas in the Spring of 1993.

Fast-forward through my real estate career that has ran for almost 30 years.  I left Del-Rich and moved on to other brokerages before starting my own, having become a broker myself.  Through the ups and downs, both personally and professionally, I began to find my footing and together, with Priscilla, founded Linnemann Realty about 15 years ago.  Meanwhile, Cloud Real Estate continued in their own direction, now with their daughter, Deborah Cloud Beene, growing into the Broker seat and taking over operations.  Little did I know that our paths would once again intersect in a big way.

As careers progress you begin to choose different paths, especially when you’re self-employed.  Even in real estate, there’s so many ways to run a brokerage and earn a living.  As it happens, recently Cloud Real Estate decided to move away from the property management side of the business and focus on sales and investing.  It’s not an easy decision to make, and after over 100 years in the industry, even harder.  Moreover, Cloud had their clients to think about, not wanting to hand the care and custodianship of their long-standing partnerships over to just anyone.  

Cloud reached out to us, to Linnemann Realty, to take the reins of their property management division, and I don’t think I’ve ever received a bigger compliment.

This transition has taken me back decades, back to when I was that 20-something new Realtor sitting in Allen’s lobby, waiting for him to sponsor my license.  Back to looking around at what their family had built and wondering what my future career might hold and if I could ever come close to that level of accomplishment.  Back to remembering what a warm, welcoming person Allen was once I got to meet him.

The best part of this venture isn’t the expansion of our business, it’s the improvement of our business.  Merging the Cloud portfolio in with ours, and bringing over their management staff, we have the unique opportunity to learn from the best, to benefit from decades of great client relations and customer service, and to take our enterprise to all new levels as a result.  I can only hope to live up to the name, and to even be half the class act that Allen and his family have proven to be.

Allen, if you’re reading this, I’m honored and I won’t let you down.  Thanks for giving me a shot 30 years ago, and for always being a great role model.  Virginia & Deb, thanks to the both of you for everything and for trusting in our firm to carry the torch.  We won’t let you down.


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Full Circle

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About Me
Michael E Linnemann, the President/Broker of Linnemann Realty Homes Sales, Rental Homes, Investments, and Property Management

Michael Linnemann

As President / Broker of Linnemann Realty I truly enjoy my life in real estate. Getting here was tough, and I’ve learned a lot in the 23 years that I’ve been in the business. My career has certainly not followed the path of a typical Realtor. As a result, it has provided a wealth of experience that proves very beneficial to my clients.

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