Lula B. Davis is the owner and broker at Lula B. Davis Realty Co. Inc.
“On the Job With ...” is a weekly feature of Sunday Inc. Today, Real estate company owner Lula Davis shares her comments with Managing Editor Danny Carter.
Q. What was your first job?
A. As a youth, I worked at a dress shop, an attorney’s office, several medical offices and at a local newspaper as a typist. However, my first real job was that of a teacher in a small Southwest Georgia town, where I taught all the businesses courses, sometimes several in one room at the same time. That was an exciting challenge.
Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first ever paycheck?
A. When I graduated from college, there were four siblings still at home. I shared my first check with the family. My dad co-signed with me to buy a car. Because I loved shoes, and still do, I bought a pair of shoes that I had always wanted.
Q. What led you to your current position? Why did you want to operate your own business?
A. Wanting to be able to make decisions that would directly affect my productivity and allow me to work at my leisure, I chose the profession of real estate. That decision, along with my desire to get a college degree, has resulted in 33 years in real estate and being a retired college instructor of 31 years. Working in real estate has given me the opportunity to help people realize their dream of owning a home, assist investors in acquiring income-producing properties and to manage rentals. I am also able to share knowledge in the area of asset accumulation and wealth building.
Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?
A. The late Sarah Frison of Frison Realty, my first broker, introduced me to the business of selling real estate. Nathaniel Cross, also deceased, past president of Albany Technical College, mentored me in the field of education. He taught me how to stick with my dream and passion and allowed me to continue to develop into an educator of excellence.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?
A. Times and things change. however, the important thing is how we handle changes and how we function in transitions. When interest rates went o 17 percent, I sold houses. I did promise those buyers that when the interest rate dropped, I would be the first on their doorstep to assist with refinancing. We are in some tough economic times, and have been in them for some time. However, I work every day with the faith and hope that the economy will rebound.
Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology – examples e-mail, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. – what would you most like to see go away?
A. I would not like to see any of the technology go away because all of it has enhanced our lives and allowed us to get more work done with less effort. Our society needs to learn how to use this technology, but never lose the human touch and the importance of efficiency, good customer service and kindness.
Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?
A. My computer makes my work a lot easier; my cell phone allows me to stay in touch.
Q. What is your favorite tradition?
A. Attending church every Sunday and being involved in community and church-related affairs.
Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?
A. “Prayer is the Praise That Changes Everything.” I also read the daily and weekly newspapers, my devotionals and the Bible.
Q. I’m up and going by?
A. I am up every morning around 6:30 a.m., drink a cup of coffee, watch the morning news, a show or two, then get up and off to the office. I may handle several calls before I leave home.
Q. What famous person would you like to meet, and Why?
A. The president of the United States because of his accomplishments. He has shown us that you can be what you want to be in this country if you work at it and influence enough people.
Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?
A. Playing table-top games with the family, traveling, driving through the countryside and playing the keyboard and the guitar.
Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?
A. I purchased an abandoned service station and turned it into a Laundromat. I literally lost my shirt. At that time, the rent-to-own business was just coming up. Instead of people using Laundromats, they were choosing to rent with the hopes of owning the appliance. I had to shut down the Laundromat, losing thousands of dollars. That taught me to do research and crunch the numbers before stepping out into a business.
Q. Best thing about your job?
A. I get the opportunity to meet new people — the movers and shakers of our community.
Q. Worst thing about your job?
A. The job never ends. In the professional real estate, you don’t get off work.
Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?
A. Introduction to business and accounting.
Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?
A. Building contractor.
Q. Finish this thought; “on the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself…
A. I really can’t see myself retiring from real estate at this time. However, being the pastor of Vision Anew Ministries, I hope to become a full-time minister.
Q. Crystal ball time: What’s your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?
A. I am seeing and sensing a rebounding of the economy. Real estate sales are starting to pick up slowly, but there is some activity. Homes are being sold, investors are active again, prospective homebuyers are asking questions and working to improve credit scores. By the beginning of 2013, the economy should really be swinging and spiraling upward.
Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?
A. Gospel, Motown sound and jazz.
Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?
A. I think there will be more entrepreneurs in the coming years. Small businesses already make up well over 70 percent of the economy today. Because income will be directly tied to hard work and efforts, I expect customer service to improve. Consumers will gain an appreciation for and respect for having to work to have the things one wants and there will be an awareness of the value of a dollar and how it is earned.
Q. What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Why?
A. A trip to Louisville, Ky. The summer weather was nice. The youth conference I attended was very encouraging and the drive was great.
Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?
A. Home affordability and bank lending. Many homeowners have lost the hope of the American dream of owning a home. To some, that dream seems so far away. I hope to help light the fire and spark that dream again because ownership of real estate is the true measure of wealth.