Realtors celebrate Fiesta style

It’s hard to keep a secret from realtor Martha Galyon -- especially when the secret being kept will be revealed at a banquet that she is heavily involved in planning.

But keep it they did, and the Blount County realtor and 2007 president of the Blount County Association of Realtors Martha Galyon was surprised when she was named the 2007 Blount County Realtor of the Year.

The honor was presented at the Blount County Association of Realtors 2008 Annual Installation and Awards Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Royal Oaks Events Facility.

The gala evening had a Fiesta theme, complete with colorful sombreros and piñatas on the tables, a scrumptious buffet of Mexican food and an inspiring speech by B.J. Swinehart, secretary of the Tennessee Association of Realtors. In addition to the award for Galyon, seven realtors received the 2007 Award of Merit and new officers for 2008 were installed by Swinehart.

New president is Patricia Harmon.

Swinehart encouraged the guests with an overview of the market, reminding the realtors that “all real estate is local and our local market is stable.” She quoted Abraham Lincoln when she said, “The strength of a nation lies in the homes of its people.”

Swinehart said the group represented in the room were on “the front lines of a correcting market,” and asked those in attendance who were real estate agents in the early 1980s to stand.

“In the early 1980s, real estate agents faced a multitude of challenges. Cell phones weighed as much as the average 2 year old. We set up co-shows and were forced to meet the listing agent at the property because there were no common lockboxes. The MLS books were two weeks out-of-date by the time the agent received them. There were no FAX machines or email.

“On top of all that, interest rates were 18-plus percent. Did real estate agents make any money during that time? Yes.”

Door prizes were presented during the evening and a grand prize basket worth more than $500 was given away to lucky ticket holder Sherri Gardner Howell, publisher of Blount Today.

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