June 06, 2001 11:00 pm
PROPERTY SALES: Patty Glaze, left, advises client Mark Greulich, owner of the La Grande Theaters, about the potential development of the drive-in theater. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).
PROPERTY SALES: Patty Glaze, left, advises client Mark Greulich, owner of the La Grande Theaters, about the potential development of the drive-in theater. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).

By Ray Linker

Observer Staff Writer

She has sold about $70 million dollars worth of property in the last 11 years alone and shows no signs of slowing down.

The workday for real estate agent Patty Glaze can begin at 8:30 a.m. and end after 6:30 p.m., with a little time off in early afternoon to shuttle kids to their activities.

The Valley Realty agent puts 18,000 miles a year on her Chevy Blazer, driving all over Union County to show property.

I need a four-wheel drive for these mountainous roads and on gravel roads, Glaze said. I have an average of three flat tires a year.

One day recently she showed 13 properties.

That was a busy day, she said from her office in Island City, a corner room in the back of the building that houses broker Ed Hegele and seven sales people. Around the walls are 14 plaques, trophies and certificates noting her sales achievements over the years. Computers in an adjacent room connect her to the Multiple Listing Service, through which all her sales go.

The company has an office in Elgin, where Glaze began shortly after graduating from La Grande High School in 1973.

I was raised in Island City, but we were living in Elgin and I was looking around for something to do and just decided to get my real estate licenses, she said.

It was that or buy a dress shop in Elgin, she said. She has no regrets about the decision to go into real estate.

Sixteen years later, the pace hasnt slackened for her in the real estate business.

I personally have 32 active listings of all types right now. Thats about as many as Ill have, that I can handle.

It includes homes, some commercial buildings, vacant land, working homes and farm ground, she said. Of course, she can sell any property in the Multiple Listing Service.

Her own listings range from a $25,000 manufactured home to the $395,000 Stang Manor in La Grande, where the main residence has 5,000 square feet. Inquiries have come from as far away as San Francisco, Glaze said.

I love going into homes and showing them. There are a lot of really interesting homes in Union County.

I like meeting different people, working with them to get a home. Its pleasing to put a deal together and see the home sell.

Sometimes, as permitted by Oregon law, she represents both the seller and buyer in a transaction.

Besides clients who come back when they need her services again, sometimes the houses come back, too.

Ive sold some houses three or four times, she said. I sold one mans house 15 years ago, then he bought a farm. I sold that and then sold him another house.

Generations come back, too.

I sold one house to the daughter of a previous client, Glaze said.

She is pretty active in each town in the county, feeling that is a necessity to be able to offer a variety of properties to each client or to meet the clients specific needs.

Sometimes properties are hard to match to the client.

I have one client now looking to invest $500,000 in an operating farm in the county. He wont be living here but will hire a local farmer to run it, she said.

So far, shes identified two parcels the man might be interested in seeing.

I dont like to lose a sale, she said, but a project she worked on very hard two years ago went up in smoke when Rite-Aid pulled out of a plan to consolidate several properties and build a store at Island Avenue and Adams Avenue in La Grande. The company had problems at the top national management level and its stock plummeted.

It was a challenge getting it through the planning process. The negative part of that was that it didnt happen. On the positive side was the fact I did get my part approved through the zoning process. Now, I get phone calls from big stores; they know I know how to do it. Some want to pay me just to consult on the process.

It helped that she had served a stint on the planning commission.

The trend of sales these days in Union County, Glaze said, is toward a lot of young retirees, and some people doing computer jobs out of their homes, and families with not as many children as in the past.

People are willing to buy in any community in the county, she said, but added, maybe the higher gas prices will bring a few back into La Grande. But the outlying communities are very popular Imbler, Cove, Union, Elgin, the north valley.

Such things as a great university and excellent medical facilities are attracting buyers, Glaze said.

Eastern Oregon University is a major attraction for our community, and the availability of a great hospital facility with high quality medical staff is another livability factor.

She hasnt been below $4 million in annual sales since 1992, hitting $7.5 million last year and $8 million in 1999. She doesnt have figures for the earlier years in her career.

Ive stayed consistent; 1995 through 1998 were really good years, with a lot of people looking for investment property.

She remembers 1996 as one of my best years. A lot of people were looking for investments. Californians helped boost the market around Bend, and that bumped things this way. Things were good all over Oregon then.

She works hard, she said, with long hours, but theyre flexible hours. As an individual agent, we set our own hours. I always have taken time off to drive my children to their activities.

She and her husband, Larry, just completing his first year as superintendent of schools in Imbler, have three daughters. Only Aubrey, who will be entering La Grande High School in the fall, lives at home. Amber is at Boise State and Amy, a flight attendant married to an airline pilot, lives in Houston.

Ive always done a lot with our children, volunteering at Central School, active in their art work and as a room mother.

Her main rule for success is basically the Golden Rule, she said.

No matter the income level, whether Im selling a small mobile home or a manor house, I treat other people like I want to be treated. I treat older people the way I would want my parents to be treated, and I treat young people the way I treat my own children.

There are no signs of slowing down, she said about her future in the real estate business.

This is probably the only thing Ill ever do. I couldnt just work in an office. And I have no plans of quitting.