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Former Mr. Real Estate now motivates

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Former Mr. Real Estate now motivates

Tim Rhode spoke before a gathering Thursday at Ripon’s Spring Creek Country Club.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED January 18, 2014 1:08 a.m.

RIPON – Tim Rhode returned to the valley on Thursday, equipped with an abundance of energy, a set of slides and a message: Plan for tomorrow.

The former real estate agent extraordinaire whose slogan (“Call Tim Rhode and start packing!”) and stunts are the stuff of Manteca city legend still dabbles in real estate, but only as a property owner and occasional coach.

On Thursday, about 60 agents from parts of San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties played the role of willing pupil.

Rhode was the honored guest and keynote speaker at the Re/Max Executive Awards at Spring Creek Country Club.

Following a glowing introduction by Cheryl McFall Hurney, the manager of Re/Max Executive’s Manteca branch, Rhode shared the principles that made him a force in the real estate market at the turn of the century.

“I asked myself ‘Where am I going with this?’ and then I’d write down my goals,” he said.

It really isn’t much more complicated than that, expressed Rhode who has used real estate to create what he calls a “magnificent life,” complete with adventure (skiing, hiking and mountain biking) and a fulfillment (life coaching and a non-profit startup).

As a real estate agent, Rhode had many competitors and contemporaries, but few rivals.

His personal database included more than 2,500 names – a number that left many on Thursday slack-jawed. During a stretch in the late 1990s and early 2000s, he was the annual PMZ Top Producer.

Since money talks, chew on these numbers for a second: Rhode sold more than 2,500 homes in a career that spanned two decades and enjoyed a four-year stretch that netted more than $100 million in sales.

“I didn’t sit around and talk about the 49ers … but how about those 49ers?” he said, drawing a laugh from the crowd. “I wasn’t the most popular guy. I was always busy talking to someone that would lead to a sale.”

By the late 1990s, Rhode said he began to think of life beyond the real estate game.

“In 1997, I was frustrated. Why am I doing this? Some might want to do this the rest of their lives; do this forever. Candidly, I didn’t,” he said. “So why not give yourself some options?”

With commercial properties and notes to sustain him and his family, Rhode, who now lives in a “castle in the sky” in Portola, eventually launched 1lifefullylived.org, a non-profit organization that gives the youth of today the tools and resources to create their own magnificent life.

At the root of his success and dogged determination was a plan for both his career and personal life.

He encouraged the agents to analyze and reflect on their path to this point, examining their work habits and expenses, and then asked them to look forward.

What are your big-picture plans? What are the factors in business and life that you can control? Who will hold you accountable?

Rhode stressed the importance of becoming an expert in their market and continuing to stretch the boundaries of your education. Take advantage of new technology, he said, like social media platforms and other websites.

“They need to plan their business. Successful people have a plan. Most agents don’t have a business a plan,” said Chad Costa, co-owner of Re/Max Executive. “We want them to write it down and establish it for themselves. And it doesn’t have to be just business – it can be goals in life.”

There’s a rub, warned Rhode, pointing to a balance wheel. “You can’t roll through life with a flat tire.”

No matter how busy he was at the office, Rhode was always conscientious of family time. 

“When I hit the garage door button, it was a conscious flip of the switch. I’d got from channel 37 to channel 12. Channel 37 was my work channel; channel 12 was family,” he said. “When I was at home, I was on the family channel. I wasn’t going to answer my phone.”

Costa stood at the back of the banquet room, soaking in the scene. The agents had come for the annual Breakfast of Champions, but left empowered with the tools to create a magnificent life.

“He was in the trenches. He was in real estate just like them, representing buyers and sellers,” Costa said. “I think it makes him relatable.”

Near the end of his presentation, Rhode reached into his pocket for a business card.

On it was inscribed a passage, key points on a “Rhode” map he shared with a room full of strangers and old faces on Thursday:

Dream it.

Plan it.

Live it.

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