Billie Jo Kaler made a gutsy decision to open Realty Pro Title during the height of the mortgage crisis in 2008, but it paid off tremendously.
Billie Joe Kaler opened her first title company, Victory Title in Palm Coast, during the boom of 2004. She bought out her partners in 2007. During the height of the mortgage crisis, she partnered with Bill Navarra of Realty Pro Assured to create Realty Pro Title in Ormond Beach. She explained what most would consider a contrarian move when we sat down with her in the firm's reception area.
I knew it was time to invest when …
“Bill (Navarra) and Buzzy (Porter) came to me and asked if I wanted to open a title company for them when they were opening Realty Pro Assured. I owned Victory Title in Palm Coast, which I started in 2004. Volusia County was where I live and I was excited to be back in the Volusia County market. When they approached me, things were slow and I was able to take the time to open and develop the company, while I still had my office in Palm Coast. I closed that at the end of 2010. We just started growing so much down here, that I wanted to give it all my attention so I could expand.
“I think it helped a lot knowing who I was going into business with, and believing a lot in their vision. I'd worked with them so long and I knew we worked well together. I was confident in myself, and I was confident with the ties I had in the community.”
The best advice I ever got was …
“It's business not personal. “Barbara Lemmon (another title agent in town) told me this when I started. I think that the hard part about the business is this is where everything comes together with your realtors and your lenders. We are the last thing people see. A lot of frustration goes into buying a house, so in the end, we get the brunt of it. You have to remember that they're not directing it to us personally, but they've been going through this house buying process for the last couple of months.”
What my employees mean to me …
“My team means everything to me. They are the people I laugh with, work with, and succeed with. They are what makes Realty Pro Title successful and why I look forward to coming work. I could not do it without them. Here in the office, all of us are integral to make closings happen. There is no one job that is more important than the other because everybody's job is important part of the whole. Everyone in the office will touch every file in one way shape and form.”
Everything changed when …
“I had children. It was no longer about me and the need to succeed was even more important. I have two kids, 17 and 18. Before that it was all about me and what I have to do, and then you have kids and it's not about you, you have two other people who are relying on you. I think my perspective and outlook, and how I worked every day, changed. But I still have to work."
My hero in business is …
“My Dad. When my dad was a teenager he started working for a company as a janitor and he worked his way up to become president of the company. Then he decided he didn't want to do that, so he bought a struggling plumbing business. It just didn't succeed. He had to file bankruptcy and he lost everything. So he went back to work again at another factory. It was tough to watch him struggle, but he always had a positive attitude and he always had a smile. He'd say, 'It's OK, I can still work, I still have my wife and kids.' He went to work every day. He just took ownership of that company. He's a hard worker; he goes to work at 3 in the morning and works 12 hours a day, seven days a week."
"So I had a role model. Since I have kids, I am a morning person and I tend to be at the office at 6:30. I try to leave by 5 so I can be home with them, even though they're older."
“My team means everything to me. They are the people I laugh with, work with, and succeed with. They are what makes Realty Pro Title successful and why I look forward to coming work.”
- 1275 West Granada Blvd. 5A, Ormond Beach
- President: Billie Jo Kaler
- What they do: Realty Pro Title is a full-service title company that offers expert services to complete the sale of property. Working with real estate agents, lenders, buyers and sellers, they use their experience and expertise to coordinate the closing transaction in a professional and smooth manner.
- Awards: The company received the Outstanding Community Service Award from Daytona Beach Area Association of Realtors 2015. They were named among the top producing agents for Westcor Land Title in Florida for 2014 and 2015.
- Origins: Kaler moved to Florida from Oshkosh, WI when she was 11 years old. A graduate of Mainland High School, she has been in the title business for almost 20 years. She partnered with Bill Navarra of Realty Pro Assured to start Realty Pro Title in 2008.
By the Numbers
6 years in business as owner of Victory Title in Flagler County (2004-2010)
8 ½ years as President and Co-owner of Realty Pro Title in Ormond Beach
3 Employees as of January 2015
5 Employees as of January 2016
178% increase in revenue Jan. - Sept. 2016 compared to same period in 2015
136% increase in net profits Jan. - Sept. 2016 compared to same period in 2015
55-60 Closings per month on average