As a fourth generation Stillwaterite, Richard McDonough is well known around his community. Believe me. We haven't gone out to lunch or strolled downtown without him knowing at least 5 people. Richard loves his town and he knows Stillwater and the St. Croix Valley like the back of his hand. He loves the quality of life here, the sense of community, the beautiful countryside, the change of season, the people and most of all that sense of home you get whether you have lived here for 50 years or 5 months.
I know why I started to work with Richard. He is innovative, has an incredible work ethic, can negotiate like no one I have ever seen and has a real passion for real estate. A passion that still exists even after being in the industry for over 26 years. So after working for more than a year with Richard, I decided to find out why he became a realtor in Stillwater and why he is still in it after all this time.
Richard McDonough was born to John and Mary McDonough and the only boy out of five children. His father was a prominent judge in Washington County for 25 years. From his father, Richard learned discipline and fairness. He was taught to treat everyone the same and that no one was better than the next. Since his father was a judge and had heard all the excuses in the book, Richard learned at a young age that he could not lie and he still remembers his father's favorite line when one of his children was caught in a fib, "C'mon, you can do better than that".
His mother, Mary, was a chemist in the Twin Cities (which a female chemist in the 1950's was almost unheard of) and before having children, worked as a legislative aide to Congressman Eugene McCarthy in Washington D.C. Mary taught Richard patience, toughness and spurned his creative and artistic side. However, it was the last 10 years of Mary's life, while Richard took care of her that he learned the most important lesson: empathy and the power of being there for someone else.
Richard grew up in a neighborhood with a ton of kids. They spent their days hanging out at Washington Square Park, or by old beach pavilion at Lily Lake, swimming in the St. Croix River, going downtown or to the old farm fields where Cub Foods is now. In his early twenties, he left Stillwater for the horizon, literally, and became a Captain and First Mate in the luxury yacht industry on the eastern seaboard. After 10 years in the yacht business, he came back to Stillwater and started his first home search.
It was during this home search that Richard found his love for homes. And through his realtor, he quickly realized that he could actually do this for a living. Fortunately, Richard was right on his assumption and became one of the top agents in his office in just 4 short years. He credits his success on having a knack for finding people homes, really listening to what their needs are and putting those needs first- even if that means sometimes saying what they don't want to hear. However, real estate is not constant, it has it's up's and down's, which was felt by many through the recession, including Richard.
I asked Richard how he got through some of the worst years in real estate and still managed to stay in the business when many realtors didn't make it. I expected him to say, "because I did things differently" or "I knew what to do", but I was surprised by his candor when he said, "I almost didn't". With the recession and the occurrence of some personal life events, he started to feel burned out and just coasted. Then something happened to Richard that hadn't happened in a very long time- he didn't meet his personal business goals, he had failed himself. So, like anyone in this situation he had two options: to make this his new normal and keep coasting and hope for mediocracy or get really mad, pull up his metaphorical bootstraps and get back in the game. If you know Richard you know he chose the latter.
Richard came back, but with a new attitude that he was all in-110%. He enlisted the help of a real estate and coaching firm and from there changed his focus from just being a realtor into becoming an entrepreneur. He has become incredibly proactive in digital marketing and strongly feels that this is the way the industry is heading. When even his late 92-year-old mother had Facebook, it is clear to him that if you aren't on digital media in this industry you are going to get lost in the shuffle.
He has now created a dedicated full-service team of experienced licensed agents that handle all aspects of the transaction. From preparing the evaluation of the home to staging, marketing and listing to finding your next house or transition in life. All while being customer service centered.
Richard's growth hasn't changed what is most important to him in being a realtor. The joy of helping someone sell or buy their home, taking care of all the details, and creating lifelong memories. Seriously, have lunch with him in Stillwater and just see how many clients have become his friends.