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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Feature Article

RICH HISTORY IN REAL ESTATE

Written By: Kim Vanderleer
Published By: Calgary Real Estate News
Article Used with permission of the Calgary Real Estate Board. © Copyright Calgary Real Estate News, 2007
2004-02-09

Rich history in real estate

Robert (Bob) G. Rich had an early beginning in the Calgary real estate industry.

His father, Jack Rich, began delving into the real estate industry in the 1940s and by the end of the decade, he was a full-time real estate agent.

Together with Ervie Jackson, Jack and Ervie formed Rich & Jackson Ltd. It was the largest real estate company in Calgary at the time and the first to have multiple offices.

Jackson and Rich (Jack) were strong supporters of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS - which was known as Co-op at the time) and it was their hard work that made the MLS system a permanent tool in the real estate industry. Jack Rich became president of the Calgary Real Estate Board in 1956.

It wasnt surprising that Jack Richs son, Bob, also began a career in real estate.

Bob Rich was born on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1931 at the Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary.

When he was six years old, his father was transferred to Nelson, B.C.

Bob enjoyed the next six years in the small B.C. city and remembers fondly spending his summers on the beach.

Bob completed junior high and high school in Calgary, then moved on to Mount Royal College where he graduated in Business Administration.

At the age of 21, he joined the America Fore General Insurance Group and soon after was transferred to Toronto. He was responsible for trying to obtain business from all the Insurance Agents in Eastern Ontario.

But after getting married in 1957, Bob decided that he wanted to move back to Calgary.

I was on the road in Toronto, I had just gotten married and I had decided I didnt want to be away all week. My dad had a very successful real estate business in Calgary so I came back to Calgary to work for him and his partner Ervie Jackson, Bob said.

Soon after he joined the firm in 1958 though, his father and Ervie Jackson ended their partnership of Rich & Jackson Ltd.

Bob then formed Rich Realty Ltd. and Rich Insurance Service Ltd. At that time, the average sale price for a home was $5,000.

Bobs biggest real estate transaction was $100,000 for a used car lot on Macleod Trail, which is not in existence today.

It was on 58 Ave and the fellow that bought it was a used car salesman - he was a good friend of mine, we used to be in business together. He got into the used car business and I sold him the land for the car lot, Bob said.

In 1963, Bob was given a F.R.I designation (Fellow of the Real Estate Institute) and four years later he became the president of the Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA).

Bobs career was becoming really successful, and in 1969 he became the Regional Vice President of Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), representing Alberta.

The real estate business wasnt always the easiest business for Bob to be in, though.

There was lots of competition and some years I lost money and I just wondered if I was in the wrong business, but I held in there and when things got really tough thats when I took the appraisal course, Bob said.

I thought that might be a more steady income for me. But the real estate business is a great business I just like the people.

Bob took a five-year appraisal course and was given the accreditation of A.A.C.I (Accredited Appraiser of the Canadian Institute). Soon after, he became president of Rich Appraisal Ltd.

He became president of the Calgary Real Estate Board in 1976, and was on the Board for six years. Bob feels that the Board was helpful to him in many ways, but he is especially grateful for the MLS system.

I dont know how people could live without the MLS, Bob laughs. The MLS gave us so many more listings that we could work on, and it was a great help to me.

Bob retired and gave up his real estate license about three years ago, but he is still active in the real estate industry he is the Chairman of the Retired Realtors Group, which meets once a month at the Calgary Real Estate Board.

I really like the people in this business, I started going back to these retired Realtors meetings and we talk about all the characters we had in the business! Bob said.

He is also involved in many other activities. He goes dancing a couple times a week, attends church regularly, has been a member of the Glencoe Club for over 50 years and is an active member of Kiwanis Foothills.

Upcoming plans include a 10-day cruise to Tahiti with his family and friends in February.

Bob thinks that the real estate industry has changed a lot since he started in the business.

Prices have soared since I came in and there are a lot more people in the business. In the old days, we thought that five salesmen in an office was the maximum and now there have over 100 people in these offices! Things have changed a lot, the business is more sophisticated now, they didnt used to make you have to take courses to keep your license and now they do.

Even though the industry has changed a lot, Bob says the keys to being a successful real estate agent are the same.

You have to be energetic, you have to be prepared to work nights when you have some other plans. Its not an easy life because you are on duty 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. Make sure you have lots of energy and you have to have a good personality, be a people person. If youre successful, its a really great business.

This article was written for Calgary Real Estate News, a division of the Calgary Real Estate Board, for the series “Legends of Real Estate” showcasing important members of the Calgary Real Estate Board. Please visit the Calgary Real Estate Board online.This article is part of the collection of the Calgary Real Estate News. Please visit them online.

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