MUSTANG — When Marolyn Pryor decided to step down as Coldwell Banker Select's managing broker here in 2008, she knew the perfect candidate to replace her: her own son, Keith Taggart. And that's what she told the company.
“I didn't know if he would or not, but I said he'd be perfect,” Pryor recalled.
This was a serious move for a company that rested on the shoulders of Pryor herself and carried her name for many years. The former schoolteacher started Marolyn Pryor Realtors in 1977 after moving from Weatherford to Mustang. The company grew over the years, eventually employing 125 agents in Mustang, Oklahoma City, Yukon, Tuttle and Moore.
When Marolyn Pryor Realtors merged with firms in Tulsa and Sapulpa in summer 2008 to form Coldwell Banker Select, it created the largest real estate firm in state history in terms of agents — about 700 in all.
Luckily, Taggart was game. After a career as a real estate attorney that took him to Boston and back, he recognized a perfect opportunity when he saw it. And he took it.
“It was a perfect fit because I had worked with these people for so many years,” he said. “And some of the people here I've known since the '80s — they're still here selling real estate.”
As 2013 president of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, Taggart said he wants to extend the group's reach further into the community. Last year's president, Lorna Koeninger, worked to bring on board more affiliate members such as mortgage firms and title companies.
“We really did that,” Taggart said. “We built up the affiliate membership and had them really involved with all of our events. I want to take it a step further, and I want to go to the businesses in Oklahoma City. I want to reach out to a lot of the corporations that may not necessarily be directly involved in real estate, but I think may have an interest in real estate because of their employees. I mean, every employee needs a home.”
Real estate is a family affair for Taggart. He identified at least seven relatives in the business, including his grandmother, mother, a niece and a couple of aunts.
As president, Taggart steps into a role his mother has held twice before, in 1988 and 2008.
Things have changed considerably even since 2008, Pryor said, just in terms of technology. The more muscular programming underpinning the Multiple Listing Service, for example, has propelled it to the top of its game.
“At least that's what people are telling me,” she said.
Home sales in the metro area were up 20 percent in 2012 over 2011, Taggart said. And his office offers evidence that 2013 could be even better. By mid-January, associates had sold as many houses as were sold in all of January 2012.
Office newcomers offer even more compelling evidence.
“Typically it's hard to get started as a new agent, but the new agents in this office are really busy,” he said. “I'm very proud of them.”
Taggart decided on a law career midway through his undergraduate years at the University of Oklahoma. That prompted him to switch his major from piano to musical composition, a more analytical pursuit to prepare him for law school. He then went to law school at OU.
“My original intention was to be a copyright attorney and entertainment attorney because I had the music background,” he said. “But I got into law school, and I excelled at real estate law for some reason and didn't do too well at copyright law.”
He laughed at the memory. “So I started getting these awards in real estate,” he said. “And I thought, ‘Well, I guess this is what I need to do.' ”
Taggart's strength could lie in the fact that he enjoys details that leave many people's eyes glazed over.
“I love the legal descriptions,” he said. “I love the math part and the financing, and I like looking at the settlement statements, closings — yeah, the math part excites me.”
He went on to work for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., helping it close troubled banks during the turbulent 1980s, and lived 10 years in Boston, where he also worked as a real estate attorney for a major engineering firm. He ultimately came home, though, to rejoin the family business.
Taggart ran two real estate offices, in Yukon and northwest Oklahoma City, as well as his own agency in midtown Oklahoma City. He also served as MLS president.
In his new role, Taggart will help Realtors navigate through big changes in financing, regulations and appraisals. That could be a challenge, he said, “but we've had challenges before. I don't anticipate that much of a problem.”