By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
Signs of a looming real estate crisis may not have been clear when Ricky Hopkins Sr. got into real estate in 2006. But there was no denying the crisis by the time he decided to open A-List Realtors in 2010.
Hopkins saw needs in North County that weren’t being addressed: clients with poor credit and lack of knowledge of home ownership. There also was an excess of unsold property on the market, including many distressed properties. He recruited several agents, but he decided to pare back when they decided to start their own businesses or went back to school.
Hopkins said he wanted to help the under-served in the community, giving them more support than other real estate agents. He decided to focus on North County because he felt he could make the most difference there.
“I had to use what I had to help the community move forward,” Hopkins said. “In the midst of economic turmoil, I believed in my dream of starting a real estate company.”
He joined several community organizations, including North County Inc., the Greater North County Chamber of Commerce and the Spanish Lake Community Association.
Hopkins serves on the chamber’s board and is chairman of one of the chamber’s “leads” groups, which suggests potential members. He won the chamber’s Volunteer of the Year award two years ago, said Carolyn Marty, chamber president.
Fellow board member Venus Martz said she’s been impressed with Hopkins’ standards and advice.
“Ricky has always had the highest standards,” Martz said. “He has always given me the best, smartest advice.”
Danita Smith, who also met Hopkins through the North County chamber, said she’s been impressed by Hopkins’ willingness to go above and beyond to serve his clients and the community.
“He’s all-around a great guy,” Smith said.
Hopkins has been certified as a senior housing specialist by the National Association of Realtors, making him a resource for older adults who are making the transition from home ownership to living in a retirement community. Experience as a county appraisal technician helps him advise clients on pricing and investments in home improvements that will pay off when they decide to sell their homes.
“I made sure that my level of expertise coincided with the needs of the community,” he said.
Hopkins said he’s also worked with commercial property owners to address distressed properties, and he’s been active in getting some city properties leased. His wife, a licensed agent, also works for him.
Hopkins is reluctant to predict where A-List Realtors will be in five years. For now, he’s pleased with the progress he’s made and the community recognition he’s earned.
“The agenda I’ve set for my company has driven itself,” Hopkins said. “It’s evolving into something bigger than I can imagine.”
Profiles of BBB Accredited Businesses and BBB Accredited Charities are created as part of BBB’s TORCH Award process and are not intended as an endorsement. To register for this year’s TORCH Awards luncheon on Nov. 13, go to http://www.bbb.org/stlouis/events.