There have been many changes in the real estate profession in the past 30 years. Computers, the Internet and fax machines have all changed the way business is done. Megan Fleischl has been a part of all of those changes since she started in Galt real estate in 1979.
In all of those years, not only has the industry changed, but also the town has changed as well, and Fleischl has enjoyed being a part of it all.
Fleischl and her late husband Barry were a part of not only the real estate scene in Galt but also the community itself. Fleischl served on the Galt Planning Commission from 1980-1988. She and Barry were part of the Chamber of Commerce for many years where Megan was president from 1991-1992, and together the couple worked with the Galt Boys and Girls Club.
“I had a chance to manage an office in this little country town (Galt) in 1979,” said Fleischl. “Six months later, we moved here. There were seven bars and seven churches. I think the population was around 5,500 people. The phone company still connected our calls. My first listing was a chicken ranch, and I have been predominantly in residential real estate. Sometimes I drive by a house I have sold three times.”
Real estate has changed a lot in the past 30 years. Fleischl has gone from driving her own documents to Sacramento for processing to handling whole transactions by telephone, email and fax.
“The biggest changes in real estate are in the complexity of the transaction,” said Fleischl. “Contracts used to be one page and we just filled in the blank spaces. Fax machines have changed my life. We used to have to drive the originals to people to sign, even if they were out of town. The Internet has changed the way people shop. Listing agents and clients can be long distance. Instead of instant updates, we had a book that came out once a week with all the listings. You didn’t have computers to see what a house looked like. I had to drive around a lot more to see the places.”
Fleischl said the legal profession has changed the real estate profession greatly. Years ago, you could buy a house just by taking over someone’s loan. Now, you can buy a house and never meet your loan officer in person.
One of Fleischl’s best memories of her early years in Galt is meeting so many of the town’s pioneer families.
“I felt connected to Galt and its history right away,” said Fleischl. “We were lucky to live in a small town. We got involved in everything. We spent a lot of volunteer hours building the chamber of commerce office. We saw it go from a social group to a professional organization.”
Fleischl started in real estate after receiving a degree in chemistry. She first thought she would attend medical school, but after five years of college, she wanted to get out into the working world. Several family members owned their own businesses, and others were in real estate. Barry had received his degree in geology and was looking for a career as well. Together they obtained their real estate licenses, and eventually Megan earned her broker’s license so they could work for themselves.
“As business owners, we developed strong friendships with others in the community,” said Fleischl. “When you are working on projects with other people, that is how you get to really know them. We all cared about making this town a better place.”
A few years ago, she and Barry sold their business. She says they enjoyed ownership but wanted to spend more time together. The couple traveled to Europe, a place they first visited when they were in their 20s.
“We bicycled around Europe for five months when we were younger,” said Fleischl. “Besides traveling, Barry and I spent a lot of time camping, fishing and canoeing. We bought motorcycles a few years ago and enjoyed traveling around. I am part of the Lodi Paddle Club, and I enjoy astronomy. I just built a workshop at my house and am doing more woodworking. I am an outdoors girl. I would rather be hiking than anything else. I have never lost my love of science. Barry and I rock hounded all over the west. Our education enhanced our lives.”
In addition to her local activism, Fleischl is part of a human rights watchdog group that lobbies for the rights of children and the elderly in California.
Fleischl became million-dollar producer early on and is a member of the Master’s Club and Million Dollar Club. Currently, Fleischl is working with Parker Realty. She spent years managing the local Century 21 office.
“Century 21 is a terrific group to be affiliated with,” said Fleischl. “After they moved the office to Lodi, I wanted to work with a small group here, so I joined Parker Realty. They are a very nice group of people and very generous. It is good to be around people who are interested in this community. Everyone here has some group they volunteer for, like the chamber of commerce.”
Fleischl has survived three recessions, with three downturns in the housing market. She says each recession has a different “flavor.”
“In the 80s, interest rates were 16 percent,” said Fleischl. “We never thought we would see a recession where the interest rates were still low. The housing market is moving up in Galt, especially in the under $250,000 range. It was good they extended the government program for first-time homebuyers.”
Fleischl believes it is important in our culture for families to have homeownership. She believes it stabilizes society.
“It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to push an escrow through,” said Fleischl, who is no stranger to 19-hour workdays. “The best part, though, is the interaction with people, especially putting families into homes. I love when my customers keep in touch with me, and I have a lot of repeat clients.”
Fleischl’s goals for her future are simple: more camping, more astronomy, more travel and more work.
“Galt has been a great town to put our stake in,” said Fleischl. “I want to help the community recover; I can use my experience to help people work through these times. I want to see Galt achieve its goals, like having both high schools up and running strong.”
You can call Megan Fleischl at 209-481-3357 or visit her web page, www.meganfleischl.com, if you would like to contact her.