Rules of Rhodes: A father guides his sons through the family real estate business
Tom Rhodes taught his children at a very young age to tell the truth, value reputation and put family first.
These principles and seven more have become the Rhodes Rules, the principles upon which their Compass property group is based.
The Rhodes group includes Tom and three of his five children – Dan, Burton and Thomas – and two non-relatives who were adopted into the family, Neil Broussard and Nina Sachse.
Twenty-one members of the Rhodes family have just returned from vacation and wasted no time getting back to work. In fact, they were making deals between family meals in the Texas Hill Country. This work ethic, after all, is spelled out in the Rhodes Rules.
And we get it, it’s a Father’s Day story, but patriarch Tom Rhodes tells us there’s a reason his children have such strong moral and ethical character.
“I give 110% credit to [their mother] Suzy Rhodes,” he said.
Take care of business
Thomas Rhodes, Rhodes’ penultimate child, recalls an early incentive to do good business and put the customer first.
“When I was a kid, we had two phones [land] lines at home,” Thomas explained. “The first line was the family phone; line two was the work phone. People would call and say, ‘I’m trying to reach your dad about real estate.’ »
The family patriarch missed most of those calls because he had five children. So he told the Rhodes children that he would give them 3% of what he earned if they brought him the number or name of someone he hadn’t worked with before.
Young Thomas responded when the buyer of a $2.2 million home came online.
“I think I bought a bass guitar,” Thomas said. “It was very fun.”
Now 44 and a father of three sons, Thomas has worked in real estate in one form or another since 2000, following Rhodes rules even when he wasn’t working alongside his father.
“I like helping people,” he said. “I grew up watching my dad do business. I think the best part of real estate is closing deals, especially when they’re hard to close. When you win a deal for your client, it’s very rewarding.
Brother Burton Rhodes, the middle child, was the first of the sons to join the family business. He went to work with his father after his job at Anderson Technologies in San Francisco ended and the dot-com craze hit.
“There were 10,000 guys like me looking for jobs,” Burton said. “My dad always told us that we had to find something we loved to do and that we would never have to work again. One hundred percent we had the choice to go work for him or not. I told him I would do it temporarily while I looked for another job. It was 21 years ago. »
Burton Rhodes was listed among Magazine D‘s Best Real Estate Agents in Dallas every consecutive year since 2005.
“I never thought I would work for my dad,” Burton said. “In 2000, it was just me and Neil Broussard working in my father’s house. I watched my father work as hard as I have ever seen anyone work in this trade. He told me that I was going to do exactly what he had done. We woke up at 5am and went to SMU and swam. At 6:30 I was ready to take a nap, but we cold called for two hours. It was real sales work. It’s like training with an expert runner. They have been running marathons for years. He taught me how to be self-motivated, create a schedule, and get the job done that needs to be done.
Tom Rhodes grew up in Highland Park and is now semi-retired. He said he was proud of his boys Dan, Burton and Thomas, and what each of them brings to the business. Dan is the administrator, Burton is an IT expert, and Thomas leads the sales team.
“They get along well with people, respect their clients’ wishes and listen to what people say. That’s probably their biggest asset, that they’re really good with people,” said Tom Rhodes.
His own father came through the Great Depression and worked hard.
“He struggled. He was very frugal,” Tom Rhodes said of his father. “Dads back then were good dads but you didn’t see them much. They never went to events. Now you go to a 5 year old’s football game and there are 15 or 20 parents there. My dad said, ‘You can do whatever you want as long as you can cycle there.’ »
Tom Rhodes learned the honor code of not lying, cheating, stealing, or condoning those who do, while a student at the Virginia Military Institute.
He started working in real estate in 1976, got his first big commission – six months’ salary on his first sale – and told his wife Suzy he was dead and gone to heaven.
“It can be a really fun business,” he said. “There’s nothing better than someone coming to you and wanting something, then you’re exactly what they want. Everyone walks away from the fence feeling good.
Father knows best
A theme among all of the Rhodes family members, even the “bookend” kids – eldest Courtney and youngest Patrick – who don’t work for the family business, is that family comes first. Real estate can be a tough business, but the Rhodes Group can lean on each other. They treat each other well and this practice extends outside of the family, earning them a reputation as some of the best in the business.
“Sometimes when a family is involved, there’s a level of trust,” Burton Rhodes said. “Maybe it has to do with how we’re all in this together as a band, and we’re all going to be in it for you. We want to make sure we do well with the people we work with. My father says there is nothing more important than our reputation.
Thomas says that whenever the family gets together, they talk about real estate deals “or tease my dad.”
“He claims to be semi-retired but he has this farm and he keeps buying houses,” Thomas said with a laugh. “One of the coolest things about my dad is that he used to knock on doors. He taught me how to do that. You get a lot of no’s when you knock on doors, but that’s okay. He There’s $20,000 behind one of these doors. You just have to find out which door it is. I went from Abbott to Harvard, knocking on doors. My speech was, “Hi, I’m call Thomas Rhodes. I was just curious if you know anyone who wants to sell their house. A man answered the door and said, “I want to sell my house. I didn’t know what to do after this, but I ended up selling the house. Whenever I don’t know what to do, I call my dad. He’s done thousands of transactions, so he knows what to do.
Rules of Rhodes
So what are the remaining Rhodesian rules the family lives by?
Talk less, listen more; love what you do; be nice, do your homework; know your neighbours; play hard but play fair; ask how you can help.
It is easy to see how these principles are emulated in the daily activities of the Rhodes Group.
“He’s so big on reputation, and he forced it on us,” Thomas said of his father. “The most expensive thing you will lose is your reputation, and you will never get it back. He taught us that an acceptable answer is “I don’t know”. He taught us to be quiet. He doesn’t like bringing people into a house and showing them where the master bedroom is. They can understand that. He’s really good at stepping back and not being the center of attention. That’s what we try to imitate.
Burton, too, uses the rules of Rhodes in his daily life. While the brothers are “extremely candid” with each other at work, they don’t let anything get under their skin in the long run, he said.
“[Real estate is] hard work. I think when you get good, it becomes incredibly easy work,” Burton said. “You’re just trying to solve a problem or help people. My father has always been our true north. He’s less involved now than he used to be, but at some point you’ve taught your kids everything they need and you can step back. He is truly at the heart of what we stand for.
RHO-6 Rules Mech Final by April Towery