There is no denying the new president of the Mississippi Association of Realtors (MAR) is taking the reins at a daunting time for the industry. However, Jackson broker Lynette Praytor is up to the task of leading this large, professional organization.
“It is a challenge and we’re in uncharted territory,” she said. “With the price fluctuations, mortgage meltdown and excess inventory, it’s a watershed moment. I’m still excited about it and want to make a difference.”
She acknowledges that many members are struggling and wondering if they can ride out the real estate spiral. The group has experienced a nine percent to 12 percent loss in membership, but Praytor is confident members will return and new ones will join.
“Real estate professionals are resilient and cooperative, and they will persevere,” she said. “At the end of the year, I hope we have put this financial crisis behind and moved forward. We will re-define our industry.”
Praytor has four overriding objectives for her presidency which include the following:
• To help return MAR members to profitability and help grow their businesses.
• To expand, educate and promote the housing industry and to help members know how to use available tools for affordable housing.
• To raise the standards of the profession and use this time to develop skills.
• To help restore confidence in the market place by countering negative news and re-introducing the American dream of home ownership.
“Serving as MAR president is one of the most challenging things I’ve done, but it’s also the most rewarding,” she said. “Seeing the pieces come together to lead us out of this crisis will be rewarding.”
Praytor has also set goals of helping members have access to affordable healthcare and making a difference with disaster insurance and affordable housing.
She will use all of the experience she is gained working in different sectors and with numerous professional organizations. After graduation from the University of Mississippi, she worked for Congressman Jamie Whitten as a legislative assistant in Washington for 10 years. She calls the long-time congressman a force in her life.
After returning to Mississippi, she entered real estate and for 13 years managed the Crye-Leike Realtors offices in Southaven, Hernando and Ridgeland. She has also been a Crye-Leike College instructor and been active in Realtor associations at all levels, including the national association. In these organizations she served on a wide range of committees.
“All of my experience will help,” she says. “It’s all about people and relationships – politics and the volunteer organizations. In all that I’ve done, I’ve focused on customer service and bringing value to the market place. That transcends to MAR, where I will focus on leadership and service.”
She is proud there were more than 260 members attending Realtors Day at the State Capitol this year and encourages political involvement at this time.
“The real estate rules are being re-written and our political involvement is crucial,” she said. “We want to be an advocacy group to help people. It’s never been more important for our members to be involved.”
Praytor grew up in Greenwood as the oldest of three siblings. She was raised to be independent and pushed to achieve.
“My parents were a great influence on my life. They demanded personal responsibility and said if you want it, earn it,” she said. “I appreciate that more than anything as I’ve learned throughout life it’s important and a hallmark of good leaders.”
If she had not been a Realtor, Praytor thinks she would have pursued some type of consulting or law. She likes the legal side of real estate.
“I love what I’m doing now,” she said. “I believe things happen for a reason.”
At age 57, Praytor has had several jobs but has never had a job interview. She has a real estate family. Her son, Jarrett Magee, is an appraiser, and her husband, Robert Praytor, is the administrator of the Mississippi Real Estate Commission. She is also the proud grandmother of little Ella Parker Magee.
She likes to play golf, but describes herself as a workaholic who finds satisfaction in completing tasks and watching agents be successful. She spends a lot of time engaged in the activities of trade, chamber of commerce and economic development groups.
In 2002, she was named Realtor of the Year by the Northwest Mississippi Association of Realtors and was MAR’s Mississippi Realtor of the Year. She was selected for the Top 50 Business Leaders in DeSoto County, 2001-2004, and was one of the Mississippi Business Journal’s 50 Leading Business Women in 2002.
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynn Lofton at email@example.com.