To celebrate D. Patrick Welsh Real Estate’s 60th year in business, we are offering free appetizers, desserts and drinks June 7th from 5-7pm at our office – 16 Park Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081! Please join us to share your happy memories of the community!
I decided to sit down with our broker, Dave Welsh, and ask him what it was like to grow up in real estate and how he feels about the company’s many years in Swarthmore!
Tell us about how D. Patrick Welsh Real Estate got started. Why did your dad want his own firm?
Dad graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and began working in the conveyancing department for Albert M. Greenfield Real Estate in Philadelphia. When he decided he would like to sell real estate, he came back to Delaware County, where he grew up. His father-in-law was James Lukens, a local builder and developer, so he began working for him. Then he decided strike out on his own.
Why did he choose Swarthmore?
Some of our family members grew up here and my dad was very fond of Swarthmore. Because of its unique nature as a small college town, Dad felt it was the ideal place to sell homes. He never looked back and neither have I.
What was it like to grow up in a real estate household?
I was one of five kids. Dad was busy 24/7. He loved his work, but he didn’t think we should get into the business just because he was in real estate. He would tell us, “Seek your own path.”
But you didn’t listen! Did you always know you wanted to run the family business?
After college I had a myriad of sales and construction jobs, all of which seemed to lead me straight back to real estate. In 1986 my dad finally summoned me home to join him at D. Patrick Welsh Real Estate. I think he saw that the market was improving. And he could see that clearly I was not to be deterred. But he wanted to make sure I paid my dues. When I started out, if I didn’t have work for a client, he would make me drive around Delaware county for hours each day so that I would know every single street. He really felt we should know and love our community.
What was it like to take over the business?
It was very easy for me to walk right into the business because my dad had such a great reputation. He used to tell me about his very first sale. He bought an ad in The Swarthmorean, of course, and held an open house. A man came from Philadelphia and bought the house by noon. My dad liked to say that he then took the rest of the day off – because he had no other listings or clients yet! But, of course, it wasn’t always that easy. He didn’t mind hard work though, he was literally selling the American dream.
Sixty years is a long time! What has changed about the business in that time?
Everything. We used to have a real estate book that came out each week with the new listings. Then we would all drive around to see them. By midweek you were so anxious for the next edition that if you saw an agent from another firm you might follow them to see if they were headed to a house that was newly for sale! Property listings going online was a great change for us and for our customers. And there have been huge strides ethically in the business too – the Fair Housing Act, the advent of buyer agency, and so many more changes that make the market better for customers. Ultimately this is a people business – no matter how things may change digitally we’re still meeting people and helping them achieve their dreams.
What is D. Patrick Welsh looking forward to in the coming years?
With the rate of change that we’ve seen in the last five to ten years in this industry, no one could possibly predict the technological changes! We’ll enjoy learning new things, taking advantage of advancements and adapting. But D. Patrick Welsh Real Estate will stay independent and focused on our clients – those values are our constant.
Tell us about your celebration!
On Friday, June 7th we’ll be having wine & cheese and hors d’oeuvres and sharing memories with our clients here at 16 Park Avenue in Swarthmore from 5-7pm. Come visit and celebrate with us! We couldn’t have done this without you and we’re very grateful!