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Maurice Chaloux: Realtor for 50 YEARS!

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Maurice casually said not too long ago, "I'm coming up on my 50th anniversary of being a Real Estate Agent".  It took us some time to get Maurice to slow down enough for an interview, but we finally did, and we are so excited to share how that went! Check it out and help us give Maurice a big "CONGRATULATIONS!" on this huge milestone!!

Q: When did you become a Real Estate Agent?
50 years ago!  March 17, 1972

Q: Why did you want to become a Real Estate Agent in the first place?
I was approached by Ernie Begin while I was in the Army and stationed overseas in 1971. I thought “I can do that for a little while…” I enrolled in a correspondence course for real estate and did it during off hours from my army barracks in Turkey.  When I returned to the states, I got my real estate license in North Carolina while stationed at Fort Bragg for my last year in the army.  When I was discharged and moved back home 5 months later, I took my Vermont Real Estate License Exam in September, 1972.

Q: What’s your most memorable experience as a Real Estate Agent?
There are two!  I rescued a moose from a swimming pool and found a downed fighter jet! 

I had just listed house in Victory.  I went to the area to spread the word to the neighbors in hopes of digging up some prospective buyers.  I walked up to this one house that looked like no one was home.  As I got closer to the door, I heard what sounded like splashing from an in-ground swimming pool I could see.  I went to it and peeked over the edge to see a moose hanging out in the deep end of a drained metal pool. Some rainwater had gotten in and there were a couple feet of water in the deep end making it too slippery for the moose to get traction and get up out.  His knees were scun up from slipping and falling in his attempts to get up the incline to the shallow end.  Luckily, I located some neighbors who came to help with the rescue.  We used a large canvas tarp they had.  We got in the shallow end of the pool and slid the canvas down the incline toward him so he could get some traction to get out.  Then we got out and prodded him with a stick from above him, outside the pool.  He wasn’t happy with that and kicked fiercely.  Luckily, we were out of his range.  He eventually got the idea and stepped onto the tarp and got himself up to the shallow end.  After a few tries he managed to jump out of that end.  He looked back at us as if to say “thank you”, then he ran off into the woods.

A few years later I located an Air Force F-111B Fighter Jet that had just crashed in Kirby.  Back then we didn’t have drones, so I hired a friend to take me up in his plane so I could get aerial photos of a large property I had for sale.  As we took off from the Caledonia County Airport in Lyndonville, we saw a plume of black smoke coming from the hills in the distance.   The pilot, Dutch Boemig,  and I wondered what it was,  but it was off course for our planned route so we went along and got the pictures.  On our way back to the airport, the airport manager radioed to ask if we had seen any sign of a downed plane.  He said there was a report that an Air Force Fighter Jet had crashed in the area, and he wondered if we had seen anything.  We looked at each other in amazement and said - Wow, that is what the smoke was.  We decided to take a detour and try to find the crash..  It took us quite a while, but we finally saw the parachutes a ways south of Route 2 in Kirby.  After that we noticed the crash site a little way from the big orange parachutes.  There was no fighter jet to be seen.  There was a big black hole at the edge of the woods with some flames still burning.   There was some debris spread about in the snow approaching the crash site, but there was no plane to be seen.  The impact must have obliterated it.  Luckily both pilots survived the crash.  There were several Air Force accident investigators in town for weeks afterward trying to determine the cause of the crash. They found out about our trip and asked for pictures of the crash site I had taken from the air.  I provided them with the shots.  

Q: What was your most successful year as a real estate agent and why?
2020. I sold the Colonial Apartments building on Church Street, here in town. That made it my most successful year for two reasons. Yes, it was a big sale, but it also gave me the chance to see and catch up with a lot of older people I knew that lived there and that I hadn’t seen for a very long time!   One of them just turned 99 a couple weeks ago.  

Q: Have you always been a Real Estate Agent or have you had any other jobs?
I have always been a real estate agent, but I  was also involved in politics on a part time basis.  From the 1970’s to now I have served as a Lister, Selectman, Justice of the Peace, and State Representative.  In that role I met President Jimmy Carter at the White House in 1980.  I also met both Presidents Busch on the campaign trail, and saw President Reagan at a campaign event.  

Q: Have you earned any awards or accolades during your career?
I earned “Realtor of the Year” in 1984!  I was President of the Northeast Kingdom Board of Realtors twice, I was on the Board of Directors for the Vermont Association of Realtors and was also Chairman of the Legislative and Convention Committees. 

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a real estate agent?
Being involved in one of the most important decisions people make in their lifetimes! I really enjoy helping people to buy a home! Sometimes I get to enlighten people that they do qualify to buy a home when they don’t think they do.   People often underestimate the legal complexities of the real estate world.  It is fulfilling to help them maneuver through the legalities and achieve their goals of selling or buying a home. 

Q: When did you decide to start your own agency?
When I joined the “Waterford Real Estate Agency” in 1972 I was a salesperson for Ernie.  Back then you had to be a salesperson for 1 year before you could become a broker.  I took the Broker exam in 1973.  That’s when I partnered with Ernie Begin and the “Waterford Real Estate Agency” became “Begin & Chaloux Realty”.  Some years later, we obtained the Coldwell Banker franchise and our business name changed to “Coldwell Banker, Begin & Chaloux Realty”.  After that we merged with Eaton Real Estate in 1987, and it changed once again to “Coldwell Banker Parkway Associates.  In 1990 Ernie Begin left, and soon after we merged with Hill & Valley Real Estate in Lyndonville.  Its owner, Patty Emery came in as a partner.  In 1995 we dropped the Coldwell Banker franchise and became Parkway Realty Associates.   It was that way until just a few years ago when we dropped the Associates and evolved into the “Parkway Realty” that we know today.  This past summer Patty and I sold the business to Amy Bedor and Connie Sleath.  Now we are both associate brokers and slowing down as we approach retirement at some point in the future. 

Q: What’s one piece of advice that you would like to give our new or future agents?
Be prepared to work long hours at times when other people aren’t working (off hours, weekends, holidays, evenings, etc.)  

Q: When/what was your first sale? Friend/family members?  House/camp/land?
In the fall of 1972, the parents of a high school buddy of mine wanted to sell their house on Spring Street in St J.  I was just three years out of high school and had recently moved back home from my army stint and obtained my VT real estate license. I listed the house, and Ernie Begin, my boss at the time, sold it.  I actually just sold it again just last summer - 49 years after the first time I sold it.

Q: What’s the biggest change in the industry since you started?
Technology - everything is done online now.  When I first started, the only piece of “technology” that we had was an electric typewriter.  We used carbon paper because we did not have a copier.  We didn’t have the MLS (digital database of all for sale properties) to refer to.  We would get a phone call from people who wanted to sell their property. We would do the listing, put a sign in their yard, run an ad in the newspaper, and people who drove by or saw the ad would call if they were interested in the property.  People would deal directly with the listing agent back then.  There was very little co-broking, and agency relationships weren’t even thought of.  It’s not that way any more.  Everything is done electronically on computers.  In 1972 I couldn’t have imagined doing business by electronic signatures and all the other technological tools we use today.  

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I was boiling sap and made some maple syrup this morning!  I like to snow ski and water ski.  I enjoy playing tennis and ping pong although I’m not very good at either one.  I also like to “work the land” - cut/trim trees, plant a garden and plant trees on my property!  I am blessed to have achieved my dream of having a home with southern exposure, great views, lots of privacy, a pond, a sugar bush, and a place to have animals when I do retire.  It’s also in Waterford, where my great grandparents owned property and where my grandparents farmed in the 1940’s. I also enjoy camping and spending time with my wife of 46 years, Laurie.  We both like spending time with our three grown kids, all of whom live long distances away, and our only grandson, who is now 10 years old and lives in Oregon. They will all be here this summer for a late 70th birthday celebration.  The milestone happened last fall.  



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