National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals

October 24, 2016

There is Always Something to Be Thankful For

Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you live your life.

A social interview by Darla Michelsen

Doug Jacobs and Jeff Mikeska are Realtors serving Austin, Texas

A native of Austin Texas, Doug Jacobs spent 10 years as a Police Officer before leaving that behind to finish his degree in accounting.  During this time Doug met his partner Jeff, who was already in the Real Estate business. Jeff encouraged Doug to join him and has proved to be one of the best decisions he ever made.

Doug and Jeff have been working together in the Austin Metro area for over 20 years. Together they built their business serving the LBGT community. As time and society have progressed, their clients have become more diverse. Doug and Jeff like to say they have become more “Straight Friendly”!

Doug is a buyer’s specialist and works a great deal with relocation clients. He loves the connection he makes spending time with buyers and the bond that develops.  More times than not they become close personal friends.

Being in Law enforcement for so many years has given Doug genuine people skills. He uses those skills to help people and give them guidance to make important life decisions.

Doug has always been such a wonderful supporter of the NAGLREP interviews and I was honored to spend time getting to know him better.

Darla Michelsen: What advice would you offer someone thinking about getting into Real Estate?

Doug Jacobs: That’s a difficult question, because markets are so different from state to state. But my biggest advice would be to find a mentor. Even as a rookie police officer we had a mentor or a field training officer for 6 months to direct us. And along those lines would be to go with a larger company that can give you the training and the experience.

As a side story to that, Jeff and I started out with Keller Williams here in Austin. It was the only KW office and the first with about 60 agents. We were the first gay couple in the company. Most everyone worked as teams as married couples. Married couples had to pay only one split and we had to pay two splits. So we went to management, who then went to Gary Keller who owed the company.

He approved it and we were the first Gay couple to be approved as a team for Keller Williams and they were very supportive of us.

We continued to grow with the company, and by the time we left there were many offices and about 600 agents in our office alone. It was a learning experience and we made some history there too. They were a larger growing company, and we received the support and training we needed to be successful in this profession.

DM: Why did you align yourself with NAGLREP?
DJ: We were some of the first members of NAGLREP and very proud of it. The advocacy piece of NAGLREP is the number one mission and focus. NAGLREP - or any professional organization that one becomes involved with- is to protect the rights and freedoms of its members. Not to push an agenda, but it gives us a voice with the lawmakers and people who affect our industry.  I think that is the biggest benefit because it provides a national united voice for a LBGT community.

It’s our position to voice our concerns together in matters that involve Real Estate as a whole, but especially that affects our community. Jeff Berger has been able to represent our community to leaders in the lending and housing arenas who are in positions to make changes for the better.

The time has not yet arrived where we don’t need this type of advocacy that sends a message that we are all the same. I can remember 20 years ago when we started to go to lenders, and trying to overcome the hurdles involving LBGT couples. Now we barely have issues, and this is great progress.

DM: These are great points, Doug.
DJ: Make no mistake about this, this is what I feel is the purpose and this is why I support NAGLREP and Jeff Berger. Referrals are great, we all want them, but that’s just a perk.

DM: Will you be attending the conference this year?
DJ: We’re not able to come, but would like to address how wonderful it will be for so many going to be around like-minded people. There’s a lot of information and education that will be shared that is good to know, good to learn and will apply to anyone’s business.

DM: Can you tell me three things that most people wouldn’t know about you.
DJ: Well, one is that I was formerly a Police officer; we have a 4 year old grandson and a 29 year old son; lastly I collect watches and shoes. Most people wouldn’t know that one unless they noticed that I never wear the same shoes or watches!

DM: What do you like to do with your free time?
DJ: We love theatre, the outdoors, and camping and traveling

DM: What is one of your favorite travel destinations?

DJ: We just got back from Bora Bora, and yes, we did stay in those little huts over the water that you always see in the pictures! We went there on our 24th anniversary.  We try to take one nice trip each year.


DM: Are there any charity organizations that you like to give your time?

DJ: The two on a local level would be AIDS Services of Austin and Project Transitions. We’ve donated numerous hours to each organization.

DM: Is there a personal reason you choose them?

DJ: We know what they stand for and who they help. We have had friends who’ve benefitted from these services. We got connected with both of them when there weren’t many providing the services they currently provide. They always stood out.


DM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

DJ: Just that I’m just thankful for what I have in my life and the people in my life. I’m a very proud father and grandfather to Braxton a pretty special boy.


Darla Michelsen: Spending time talking and getting to know Doug better was such a joy! What a warm and incredibly genuine person. It seemed like we had been friends for years and so glad to have had this time together.

Tags: Austin Real Estate, LGBT Realtor, Gay Realtor

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