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CEO Robbie Briggs on the Texas winter storms: Some stories behind the story

Each Friday, Robbie Briggs, president and CEO of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, writes about luxury, trends, business and more in the advertising pages of the Mansion section of The Wall Street Journal. Below is his letter of March 5, 2021.


Texas and ice: They don’t mix well.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we were hit with one of the hardest winter storms our state has ever faced. In Dallas and Fort Worth, when the two fronts came through, our cities came to a complete standstill. We’re not equipped for 3-degree weather and thick layers of snow and ice. Our state’s power grid could not handle the load and a rolling power outage was put in place. It went awry: Millions were without power for days. Water pipes froze and burst in homes and buildings all over Texas. People were homeless and the marginalized were dangerously at risk.

Insurance adjusters are saying this will exceed the hurricane and tornado damages that we recently endured.

But, when times are difficult, the goodness comes out in Texans. The state has many resources and opportunities, but its best asset is our can-do, caring people.

At our brokerage, our agents and staff have given me plenty to be proud of. Story after story have come out, showing what true neighbors really are.

Agent Lauren von Rosenberg in our Lakewood office recites the story of clients of hers who allowed Lauren’s neighbors to stay in a vacant home they were selling. The neighbors have a 5-month-old baby — and their home had no power or heat. Even though Lauren’s clients’ own home was without heat or water, they allowed her neighbors to stay in the vacant home, which did have power, because the baby took precedence over their own comfort.

We’ve had numerous accounts of agents working tirelessly for their clients. JB Hayes in our Turtle Creek office had clients who needed to close on a house, quickly. Republic Title held the closing at their office — without power — using a phone-scanning app to get the documents to the lender, successfully funding the loan and closing the sale.

Many agents called plumbers to check on their clients’ homes. Penny Cook, also in our Turtle Creek office, checked on a listing of hers and discovered a broken pipe. She called a plumber, helped mop up the water and stayed with the plumber until late in the night — then came back the next day.

Taryn Wilson, an agent in our Fort Worth office, told me how she helped a client, sending her plumber to fix a broken pipe. That’s not all: Taryn also found them a brick mason who could match the existing brick and mortar for the wall repair.

Taryn exemplifies all of our agents. “All and all,” she says, “I feel it’s my job to help out in any way I can, and to keep my clients calm. That’s what friends do.”

Robbie Briggs

President and CEO

Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty


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