Small Town Realtor Hits the Big Time

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Jim Owen was recently nominated as salesman of the year for the nationally acclaimed realty and auction firm of Higgenbotham Auctioneers. Owen is hitting the big time with big city deals that stretch the girth of nation's heartland from Midland Texas to the Gulf coast of Florida.

Most people know Jim Owen only as a respected realtor from the sleepy north Texas town of Gunter. Many don't realize that he was recently nominated as salesman of the year for the nationally acclaimed realty and auction firm of Higgenbotham Auctioneers. Owen is hitting the big time with big city deals that stretch the girth of nation's heartland from Midland Texas to the Gulf coast of Florida.

Recently Jim moved his office from a space he was renting in Gunter to his home just outside of town, "I tell people I was tired of the 2-mile commute, heck some days I would get behind a farm tractor that would slow me down and it could take 5 or 6 minutes to get to the office," jokes Jim.

However Jim's real commute to work is one that not many people would relish such as his recent flight to St Louis to meet up with his auction partners and their mobile office, which is a custom tour bus much like ones used by country western stars.

From there Jim and crew traveled 4,300 miles over 8 days selling millions dollars worth of real estate at auction across Montana and Idaho. It doesn't matter if its skyscrapers in Texas or horse farms in the Blue Ridge Mountains Owens sales numbers have become staggering.

So how did a local small town country realtor go nationwide? "Well its been a long road but I founded a real estate and auction business that covered three states based in my home state of West Virginia some 38 years ago and I've been an auctioneer for 35 of those years," says Jim.

After that he worked as a lead auctioneer for an international auction company based in Dallas but lived in North Carolina, it didn't really matter where home was as far as the business was concerned as he traveled all week conducting major auctions nationwide plus an occasional trip to Saudi Arabia to auction construction equipment.

Eventually Owen moved to Dallas to be the on air auctioneer for auctions that were broadcast nationally via satellite. Unfortunately the technology was ahead of its time but and was quickly outdated with the Internet.

He made the final move to Gunter Texas and started buying and developing real estate as well as opening up a real estate brokerage. Owen and his wife Linda, also a licensed agent quickly became the top volume agent in Grayson County. "Linda does a fantastic job handling our local listing business, as the traveling demands of the auction business limit my time at home," stated Owen.

About 5 years ago Owen established his relationship with Higgenbotham Auctioneers whose business was expanding rapidly nationwide, it was agreed he would handle any leads and auctions that came up in Texas. Shortly thereafter that his responsibilities grew to include Oklahoma and Kansas. As his success skyrocketed and his license portfolio grew he was further called upon to be an auctioneer on sales in many other states.

In the past 5-months Jim has traveled to 22-states conducting and selling property in 12 of them and met with potential sellers or looked at property in the others.

In July of last year Higgenbotham appointed Jim to a new position as director of the Western US, giving him any lead that comes in west of the Mississippi. Records indicate that there are plenty of leads.

"It is very interesting the variety of projects I get to work on such as a 2,650-acre ranch, high rise office buildings in Midland, in June we sold an 8,000 square foot penthouse in downtown Dallas, the properties we sold in Montana and Idaho as well as the 50 subsequent over 9-states that were owned by Sinclair Oil Company. This business is very exciting; we never know what the next call will bring. We sold the largest square footage home in Tampa Florida last April and recently an $11 million dollar ranch in South Florida, its just amazing the growth I've found with HAI," he commented.

Some of the worlds most valuable art, top racehorses, the most expensive classic cars are sold at auction and now real estate is enjoying that same recognition as more and more real estate is sold at auction each year. It was once perceived that only distressed real estate sold at auction but that's not the case now. Sellers are selecting auction marketing as it defines a timeframe a property is to be sold and it allows anyone and everyone the opportunity to be on hand and bid their personal judgment, thus assuring the seller of a fair price.

HAI occupies a wonderful niche in the market have earned the reputation as the "corporate auction firm" as they regularly sell surplus real estate for such companies as Wal-Mart including a parcel Jim auctioned near Austin which had the projected sales price of $800,000 but brought $1,675,000.

Other corporate success stories include Albertson's for which they've sold 163 properties in 39 states; International Paper 23 properties in 16-states including a 9,300 acre parcel in Texas; Alcoa Aluminum 15-properties in 7 states; Auto Zone 74-properties in 7 states and the list goes on.

There are many other major Fortune 500 corporations HAI works with on an ongoing basis and they've set aside 2 to 3 weeks to do yet another nationwide Wal-Mart auction this June.

"While we work for some of the largest corporations in the nation we also have the pleasure to work for many fine individual sellers who recognize auctions to be the best way to market many types of real estate. It makes me just as proud of our service in the representation of a family needing to sell their parents home to settle their estate in Sherman Texas, or the couple whose land set a record price per acre just north of where I live," stated Owen.

According to Higgenbotham founder Martin E. Higgenbotham, "Auctions accelerate the marketing process and allow prices set by competitive eye-ball-to-eye-ball bidding which are often better than ever projected."

This was the case with a 2,650-acre Texas panhandle ranch that sold on a very cold icy, snow blowing day this past November. Winds were so bad that blustery day that the firms big circus tent blew away, the crew hustled and found a local café which was rented for 3-hours and crowded with over 100 potential buyers. The auction set a record price per acre for the area" Jim excitedly exclaimed.

"I love the auction business and am very blessed to be associated with Higgenbotham Auctioneers International Ltd., Inc. A few years back I was an instructor at one of the largest auction schools in the nation and at the time enjoyed a very good regional auction business, I never dreamed the day would come that I would be a lead auctioneer for one of the largest most and respected auction firms in the nation. It is an exciting place to be, we anticipate the next 5-years are going to be the busiest times ever for our industry," he concluded

For complete information on the auction process visit Higgenbotham's website at or Jim may be reached by email at Jim @ or 214-384-1320.


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