October 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm EDT | by Ted Smith
Mr. Smith goes to ‘mid-city’
Ted Smith, gay news, Washington Blade, Stages Premiere Realtors

Realtor Ted Smith never imagined that he would find himself on the business end of his former pastime. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Ted Smith vividly recalls building matchstick houses as a child – and decorating them.

After his parents finished supervising the building of their home in Pittsburgh, the family would visit real estate open houses on weekends. Smith loved walking through homes and looking at properties, an inexpensive form of entertainment in a simpler era. He found it addictive, and it would spur an avocational interest in architecture.

Smith never imagined that he would later find himself on the business end of this pastime of his youth. With the easy affability of a confident and youthful 61-year-old he is quick to explain, “I started everything late.”

Delayed college enrollment led to pursuing a doctorate in Michigan at 30, the year he married. It wasn’t until the age of 37 that he would come out. After a stint as an English linguistics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, he would shift from the classroom to the life of a consultant and technical writer. His subsequent engagement with a computer firm specializing in nonprofit training assistance would bring him to Washington.

Smith was surprised to discover that, underneath the veneer of being a government town, Washington was nurturing a strong enterprise environment. Later parachuting out of the downsizing computer firm, he had the opportunity to choose his next career move.

That’s when Smith returned to the activity that had enthralled him as a kid. After completing classes and company training he joined a busy Long & Foster real estate office on Capitol Hill a little over two years ago.

He’s now a licensed broker at STAGES Premier, Realtors – entering his second year working out of the Washington affiliate’s spacious office in a former gallery space above Ristorante Posto at 1515 14th St., N.W. Smith has specialized in condo and home sales in a large swath of mid-city D.C. since joining the firm.

Noting that real estate agents typically focus on the neighborhoods they know best, the 10th St., N.W., resident living near Blagden Alley is at home in what is quickly becoming the newest “hot” development zone. A devotee of a vibrant urban lifestyle, Smith grows enlivened when noting the many new restaurants, bars and shops that have recently arrived or will soon be opening in the area.

While he dubs the 14th Street corridor D.C.’s “new gay main street,” he sees the community rapidly dispersing farther east as well as populating neighborhoods throughout the city. “There aren’t really ‘gay neighborhoods’ anymore,” Smith observes, but “neighborhoods with gay residents.”

Real estate agents are quintessential small business owners, Smith points out, usually working in collaboration with others within company affiliations. His years of independent consulting proved ideal preparation for the career he loves.

His passion for his newfound undertaking and commitment to serving his clients invigorates him as much as time spent as an avid cyclist on a weekend workout. In fact, this week Smith is on a four-day Chesapeake biking tour. He also performs with the Washington Men’s Camerata.

Smith, recognized by his peers as a consummate professional, enjoys the “reverse schedule” that allows trips to the gym during regular office hours. He utilizes this work-time flexibility to offer monthly free seminars for first-time homebuyers and organizes regular “Meetup” open house walking tours – allowing prospective buyers to familiarize themselves with neighborhoods. In addition, Smith pens a periodic real estate advisory column for the Blade.

More the congenial host of a real estate transaction, Smith brings an infectious spirit to fulfilling a client’s next move. He’s made many of them himself in his own life adventures.

Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.

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