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The Urban Team

The Urban Team came about because Richard Urban is a prince … and is also apparently smiled upon by the real estate gods. I don’t know any other Realtor who is consistently more successful in DC’s plethora (even in these “bad” markets) of multiple contract situations. Richard has an uncanny ability to see and lock-in value in DC real estate. As a result, his team – him and us – sold $175 million in real estate in the past four years.
     There are some dynamo real estate agents out there who are difficult, dishonest and simply horrible people. Richard, on the other hand, enjoys life and is just plain fun, not to mention has excellent taste. I’d rather shop, travel, see movies, eat in restaurants and sell real estate with him than anyone else. I can always count on him to listen to my tirades, be the voice of reason, or both – whatever is appropriate. He can be eccentric and outspoken yet people are drawn to him. Even proper Spring Valley doyens.

 

15 year old marketing photos

The Pardoe years. I first met Richard in 1991, in the same office we’re in now, then the Chevy Chase office of Pardoe Real Estate.

     Under the benign dictatorship of Bob Graham, Pardoe and Pardoe & Graham, its Virginia sister, was a great place to work. Bob’s high standards and generosity molded the corporate culture into a grand edifice – so different from the environment of big corporate cost cutting that’s taken over DC today. Pardoe seminars were always exhaustively thought-out and worth the trip to whatever country club or restaurant they were held.

Christmas parties were legendary for their fabulous locales and great food. One year the party was held on a river going yacht. I once drove to Potomac in an ice storm to attend, thinking it was worth the effort.

     In the 1990s, the Chevy Chase office was populated primarily with society ladies who, instead of lunching, sold millions in real estate. Yet it was gracious, friendly, often quirky and remarkably egalitarian. In those days, prior to our current, marvelously efficient Windows-based multiple listing service, MRIS, the Metropolitan Regional Information System, we were tied to the office DOS based computer systems. We lined up for machines that slowly shot out reams of old-fashioned hole-punched paper. No photos. No possibility of working from home or laptops. Thus, we spent a lot of time together. I found the office a happy and educational place to be.

 

     Bob, now retired, is another prince – intelligent, elegant, generous and, in my opinion, a truly great man. He began his career as an English teacher until a fortuitous and historic partnership with Sam Pardoe, a builder of fine homes, flung him into the business of real estate. He, Sam and their third partner, Bill Cuddy, built a small gem of a firm that ultimately controlled the area’s luxury home sales. At a time when Prudential died under a load of debt, Pardoe was superlatively run and utterly un-leveraged. I was always proud to say I was a Pardoe agent.

     In retirement Bob has adopted a low income elementary school. Thanks to his creative and benevolent intervention, test scores have soared. He also, naturally, plays golf.


Richard and me.
Every civilian who tries to buy a home in the manic markets that regularly visit DC can’t help but understand how difficult a successful result is. You write ten offers before one is accepted and always end up spending far more money than you planned. But do you know how hard success is for the agent? In my opinion, consistent success in fast markets requires far more specialized skill than in bad markets.

     Richard, a New York advertising exec, began his real estate career in the crazy DC market of 1987. In his “rookie” year, he sold 58 properties. He was one of, if not the, first agent west of the park, to actively sell property in Logan, Columbia Heights, Ledroit Park and the other neighborhoods along North Capitol. Although we sell in Maryland and Virginia, 85% of our sales (and we are in the top 1% nationally) are in DC and most of those in Dupont and the “edgier” neighborhoods north and east.

     I came to the Chevy Chase office in 1991 after working at virtually everything else. I started on Wall Street during the oil crisis of the late 1970s doing operations, trading and then sales for the infamous “gold bug” James Sinclair. He made his first fortune in the gold bull market and is now a Howard Hughes style recluse who owns a significant part of West Africa’s strategic mineral reserves.

     While on a summer Federal government internship from the University of Chicago’s MBA program, I became engaged to an attorney at a big DC firm who grew up in Toledo with one of Sinclair’s salespeople. We were married the summer I graduated and I moved to DC. Our oldest son, Aaron, just graduated from Occidental College. He and his two-years-younger twin brothers, Danny and Max, are 6’3” and really nice (did I say smart and handsome?) boys. When the foreign relations non-profit I worked for exploded in 1991, I followed my dear friend, Mary Stephens, still a Long and Foster Realtor, into the biz …
     To the shock of my fellow Chicago MBAs, many of whom were then already top producers or even CEOs of major companies. I told them then, and still say, that I’ve learned more from real estate than any of the many other jobs I’ve held. I’m a smart girl (well, girl is perhaps stretching things at this point but you get the idea) and real estate has been the most demanding, educational, important and real. I never cease to be profoundly grateful to my clients for trusting me to navigate them through these life-changing transactions

Thank you thank you to all of my clients, past, present and future!!!

Birth of the Urban Team. Luckily, I found my way to Richard’s office. At that point I only covered for him when he went on his various interesting vacations.

     Sometime in the mid-90s Richard took on his first of a series of protégés/assistants. However, the first official member of his “team” was actually Becky Shriver Lucid. Yes, of those Shrivers.

     Becky is a Maryland native who has been deeply involved in Washington social and cultural institutions since childhood. She is active in the Shriver family’s Union Mills Homestead as well as the Junior League of Washington and the Daughters of the American Revolution. After seeing two daughters off to college, Becky began a career in real estate sales that has thrived for more than twenty years. She is a long time friend of Richard’s. Though she was at Long and Foster, they frequently helped each other. It seemed logical she should work with him so she moved to Pardoe.

      Richard Dubeshter, otherwise known as “Little Richard”, is “Big Richard’s” long-suffering chief cook and bottlewasher. He joined the team in 2001 after 20 years as a lead litigation legal assistant for several international law firms – one of those guys ostensibly in the background but really indispensable. He is so committed to the revitalization of Columbia Heights that he owns five houses there and is active in the neighborhood association. He sees all and knows all.

    We have to share our two other teammates. Craig Larsen is the Director of Printing and Graphics at the Department of the Treasury, managing a staff of (I believe) 200. Ed Lewis is a fundraiser for several of the area’s premier performing arts organizations and academic institutions. As you might imagine, they bring some very special skills to the team.

     After a kid-related hiatus in a tiny Midwestern town, I returned to DC and rejoined Richard. And the rest will be history!

     Hugs! Ruth

 

A perfect home.