By Don Bolding
Killeen Daily Herald
Kenneth "Scooter" Barclay has seen enormous changes in Killeen and in the real estate industry in his 36 years in the business here, and more yet since he came here with the Army the first time in 1949.
Now a Realtor and broker as administrative manager with All Homes Real Estate at 1519 Florence Road, he was the top honoree at a recent awards dinner by the Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors that recognized 25 association members with more than 25 years of service as "Legends of Real Estate." Barclay, 85 and still going strong, topped the list with 36 years.
When he ended 30 years with the Army, including World War II combat service in the Pacific and service in Korea and Vietnam, he took advantage of the Army's Project Transition, which gave him essentially a six-month unpaid internship in property management.
"I had been in the infantry, and there wasn't much call in civilian life for expertise with rifles and bayonets. I worked with different companies before I eventually got out of property management and into sales."
He became active very soon in the Realtors' association.
"We weren't online then," he said. "We met every two weeks in the old Bonanza restaurant downtown to go over the multiple listing service book. When we decided to go online, I was on the changeover committee. Our first computer was a Macintosh with 100 kilobytes."
Barclay recalls that the standard contract in 1973 contained a heading and some standard information at the bottom of the page with nothing between.
"The lawyers didn't like that," he said. "They said it put us in the position of practicing law. So they filled in the blanks. Now we have maybe 50 different standard contracts with Realtors specializing in each one and about 100 addendums."
Barclay said that when he first saw Killeen, Veterans Memorial Boulevard was U.S. 190 from Temple to Killeen, and the land along what is now U.S. 190 was all vacant.
"Highway 440 was the route to Austin, and you had to slow down for every little town along the way," he said. "It took two hours to get to Austin. South of where McDonald's is now, there was nothing on the left side of the road. We couldn't have imagined how fast the town was going to grow, and projections are that we'll grow by 30 percent by 2015.
"I wish I had taken pictures of all these changes as they came along," he said.
For the past 10 years, All Homes has dealt exclusively in new homes built by Barnes Homes. Besides Barclay, the office staff consists of broker Bernie Gillespie and property manager Connie Biesik. Agents in model homes in the field include Ed Hernandez, John Bass and Brenda Williams.
Barclay and Gillespie recalled that in the late 1980s, a Monarch model home went for $48,000.
"You can't get below $100,000 for one of those now," Barclay said. "And I haven't seen a two-bedroom home built except in duplexes and quadriplexes for I don't know how long." He said prospective sellers should always get appraisals so they'll have a firm figure to work with.
During Desert Storm, when the bottom dropped out of most markets here because most of the soldiers left at once, the company worked in Waco for a couple of years.
Barclay said the prices of houses are going up partly because of increasing attention to durability and energy efficiency in construction.
"Even without attention to Energy Star and certifications of various sorts, the trend toward energy efficiency has been going on a long time," he said. "And Realtors have to have much more education now than when I started, including continuing education. It's a good thing because the field is so much more complicated. It's easier to get sued. I remember hearing of a guy who went around the country getting misrepresentations on square footage and collecting damages in one suit after another."
Barclay is married to the former Jacqueline Pamplin, daughter of a longtime Killeen family.
"We'll celebrate 60 years together in 2011," he said.
A native of Washington state, he attended his 60-year Washington State University college reunion in April. "I remember it cost $5 a semester hour," he said. "I think everybody ought to go to their class reunions just to see who's still around.
"I play a game with the obituaries in the paper and list all the ones older than me on one side and the younger ones on the other. My doctor reminds me that statistics about longevity are calculated on a bell curve, and if I've made it this far, I should be good for a long time yet."
Contact Don Bolding at email@example.com or (254) 501-7557.