■ BY SUE ERWIN
Elizabeth Burr has been a Realtor in the area for more than 15 years. She started out at the Michael Sanders Real Estate office in Englewood and then began working out of the Boca Grande office five years ago.
“I usually split my time between here and Englewood,” she said. “Both of the offices are located near the water, and I live the boating lifestyle, so I feel right at home helping clients who are seeking waterfront homes.”
Elizabeth is from Amarillo, Texas, which is in the middle of the panhandle of the state. She moved to Ft. Lauderdale with her parents when she was six years old.
“My father was a merchandise buyer for a department store, and he didn’t really have a choice but to move due to his work,” she said.
Her mother was a busy, stay-at-home mom and raised five children: Eileen, Peggy, Patrice, Elizabeth (the girls) and finally Kelly – the baby son.
“My parents really wanted a boy – it took them five tries and they finally got him,” Elizabeth said.
She has a sister who still lives in Dallas, Texas, but she has not been back to Amarillo since she was a child.
Elizabeth said she liked growing up in Ft. Lauderdale because there was so much to do, and it wasn’t as crowded as it is these days.
She met her husband there, and they had three children: Christopher, Ryan and Kathryn. Christopher is an electrician and lives in San Francisco, Cal.; Ryan is a master welder and lives in Fort Lauderdale; and Kathryn lives in Knoxville, Tenn. and is studying to be a nurse. Kathryn has two children: Kylee, 4, and Jack, 2. And Christopher is expecting a child on the way, due in February.
Elizabeth goes to visit Kathryn and the grandkids in Knoxville as often as possible – about every three months or so.
After her children were grown and moved out of the house, Elizabeth moved to Port Charlotte. She had never visited this side of the state before. She recalls being in a jewelry store one day in Ft. Lauderdale and overhearing some people saying it was a good time to invest in waterfront property on the west coast of Florida. So she took a trip to come and check out the area and decided to purchase a few residential waterfront lots as an investment. She was not yet working in the real estate field at that time.
She worked for more than 20 years as a nurse/certified surgical technician in hospitals in Broward County for most of her career. She attended Broward County Community College right after graduating from high school and earned her degree. She chose that field because she wanted to help people and serve patients in need. She said that although she loves working in real estate now, she does miss nursing sometimes.
“It was very rewarding work, but for many years I was working very long hours in hospitals, and I decided if I was going to come over here and invest in property, I might as well get into real estate and learn more about it,” she said.
She rented a place for a while to get familiar with the area and eventually bought a home in Port Charlotte.
Shortly after moving here, she walked into the Michael Saunders office in Englewood and without having too much knowledge about local real estate, she had a short meeting with Michael. After they talked for a bit, Elizabeth decided to go home and study and take the state real estate license exam.
“They didn’t have a Boca Grande or Punta Gorda office yet at the time, and I was very impressed with the training that was offered at the agency and felt I was ready for a new challenge.”
She realized that selling in Englewood and Boca Grande was a good match for her, because she was an avid boater and was already familiar with the local waterways. She usually spends at least two days a week at the Boca Grande office and splits the other days between Englewood and Punta Gorda.
“It’s nice to have the different offices available in case I need to run to one and pick up paperwork,” she said. “My home is about an equal distance from the Boca Grande office and the Englewood office.”
Elizabeth has a boyfriend, Brad Hucks, whom she met 11 years ago in Englewood on a blind date. She’d been living in the area for a couple of years, and a friend asked her to come over and play cards.
“She mentioned she knew someone and wanted to introduce us … and we’ve been together ever since,” Elizabeth said.
Brad is from Virginia, and he worked in the construction field. He came to Florida for work during the housing boom and after meeting Elizabeth, he never went back.
When asked about the person she admires most in life, Elizabeth said it would have to be her mother, Mary Benson.
“She’s a very strong women, and she’s about to turn 88,” Elizabeth said. “She still lives in Fort Lauderdale with my oldest sister, Eileen. They will be coming to Boca Grande to celebrate her birthday.”
When she’s not busy selling and listing homes, Elizabeth enjoys boating and fishing in her spare time. She and Brad like to explore the waterways in Charlotte Harbor and fish near the railroad trestle in Boca Grande. They have a 22-foot deck boat.
Although Elizabeth has not yet participated in a tarpon tournament, she’s discussed it with some of her colleagues, and they may form a team next year.
Her favorite part about the job is meeting new people.
“Most of my customers become my friends,” she said. “I really enjoy it. Every day is different. Real estate is very much about developing and maintaining relationships.”
Elizabeth and Brad also enjoy traveling as much as possible. They recently visited San Francisco to visit her son, and she likes to vacation in Myrtle Beach, Savannah and Charlotte, South Carolina. She and Brad are in the process of trying to plan a trip to Nova Scotia in the near future.
“We have a time-share, and we try to go someplace new and different every year,” she said.
Elizabeth and Brad are planning to take a short trip and explore the Florida Keys in September.
If you’d like to contact Elizabeth, you can usually find her in the office on Mondays and Tuesdays at 420 East Railroad Ave. in Boca Grande, or you can reach her at 964-2000.