Norris Frazee says she works "12 hours a day and seven days a week" for something more than money.
President of Frazee Associates, Inc., a large real estate brokerage firm in Rockville, Frazee says her work is "something different every day - never boring. if you sell the same house four times, it's never the same because the people are different.
"And it's not like working for a large corporation where a person tends to be channeled or classified. In real estate you can do whatever you're willing to work hard enough to accomplish interms of your own ability."
That also describe why this former business administration student at a small women's college eventually went into real as a secretary with McDonnell-Douglas Corp. here, Norris Frazee decided she was going to break away from secretarial work. She had worked occasional weekends as a "Forecast Homes" hostess for Washington Gas Light Co. and decided to try real estate.
After her sales license, Frazee affiliated with Regent Realty in Rockville. She became top agent and then an assistant manager and manager.
Nearly three years ago she found financial backing and opened her own office at 1776 E. Jefferson St., Rockville. Located behind the Memco store on Rockville Pike, the office has since been enlarged and the sales expanded to 43 agents.
In April, the firm had its biggest volume ever - $4.4 million. It sold 304 houses last year, a period in which seven of her agents won a dozen awards in the annual contest of the Montgomery County Board of Realtors.
"But it's a different market today," said Frazee. "Listings are down sharply from last year and sales slipped in May. With the higher mortgage interest rates prevailing, and the 10 per cent usury ceilings in Maryland and the District, many of us see available funds for mortgages drying up within a matter of weeks.
However, this non-drawling, 5-foot-8 native of Hickory, N.C., remains essentially optimistic. "I do not look for the downturn to be as tough as it was in 1973-74," she said. "The public demand for ownership is too strong. And particularly in the District, where we may open a separate office this year."
On franchising, which has appealed to many smaller, one-office firms in the area since the national trend to compete with big offices, Frazee said: "If you go with a franchise, you're admitting that you need outside help that is costly. We've been growing and don't need it to compete. Besides, we value our identity too much to diluteit."