By Nancy Lauler
Annie Lauler, who is 96 today, July 12 is of diminutive stature, but she's a huge presence in the real estate world in McLean.
Back in 1962, she started in real estate with Routh Robbins and worked for her for ten years, until Annie decided to go out on her own. Annie built a building at 1421 Dolley Madison Blvd. and settled in along with the agents who decided to move with her.
"I was fortunate in knowing how to sell," says Annie, who still goes to the office on occasion. "So, I just went forth and hoped for the best."
Annie admits that the secret to being a good saleswoman may be in her genes since she learned how to sell when she was young. When her father went blind, her mother opened a ladies' dress shop and Annie worked behind the counter.
McLean was very different when Annie started out. McLean was all woods. There were a few Sears & Roebuck pre-fabricated houses on Elm Street.
"Routh Robbins had a building where Sweet Leaf is now," Annie remembers. "There was another shop across the street where men sat out on straight chairs, talking. There were only two things in Tyson's Corner: Brown's Veterinarian and a meat market. But as soon as Route 123 and Route 7 were built, everything changed."
Sales of houses in the early days were "o.k." says Annie, even though there wasn't much to sell back then.
"Some houses went for as little as $22,000," she says. "But eventually things picked up and people got into real estate in a big way because they could see that others were making money."
Annie's career flourished and in 1977 she was the first female non-broker to be elected to the board of directors of NVAR.
Asked what the secret of her success is, Annie answers simply, "I just enjoy it. I think you have to really love whatever you do in order to do it well. Don't get me wrong, it's hard work. You have to be out there all the time. But meeting people and hearing what they think has made it fun. I've had a wonderful time in real estate. I wish everyone could have as good a time as I have had.
"Would I do it again if I had the chance? You bet!"
Nancy Lauler, the property manager of the Annie Lauler Corporation and Annie's daughter-in-law, wrote the article.