A wise man once told me that you can’t be persuaded by people who say you can’t do something, because the people who say you can’t do it are being outdone by the people out doing it. That man’s name is Nick Propps, and it just so happens that he has been “out doing” it since his early childhood.
Originally from Bethesda, Maryland, Propps’ background in the business world was formed through his family’s real estate business, as well as his own love for learning new things. Those two facets combined with life experiences make up the blueprints for one of the most unique real estate brokers in Statesboro today.
“I’ve been involved with real estate for as long as I can remember. I would go out on meetings with my dad at a young age and have to sit quietly and listen [while buildings were being designed]. My mom was also a home designer, so I kind of got drawn into it because of the family business that I was in the middle of,” he explained.
When Propps was not visiting construction sites or sitting in on meetings, he spent his free time researching new subjects in the world of IT. An unusual hobby for a 10-year-old, considering most kids’ idea of research would be to ask what your favorite dinosaur is.
“I would stay up late at night to read and research things and when it involved computers, IT, or electronics, those were the kinds of things I was super interested in,” he said. “So because I was interested in those things at such a young age, that led me to start computer programming when I was about 10,” he said. Pretty soon, Propps was finding ways to connect his personal interests with his work by writing databases for his dad’s real estate business.
By age 11, Propps was working in an arcade for a family friend, where he was exposed to the customer service side of business. Once he gained some experience in that setting, Propps started his own car detailing business with a friend, followed by a car stereo business, as well as a lawn business. Needless to say, his teenage years weren’t spent in the traditional way. Because he was operating his own small businesses, he was granted permission to leave school early during the day and let his work count towards his high school credits.
In 1995, Propps moved to Statesboro to pursue a bachelor’s in business administration at GSU. After graduating, he moved up to Ocean City, Maryland to serve a brief stint in law enforcement. But even though his career was taking him in new directions, he couldn’t escape the nature of his business-oriented mind.
“I kept trying to figure out what I could do to exercises that part of my mind. So, my joke is that law enforcement training helps you with real estate because you have to negotiate with people all the time. You have to negotiate and calm the parties down to help guide them and have the positive outcome that’s needed. In real estate we take a buyer and seller and we have to negotiate and appreciate where they are coming from. We have to understand their point of view. I got pulled back into it because I couldn’t shake it,” he said.
After working as a real estate agent in the Washington D.C. market, Propps decided to take a leap of faith and move with his wife, Melanie, back to Statesboro.
Maybe it was the fact that the couple planted their roots at GSU a few years before. Or maybe it was that charming southern hospitality that drew him back in. Whatever the reason, Propps just settles for saying that this is the closest place to Mayberry that he could find. Now, he serves the interests of our town as the president of Statesboro Properties.
“We moved back here because we love the community nature of it. It’s just the small town that we feel like we want to protect,” he said.
Not only has he been attempting to protect Statesboro, he has also been trying to preserve it. For example, some of the buildings downtown stood in vacant, dilapidated positions until Propps acquired them. But after devoting his time and resources, he has revitalized certain parts of downtown while keeping the original aesthetics intact. Now, places like 65 East Main have gotten a complete facelift, and local shopaholics have a trendy new boutique to visit. More examples of his long-term investments downtown include 15 Courtland Street and 28 East Main Street.
Another thing Propps takes pride in is being part of one of the first residential redevelopments downtown, which was in affiliation with Hendley Properties. At the time, Propps was serving on the Development Authority and had a big idea for a vacant property behind 3 Tree Coffee. It had been foreclosed on, and Propps proposed the idea for the Development Authority to purchase the property at the foreclosure price. Then, they turned the property over to a good developer under specific requirements to protect and enhance the features of the downtown area. Now, The Village at Midtown offers a space of 40 habitable units and has started a snowball effect for more downtown investments.
Since he moved to Statesboro, Propps has been persistent about giving back to the community in ways that make it a more hospitable place to live.
“I believe in Statesboro. I want my family to be proud of Statesboro and want to live here forever. I want to keep giving back to the community in a way that helps make it a better place and a place I can be proud of. If it’s not a positive for the community, I’m really not interested in being involved,” he said.
In addition to his downtown interests, Propps has his hands in a number of residential and commercial properties. When he is not working on real estate projects, Propps spends his some of his free time on volunteer efforts. He serves on the YMCA Foundation, and helped bring the YMCA to Statesboro by working on the steering committee. He is the president of the Statesboro Police Officers Foundation, which allows the community to give back to local law enforcement. He has also been involved with Fostering Bulloch and the 7Th Mile Farm Project. Propps has served in several positions at Statesboro First United Methodist Church, and has established the Church Safety Alliance of Bulloch County, which helps facilitate improving security and safety at Statesboro churches.
With such a busy schedule that branches in 100 different directions, it is questionable how Propps manages to get it all done. The key to his success is that he doesn’t work alone. Among his helpful staff of agents, his wife, Melanie, is his backbone. She serves as the office manager of Statesboro Properties, as well as helps out with most of his other projects to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
“She does not get enough credit. I’m always the one that people talk to, but she is the one behind the scenes. She works in our business, she helps with special projects, she homeschooled our two boys, she keeps the family together, and I could not do half of what I do if it weren’t for her,” he explained.
Propps and his staff currently operate out of two offices and they will expand the company as the demand for their services continue to rise. This is a probable outcome, considering how much success he has already found despite the naysayers who predicted otherwise.
“It’s a reinforcement that when you believe in something you can’t be persuaded by people that tell you that you can’t do it, because the people that say you can’t do it are being outdone by the people out doing it. You make wise judgments, you use experience and sometimes consultation with others, and then you go out and you don’t ever stop. You don’t give up until you accomplish it,” he said.
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