DAB's Professional Endorsements For 2010

DAB's Professional Endorsements For 2010

When you’re looking for assistance, especially a professional service, it’s helpful to have testimony. My business is driven by referrals.  If I do a good job for a client, that client shares their experience with their friends and colleagues, and eventually I get a phone call that goes something like this: “Hey!  Got your info from So-And-So and she said you’re the guy to speak with about buying a condo in downtown Austin.”

Nice!  This is how it should work.

Below I wanted to acknowledge a few people/organizations that have assisted me, and many of my clients, over the past couple of years.  These are not sponsors, nor did they ask to be written about.  If they stopped working with me, it wouldn’t change my positive experience when it was needed.  I look for integrity in everyone I work with and the people below will tell you if they can’t help you, and whenever possible they will direct you to someone that can. I like that, and my clients do to.  So here goes.

1) Mortgage lending: Brandon Sparks. Brandon has a nickname in my office: “The Fixer”.  When Big Banc Corp isn’t playing nice, Brandon can find a way to get the deal done.  One of my most challenging deals occurred this year.  It lasted from April to November.  Brandon stuck with my client when many brokers would have long ago stopped responding to emails and phone calls.  This wasn’t an isolated case either.  Many of my colleagues keep Brandon on speed dial when a client needs financing.  In fact, Brandon handled Amber’s and my purchase at The Shore Condos – a transaction that had so many moving parts that I’m still amazed we got it done.

Brandon Sparks
Barton Creek Lending Group
brandon [@] bartoncreeklending.com
(512) 796-4569

2) Credit Re-Scoring: Eddie Johansson. OK, this is embarrassing for me, but I’m so confident this info can help others I’m willing to divulge some personal details.  Two years ago, when purchasing our first home, my FICO score was under 600. Why? Foolish decisions right out of college, a handful of start-up endeavors, AND incorrect information on my credit report.  If you’re a regular DAB reader you know that I’m a skeptic, so it’s important to note that before this experience, I considered the entire credit repair industry as nothing more than snake oil .  I only called Eddie because he was recommended by a colleague (hey, that’s what this post is about!) that I have a lot of respect for.  To get started, I would need to pay $100 for an hour of Eddie’s time when he would pull my credit report and review it with me by phone.  That immediately set off my internal “this is a scam” alert.  But, I had no other option other than to trust in the referral. I paid the $100, and Eddie’s assistant pulled my credit report and placed me on Eddie’s calendar for a one-hour phone call.

That $100 one-hour phone call turned out to be an education.  Eddie came out guns blazing scrutinizing every account on my report.  He explained the nuances of the FICO score.  He explained how large dings in the distant past are often less important than small dings in the recent past.  He explained his company’s process and he set my expectations.  Credit repair requires incredible organization and diligence.  Debt collectors can be severely penalized for inaccurate information – something that would reappear on my credit file in recent months.  I needed a 680 to obtain the mortgage – a required improvement of almost 90 points.  Eddie got me there, and today because of Eddie’s assistance, my FICO score is over 750 and we’re still monitoring and managing it for improvements.

I can’t say that Eddie’s services are inexpensive, but his service was worth every penny.  Increasingly I view this as one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

Eddie Johansson
Credit Security Group
eddie [@] creditsecuritygroup.com
(972) 820-0342

3) Attorneys: Stanfield, Berry, and Hiserodt, PLLC. On a couple of occasions this year, I needed legal advice.  At this stage in my life I’m not ready to keep an attorney on permanent retainer.  I also am reluctant to engage a large firm to handle contractual/transactional issues.

On one occasion, I needed to wind down a partnership.  They helped me think through some exit-strategy issues.  They were responsive and worked quickly. We had all the docs needed within a few days.

These guys focus on small to medium sized businesses, and they assist entrepreneurs as they grow their business.  They can handle a variety of legal issues – from basic business organization advice to licensing and intellectual property issues.  They are located in downtown Austin, offer reasonable rates, and won’t nickle-and-dime you.  My experience with them was personalized and client-friendly.

Stanfield Berry & Hiserodt, PLLC
300 West Avenue
Suite 1316
Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 482-0040

4) Personal Fitness Trainer: William Wagner. Amber has mentioned Will before in one of her previous posts, but I think he’s worth mentioning again, particularly with the new year and all the corresponding fitness related resolutions it brings.  He’s unique because he’s not affiliated with a gym. If you are a downtown condo dweller with an on-site gym, he’s perfect, because he’ll meet you at your home for a reasonable rate (as low as $35.00 for a one-on-one session – and if you work out with a partner, as low as $22.50/per person per session – WOW!) and give you the personal attention needed to make your work-out effective.  All right in your building – in the comfort of your own home. If you don’t have a gym in your building, he also has a workout facility at his home, and can meet you almost anywhere (although places like 24-hour fitness and others that have personal trainers on staff won’t allow your own personal trainer to work with you in their facility).

I know for both Amber and I, accountability is one of our main obstacles to getting to the gym.  Boredom while working out is another.  Will takes care of both of these obstacles – 1) We’re much more likely to show up for a session when we’re paying per session, and 2) Will’s a great conversationalist if you are one of those people that like to talk during a work-out (Amber, much to my chagrin, is one of those people).

I know that several DAB readers use Will, too – Will, appropriately enough, gets most of his clients through word-of-mouth (referrals!).

Will Wagner Personal Training
(512) 909-5350

[Disclaimer: Every situation is different and you should do your own research.  These are based on my positive personal experiences and the reputation of each person/group.]

About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR, Principal of TOWERS Realty and publisher of Downtown Austin Blog (aka. "DAB"), spends his time matching remarkable people with remarkable properties in Austin’s urban core. A resident owner in downtown Austin, Jude has served on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.


  1. This is great! You have covered all of the business areas that a business person needs to keep in mind.
    Now, it would be great to evaluate the health care services available downtown. Everyone needs them, and
    where can people access them without a car.

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