by Betsy Hughes

Mike Brubaker, SRA

Mike Brubaker is one of our newest members but not new to appraising. He’s been an appraiser in the Houston area for nearly 40 years and is known as the “Expert in Disasters”. He knows a lot about a lot and if he doesn’t know he’ll act like he does; it can be difficult to determine the difference. Brubaker and Associates, Inc is a full-service Real Estate Appraisal firm with over 20 appraisers and staff. When Brubaker is not in the office you can find him outdoors doing some kind of stupid big kid trick. If he’s not riding his electric skateboard around the neighborhood, falling off and somersaulting down the street, he may be mountain biking and diving off bridges to avoid hitting others.  Most who know him are surprised he is still in one piece and functioning somewhat normal. Although his body has taken a beating over his lifetime, he refuses to grow up which is why he’s loved so much. While he has had several mishaps over the years, the one thing he absolutely loves and is extremely safe at is when he’s piloting his Bonanza (not the tv show, the plane).

Betsy:  How long have you been appraising?

Mike:  Since 1982.  

Betsy:  Why did you get into the appraisal industry?

Mike: It was an accident. I started doing it for gas money. True story.

Betsy: What areas do you cover?

Mike:  The Texas Triangle – Houston – Austin – Dallas – San Antonio …… Now – I know a triangle has three sides, but this is Texas …. I have no other explanation for this.

Betsy:  Why are you a RAC member?

Mike:  I was invited to speak at a meeting and enjoyed the comradery of the group. I recognized the value of being affiliated with such a knowledgeable group of appraisers and hope I can contribute in some small way.

Bartenders Corner:

Brown Water (Houston style of course) – Crown Royal (Original, none of this pansy flavored stuff) on the rocks

Craig Stebner

Craig is the Past President of RAC and has worked in the relocation world for many years. In a past life, he and Ron Box would travel around the country visiting appraisers for relocation companies (imagine all the havoc these two have created). These days he stays extremely busy appraising in the northern Virginia area. Craig has never met a stranger. He can tell you everything about all of his clients from their Mother’s name to their pet’s names, how many children they have, and he has most of their cell phone numbers. He has definitely built his business on relationships. If you need to grow your business, Craig is the one to talk to, just don’t ask him about tech fees!

Betsy:  How long have you been appraising? 

Craig:  22 years +/-

Betsy:  Why did you get into the appraisal industry? 

Craig:  It was a career change that was an easy transition from being a Vice President in the relocation world.

Betsy:  What areas do you cover? 

Craig:  Northern Virginia.

Betsy:  Why are you a RAC member?  

Craig:  Ellen Borofsky from Cartus, Butch Hicks and Ron Box were strongly encouraging me to join.

Michael Cook, MAI, SRA

Michael is a Past President of RAC and a huge supporter of the organization.  He became a member of RAC in 1998 and plays a key role in planning the annual conference and planning meetings.  He started his appraisal career in 1986 after three years in real estate sales.  Prior to that, he spent 11 years in the retail business.  His company, Michael S. Cook & Associates, Inc. was formed in 1991 and is located in McKinney, Texas.  He provides a variety of appraisal services across North Texas with a concentration in the private and relocation sectors.  He enjoys litigation work and looks forward to testifying.  This is not surprising to those that know him well, as it brings out his competitive side.  Everything is a competition to Michael and winning is everything.  So next time you are looking for a friendly competition, give him a call!

Betsy:  When did you begin your appraisal career?  

Michael:  1986

Betsy:  Why did you get into the appraisal industry? 

Michael:  I needed a job.  When the real estate market crashed in ‘86, I was in real estate sales.

Betsy:  What areas do you cover? 

Michael:  I work mostly in the North Texas area, but am available almost anywhere, for the right price. 

Betsy:  What type of properties do you appraise?

Michael:  I have appraised a wide range of commercial and residential properties, and a lot of land.  But today, it’s mostly residential.  I get a little bored doing “regular” houses.  I love appraising the “hard ones” that no one else wants.

Betsy:  Why are you a RAC member?  

Michael:  Ron Box told me I should join RAC.  But I stayed a member because of the people.  It is a great group of really good people and appraisers. 

On a more personal note, Michael has perfected the dirty martini on the rocks.  His recipe consists of 4 ounces of Tito’s Vodka and 1.5 ounces of olive brine poured into a shaker of ice.  Then shake it for a minimum of 15 seconds; but 20 is preferred.  You then pour it into a TALL glass and ENJOY.  A pic of olives can be added for décor, but he considers it a waste of time.