By KEVIN CHIRI
Slidell news bureau
LACOMBE – Patty Cooper has good reason to believe she can negotiate a good home purchase for you.
Cooper broke the mold in a man’s line of work many years ago when she was hired by Textron and other industries to work as a purchasing agent. She also worked for the Exxon Refinery and had to negotiate major purchases for millions of dollars.
“I think I paved the way for a lot of other women and that’s something I’m proud of,” Cooper said.
After 25 years in that business, working as an industrial buyer, she retired from that work and settled into something a little quieter in St. Tammany Parish where she acquired a real estate license and is now associated with Latter & Blum.
“I do believe my negotiation skills are a plus for anyone who wants to buy or sell a house,” she said. “But the biggest plus I bring to my clients is my honest desire to help.
“This isn’t just a business for me, I went into it because I saw the opportunity to work with people who needed expertise in the real estate market. I know I have that in several particular areas,” she added.
Cooper, now heading into those senior years herself, said the housing needs of seniors has become a special interest for her. That is another area she is specializing in as part of her real estate career with Latter & Blum.
“In working with seniors, it sometimes takes extra patience and the ability to listen and hear their housing concerns. I pride myself in having those skills. I’ve visited local retirement and assisted living facilities and explored the concept of aging in place. Sometimes it’s a matter of not selling, but making changes to an existing home to accommodate an older resident. What we really need in the parish are more 55 plus communities. St. Tammany is a wonderful place for retirees.”
For that matter, Cooper has obtained a certification as a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES), a designation that gives her extra knowledge to help seniors if they contemplate buying or selling.
Cooper is expecting to see a lot of activity in the home buying market in the coming years following a recent study released in St. Tammany Parish that said the population would grow by up to 50,000 in the next five years.
“That’s another reason this is really a time to buy or sell,” she said. “Prices are still very good here, and interest rates are still extremely low. So whether you are buying or selling yourself, or looking for property or a home as an investment, you should consider doing it before the increase in population occurs.”
Cooper is originally from Mathis, Texas and came to Slidell at the age of 11 when her family moved here as her father was hired by Kaiser Aluminum in Chalmette. She graduated from Slidell High and studied English at Southeastern before marrying at the age of 21.
After going back to college to study Business Administration it helped her land her first job as a purchasing agent, starting what would be a surprising career for a woman that lasted 25 years.
“I remember one time having to buy the raw materials to make bullets,” she said with a laugh. “I was in charge of buying all kinds of things, but those years really taught me to do well in a man’s world and I believe I paved the way for women by working in that field.”
Her interest in real estate began in 2011 while living in Baton Rouge. She bought two homes and sold them after doing repairs and improvements, and enjoyed the real estate business from the investor standpoint, something she sees a lot of potential for in St. Tammany.
“This is truly a good time for investing in real estate in our parish, especially in advance of the population growth we are expecting,” she explained. “And the potential is just as good in buying land as in buying houses.”
With a recent hike in interest rates by the Federal Reserve and more predicted, Cooper urged those contemplating a real estate decision to make it soon.
“Now is really the time to do something,” she said. “Rates are good and there are willing buyers and sellers. Once rates go up it could slow things down, so this is a good time and I believe my experience is something that will help anyone who is thinking of buying or selling real estate.”
Cooper can be reached by calling 985-445-5888.