Since breaking into the farm and ranch real estate business 19 years ago, Mitch West has experienced struggles and success, most recently being named to the San Antonio Business Journal’s top Farm & Ranch brokers list for the second year in a row.
Now, West and his business partner, Louie Swope, are breaking away from their previous employer, Phyllis Browning Co., to branch out on their own.
The duo of West, 67, and Swope, 26, will now run West and Swope Ranches, a real estate firm based in San Antonio. The duo said they plan to eventually office out of Energy Plaza and will focus on marketing and selling larger-sized ranches throughout the state.
Together, West said the duo combined to sell nearly $50 million in farms and ranches last year, one of their best years ever, which played a role in deciding to start their own company. According to the Business Journal’s list of top-grossing farm and ranch brokers, West accounted for $28.3 million in sales in 2017.
West began working in real estate in 1999 as he neared his 50th birthday. Through a friend, he was encouraged to pursue farm and ranch real estate and was connected with Phyllis Browning. The company did not sell farms and ranche at the time. However, West said Browning’s generosity and encouragement ultimately landed him a job at her company, where he’s helped grow its farm and ranch sales for the past 19 years.
Growing up in Austin, Swope said he spent much of his childhood on ranches and farms before going to Texas A&M University to play football. After graduating, he also got a job at Phyllis Browning Co., and the two, who were previously acquainted through family ties, began working together.
While the age difference is notable, West and Swope said they complement each other well. West brings experience, expertise and a long list of contacts to the table, while Swope brings a knowledge of market trends, research skills and social media know-how.
“I think Louie is too modest,” West said. “He’s a really hard worker. The thing about real estate is, there’s no one standing over your shoulder, no one telling you you have to be here. But you need to show up every day, and you need to work, whether you have anything to do or not. He took it to heart, and he’s a terrific cold caller. He’s relentless, and it’s paid off. Also, his expertise with people and on social media has been invaluable.”