Tom Baxley has come full circle. As a fresh-faced Bryant High School graduate in 1980, he enrolled in real estate school looking for a career path.

 Forty-three years later, he’s not only still in the real estate business, but he’s the principal broker for the most successful company in Saline County—Baxley-Penfield-Moudy Realtors. Baxley spends his days extremely hands-on with his sales associates, brainstorming contracts and the best possible ways to serve their clients.

 “I have had some great opportunities to work with the best partners in the profession as well as the absolute best team of realtor associates,” he says.

 He met longtime Bryant realtor Charles Penfield, described by Baxley as “the Godfather of Real Estate,” and went to work for him. He spent his first years in the business taking as many courses as he could afford to get good training and add certifications. His best training by far came from Penfield and his mentor’s many years of top performance in the profession.

 In 1986, Baxley partnered with Charlie Phillips and the two operated together until 1997 when they merged to form Phillips-Moudy-Duke. Phillips retired, but the company kept his name. Baxley was partnered with Dan Moudy and Mike Duke.

 In 2009, Duke retired and Baxley was reunited with Charles Penfield and his sons, Layne and Lance, as the two companies then merged into the current company along with Dan Moudy.

 The merger was big news in Saline County, as one of the more successful companies in Benton joined with a familiar successful name in Bryant. They operated in separate offices for five years and then bought the old USA Drug building that included a gas station at the busy corner of Hwy 5 and Springhill Road.

 “We knew it would be beneficial to have everyone under one roof,” he said. “Then we started to take down the awning that was over the old gas pumps, and we thought it might be good to allow school groups and school kids a chance to have car washes. Last week we had Girl Scouts out there selling cookies. We have groups out there almost every weekend under the awning doing car washes and staying out of the sun and using our water. It works great.”

 That awning, and the location right on the Benton/Bryant line, fit the company’s philosophy of being involved in and serving each community.

 “I love Bryant and Benton,” Baxley said. “I went to high school in Bryant, and I lived in Benton. All our agents are involved in the community in different groups. You see us at church and at ballgames. You want to buy real estate from a friend. We’ve got people in both communities that are involved.”

 And not only are there nearly 40 agents, but they are also full-time. Baxley said he thinks it’s equally important that the company’s agents be involved in the community they serve and make real estate a priority. “Our associates are amazing and understand that Real Estate is a full-time professional occupation.

 “We know it is important to have [real estate] be your full-time profession,” he said. “If I am going to deal with you and make a major purchase, I want that to be your focus.”

 “Another thing with our associates is they do a lot of in-house training. We do a great deal of training and have a weekly meeting. Whether you have been working two or three months or two years or twenty years, we are constantly training and getting our folks involved and building relationships. From every Wednesday’s in-office training to new agent training every Thursday, we strive to be the best in every aspect of our profession.”

 With four decades of experience in the real estate business, Baxley offers this advice to those deciding about buying a home or property. 

 “People ask when is a good time to buy and sell? I’ve been asked that 1,000 times and I always say, ‘When you are ready,’” Baxley said. “You can get hung up on the spring or summer or winter or fall or looking at interest rates. My advice is do it when it feels right for you. Find an agent you trust. Find someone you can counsel with, and they can help you find what you want. Find someone who can connect you with a lender and meet with them. That is the big thing. You can’t tell what the interest rate is going to be. You want to work with people you feel comfortable with who are fulltime, professional, and knowledgeable.

“My partners make all the difference. Lance is one of the top commercial brokers in the state, as is Dan Moudy. Layne’s expertise is with new construction, builders, and developers. Our associates are the very best – Great agents make a great company!”

 With a thriving company and fulfilling career, Baxley said he has no plans to retire soon, and neither do any of his partners.

 “We see a very strong future, and none of us is going anywhere,” Baxley said. “We have a great company with a great group of people. I’ve been blessed to do this for these 40 years and look forward to the next 40 years as we continue to grow.”