Entrepreneur, Horsewoman, Altruistic
by: Anne Stratton
equine properties for much of her professional life. She grew up around horses, she explains; it was a natural evolution. “My father was a real estate developer who raised race horses. I found that as I was going to all the horse shows and meeting people, they wanted to buy horse farms. So, I decided that it would be much more fun to sell horse farms!”
Marilyn Hoffman and NNL Ultimate Bey.
Even the most cursory glance at realtor Marilyn Hoffman’s career inspires images of “Dynasty” and “Dallas,” not to mention “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Her Dallas-based firm, Hoffman International Properties, handles high-end real estate all over the world, and whether buying or selling—she routinely does both for her clients—she has an enviable record. She has earned the Superstar Award for setting the world record in sales, and at the International Gold Awards in London, Hoffman International Properties was honored as Best International Broker and Best Marketing Broker. Over the years, she has sold the largest homes in Alabama, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina and Fort Worth (where she sold the record-breaker to the new owner of the Texas Rangers major league baseball team). Among her high profile clients have been golfer Lee Trevino, cosmetics entrepreneur Mary Kay Ash, baseball MVP Dale Murphy, world champion wrestler Bill Watts, pro football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, the CEO of Exxon, and the Duke of Saxony. So how does this relate to Arabians, and to horses in general? While many of her sales are residential, Hoffman has been a specialist in
Early on, her expertise with equine properties was apparent. She was the agent of choice for the Red Bluff, Calif., ranch of John Wheeler, president of the International Arabian Horse Association in the late 1970s, and for Dr. Eugene E. LaCroix’s Brenham, Texas, operation. And in those early days, she also sold Sundown Ranch to breeders Jerry Cott and his wife, Lynn. Since then, she has marketed ranches all over the west and farms in eastern states, servicing a number of breeds and disciplines. In recent years, she sold the 2,000-acre Double Diamond Ranch, which included 20 homes, for Ted Blanch. “If you don’t understand horses, you’re never going to know how to sell a horse farm,” she says. “You’re not going to know what the people really want.” For customers new to the horse business, she finds herself educating them as to why one facility would be appropriate, but not another, although the second one might have a lovely barn and miles of fencing. The reverse is true when selling to veteran owners; a good example, she offers, Marilyn Hoffman at the $35,000,000 Texas mansion
This $58,000,000 California Coastal estate has 80 acres and over 35,000 sq. ft. of museum quality construction.
she marketed for a Saudi Prince.
came up recently when clients mentioned that they planned to have breeding stock at their prospective farm. She didn’t waste their time on properties which couldn’t accommodate mares, foals and stallions. Show operations are another story, as are racing facilities. That expertise extends to the agents on staff at Hoffman International Properties. Vanessa Andrews, who runs the Dallas/Fort Worth-area office, rides with Arabian trainer Josh Quintus; Jackie Berger, located in Kentucky, Alibi, a Las Vegas Champion owned by Chuck Norris, has been a horsewoman for lives at Marilyn’s Blue Moon Ranch in East Texas. years, and so has Arabian breeder Tara Powell, in charge of the new Atlanta branch.
The other ingredient in Hoffman’s success is attention to detail. She appears as hungry now as she was when she was just starting out. She and her agents leave little to chance at any step in the process, beginning with the aggressive pursuit of clients who qualify for the kind of highend real estate they offer. That means a daunting schedule (in the face of her travel and jam-packed calendar,
55,000 sq. ft. 3 story manor is only 5,000 sq. ft. smaller than the White House. Secluded on 200 acres with carriage house, stable, and balloom. Only $12,500,000.
Summer Wind Farm—Marilyn sold this 25,000 sq. ft. Kentucky mansion, the largest home sold in the state
This Oklahoma estate with over 17,000 sq. ft. is one of the largest homes sold in the state. Sold January 2013.
Hoffman jokes that she does in fact go home; she has a husband she likes to see). “One of the ways that I find the buyers, is setting up exhibits at all the world-class equestrian events, which no one else does,” she notes. “I also do yacht shows, boat shows and charity galas—I go to the events
Jackie Berger, director of the Lexington office of Hoffman International Properties, at the Hidden Hollow Arabian Farm, a 600+ acre Kentucky showplace with the largest private water garden in the state of Kentucky, listed at $2,100.000
Forbes.com and HGTV ’s Million Dollar Rooms featured this Dallas penthouse with 9,000 sq. ft. of living area with a private rooftop pool for $5,900,000.
www.KentucKysFinestestate.com This 27,000 sq. ft. English Manor is the largest home in Lexington. Musuem quality construction, an 84’ entry, and priced far below replacement at $6,500,000
Indian Creek Manor—a landmark estate in Wisconsin with 32 acres and an 8,000 sq. ft. restored mansion.
then approach the owners about selling. And to showcase each property, Hoffman creates an elegant, leather-bound book of information and photographs, fit for a coffee table.
The Hoffman International Polo Team, winners of the Polo America Championship in Las Vegas.
where I’m going to meet the people that are going to be the potential buyers.” Her list of exhibit sites includes some of the world’s most glamorous: the Bal de la Mer in Monte Carlo, the Salon du Cheval in Paris, Scottsdale’s Barrett Jackson car auction, the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Marilyn with Prince Albert of Monaco at the Bal de la Mer in Beach, New York’s Military Ball, Monte Carlo where she had a real estate exhibit promoting her world the Carousel of Hope Ball in class listings. Beverly Hills, Lexington’s Rolex Three Day Event, the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, the Heart Ball in Palm Beach, the Washington International, Wellington, the Hampton Classic, the Newport Classic. And more: last year, Hoffman International’s polo team won the Polo America Tournament in Las Vegas. It is an exclusive clientele, and the service Hoffman International provides is geared to its demands. A buyer wants a horse farm in Kentucky with a racetrack? If there isn’t one on the market, Berger will cruise the Blue Grass in a helicopter to find one, and
At the other end of the spectrum—marketing both residential and horse operations—she is known for not only bringing in the buyers, but the speed with which she operates. In Wisconsin, she listed, sold and closed an estate with a 35,000-square foot home for its full price of $24,000,000. It was a record in the state, and it took her just 24 days. Over the years, as Hoffman has grown her business, she also has promoted Arabians. “I’m real pro-promoting the breed,” she says. “I donate horses to charity events where there are new people coming, people that really never thought about buying a horse. For instance, at the Safari Club in Reno, Nev., I donated a horse, and the people that bought it had no idea what they were going to do with a horse. At first, they didn’t even want a horse; they just thought it was a neat idea and they bought it. They later came to the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and went horse crazy—they ended up spending several million dollars on horses, and started a farm called Nothing But Winners. They had MCA Magnum Gold and S Justadream, some of the great horses of all Marilyn Hoffman and Regional Champion Stallion
Dallas Waterfront Estate—over 8,000 sq. ft. on 2+ acres with 400’ of waterfront. $7,500,000, lavishly furnished.
Marilyn Hoffman taking Region 9 Top Five (3rd) in Reining.
time. And it started with a $12,000 horse that I donated to a charity auction.” When she does have time off, Hoffman enjoys her own horses. She now has more than 50 at her Blue Moon Ranch in Mineola, Heather Garland, trainer at Marilyn’s Blue Moon Ranch, with Louis Vitton, a Half Arabian gelding donated by Marilyn Texas—among Hoffman and Brookville Arabians to the Cattle Barons Ball, them 11 national benefiting the American Cancer Society. His sire and dam are both Unanimous National Champions in Halter. Heather will and national reserve be showing Louis Vitton in Halter and Hunter Pleasure. champions—and has been breeding and showing for years. Her older stallions NNL Ultimate Bey, Rayzaar (a straight Egyptian AK Nazaar son), and CF Jett have been joined by newcomers Justis FF and Alibi FF. In 2008, Alibi won a gold medal at the Las Vegas World Cup, while Justis was named Top Five. Another favorite at the farm is her mare U.S. National Reserve Champion Half-Arabian Yearling Portia LRA, who is in foal. “I should have a beautiful baby soon,” she says, with the ever-hopeful outlook of a breeder in springtime. Hoffman’s Arabian involvement, clearly, is not all marketing. She points out that while she has donated more than 100 horses to various charities, she always chooses venues where the bidders have the wherewithal to care for the four-legged ambassadors. And if a charity transaction doesn’t work out, she is ready to take the horse back—as she told the buyer of her donation for the Boys and Girls Club of Fort Worth.
Marilyn Hoffman’s son Lance winning a Halter National Championship with Psyc It Ritz.
Marilyn and Scottsdale Halter Champion, Tymeless VF.
“The guy called me the next morning and he said, ‘I must have been drunk last night,’” she recalls, and smiles. It’s a good story. “He said, ‘I bought this horse, I have no idea what I’m doing, and I don’t want the horse.’ I said, ‘That’s fine, I’ll sell him for you.’ Then he asked if he could come out and see the horse, and I said sure. So he comes out and takes one look at the horse, and it’s a gorgeous black stallion, and he says, ‘That’s my horse?’ I said, ‘Yes, what did you think?’” It turned out that the man’s friends at the party had assured him that no one would donate a good horse to a charity, so his purchase must be “a nag.” “He said, ‘Of course, I want him! And I want to buy another one.’ So he ended up buying another one and he put both of them in training at Tamar Arabians, and now he’s showing extensively.” Soon, Hoffman’s new recruit may need his own facility. He’ll know who to ask to find the right one. n
Lynn Andrews with Marilyn and her son, Lance, winning Reserve Champion in the Amateur Stallion class at Scottsdale with NNL Ultimate Bey.
Marilyn can be reached anytime on her cell at 214-674-3961 or see more online at: MagnificentProperties.com
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Marilyn Hoffman and National Champion Stallion, NNL Ultimate Bey
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