By Janis Fontaine
Special to The Post
Realtor Holly Meyer Lucas gives her clients — professional athletes with unusual needs — exactly what they want.
Everyone knows someone like Meyer Lucas, one of those helpful people you call when you have a problem. She gets a lot of those calls from professional baseball players — or the players’ wives — who know she’s good at finding housing, both short- and long-term, economy or high-end.
Meyer Lucas used to do it as favor for friends because she really enjoyed doing it, but a few years ago, she was in transition and she and her husband, former Marlins player and now coach, Ed Lucas, were brainstorming ideas for a new path. Getting her real estate license seemed like a logical step.
Before putting down roots in Jupiter, Meyer Lucas moved more than 18 times in seven years. As a player’s wife, that’s your job and she mastered the art of smooth transitioning. She’s a problem solver by nature, a take-charge type without the white-hot intensity some high achievers have. It didn’t take long to establish herself in the real estate community, or to dominate it.
At 32, Meyer Lucas, armed with degrees in business and German literature from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and natural sales ability, earned membership in the Million Dollar Guild and became a certified in luxury home marketing specialist, established the award-winning Meyer Lucas Real Estate team, and closed more than $100 million in sales. She did it by getting paid to do what she loves: Help people find their dream homes — or a comfortable temporary home base.
“I know it sounds cliché, but that quote about doing what you love for work is really true,” she said. For Meyer Lucas, real estate, like baseball, is a team sport. She has four assistants who help keep the trains running on time. Her first-round draft picks include her parents, Harm and Laura Meyer. Her father, whom she calls “Johnny on the spot,” was an international tech exec at the height of the revolution. Her mother is the dynamo who runs the renovation and design department Meyer Lucas started to better help clients.
About a third of her business comes from a niche market — professional athletes, mostly baseball players. Experts estimate each year, about 400 baseball-affiliated people — players, managers, staff, beat journalists —converge on Northern Palm Beach County in search of a place to live. For some it’s temporary. They want a short-term rental. Others are looking for something more permanent. What they don’t have is time. That’s Meyer Lucas’ sweet spot.
“It’s a common misconception that athletes are high maintenance and demanding,” Meyer Lucas said. “They’re not. They have a different set of demands because an athlete is only as good as his body.”
For one ballplayer, that meant having a specific bed to sleep in. The average person probably won’t get demoted for a slight drop in performance, but an athlete is vulnerable in a specific way. An athlete’s stats — not just baseball’s runs, hits, errors and RBIs, but their
their speed, strength, stamina, reflex time, precision, awareness, decision-making — are constantly being measured and analyzed.
Those numbers can mean moving up or moving down. “You have to keep all the details straight because the stakes are so high,” Meyer Lucas said.
Her husband, Ed, was Dartmouth College’s Most Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year and the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2004. After graduating, he played on minor league teams including the Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels before he signed with the Marlins in 2013 and was moved up to the majors. It took him 10 years — a long time by today’s standards — before he was called up. Ed left the Marlins after the 2014 season and played for a couple more years with other clubs before the Marlins tapped him for a coaching job at the end of 2016.
Major League Baseball is more than a career or a lifestyle, it’s a small community that shares a common goal, where “Everybody knows everybody,” Lucas Meyer said. She and Ed are proud of their solid reputation in the baseball community. Meyer Lucas’ kind-but-honest manner (“They want the person who can tell them they look fat,” she says) puts the players and their families at ease.
“People give athletes’ wives a bad rap,” she said. “It’s not an easy life.” And it’s harder on some women than on others, especially the young mothers with a couple kids and a dog, no local family support and a husband with a demanding, high-stress career. She supports him, but who supports her? The unofficial players’ WAGs (wivesand-girl-friends) network does. “We lean on each other hard when we have to,” Meyer Lucas said.
She already knows the lay of the land. She’s a skilled negotiator and a good listener who can think on her feet. “You have to be able to pivot,” she said. “Be ready for anything. The best kind of problems are the ones I can solve without the client even knowing about them.”
The thing that keeps Meyer Lucas’ two cell phones ringing: Trust. Meyer Lucas signs nondisclosure agreements, but it’s more of a formality. Meyer Lucas’ reputation has become too valuable to risk with an indiscretion revealing private information. She’s closed hundreds of deals worth tens of millions of dollars and many have familiar names on the paperwork: Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Don Mattingly, J.T. Realmuto, Justin Bour, AJ Ramos, Nick Wittgren, Kyle Barraclough and Adam Conley, all current or former Marlins. Other clients include Anquan Boldin, Lucas Duda, Brad Ziegler, Chase Koepka, Tom Koehler, Noah Syndergaard, Washington’s Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, Houston’s Charlie Morton, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and retired big leaguer Rick Ankiel.
But don’t call her the “baseball Realtor.” She serves other sports clients, mostly PGA pros and NFL players, but says, “Only about 35 percent of my business is sports-related.” She’s diversifying in other ways: Last fall, she opened an office in Scottsdale, Ariz., to serve the 15 major league teams who have spring training in the greater Phoenix area. And she opened Meyer Lucas Renovation & Design to help clients who loved the house, “but.” Realtors love to say — oh so casually — “That’s easy to fix” or “You could take out that wall” or “It wouldn’t take much to update the bathrooms.” Meyer Lucas wanted to make those changes happen, not just talk about them.
Now HGTV has its sights set on Meyer Lucas as its next big star. She just began filming the debut episode of her new series, which is “a little like Fixer Upper,” the show that put Chip and Joanna Gaines on the map.
Meyer Lucas’ show has some back-seat drivers — the homeowners — who want to add their opinions. “The human element is the most difficult but the most gratifying part,” she says.
Every difficult undertaking requires sacrifice, she said. “When do people house hunt? On the weekend, when they’re not working. You have to be okay with not being with your family at times.” But there are ways to make it work. She and Ed have two boys: Rhodes, 5, and Brooks, 3.
“We don’t have family dinners, we have family breakfasts. Mornings are my time with my kids.” Meyer Lucas is like blood type O – she’s a universal donor. Homes are personal. People are emotional. She likes that. It means the connection is real.
“If we’re not crying at the closing table, I didn’t do my job,” she says.
But don’t mistake her sensitivity for weakness.
“What makes a good realtor is that when the stuff hits the fan, they can handle it. My personal strength is I’ll be fine. Whatever it is, I’ll handle it.”