THE REAL DEAL: Central Arkansas’ Property Management Maven Anika Dixon
You wouldn’t know it by meeting her, but Anika Dixon has weathered a lot in her real estate career. She’s been underestimated by clients and competitors based on her age, her gender and her race. She’s come through a pandemic and a once-in-a-generation real estate market boom, during which she didn’t close the doors of her company, Goss Management & Realty, the better to serve jittery property owners and nervous agents.
She’s about two years overdue for a vacation, as she is the first to tell you. But as the saying goes, that which doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger and if ever there was a living embodiment of that, it’s Dixon. Over nearly 30 years, she has solidi-opposite.
I say God has a sense of humor for putting us together,” she said. “I came home and told him about the deal and I started talking about getting attorneys and CPAs. He says, ‘Nik, don’t overthink this.’ “I just kept hearing that, ‘Don’t overthink it, don’t overthink it,’ and I knew it was just such a blessed opportunity to be able to purchase a company that had been in the landscape of Little Rock and well respected for over 30 years. It wound up basically a handshake deal. The rest is history.
Dixon was born in Ashdown to David and the late Mary Ellis and spent much of her formative years in Forrest City. After a passing fling with college, an experience she idea of owning her own company started to come into sharper focus. She opened A.C. Dixon & Associates Realty in 2004 at age 33 and quickly discovered the hard realities of betting on yourself.
“Racism, agism and sexism are so real; sometimes I tell people, ‘The “ism’s'' are hell out here.’” she said. “It was a lot of clients who were like,‘OK what is this young lady doing talking to me about this and how does she know anything about it?’ Other agents would laugh at me and say, ‘Do you know what the hell you’re getting yourself into?’ So, there were walls and barriers, and there still are.”
Dixon doesn’t relay these stories with a hint of bitterness, but a fied herself as a fixture in the real estate industry, as a visible community servant and leader who works to promote and advance her industry and the business community at large.
And it all stems from a deceptively plainspoken philosophy, imparted to her by her husband Anthony, when she was first offered the chance to buy her company from its founder, Sally Goss. “My husband and I, we’re totally laughingly described as “majoring in patrology,” she went to work in the hotel industry and retail before entering the real estate field. “Real estate is a true entrepreneurial path, but you need some experience,” she said.
“I was with two African American brokers and learned so much. there I went with a company where I actually learned property management.” It was while working on the property management side that the knowing edge to her voice, the kind of edge that drove her to succeed despite the challenges in the market. Her first year, she closed more than $3 million dollars of business.
Her company, purchased a few years ago, is today the largest Black-owned property management company in the state. Again, the formula for success comes down to the simplest elements. “Customer service, bottom line,” she said. “During COVID, our office was open the whole time. Property owners were calling, freaking out. I was constantly communicating and just being that touchpoint, keeping communication open with the tenants. I started saying, ‘Don’t have the turtle syndrome. You cannot hide in your shell and think it’s going to go away. If you cannot pay your rent, if you’re losing your job, let us know and let’s figure it out.’ “There were so many pivot points and ebbs and flows with all of this.
During the pandemic, the maintenance calls were going up, because people were home like we didn’t expect, so the wear and tear on properties was tough. Then the real estate market goes haywire, crazy. Some owners are like, ‘I’ve owned this for about 20-plus years, I could make some good money.’” Dixon kept a steady hand through all the challenges.
Inventory is currently down due to the great sell-off by some building owners but on the whole, things have leveled off and she can focus on growth. She also continues to invest time and expertise in industry groups and the local community to help improve conditions for today’s real estate professionals and the next generation.
She’s a past president of the National Association of Residential Property Managers and Arkansas Realists, the Black real estate agents trade group. She’s also currently on the board of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, vice president of Hall High School Alumni Association and a past officer of the Little Rock Realtors Association.
“I’m really big on giving back, especially giving back to youth,” she said. “I love volunteering in high schools. I love it because I’m able to talk to them and I can keep their attention and I’m able to teach them. “I’ve had people say, ‘My child told me you were in their school. They loved hearing you talk, and they said we need to buy a house,’ or, ‘They’re thinking about going into real estate.’ I’ve had that happen and I think that’s so important, to make those connections. If we don’t slow down and give back, then where will our future be?”