Ray and Joy Rice - Better Together

Ray and Joy Rice are first and foremost a couple—working together to build a business, a family and a life together—while embracing the individuality that each brings to their relationship. Where did they come from? What keeps them motivated and pushing forward? The first thing you’ll learn is that Ray and Joy’s lives have been anything but boring, as you’ll soon discover. 

Ray’s Story

The oldest of two children, Ray’s life revolved around athletics. A talented baseball player,

Ray excelled on the diamond. Graced with natural athleticism, he remained focused on securing a college baseball scholarship throughout his high school career. 

That single focus very nearly cost Ray his dream of playing college baseball as he found himself a week before graduation cramming for the English test that would determine his future. His fate was posted on the wall of the gymnasium—Ray quickly scanned the list to learn that he would graduate by the skin on his teeth—earning an 85 on the test. 

After charming his way through high school, Ray was ill-equipped for the academic demands that college presented. A Physical Education Major, baseball continued to dominate his life. He was soon failing all of his classes. Realizing near the end of his freshman year that baseball couldn’t rescue him again, Ray left school and joined the Marines. 

Ray Rice MarinesMarine life agreed with Ray in a huge way—it taught him discipline and self-sufficiency. Taking another crack at higher education, he learned that academic success is possible with a little reading and some study. Near the end of his 3-year enlistment period, Ray made the decision to give college another shot, this time without the distraction of baseball. 

The trajectory of his life was changed when he decided one night to go to a Beaumont hotspot famous for live music. (The country music careers of Tracy Byrd, Mark Chestnutt, to name a couple, began there.) That night, he met Joy [insert maiden name] who also was there for the live music.

Joy’s Story

The youngest of 3 children born to Charles, an engineer, and Glenda, a housewife, Joy’s earliest memories were of a multifaceted family. To outsiders, their existence was a picture of success, a traditional home, a mortgage, and a traditional rural upbringing. Behind closed doors, however, Joy’s daily reality was very different: fear, rage, and abuse defined her life. 

An optimist, Joy vowed that when she married and had a family of her own, the discord and pain that was such a huge part of her daily life, would never darken her family’s doorstep. But before she could move on to the next chapter of her life, Joy had to learn to cope with the abuse and negativity that was such a big part of her life. 

There were good times—her sister was and is Joy’s best friend. And education was held in high esteem in her family (her parents both had college degrees). It was expected that Joy would follow in her parents’ footsteps and earn a degree of her own after high school. 

Joy’s childhood was punctuated by a series of huge moments—the abuse, of course—as well as her relationships with her brother and her much older sister. There was also school, extracurricular activities, and the daily hope that her dad would be too busy with work and his board activities (he sat on the boards of a local bank and an oil refinery) to make Joy’s life too intolerable. 

The closer Joy came to graduation, the more difficult her life became. School and extracurricular activities provided some respite from the terror and abuse at home, but the most profound change came shortly before graduation, when her dad died. Much of the abuse ended with his death, and Joy was able to focus on finishing school and begin painting her new future. 

After high school, Joy enrolled for classes at Lamar University in Beaumont, TX. It was during this time that she decided to go to the club where she would meet Ray. 

Budding Romance

That Ray and Joy would meet in this unlikeliest of places is noteworthy; while talking at the club, they made a fascinating discovery: they shared a class together at Lamar. After hitting it off on their first date, they continued dating, slowly but surely building a relationship as their affection for one another grew.

At about the time that Ray’s collegiate aspirations would take him to the University of Houston to complete his studies, Joy learned that she was pregnant. To say her mom was less than enthusiastic about the pregnancy would be an understatement. Joy’s mom, worried that friends and neighbors would view the pregnancy as a moral failing, reacted badly. The precarious relationship Joy and her mom had forged after her dad’s death was fractured. Joy’s mom informed Joy that she was being disowned, and that she needed to leave immediately.

Better Together

Ray and Joy’s life together began late one night when Ray and one of Joy’s friends helped her to pack her belongings so she and Ray could leave. Knowing that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Joy, Ray popped the question, with the understanding that theirs would be a challenging life for the foreseeable future. 

Ray and Joy immediately faced a huge hurdle—Ray was a fulltime student without a steady income. Intending to rectify that quickly, he sought employment at a nearby Marshall Fields store in a local mall, getting the job only because he showed up the next day to beg for it. The HR Director didn’t want to hire him, but Ray’s persistence paid off. He got the job.

Working 5 days a week while carrying a fulltime course load at the University of Houston, before the baby was born Ray would study in the evening after work. After their baby boy, Reagan, was born, Ray usually didn’t begin studying until after the baby had been put down for the night, which often meant getting only a few hours’ sleep before getting up and starting all over again.

After graduating with a B.A. in Business Administration and Finance, Ray and Joy moved to Dallas where Ray began his ascension up the corporate ladder with a succession of jobs: A stint with a commercial real estate firm, Anderson Consulting, Nieman Marcus, and finally—as a mortgage broker.

Feeling the need to contribute to the family’s income, Joy also began climbing the corporate ladder, first with Sprint, later with Verizon. But neither was truly happy. Ray’s extensive travel schedule made Joy a Weekday Widow, and her rigid schedule prevented Joy making it to any of Reagan’s school events. Joy knew that something had to give so she began laying the foundation for a career change: real estate. 

Building a Business—and a Life

Joy launched her real estate career on September 11, 2001, the day of the 9/11 Terror Attacks. 

Joy learned quickly that she had an affinity for real estate, and was good at attracting clients by providing superior service. It was during this time that Joy began referring real estate clients who needed mortgage services to this mortgage guy she knew—Ray. 

While the mortgage business (and the strategic partnership he has with Joy) was good for Ray, he knew that he could grow his business if he could simply help Joy to attract more real estate clients. Quickly learning internet marketing, Ray was able to help Joy to grow her business.

In 2012, Ray and Joy decided that business had gotten so good that the time was right for Ray to quit his mortgage job and go to work full time in their rapidly growing real estate practice. Joy’s natural strengths involved sales and negotiating winning deals for her clients, while Ray was at home building a team and devising creative strategies that would help them to grow the business.

It was during this time that Ray and Joy began attending their local church more faithfully—they had attended for years, albeit sporadically. The more involved in their church they became, the more interested they became in helping one of the church’s programs: Alasso Ranch. 

When Reagan was younger, they had an opportunity to send him to summer camp at Alasso Ranch. At that time in their lives, the money just wasn’t there for Reagan to attend. Ray and Joy were shattered—they wanted more than anything for Reagan to experience all that Alasso Ranch made available, both spiritually and fellowship with other campers. 

As their real estate business grew, Joy felt the call to help other kids to do what theirs had been unable to do: attend summer camp at Alasso Ranch. Ray agreed wholeheartedly, so Joy called their church to talk about helping. Beginning by sponsoring 50 kids each summer, Ray and Joy want to continue helping underprivileged kids to attend the programs of Alasso Ranch. 

The question was, where would these kids come from? The answer became self-evident when their church began a men’s prison ministry. Their Alasso Camp Kids would be the children of inmates—people who have a profound need for spiritual awakening and a reminder that they are loved. 

Ray and Joy: Growing Together—Now and in the Future

Ray and Joy have built something special in Dallas: a different kind of real estate agency geared towards systematically meeting the needs of their clients, ethically and honestly.

Ray and Joy have put together systems that enable their agents to succeed… by following a proven system that works. 

Before Fall 2016, Ray and Joy plan to expand their real estate business, opening new locations in Denver, CO and Oklahoma City, OK.

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