Michael and Deborah Hughes are associate brokers with Realty Executives Payson and the Pines.
They are very active in the Central Arizona Board of Realtors -- holding numerous posts in the organization over the years -- and have been part of the Rim Country for 23 and 17 years respectively.
"We are involved (on the Board of Realtors) because we care about our industry," Michael said.
"It's our livelihood," Deborah said.
"The main goal (of the board) is to protect our industry and the public's private property rights and promote fairness," Michael said. "The industry has been good to us and we want to give back to it."
"If we don't keep up (with the changes in the industry), we don't eat," Deborah said.
Michael said the real estate industry is changing so fast, with new laws and new technology.
"If you're not involved, you're not being the best you can be for your clients," he said.
The couple's number one goal is their clients' satisfaction before, during and especially after the sale or purchase of their property.
When working with first-time homebuyers, Michael and Deborah tell them they need good credit.
If they don't have it, they need to take the time and make the effort to rebuild it, and set aside enough savings to cover a down payment and closing costs.
"It takes about two years," Deborah said.
"And we speak from experience," Michael said. "When we first got together, she had no credit and my credit was bad. But buying a home or owning property is the single best investment a person can make."
Deborah said, it is always a special experience to help someone get into their first home.
"It's very rewarding," she said.
"If you remember how exciting it was to get your first car, getting your first home is that on a much bigger scale," Michael said.
"It is an anchor point in life, it gives purpose and direction for your life.
"Home ownership builds pride, it builds neighborhoods, and it builds communities. Ultimately, it's the best thing to do for the town."
While getting someone into their first home is a challenge, it also feels good.
On the other end of the spectrum are the real estate transactions with which they help seniors and retirees. Deborah said she sees a number of seniors who have lost their spouses put their homes on the market in order to move to be closer to their families.
She has made a couple of sales for people who feel their homes are too much for them and they want to move into the new senior apartments on Tyler Parkway.
Michael said because the area is so great for outdoor living, he sees people downsizing. They move up from the Valley or from back East where they had huge homes and had to live inside for large parts of the year, going into something smaller, often buying it outright because of the money they made selling their larger home.
"People come here and don't want a huge house to maintain," he said. "They're thrilled to throw away their lawn mowers. They want to enjoy life."
Michael and Deborah are enjoying life, too. They are going to be building their dream home this year and expect the real estate business to keep them busy.
"Payson is going to get built out in the next 10 years and the prices are going to keep going up," Deborah said.
"This has always been a desirable town and will continue to be desirable," Michael said. "Real estate is going to be for the people willing to work it."
Deborah would like to see Green Valley Park developed into a year-round destination.
"I'd like to see it become a winter wonderland, with lights everywhere, lights on boats, buggy rides, vendors selling hot chocolate and cider -- things happening," she said.
Michael and Deborah Hughes made Payson their home. They raised four children here and most of them, along with their grandchildren, still live in the community.
"We have built our business, our home and our dreams here," they say on their Web site. "Payson is where we plan to be for the rest of our lives."
The Web site is www.mdhughesre.com.
Hometown: Michael's -- Payson; Deborah's - Northampton, Pa.
Age: Michael, 45; Deborah, 52
Occupation: Michael, Realtor; Deborah, Realtor
When did you move to Payson and what brought you here? Michael, 1984 -- long story; Deborah, 1991 -- I always vacationed here and decided to move here when the opportunity arose.
What's the biggest risk you've taken recently? Buying property for our dream home.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given? Deborah -- Daddy taught me not to lie, cheat or steal. They are words I live by.
Three things you want people to know about you:
Deborah -- My family is the most important thing in life to me. Michael and I are as in love as two people can be. I sing a lot.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Michael -- an astronaut; Deborah -- Ann Margaret
Book: Michael -- Tom Clancy novels; Deborah -- Nora Roberts novels
Sport to watch: Michael -- NASCAR; Deborah -- football
Recreational activity: Michael -- riding motorcycles; Deborah -- reading
Movie: Deborah -- "The Wizard of Oz"