No one is prepared for when a partner or a child becomes seriously ill. It was no different for Stephen and Madalyn Batman, both homegrown Floridians who now work with Gate Arty & the Group – Keller Williams Realty. But those that push through disaster are rewarded with strength that not many have, and endless empathy for those who struggle with the same issues.
We sat down with Stephen and Madalyn to get the full story of how they grew up, what they did when the health of their family crashed down around them, and what they now believe is the key to a happy and successful life.
CATTLE, COOKING, AND CONSTRUCTION
If you want the textbook definition of a down-to-earth Florida childhood, look no further than Stephen and Madalyn. Stephen grew up in the country on his grandfather’s citrus and cattle farm. He talks about the great days playing baseball, and the boring days shoveling hay. But as we all know now, activities like those are essential to building the discipline and resilience you need to make it through life. Those traits sure did come in handy down the line.
Madalyn was raised in the suburbs, with a home life she describes as “pretty dang normal.” Four sisters, hard-working parents, and a family of veterans means Madalyn quickly became an expert at running a tight ship at home: each day was filled with everything from cooking to yard work, and she’s only gotten better at both. Being able to maintain a high standard of living while going through their most stressful times was all thanks to Madalyn’s experience.
Interestingly enough, both Stephen and Madalyn grew up surrounded by real estate, as their families renovated homes and closed deals. They assisted their parents with some of the heavy lifting, and picked up some insider tips along the way.
LIFE, LOVE, AND LOSS
After college, Madalyn and Stephen met right here in downtown Lakeland. They fell in love and started a family together, both working a variety of grueling jobs to support themselves. When they had their first daughter, Stephen was working in sales from 5AM to 7PM every day.
One day, Stephen came home, and his one-year old daughter started crying; she didn’t even recognize who Daddy was. This heartbreaking moment was all it took: Stephen called his boss the very next day and put in his two-week notice.
The Batmans both realized that real estate could be the perfect fit for them, allowing for the flexibility and growth to build a family the way they wanted. We have many mothers and fathers on our team at Gate Arty & the Group, and all of them appreciate the schedule and help from other agents when raising children.
Just getting started in real estate can be tough… And it was about to become infinitely tougher. At just 28 years old, Madalyn suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed and completely unable to function. It took miracle after miracle as Madalyn learned to walk and complete even the most basic of tasks again. Stephen was by her side at every step, taking care of their daughter, trying to run the business, and realizing how precious life can be.
As Madalyn recovered and the Batmans celebrated the birth of their second daughter, the battle was far from over. Their baby was diagnosed with mastocytosis, a skin disorder, and had to stay in the hospital for breathing and immune system issues.
Madalyn and Stephen are adamant that Gate Arty & the Group was an integral part to surviving these dark times. All our agents are obsessed with helping each other so we can all grow together. There was never a shortage of home cooked meals being delivered, or appointments with clients being covered.
And so the gauntlet continued: wake up every day and just stay afloat. Take care of the kids, work, keep Madalyn healthy, keep Stephen from going insane, and hold hands at the end of the night until the clouds part. And finally, they did.
RECOVERY, RENOVATIONS, AND RELATIONSHIPS
With Madalyn and their daughter becoming stable, it was time to dive head first into real estate. The Batmans quickly learned how well they worked as a team: Stephen went into the field, making connections and building trust through honesty and integrity. Madalyn managed the listing, taking care of everything from staging to renovations before the sale.
One of their most rewarding and challenging projects was a subdivision on Hancock street, now next to Cob & Pen. The Batmans purchased and completely revitalized three lots in the area, building beautiful historic-style homes. The red tape and negative feedback almost caused them to give up on the project altogether, but they pushed through. Now, property values in the neighborhood have skyrocketed and the local area couldn’t be happier. They can’t wait for the next redevelopment project that can improve the Lakeland community.
It’s not always easy, but The Batman family real estate business is thriving. When you dig into their success, it comes down to a few very simple strategies. First, they make sure their clients trust them 100%. Bring them the challenging questions, and the fears you have about the real estate process. Let them impress you with their knowledge, experience, and caring attitude.
Second, they are willing to do whatever it takes to move your listing. Madalyn has repainted, installed lighting, revamped flooring, and much more, just so you can get a better price on your home.
Finally, they realize that the relationship doesn’t stop at the closing table. All of the Batman’s past clients are now good friends. They are always around to help with new home projects, another move, or just a night out on the town.
Reach out to Stephen and Madalyn to get the process started. Everyone has a story, and they would love to hear yours. Chances are, they can help you write a beautiful next chapter, just like they did for themselves.