From Hospital Administrator to Real Estate Agent?

Some people are surprised when I tell them that I became a real estate agent after spending 35+ years as a successful hospital administrator. Besides the obvious reasons (I’ve lived here for a long time and I like real estate), there actually are many similarities between the healthcare and real estate professions. You’re working with people, and providing a service;  you’re dealing with people who are going through stressful situations; you have to be knowledgeable and professional; you’re respected only if you have the utmost honesty and integrity; and you must maintain the confidentiality that’s entrusted to you. Finally, if you’re a hospital administrator or a real estate agent (at least here in NJ), you often provide services without knowing whether you’re going to be paid for them or not.

In healthcare, the best physicians and hospital administrators have their competency certified by independent national “Boards”, and often have sub-specialty certification. That trend is just staring in real estate, and you tend to see more realtors becoming sub-specialty certified if they work in towns with a college or university. I already have my SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist) designation, and I’m working on my Green designation certification. If you look at my photo you’ll see that I’m a baby boomer myself (I hate being called a “senior!”), so I have a natural interest in everything that affects people of my age or older (we renovated our house to include several “universal design” features when my dad was living with us several years ago).

Like many of my generation, I’ve given lots of thought to whether to downsize or not, to stay in New Jersey or not, to invest in major energy-saving upgrades or not, to buy a more fuel-efficient car or not. I’ve also experienced the stress of several friends and relatives who finally decided to sell the homes they’d been living in for many, many years (not to mention the tough decisions involved with dealing with a lifetime’s worth of “stuff”). If you’re starting to go through any of these situations, I’d be glad to meet with you and share ideas or give you some things to think about; likewise if you have a parent who’s facing these same situations.

The real estate market is very interesting right now. Although home prices in Phoenix, Las Vegas, California and Florida have gone down from their peak valuations by as much as 50%, homes here in Rumson and Fair Haven are down by about only 10%. In addition, more homes have sold in Fair Haven in the first 8 months of 2011 than for the same time period in 2010, and have sold for higher average/mean prices (look for more information in a later post) . On the other hand, prices have dropped more in some of the neighboring towns, and with 30 year mortgage rates being below 4% (at or near all-time lows), it’s a great time for some people to buy their first house or condo. If you’re a first-time buyer, please know that I’m patient, not pushy, and will show you both the pros and cons of any specific property.

So what about you? How do you choose a real estate agent? My advice is to do it the same way that you’d choose a doctor: ask people for recommendations based on personal experience, and then get to know as much as you can about the person. Above all, you need to respect and trust this person, and know that he/she has the highest standards of honesty and integrity. If you think you’ll be selling your house in the next few years, start building a relationship with a real estate agent now instead of making a hasty decision later. If you’re looking to buy a house or condo, you might want to talk to two or three different realtors before deciding who you want to work with. In either case, I’d love to earn your trust and confidence so that I can be your real estate agent. Give me a call at (732) 239-0739 or email me at; my office is at 8 West River Road in Rumson.

Leonard "Len" Dunikoski, SRES Realtor Agent - Diane Turton Realtors

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