In the spotlight this week, we’ve got Don Schinella! See what happened to him on a showing & his thoughts on the baby boomer generation.
- What’s the strangest/scariest/funniest thing you’ve experienced on a showing?
“During an ice storm, I showed a house on a very steep hill. When I got out of my vehicle, I slipped and fell and slid 10-20 yards!” I didn’t know at the time, but I broke my ankle. I continued to show the house, but went to the hospital later on. I thought I maybe twisted my ankle. I had no idea it was broken!
- Why did you choose to sell homes?
“Well, I truly like to help people through the process, whether it’s buying or selling. I like to make sure the details are done and the stress of buying or selling is relieved.”
- What is your favorite thing about working in/with real estate?
Working with my clients.
- What are your hobbies outside of work?
“I like to fish, hunt, do water sports and collect coins.”
- Where are you from?
“I was born in Marquette, but grew up in a small town called Gaastra (Iron River area).” The population was about 440 when I lived there.
- What’s your favorite things about the U.P.?
“That we have great people and fantastic landscape, plus four defined seasons.” Plus, “the rule of 250 works! Call me if you need an explanation!”
- If you could live in any type of home, what would it be?
I like all types of home styles.
- How would you describe your style? For anything and everything?
“Very easy going, but aggressive when need be.”
- What are the top 3 things/ pieces of advice you’d give your clients, who are either buying or selling?
For buying: “I would make sure they get an inspection. Get a pre-approval commitment letter from the bank or credit union. Talk to the neighbors, they may know more than you think.”
For selling: “Clean & de-cluttered will sell. And reduce odors.”
- What’s the hardest deal you’ve had?
“Working out a title issue that required us to track down 22 owners of record that needed to sign off before we could sell.” It took around 6 months. “It was a hard one because the owners where in different states.”
- What are a few things people misunderstand about real estate?
“Most people that sell on their own don’t realize how many details are involved or what they may be entitled to when they sell a home.” I sold a home where the state equalized value was equal or less than the state equalized value on the date they originally purchased. I was able to save them over $900 in transfer tax.
State equalized value is the assessed value that has been adjusted following county and state equalization. So typically half the value of the home.
- Any special neighborhood stories you want to share?
I was showing a home where the water source was not what you’d expect. “We’re sitting in the house and we saw the well head in the yard.” It turns out, the well was actually across the street, on a different lot that the owners did not own.
- What’s your favorite type of architecture/building style or home style/architecture?
“I like all types, I don’t really have a favorite.”
- Which building do you think is the oldest in Marquette?
“That has to be the John Burt House.” He was a surveyor and his father invented the solar compass.
- Are you excited for all of the change and growth in and around the area?
“It’s fantastic. Hopefully the Empire Mine will reopen soon to help support more growth in our community.”
- What’s beneficial about having your own business?
“You work your own hours. Though they may be long, they are very rewarding.”
- What’s something no one knows about you?
“I have an associate’s degree from Ferris State University for Welding Technology.” I also worked in Houston for 5 years in the ship yards before relocating back to the U.P.
- What are your future aspirations?
Stay in real estate for a long time.
- What’s the most common issue or problem you face or come across as a real estate agent?
“There’s Zillow, Trulia and other real estate websites that copy public information, that is frequently incorrect. As REALTORS®, we have to sort it out. I suggest using the UPR (Upper Peninsula Association of REALTORS®) site for updated and accurate information.”
- Anyone or company in particular you enjoy working with through the real estate process?
All banks, credit unions, inspectors, appraisers and title companies help us immensely to help the deals come together.
- What’s your take on flipping and fixer uppers?
“It can be done.” You need to get a good purchase price and stay on budget.
- In a perfect world, would you prefer all new construction or old buildings/ homes preserved & renovated?
“I’m a new construction guy, but I love older homes, especially homes that are well-constructed. It’s amazing what carpenters could do a hundred years ago with limited tools.” Everything was built on site including the doors & kitchen cabinets.
- What are some current issues in the real estate world?
We are an aging population. The last of the baby boomers will be entering retirement in the next five years. “It will have an effect on the housing market. You’re going to see more retirement facilities vs. homes. I think you’re going to see more homes suited for a single level too or set up so they don’t have to go up and down stairs.” There’s already a boom with assisted living.
- Any trends worth mentioning- design trends, buying trends, anything?
Open floor plans. “Downstate, they’re starting to use individual title companies for the buyer and seller…”
- Why chose a REALTOR®?
“Because it’ll make your home buying or selling an easy process and you’ll know in detail what’s going on.”
- What’s your competitive edge?
I have 20 years of experience. I truly represent my clients whether buying or selling, and I return all calls in the same day, if not immediately. “I’m very easy to talk to.”
- What’s a myth about real estate?
“That you don’t need a REALTOR®.”
- Who is your role model?
“My parents, they’ve helped me through life in more ways than I can imagine.” They introduced me to a lot of the mentors I do have.
- What’s your mission statement?
“To do my best to represent each and every client.”
- Who serves the best food in town?
“I don’t have a favorite, but I frequent Ralph’s Deli, Congress Pizza, Tino’s, Vango’s, Casa Calabria, Culver’s & Sol Azteca.”
- What is the one thing you’d like to make your mark on in the real estate world?
I don’t look at making marks. “I’m very humble. I work to help people and inadvertently that may lead to some type of marked success.”
- What’s your favorite company/ business/ organization in town or nearby? Why?
I don’t have a favorite, but there are lots of great ones!
Thank you Don for taking the time to chat. If you’ve got any more questions for him, he can be reached at 906.362.9273. Or send him an e-mail through his bio page.