This week, Richard Toledo is the agent under the spotlight. Read on to learn why he relocated to the U.P. from out west & what his opinion is about fixer uppers & flips!
- What’s the strangest/scariest/funniest thing you’ve experienced on a showing?
I was off on a showing and the listing stated there was a dry basement. “We got there and there was 6 inches of water in the basement! I was told, ‘it’s a Michigan basement!’”
- Why did you choose to sell homes?
When I lived in New Mexico, “I came to a point in my life when I needed a change. Either my job was going to change or where I lived was going to change. Both happened at the same time!” I became burnt out working at a phone company for 16 years. We [my wife and I] were looking for a house up here in the U.P. and then a [real estate] broker offered me a job at the same time. My wife said, “go for it!” So, I took the online course, passed it and here we are. “2012 is when I became an agent.” I own rental houses; “that experience of selling, buying and maintaining rental houses made going into real estate easy…I knew what to look for when showing a house. That knowledge helped me represent my clients better.”
- What is your favorite thing about working in/with real estate?
“I like showing houses to buyers and just seeing the different types of construction. Plus, I enjoy helping people find their place.”
- What are your hobbies outside of work?
Playing volleyball. I also like to golf, hike, bike and I enjoy fishing. (I ‘enjoy’ chopping wood and shoveling snow in the wintertime!)
- Where are you from?
“I’m originally from Los Angeles, California, then moved to New Mexico when I was 13 and then moved, when I was 50, to the U.P.!” My wife and I stumbled on the U.P. through trips to Mackinac Island. We decided it’d be the ideal place to live.
- What’s your favorite thing about the U.P.?
“There’s water up here and everything is green! I don’t have to drive an hour and a half to get to the woods. It’s less populated and the people are really nice.”
- If you could live in any type of home, what would it be?
“Less is better!” As far as the outside goes, my house now has 1.5 acres. “Three [acres] would be perfect.” It’s also on the water. We’re the only ones on that side of the lake after September; everyone else is seasonal. The less drama, the better!
- How would you describe your style? For anything and everything?
Laid back. “I try to be stress free.”
- What are the top 3 things/ pieces of advice you’d give your clients, who are either buying or selling?
“For buying: 1. Don’t rush it; don’t rush into something. 2. You can’t get everything you want; compromise. 3. It has to feel like home when you walk in. You have to walk in and say ‘this is home.’ Then you know you’re in the right place!”
“For listing: 1. Most of the time, you’re not going to get what you’re asking for [price wise]! 2. A clean home sells faster. 3. Don’t sweat the small stuff, it’ll work its way out.”
- What’s the hardest deal you’ve had?
I had a buyer who bought a home and he was very particular. After the closing, we went to the house. The seller had taken some doorknobs and pulls off of the cabinet drawers (which wasn’t written in the contract). “The buyer was livid! I talked to him and calmed him down; we worked it out in the end.”
- What are a few things people misunderstand about real estate?
“That what they see on HGTV isn’t reality. Shiplap is not all the rage!”
- Any special neighborhood stories you want to share?
I was up here for two years before my wife joined me. “The first morning she was here, she went to take the trash out. There was a bear in the neighbor’s yard!” This is when we said to ourselves, “yeah, we’re not in the city anymore!”
- What’s your favorite type of architecture/building style or home style/architecture?
I like the wood, log-cabin look, but I don’t want to maintain it. You’d have to re-sand and re-varnish it over the years. There’s lots of upkeep associated with log cabins. You do have the option of hiring someone to do the upkeep, however.
- Which building do you think is the oldest in Marquette?
“The courthouse or the bank building on Front Street.”
- Are you excited for all of the change and growth in and around the area?
“Yes and no.” It’s great that this area is getting notoriety, but the downside is that more people will visit, which is taxing on the environment and the infrastructure. For instance, the sewer systems and the roads take a hit. Taxes can be altered as well, to account for bursts in temporary population growth. After all the tourists are gone, then the locals have to live with the changes.
- What’s beneficial about having your own business?
“I make my own hours. There’s no stress of getting there on time.” At my old job, things were severely micro-managed (down to the minute on time cards). Moving to the U.P., I had to make the adjustment to ‘slow down’ at work. The culture is different here compared to a larger place. “I left the rat race!” When I went back home to New Mexico to visit, my family told me I looked so relaxed!
- What’s something no one knows about you?
I was a union president for the Communication Workers of America (CWA).
- What are your future aspirations?
“I look forward to the day when the toughest decision I have to make is, do I go fishing or do I go golfing?”
- What’s the most common issue or problem you face or come across as a real estate agent?
“The common problem/ issue is, when I’m showing a home to a potential buyer I am constantly wondering if there are any hidden problems with the property that has been covered up or are there problems that the seller is not aware of. I think this comes from living in the ‘big city.’ Back in New Mexico my wife and myself have spent enough time in court dealing with lousy tenants and shady contractors.”
- Anyone or company in particular you enjoy working with through the real estate process?
“I like this place [Select]!”
- What’s your take on flipping and fixer uppers?
My wife’s hobby is working on fixer uppers! “Through my experience, my wife and myself are quite meticulous when we work on a house.” I make sure things are up to code because I don’t want someone to come behind me and tear up what we’ve done. My wife is very good at drywall taping, mudding and texturing (which is a hard art to master). “In regards to flipping, I think people need to know what they’re doing. You can’t just jump right into it.” I learned a lot from working in construction and with electrical things at the phone company. So, I have relevant experience that comes in handy when flipping or working on a fixer upper.
Check out our rental property, Bruno’s Rest, here.
- In a perfect world, would you prefer all new construction or old buildings/ homes preserved & renovated?
“I would prefer new just because the technology has changed. There are greener options.” There’s more awareness about choices for windows, for example, energy efficiency, etc…
- What are some current issues in the real estate world?
The new tax developments. On a national level, they’re trying to change the whole framework, which will affect us as REALTORS®.
- Any trends worth mentioning- design trends, buying trends, anything?
Alexa, the Google thing. “I don’t trust those!”
- Why choose a REALTOR®?
“A REALTOR® possesses knowledge of current market trends. They are made aware of any legal issues through title companies, for any home you’re looking to purchase or list.” A REALTOR® has one leg up as far as knowledge goes, than the average person. Also, “if they don’t have the answer, they’ll get it!”
- What’s your competitive edge?
Helping people. “I’m at a point in my life where it’s enjoyable to help people find their home.”
- What’s a myth about real estate?
It’s not a myth, but the truth is, most REALTORS® have your best interest at heart.”
- Who is your role model?
Where business is concerned, Sammy Hagar. He took his money, invested it in tequila, but concentrated on quality. Now he’s into rum. He’s having fun living life, but when it comes to work, he’s quality driven.
- What’s your mission statement?
“Don’t sweat the small stuff. What can’t be taken care of today can be taken care of tomorrow.”
- Who serves the best food in town?
In Marquette, Casa Calabria. In Munising, Camel Riders. The dining room overlooks the lake!
- What is the one thing you’d like to make your mark on in the real estate world?
“Have my clients feeling that they’ve found their home.”
- What’s your favorite company/ business/ organization in town or nearby? Why?
“I like Select Realty. The owner/ brokers are ‘down to earth people,’ which makes for a good work environment. The other REALTORS® in the office are friendly and helpful. I like that Select Realty has a community involvement whether it be donations or volunteer work, I do not see that as much with other firms.”
Thank you Richard for taking the time to chat. If you’ve got any more questions for him, he can be reached at 906.202.9286. Or send him an e-mail through his bio page.