The spotlight shines on Ron Hanlon this week. Read on to learn about his love for fixing up homes & why he’s an expert problem solver!
- What’s the strangest/scariest/funniest thing you’ve experienced on a showing?
One time, I was showing a house. “The people liked the upstairs…then we went downstairs and there was a Green Bay Packers casket!” It was engraved and everything. They said, “is there someone in there?” I said, “I’m not opening it!” Luckily, they bought the house and they happen to be Packer fans…
- Why did you choose to sell homes?
“Good question.” I really enjoy working for myself. “I’ve always wanted to own my own business. It got me on that path of being your own boss. “If you work hard, you’re rewarded.” I enjoy looking at homes, I’ve always enjoyed fixing up homes I’ve owned. It’s been a hobby almost.”
- What is your favorite thing about working in/with real estate?
“Being around people. Not just staring at a computer. Being able to get out and meet people, getting out in the community, not just stuck in one spot.” An office-type job isn’t as rewarding as working in real estate.
- What are your hobbies outside of work?
I like to do fishing out on Lake Superior in the non-ice seasons.” I don’t really ice fish, I don’t like winter that much. I play softball in the summer & I enjoy fixing up homes. I’ve helped people like my daughter and brother-in-law fix up their homes.
- Where are you from?
“I was born downstate, but moved up here when I was 3.” I was born in Lansing. I grew up in Kalamazoo area, my dad started working at the mine up here and that’s why we came to the U.P.
- What’s your favorite thing about the U.P.?
“The easy access to woods and water. Outdoor activities are easy to access. You pretty much go out your back door.” (I like to hunt too.) “If I want to go fishing, I can hook my boat up, and in 20 minutes, be fishing!” If we were in a larger city, that’d be hard to do.
- If you could live in any type of home, what would it be?
“Log.” Maybe some day!
- How would you describe your style? For anything and everything?
“Kind of like turn of the century, outdoor feeling on the inside & rugged, but still modern.”
- What are the top 3 things/ pieces of advice you’d give your clients, who are either buying or selling?
Seller: “The biggest thing is to declutter!” The second thing is listen to an expert, whether it be a REALTOR®, before you sell, talk to someone or an expert about where to spend your money (invest the right way in your property). “Be realistic!” Some people compare themselves to their neighbors, who’ve sold their house in a week. Prepare yourself. “Timing is everything.” People get unrealistic expectations. Don’t compare yourself to others. Each situation is different.
Buyer: “Before you start looking, make sure you’re pre-approved.” Get on the same page before you start looking (if you’re married or you have a partner). Get your short list, pros and cons together, narrow it down before searching. Most people get inspections, I always recommend it. Then you can decide what you want to fix. “At least you know what you’re getting into.”
- What’s the hardest deal you’ve had?
“I think I’ve only had one smooth deal!” (We’ve got an expert problem solver here!)
The hardest deal that didn’t happen: I had the house listed, 2 other REALTORS® had it listed before me (over a 3 year period). We had a realistic price decided, an offer was made and accepted. The buyers had to sell their house too. But, it [the deal] fell through twice! The third time the house sold, my house (my seller’s house) is still listed, they came (the buyers) to look again, then made a similar offer as the other one. The house is now vacant, but, in the end, my seller offered to rent the house to his friend.
“You learn a lot when you’re put into difficult situations. It’s difficult, but good.”
My very first deal, we got an offer, but the buyers backed out just because they didn’t want it anymore. The sellers even got the furniture cleared out.
- What are a few things people misunderstand about real estate?
“I think they think everyone makes a ton of money. And it’s easy.” The ultimate goal is to help people and sometimes you just can’t. Then you feel bad. “That takes years off your life!” REALTORS® put up with things a lot of people don’t realize, just like any job out there. “There’s a lot of counseling going on.”
- What’s your favorite type of architecture/building style or home style/architecture?
I like log homes, but personally, I’m more of a Cape Cod type person. Like the layout of it; they all have covered front porches.
- Which building do you think is the oldest in Marquette?
Well, in Ishpeming, “there’s a lot of old ones downtown there,” a lot of 1800s homes too. “It could be the Cohodas building on Hematite Dr.” The trains used to stop there, it was like a trading post place. The train tracks used to run right in front of it.
- Are you excited for all of the change and growth in and around the area?
“Yeah. Marquette is really exploding.” I think they’re focusing on good things, bringing tourism in year-round. Between biking, sled dogs races, etc…” Industry wise, there isn’t too much. But the tourism is good.
- What’s beneficial about having your own business?
In this kind of business here, you can decide who you want to work with. “If you work hard, you get the reward. You can reap the benefits of hard work.” If you need time off, you can build it into your schedule, if you have a family, you can be flexible. Make the schedule fit your lifestyle/ make it your lifestyle. If you want to take a vacation, you can!
- What’s something no one knows about you?
“I grew up playing piano. I have ten years of piano lessons.” I used to be good at it and I played into my twenties. At first it was weird, but after you grow up and do it a little bit. I enjoy singing too and lead our music at church.
- What are your future aspirations?
“To work in realty full time. I’d like to get my brokers license at some point.”
- What’s the most common issue or problem you face or come across as a real estate agent?
People aren’t patient. People aren’t ready to sell or buy (come across people that want to sell, but really aren’t ready). Not having a plan is the biggest issue. Be prepared & be on the same page as far as finances go with your significant other/ partner.
- Anyone or company in particular you enjoy working with through the real estate process?
Marquette County Title is great to work with. They have fast response times; their online access is easy to work with.
- What’s your take on flipping and fixer uppers?
“It’s not as easy as it looks on TV. That I can guarantee. Make a timeline; double it!” Make sure you hire professionals: electrical, architectural, etc… Seek professional help where it is needed. Make sure it passes code. On TV, they don’t show you how long it takes to fix a problem. “With as much experience as I have, I’m still hesitant to do a flip.” It’s like “putting lipstick on a pig,” this is what I see with a lot of flippers. One key thing you should have is an investor (50/50). The best thing to do for flipping is live in it for a time in order to gather cash flow.
- In a perfect world, would you prefer all new construction or old buildings/ homes preserved & renovated?
I like restoring because that’s what I’ve done and I enjoy doing it. “When you’re building something, you have to be in the place for awhile to get a feel for it.”
- What are some current issues in the real estate world?
“Right now, there’s not enough houses on the market!” There’re a lot of flips out there that aren’t done properly. “They’re trying to get top dollar for low end work. I see that quite often.”
- Any trends worth mentioning- design trends, buying trends, anything?
The people I deal with-it seems like everyone is searching for character. “They’re not into new construction; cookie-cutter [homes].” If you do upgrades, add in built ins (as seen in old, turn of the century homes). You can still add character without it being ‘old’ or ‘vintage.’ “They don’t want to walk in and see white walls & stainless everywhere.”
- Why chose a REALTOR®?
I think because every situation is different, there may be different issues you may not be able to handle. “Have a professional there to help you and guide you. I think it gives a person peace of mind.” After the sale is done and [if] there’s an issue, it comes back on the agent or company.
- What’s your competitive edge?
“My competitive edge is I’m a listener.” I make time for people. I try to be more personal, less business. It’s about building relationships.
- Who is your role model?
I am open to a lot of ideas; I don’t draw inspiration from one person or people in general. I draw from a lot of sources and from my faith. I’ve had good teachers and coaches. There isn’t really one or two people I can pin point.
- What’s your mission statement?
“To build a relationship with somebody first and to make sure their needs are being met and not my own.”
- Who serves the best food in town?
“I’m a wide variety!” I like Mexican food (Sol Azteca), but I like Aubree’s (they have a good variety), but I’m an Applebee’s fan too! You can’t beat the Casa if you want Italian!
- What’s your favorite company/ business/ organization in town or nearby? Why?
“I like our business probably the most! We’re community oriented. We put people first.” That’s what drew me to Select. “The goal isn’t to be the richest and make the most money. It’s a by-product of doing the right things.” At the end of your life, what will you want to be known for?
Thank you Ron for taking the time to chat. If you’ve got any more questions for him, he can be reached at 906.361.5882. Or send him an e-mail through his bio page.