Jason Walgrave has been in the real estate industry for more than two decades and he’s still just as excited to go to work today as he was as a newly minted agent back in 1999.
“Since I’ve been in real estate, I haven’t had a Monday,” said Walgrave, the team leader and broker for Savage-based Walgrave Real Estate Group. “I love the business because I get to work with different people all the time. And having the opportunity to help folks buy a home where they’re going to create wonderful memories with their family is pretty awesome.”
Although Walgrave can’t imagine doing anything else, he knows firsthand that the real estate industry isn’t always a walk in the park. However, growing up in a driven, entrepreneurial family taught him the value of hard work and resiliency early on.
“My three younger brothers and I were raised on a farm that my parents owned in Luverne,” Walgrave said. “In a business like that, there is no ‘nine to five.’ It’s more of a 24/7 situation.”
Shortly after graduating from North Dakota State University, Walgrave moved to the Twin Cities and got his real estate license. He hit the ground running and within six months, he’d already hired an assistant and began building a team. A year later, he moved his team to RE/MAX and the rest is history.
Aside from the enjoyment he gets from working with buyers, sellers and investors – many of whom are repeat clients – real estate has provided Walgrave with something equally valuable: flexibility.
“My wife and I have six children so we’re quite busy outside the office, and it sometimes means I have to get up at 4 a.m. to start working,” Walgrave said. “But it also means I’m not going to miss out on any of my kids’ sporting events or school activities.”
That said, Walgrave is fully aware that clients often expect their agents to be available to them around the clock. Fortunately, because he’s built up such a strong team over the years, they always have someone to turn to when they need help.
“Not only does working with our team benefit our clients, it also allows our agents to grow their businesses without having to sacrifice their personal lives,” Walgrave said. “There truly are so many opportunities in this industry and there’s no limit on what you can achieve.”
And one other thing’s for sure – there’s never a dull moment.
“It can get stressful at times, but real estate is anything but boring,” Walgrave said. “The industry is constantly changing through advertising and marketing and technology and to be a part of something that is never stagnant is just wonderful.”
Ready to dip your toe into the real estate market as a buyer but aren’t sure where to start? Well, hiring a great agent is an excellent place to begin. Here are Walgrave’s suggestions on how to find the right person to handle your transaction:
- Find an experienced agent: Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make and for that reason alone, it’s critical to hire an agent with experience and strong negotiation skills. You’ll also want to find someone who has been through a few different market cycles because the real estate market changes every five to seven years, Walgrave said. Having an agent who understands these nuances can definitely work in your favor! Additionally, the ideal agent will assist you with the preapproval process, connect you with a mortgage lender if you don’t already have one and help you determine your budget so you won’t waste time looking at homes that are out of your price range.
- It’s OK to hire a friend or family member (with one caveat): The old saying about not mixing business with pleasure can certainly be true, but Walgrave says that there’s nothing inherently wrong with hiring a friend or family member. “I’ve worked with friends and family members over the years and the majority of those transactions went incredibly well,” he said. “But all that being said, don’t hire an agent just because they’re your friend or family member. Hire them because they have the tools you need to get what you’re looking for.”
- Compatibility matters: An agent’s experience and track record are definitely important, but they’re not the only things you should consider. “When you interview an agent, it’s kind of a two-way street – you’re interviewing them and they’re interviewing you,” Walgrave said. “It’s important that your personalities complement each other because real estate transactions can be very emotional.” In other words, if you don’t like your agent, it’s probably not a good idea to work together. “There are a million-plus agents in the U.S.,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean all of them are great at what they do. It’s worth taking the time to make sure you hire the right person who can handle all of your needs.”
- Watch out for red flags: Your real estate agent is there to advocate for you and look out for your best interests, not cause unnecessary frustration during an already stressful time. Walgrave, for example, works closely with his clients and communicates with them regularly throughout the transaction. Even once the paperwork is signed, he stays in touch just in case the client needs a referral to a handyman or a landscaping company. If the person you hire doesn’t provide you with that level of service and you find that your phone calls and text messages are going unanswered, it might be time to find someone else. “Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, you deserve the best service from your real estate agent,” he said. “My team and I are committed to taking excellent care of our clients from start to finish. Whatever they need, we’re going to be there for them throughout their journey.”
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