Northwest Indiana is a growing area of the country that welcomes many families that make their way to us. And with the families come the homes in which they must reside. So who comes in to play when it's time to buy or sell a home? There are multiple businesses in the area, but one stands out in particular. Realty Executives Premier, located in downtown Valparaiso, gives home buyers and sellers the people, experience and knowledge to get the job done right on the first try.
The 11th person to be featured on our list of Really Excellent People is John Santner. Santner is a realtor at Realty Executives Premier and he like the other agents there help their clients fulfill their home buying and selling needs. It's his job to help people find the right home for buyers and make sure they are protected under their contracts and that they are pre-approved, and make sure sellers know the value of their home and help them get it prepared for market. Santner said that the real estate profession fits him because he is able to manage his own client business.
"The real estate profession is a great job for self-starters. It gives you the opportunity to be your own boss while also providing you a protective umbrella to house that business," Santner explained.
Santner is a family man. He has two daughters, Cassy a Sophomore at Valparaiso University and Camryn who is a 7th grade home-schooled student. He's been married to his lovely wife, Carrie, for over 30 years and they have been the owners of The Designer's Club Salon & Day Spa for 26 years. So how does someone involved in the service industry become involved in real estate?
"I've always been a salesman. I owned my own advertising business for almost two decades along with managing my wife's day spa," Santner said. "When our children came along I knew something would have to give. Having gone through two open-heart surgeries, it made the most sense to give up mine. I had it narrowed down to real estate or insurance because after being my own boss for so many years it seemed like the logical choice."
So Santner began searching for the right place to work. His search ended at Realty Executives Premier thanks to Mike Tezak.
"[Mike] knew how realtors wanted to be treated and he was young enough to understand where the Internet was taking this profession. Any agent that is worth his salt has been asked to switch brokerages on a regular basis. Most of us politely turn down those offers unless something is really worthwhile. The progressive thinking is what made me decide to move to Realty Executive Premier and it's a decision I haven't regretted," Santner said. "The office is made up of independent contractors, but you can always find someone willing to assist you in whatever questions may arise."
Helping people is the favorite part of his job. Santner said that no matter what the situation is in his profession, he gets to help people. Whether it's helping a new family get their first home, moving to a bigger home because the family has gotten bigger, or helping someone sell their home because they are moving or down-sizing, Santner is helping someone.
"I've sold homes on the very first home I shown and I've also shown 31 homes before the sale happened," Santner said. "This is going to be the biggest purchase in 99.9% of the clients you are working with and they need to be sure they are buying the best home for them in their price range. This is a job that finds you getting invited to their 4th of July party after the process is completed."
Reading this might make some raise their eyebrows. There is a common misconception that real estate agents are out only to get that dollar. But fortunately, that isn't the case. Santner said that he and his fellow agents are way more than just "salesmen".
"There is so much that goes into doing this job correctly. Just like any profession there are those who are lazy and do a terrible job, and there are those who treat it as a profession and do a great job," Santner said candidly. "On occasion you find yourself doing both your job and the other realtor's job, but if that's what it takes to do the job correctly for your client...so be it."
Now know that it takes quite a bit of work, drive, and heart to be a successful real estate agent, is there anything that Santner has to suggest to buyers and sellers who want to make their time with them as beneficial as possible?
"For buyers, we can't even get the other agent to look at a contract until we have a pre-approval letter from a mortgage company or a bank. Save everyone some time by getting this done first. Call me at 219-771-1639 and I'll give you the name of someone to call," Santner said. "For home sellers. An appraisal will cost around $300-$350. I will be glad to do a marketing analysis for you that compares your home to other that have sold in your are in the past six months, but if you really want to have piece of mind, have an appraisal done before you get that first offer brought to you."