Today we’d like to introduce you to Gene Hashkes.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I began my career in Real Estate in the mid-1990’s as a Junior and Senior in college renting apartments as a summer job. While most of my friends were waiting tables or working as camp councilors, I found the fast-paced environment of helping people find homes extremely exhilarating and rewarding. I have been a professionally licensed real estate agent for the last twenty-three years having obtained my real estate salesperson license in 1995 and then my broker’s license in 2006.
After graduating from Brandeis University in 1998, I thought that my career trajectory would be in law. I worked as a Paralegal/Office Manager for a private Real Estate Law Firm in Brookline for 5+ years managing a high volume office overseeing 1000+ closings per year during a time when the real estate market was exploding. Working within this fast-paced environment, watching the market closely and learning the many facets to a real estate transaction, I realized that I belonged on the other side: Real Estate Sales. Taking with me the extensive knowledge and experience that I gained from managing all of the legal aspects of the real estate transaction, my deep knowledge of the local communities and my ambition to succeed, I became a Real Estate Agent working for Coldwell Banker.
After achieving several awards in the field including the prestigious Diamond Society in 2007, I decided to advance my career to go work for William Raveis Real Estate which was a rapidly growing company in the New England area at their flagship Massachusetts office in Newton Centre. This year I just celebrated my 10th year with William Raveis Real Estate and have been able to grow my business there exponentially. Through the years of working with William Raveis, I’ve been awarded several prestigious awards and have closed over $100+ Million dollars in sales volume.
In 2016 my company honored me with the prestigious Chairman’s Elite Club Award for being in the top 5% of the entire company out of 120 offices and over 4,000 sales associates throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, New Jersey and Florida. In 2017, I nearly doubled my 2016 volume with over $23 Million dollars in sales production. As a lifelong resident of the Boston area for over 40 years, I have personally been a witness to this city’s amazing evolution and I cannot wait to see what the future brings as the city continues to grow, thrive and diversify.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Things are never easy when it comes to a real estate deal. 90% of agents that try the real estate business fail. There are just so many different pitfalls, types of personalities, considerations and moving parts that can go wrong within any given real estate transaction. Approximately 10% of all active agents do 90% of the business. The real estate business is extremely cutthroat and not made out for the thin-skinned.
Given my legal background and sales experience over the years, I have been able to succeed by acting as the “glue” in the transaction and managing the process from A to Z. Among my many responsibilities, I view one of my most important roles as being the project manager who manages the entire transaction in order to keep things on track for everyone. There are so many parties involved, including the buyers, sellers, lawyers, banks, underwriters, appraisers, inspectors, insurance agents, etc… that there needs to be one point of contact to keep everyone on the same page communicating towards a common goal.
That being said, there are understandably also a lot of emotions involved, as a person’s home or investment is often their largest and most valuable asset. Being able to listen to my clients and give them honest expert guidance from the heart is what makes my services unique and is the reason that many of my clients do multiple transactions with me. They also often recommend me to their friends and family, as a large portion of my business is based upon referrals.
The real estate market is also an ever-changing and evolving entity with different economic cycles and factors. There are many external forces beyond anyone’s control that we must accept and work with. The only constant is change, from which we must learn and grow. Having been through all of these different cycles gives me the perspective from my past experiences and prepares me for new challenges which different markets bring. For example, when I started full-time in 2005, it was a very strong seller’s market before the peak of the market and the bubble burst in the second half of 2007.
Back then, my business greatly shifted from working primarily with buyers during the boom years to sellers during the downturn years. Then is 2013, the market began to stabilize and appreciate rapidly again to the frantic level where it is at now. Each market has its own challenges and opportunities. In 2007 when the market crashed, it was due to poor artificial lending practices, which drove pricing up. In today’s market, the fundamental factors are completely different with the low inventory supply being far outnumbered by high buyer demand.
Today, my business is very evenly distributed between working with both buyers and sellers. I also represent many builders, developers, landlords and investors, which also strongly feeds into my rental business. Along with commercial sales, there is always opportunity to be had. When one spectrum of the market is up, the other side is inherently down and vice versa; as nothing lasts forever. This is where experience, local expertise, and a broad-based in-depth knowledge are invaluable to always keeping one’s professional services in demand.
I have been fortunate enough to close over 200 transaction sides and over $100 million dollars of real estate volume since 2005. I have also had the pleasure of mentoring some new agents to the business over the past few years and growing my team. It is very rewarding for me to share the knowledge that I have attained over the years throughout my extensive professional experiences.
Please tell us about William Raveis Real Estate.
My office is based out of Newton Center and a strong portion of my business is focused within the areas of Newton, Brookline, and Boston. While most agents only specialize in one town or area, what keeps my job exciting is that the other significant portion of my business includes many other communities throughout Greater Boston areas and surrounding suburbs inside of Rt. 495. I specialize in residential real estate sales for buyers and sellers, as well as new construction, investment properties, and rental income properties.
What makes me different from other agents is that I am not only a Real Estate Agent but I also personally invest in local real estate, renovate and develop my own properties. I have also been a landlord for many years. All of this combined expertise, together with my proven track record for top production in local real estate sales representing both buyers and sellers, allows me to empower my clients with the tools and confidence needed to effectively achieve all of their real estate goals from start to close. I also take great pride in my strong negotiating skills as well as effective marketing property listings for sale.
I strongly believe that a home should be shown in its best light with staging and professional photography. This vastly enhances the buyer’s perspective when searching online, through print media or in-person. My greatest satisfaction comes from educating my clients in a non-pressure environment in order to make great real estate and life decisions. Anyone can schedule showings or open up a door, but what separates me from other agents is taking the time to find the perfect property while negotiating it successfully for the best possible price and terms upon my buyer’s timetable, or attaining my sellers the highest price possible for their home.
Last but certainly not least, I absolutely love what I do and find much joy and satisfaction in my job. Although at times it can be very stressful, my biggest reward is when my clients have successful outcomes and are happy with my services. I work hard to make sure that this is the experience that each and every one of my clients has. William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance is the No. 1 family-owned real estate company in the Northeast and the 9th real estate company in the country, according to REAL Trends in 2017. William Raveis Real Estate has also been previously named the Most Innovative Brokerage by Inman News.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
That’s a great question: I always tell my clients that the best decisions that I have made in my life, other than marrying my wife, of course, are the real estate acquisitions which I made starting at the age of 25; and that my only regrets are those which I did not make. To that effect, I wish that I had invested more during the down years. With the benefit of experience and wisdom, this helps me navigate my clients through the turbulent and uncertain times.
Historically, most real estate cycles average 7-9 years. I have been through enough of them to not get caught up in the hype of emotions and help my clients fully take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. I have always viewed myself as a lucky person. I am lucky in my life to have a wonderful supportive family with two young boys, ages 4 and 7, who attend the local public schools. This is very important to both my wife and I. We are also strong supporters and greatly involved within our local neighborhood community.
I am also very blessed to live and work where I do. That all being said, when it comes to succeeding in business, luck has a minimal role. One cannot rely upon luck for a real estate transaction to be successful. There are too many intricacies, moving parts and challenges that need to be managed. Having the experience, expertise, and insight to manage it all with a hands-on approach is what separates me from most other agents. I do not sell properties; I provide full real estate services and consultation. This means taking the time to listen to my clients’ needs and best serve their goals. One cannot be successful by leaving things up to luck.
If I had to start all over again, perhaps I would pursue my ambitions of playing power forward for the Boston Celtics more seriously. But with my limited height and athleticism, perhaps real estate was the best choice for me.
- Address: 1229 Centre Street, Newton, MA 02459
- Website: http://vow.mlspin.com/default.asp?id=62608&PageType=0&PageId=270240
- Phone: 617-270-9040
- Email: email@example.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/GeneHashkesRealEstate
- Other: www.raveis.com/genehashkes