THE ‘GO TO’ REALTOR, VESKOV BUILDS HIS OWN ‘AMERICAN DREAM’
Don’t discredit “The American Dream.” Zvonko Veskov knows its value. He’s experienced it firsthand. The broker/owner of New Jarsey Homes & Estates in Garfield was still a toddler when his folks arrived from Macedonia in 1977. Veskov’s father, Ilia, worked hard in building construction while he scrimped, saved and managed to purchase a four-family dwelling in 1983.
When the property was sold in 2005, it commanded a price six times the original value. “My father put three kids through college on his real estate investments” said Veskov, who followed his father’s lead by purchasing a five-family building as has starter home. “I really believe there is no better long-term investment than real estate.”
Working every summer in the family’s business since he was 14, Veskov graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in business management and was quickly hired by a marketing firm. The firm grew by leaps and bounds, along with the hours.
“My girlfriend Zlata and I were planning on getting married and I was working 60 hours per weeks.” Veskov recalled. That’s when he had a serious talk with Zlata, along the lines of, “Honey, I can’t be doing this.”
Veskov rejoined his father in construction, Soon there was “another talk.” This time the message was loud and clear, “Honey, I have a passion for real estate.” One year later to the day, Veskov joined a small Peterson real estate firm and remained for three years, just long enough to obtain his broker’s license.
The father of two sons, Ilia, 10, and Philip, 6, started out small with a 600-square-foot office. It has since been replaced by a two-story building covering 2,500 square feet and a sales force of 14 agents. “The staff is all talented agents, speaking multiple languages.” he said. “We have a lot of ethnic groups in this area and we cater to their needs. We interact with all kinds of people from all over the world with different buying and selling homes.”
Q: What personal qualities do your bring to your profession that best serves your clients?
Veskov: First and most importantly, I absolutely love what I do. I’ve always had a passion for working with people and helping them find their dream home. Coming from a construction background, I can easily determine the drawbacks of a home and discuss these with my clients. The ability to speak several languages, including Macedonian, Serbo-Croatian and Polish enables me to fully explain everything to our non-English speaking clients.
Q: What advice do you have for clients shopping for a home in this economy?
Veskov: It’s important that they make sure that they know what they can afford and where they would like to spend the next seven to ten years of their lives. It’s also advisable to make a list of their priorities, in the order of their preferences. At the same time, the uncertainty in the market has lead to the sale of more two-family homes. People feel more reassured when they are collecting a rental income that will at least pay half of the mortgage payments.
Q: What are the pros and cons of buying a fix-me-up, short sake or foreclosure since a number of these homes will be coming to market?
Veskov: Naturally, the price in the biggest pro. Often these homes require a significant amount of updating, which allows the buyers to remodel and decorate to their taste. A buyer has to be careful since many of these homes may contain many defects form being neglected for so long. Coming from a construction background, I can help clients come up with a budget for repairs and upgrades.
Q: How can prospective homebuyers make the most of Open Houses? Are there any specific question they should ask?
Veskov: I always tell my clients to pass by the home and drive around the neighborhood and make sure they feel comfortable. The home you are about to purchase must give you a great first impression or curb appeal. Finally, when entering the home, it must give you a positive vibe and welcoming feeling. Walk through the house as if it was yours and try to see if this home fits all of your criteria. If you are working with Realtor, please make sure that the agent hosting the Open House knows.
Q: What is the most challenging thing about real estate today?
Veskov: As an agent, you must be at the top of your game and remain up-to-date with the ever-changing regulations and dynamics of the business. Having the right team in place is crucial, from mortgage representatives to home inspectors to attorneys that can give your clients the appropriate legal advice. An agent also has to be informed and aware of everything that is happening in the community. You need to be the “go to” Realtor.
Q: What was your most challenging home-buying or –selling experience?
Veskov: There was a two-family [house] in Garfield that kept going in and out of contract. The owners finally called me after the listing expired and I found out that the home had a few inspection issues that could not be resolved by the potential buyers and seller. So I contacted the inspector and we went through the inspection report with the sellers. We hired a contractor to take care of all the inspection issues and then put the house back on the market. The sellers received an offer $15,000 higher than any previous offer. I have since gained two more listings on that same street.
N.J. Homes & Estates
27 Outwater Lane
Achievements and Affiliation
NJAR Circle of Excellence 2007-2010
PCBOR – Professional Standards Committee
Chairman, Garfield Zoning Bd. of Adjustment
Vice President, Board Development of the Boys and Girls Club of Garfield