Seven Questions with Bert Gillette11/13/2018
Before joining the Block Group, Bert Gillette had an impressive career as a nonprofit executive. Early in his career, he developed outdoor science and adventure programs for students before transitioning to building therapeutic recreation programs for veterans who are transitioning back to civilian life. In his interview, Bert tells us about why the Block Group brings his nonprofit and realtor passions together and how he continues to serve the Denver community by supporting first-time homeowners.
Where do you live in Denver and why did you choose that neighborhood?
I currently live in the Hilltop neighborhood by Cranmer Park. I love so much about that neighborhood—the park, the sense of community, the feeling of having neighbors and open space. It's crazy because you're right there on Colorado Blvd but as soon as you're a block off, you don't feel anywhere near the city. It's quiet. You've got all ages there. I like door knocking. Now that my neighbors and I have a rapport, we talk together whenever see each other.
How did you start out in real estate?
I'm a very field-oriented person, and I like working in a community. A handful of people told me I'd enjoy real estate. I wasn't sure but I figured, "If I get my license, it'll probably save me in the long run." I was pleasantly surprised. I found a way to be your own boss, be in charge of your own destiny and continue to live my passions and find different people to do business with. I worked in recreational therapy for 15 years and still volunteer with therapy agencies. With real estate, I can still serve my community and, at the same time, work toward my personal goals.
Why did you start choose to join the Block Group?
It's that service, that sense of community that inspired me to be on this team. I feel like if you're not giving back to your community, you're doing a disservice to yourself and the community. When I asked each real estate company what they did for their community, I didn't find a lot of satisfying answers.
At the Block group, I found out that each month they picked a cause and held a community event which not only raises community awareness but also funds. It felt like a good place to leverage some of my background as well to build a new community.
I feel like it's the model of the future. People want to do business with people who are helping others.
What’s your favorite thing about working in real estate and supporting clients in home ownership?
I love that I can make my own schedule instead of punching a clock somewhere.
I'm also a very social person. I like running around knocking on doors and meeting great people. Helping people navigate through the bumps of their first home is a gratifying experience. Some home sellers face adverse circumstances, so to help them transition satisfies my supportive side.
Can you tell us a specific story about a first time homeowner that you were able to help?
I worked with a couple who came from outside the United States. They wanted to provide their kids with a better opportunity and better education. As first-time home buyers, they didn't know everything about the process or the loan system. I developed a relationship and connected them to a lender who showed them how to improve their credit scores to get a lower rate. We also found a home in the the school neighborhood zone of their choice that would fit their family and their budget. After a long time of staying in touch, putting things together, looking at homes and making offers, we found the perfect home
You've created a series of videos called Hometown Heroes. What is your goal with that series?
Every other week, I find a business that supports a cause or a nonprofit organization. I go and interview them. I create a two-minute interview that raises awareness of folks who are rolling up their sleeves to make Denver a better community. It's a triple win. It brings attention to good causes in the community, it helps establish their brand, and when everything goes well, it raises funds for good causes.
What advice do you have for homeowners to help them be successful in the Denver market?
The big thing is to prepare. Many people know a move is coming up but it’s hard to start. If you have the luxury to do so, plan 6 months out. The people who take their time, learn their market and see what they can get for their money have the easiest time finding the right house. They can say, "That's the one. We're done." It's nice when it goes that way.