“The problem is that someone wants to sell their house and we have to figure out what to do to sell the house,” said Oldenettel. “It’s not as easy as you think.”
A lifelong resident of Jacksonville, 54-year-old Oldenettel has been a licensed real estate agent for 32 years. He was president of the local and statewide brokerage organizations and regional vice president of the national branch organization.
“When someone buys a house, you are always dealing with emotions, regardless of whether they think there will be emotions or not,” said Oldenettel. “It can be a challenge. The process may be the same, but the facts of each transaction and the people involved in each transaction are different. ”
After graduating from college, Oldenettel was working as a sales rep at WJIL-WJVO Radio in Jacksonville and then co-owner of a small advertising agency when he met local agent Charlie Heitbrink at a happy hour event.
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“Charlie asked me, ‘Have you ever thought about getting into the real estate business?’ And that’s all it took, ”said Oldenettel. “I was approved as a real estate agent and have been in business ever since.”
For newcomers to the real estate industry, it often takes a long time to complete the first transaction, and it took Oldenettel two months to write his first contract, which was on his 23rd birthday.
“It’s a challenge to have someone so young and new to buy one of the most expensive things people will acquire in their lives,” said Oldenettel. “It was pretty nerve-wracking because I wasn’t sure I came across the way I need to be professional, know what I’m talking about in order to answer questions appropriately.”
But Oldenettel never looked back after that first sale and quickly won the respect of his industry colleagues. He was President of the Jacksonville Area Association of Realtors in 1995 and 2005. Shortly thereafter, Oldenettel became actively involved in the Illinois Association of Realtors, which became Illinois Realtors, and was elected president of the statewide organization in 2013. He was elected Vice President of Region 7 of the National Association of Realtors that year.
“I wanted to better understand the real estate industry at the state and federal level,” said Oldenettel. “I thought it would be a better way to represent my customers by seeing how other people do business in other markets.”
Oldenettel leads education and compliance for The Real Estate Group, which has offices in Jacksonville and Springfield. With 167 and growing agents, it’s one of the largest independent real estate companies south of Interstate 80.
Much has changed in the three decades that Oldenettel has helped people buy and sell houses. When he first started, the real estate buying process consisted of meeting potential buyers at a home and then taking them to the bank to secure funding if they were interested in buying. Now real estate agents need to take precautions for the safety of themselves, the buyer and seller, and all buyers should be pre-qualified before viewing a home.
Mortgage rates were between 12% and 13% 32 years ago and are now between 2% and 3%. These low interest rates created the perfect storm of more buyers and fewer sellers, making it a sellers market now.
“Many homeowners have refinanced at the lower rates, and once you’ve refinanced your home, you’re less likely to flip it over and sell it right away,” said Oldenettel. “The low prices also mean that more people can qualify to buy a home, so there is currently much more demand than supply.”
Still, sellers need to present their homes in the best possible light to increase their chances of a quick sale. Oldenettel advises its customers to keep their homes as neat, clean and fresh as possible. A fresh coat of paint, new carpeting, attractive landscaping, and tidying up are some of the most important things to consider.
“People take a look at your home online before they come through the door. If someone has a refrigerator with all the photos of children and grandparents, all the schoolwork, it’s pretty confusing, ”said Oldenettel. “Cleaning up the landscape also makes a big difference. People drive by and if they don’t care about the curb appeal they won’t care about what you have in there. ”
Oldenettel said his greatest joy as a realtor is helping first-time buyers realize their dream of owning a home. Recently, he was able to help a young, single local teacher buy a house because of pandemic incentives.
“I had a first-time buyer, and the expense was higher than expected due to credit requirements and inspections,” said Oldenettel. “Then suddenly the COVID stimulus check appeared, and based on this stimulus check we were able to close. It was a touching moment to see this for this young woman. ”
Oldenettel also acted as his own broker when he and his wife Lori Large Oldenettel were looking for a new home, but this purchase, like all real estate transactions, was unique.
“Lori asked about a house our agency had for sale and I told her I had recently shown it to someone else. And she said: ‘Well, why didn’t you tell me about it?’ “Said Oldenettel. “A few days later, Lori went to the open house with a friend and found that she liked it very much. So we made an offer, bought it and have been with us for 16 years. ”
Michael and Lori and their sons Kellon, Beckham and Nash are active in the family foundation they set up for their sons’ charitable causes. Kellon runs his own charity, Sock Drawer, and Beckham’s Bookshelf is another family thing. Nash holds a degree in Political Science from Millikin University and is moving to Washington, DC to work for Congressman Darin LaHood.
Michael is the honorary chairman of the Jacksonville City Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals, serves on his church council, and is a coach and board member of the local soccer club. Lori is a member of the Jacksonville City Council.
“I am an accomplished volunteer and it doesn’t help that my wife is like that too,” said Oldenettel. “I just think it’s important to be there. There is more to life than just going to work every day. ”
Oldenettel could never have dreamed that a happy hour conversation would lead to a life calling in which he could represent his colleagues on a national level.
“It’s very humiliating. I never imagined all those years ago that I would be as active at the state and national levels as I have been or even do the things I did in Jacksonville, “said Oldenettel. “This is my home. I am proud that I was asked. I have a problem and that is, I don’t know how to say no.”