7539 Front St. NW • P.O. BOX 340 • Walker, MN 56484 • Phone: 218-547-3307

Dear home buyer/seller,
Hiring a real estate agent is a decision based on multiple factors. Competency, experience, sales history--all play major factors. But sometimes just knowing a bit more about an agent's personal background can be helpful too.

Growing up in the small town of Frost, Minnesota (population around 250) as the 5th of 7 children in a family with very modest means, I learned the values of hard work early in life. Besides carrying a full load of schoolwork and participating in athletics, I usually worked "part time" 30 to 40 hours a week from age 13 as a freshman in high school until graduation from college. Most of my part time jobs taught me valuable lessons and people skills, as well as what I did not want to be when I grew up.

After graduating from Mankato State College (now Minnesota State University) with a major in mathematics and a minor in economics, I started my 27-year banking career with First Bank System (now U. S. Bank) at First National Bank of Mankato in 1969.

By 1980, I was the senior commercial loan officer and was promoted to President of First National Bank of Spring Valley, and from there to Rochester as senior credit administration officer for nine southern Minnesota First Banks. In 1985, I was transferred as President to First National Bank of Fairmont, where I finished out my U. S. Bank days prior to moving to Leech Lake in 1997.

The thing I liked best about banking back then was the relationship-orientation of the business and all the great people I interacted with as customers, co-workers and community members. That attitude helped me win many customer service awards, including the top award given to only four of 10,000 employees annually. Sadly, most of the big banks have switched from being relationship-orientated to transaction-orientated, focusing on 800-numbers, voice mail, automation and bottom line profits. Not so in the real estate business, which is the major reason I chose real estate as a second career.

Looking back, I don't think I could have had better preparation. In addition to my degree from Minnesota State, I was able to take graduate courses at Oklahoma State University, Ohio State University and Rutgers, as well as many courses with First Bank System University and the American Banker's Association. After leaving the banking world, I completed the Minnesota Department of Commerce course work necessary to become a licensed realtor, a licensed appraiser and a registered home inspector.

As a banker, besides focusing on the obvious such as qualifying a customer for credit, qualifying the property being purchased with title work, surveys and appraisals, and then finding the client the right mortgage, I went further to assist my clients. In addition to the course work and hands on face-to-face experience of negotiating many large transactions, other factors became equally important in relationship-banking that I now use in relationship-real estate.

It starts with understanding the client's wants and needs by asking the right questions and then being a good listener. If I do my job correctly, there is no need to be a pushy salesperson. Giving you, the client, breathing room and decision-making time is very important. Earning and inspiring your trust is also critical.

Approximately 75% of my business comes from repeat customers and referrals, who would not mind if I share their name and phone number with you, if you would like a list of references.

If you would like to sell your property, great connections retained from my banking and real estate careers enable me to bring more buyers to the table. If you're looking to purchase, I can share my in-depth knowledge of the area's lakes, shorelines, fisheries, forests and communities gained through many years of hunting, fishing and vacationing in the area, plus full time residency since 1997.

Using our computerized Multiple Listing System and property visits, we can search out your dream property. I also take great pride in being a master at managing the details for you, eliminating the hassles and making your purchase or sale enjoyable, rewarding and trouble-free. My goal is to make the transaction a "win/win" situation for both buyers and sellers and that relies heavily on the knowledge, experience and expertise at negotiating earned over my long career.

Let me put this knowledge, experience and expertise to work for you.

Call me anytime at (218) 820-0234.

-Tom Johnson