By Kim Breyley
This Feb. 10, MD Realty in Middlefield will celebrate 30 years in business. “I have always had an interest in real estate,” said Mark Dolezal co-owner of MD Realty. “I bought my first house on South State in Middlefield at the age of 21. It was a handyman’s special, but I was attracted by the architecture.” And that is how it all began.
Dolezal earned his real estate license early in his career and was listing homes part-time under a local realty company. Full-time, he was working for the county engineers office. His wife Patti was employed in Mentor at a car dealership. It was not long before Dolezal was encouraged by colleagues to branch out on his own, so in February of 1987 he became a licensed broker. “I took some ‘How To Start Your Own Business’ courses at Kent State Geauga,” said Dolezal. “And we moved into the office space that we occupy today.” The fledgling business took off and Patti earned her realtor’s license and joined him.
“We began with several experienced agents and the business grew, each year better than the year before,” said Dolezal. “There is a lot of satisfaction in owning a successful business in your own town for such a long period of time. We are fortunate.” The Dolezals have always lived in close proximity to their office. “This is a time-intensive business,” he said. For many years they lived in the village and are now just six miles away. “In the early days, we did a lot of running, but with today’s technology we can run communications from home or the office.”
“I remember when the first fax came to Middlefield,” reminisced Dolezal. “What an exciting day that was. We could go down to Conley’s Department Store in Harrington Square, and for a quarter, send a fax. No more running to Chardon with contracts!”
In 2008, the bottom fell out of the real estate market, country-wide. “I never thought I would see values go down in this area like they did during the crash. I did not see it coming,” he said. But when it hit, they did what most businesses did: took a look at expenses and tightened up.
Dolezal remarked, “2008 was our most challenging year ever, and 2016 was our best in 30 years, in number of sales and dollar volume.”
“Currently, housing prices are solid,” he stated. “The market is showing a true picture. It is a good time to sell. There is pent-up demand and a lack of inventory.”
MD Realty draws on their 30 years of experience when advising buyers and sellers. For the buyer, Dolezal said, “Come in, meet with us, and find out the steps necessary to make a purchase. There are things you might need to do to improve your credit score before you can qualify, but you need to take that first step.” He continued, “Too many times a buyer might be discouraged if they only talk to one lending source. We match the buyer with the lender. We match the house with lender. Some lenders don’t finance particular properties,” he explained. “Don’t give up until you have talked with us.”
And for the seller, Dolezal advised, “Be prepared, do your home work. When I go on a listing appointment, I look at the major items: age of furnace, roof, windows, siding; in rural areas: septic and well. I check out the electrical box and look for maintenance issues.”
“No-one ever has all the answers,” he added. “But we make a concerted effort to educate ourselves.”
Dolezal is a director on the board of the Ohio Realtors Association, the largest trade organization in the state of Ohio. He and Patti regularly attend classes that address legalities, property management and other important real estate issues. Annually, they join other realtors and meet with legislators in an open-house forum to share information and advocate for private property rights. “This allows both them and us to do our jobs better,” he said.
The Dolezals have an international designation, which affords them the ability to list properties world-wide through an international referral network. “Many of our area businesses are no longer locally owned,” said Dolezal. “So if someone living abroad is required to move to this area, MD Realty is registered as an accredited source and will be recommended world-wide. Mark and Patti are two of 10 in Ohio with this highly coveted designation.
Much of the real estate that MD Realty handles is residential. “Being a small local agency, we have to be equipped to handle all types of transactions,” said Dolezal. “So we have experience with residential, commercial, industrial, retail and vacant land.”
When asked about what type of legacy he hopes to share, Dolezal says, “I have never been prouder to be a realtor than I am today. It is much more than just selling a house. It is helping others achieve the “American Dream”.” Dolezal mentioned that he carries a book to annual conferences, “Advancing the American Dream” published by OAR, commemorating their 100-year anniversary. “I have it autographed by past presidents of OAR and others that have been influential in my real estate career such as the late John Reithoffer, past CEO of the Geauga Co. Association of Realtors. This I plan to share with my grand kids someday,” he said proudly.
Currently, there are four on the MD Realty team: Mark Dolezal has received a great deal of recognition over the years. He is a LGAAR (Lake Geauga Area Assoc. of Realtors) recipient of the Ohio Association of Realtors® Presidents Sales Award, 2013 LGAAR Realtor of the Year, he was Lake and Geauga Realtors® president in 2014 and recent recipient of the 2016 John Reithoffer Award.
Patti Dolezal holds a CIPS (Certificate of International Property Specialist) and has also been a regular recipient of the Ohio Association of Realtors® Presidents Sales Award for her outstanding yearly sales.
Sherry Rath, is a realtor and administrative assistant, licensed with MD Realty for more than 10 years.
Cassie Plott is a realtor and has also completed her certification as a professional property stager.
To celebrate this landmark 30-year anniversary, MD Realty invites the community to celebrate with them at their office Open House on Feb. 10. Enjoy light refreshments, mingle and reminisce from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Contact MD Realty at 440-632-5055 or drop in at 15618 W. High St. in Middlefield. Their website is www.mdrealty-ltd.com.