Real Estate

Bert Johnson Realty Opens New Liberty Office

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio – With a new office at 1482 W. Liberty St., the owners of Bert Johnson Realty are prepared to help their clients get into their first home or get to work on a fixer-upper.

Founded 48 years ago, Bert Johnson started the agency after two years in the industry. He’s also been a consultant for HUD and the Federal Housing Administration for 20 years.

Over those 50 years, the market has changed drastically, he observed. Due to limited technology back at the outset of his career, realtors did not have mobile listing services available to them as well as other uses of technology. 

“Real estate today is totally different,” he said. “Everything’s on your computer and [I] work out of that every single day. Years ago, there was nothing, but we still made it work [on paper.]” 

As a consultant with Fannie Mae, Johnson goes to designated site locations to ensure contractor do jobs correctly, meeting all required zoning requirements through HUD’s 203K loan, which permits homebuyers and homeowners to finance up to $35,000 into their mortgage to repair, improve or upgrade their home. 

“That program gives a person an opportunity to purchase a home and we have a home in the same loan. The reason for that is that I go out and make sure the contractor does the job he’s supposed to do on the house [repairs],” Johnson said. 

Doing on-site work as a consultant gives Johnson allows him to be more hands-on when working with clients. On Thursday, his realty firm’s grand opening of their new office location. Johnson and his wife, fellow co-owner Patricia, said they relocated the firm to Liberty from Warren because they’ve called the township home for more than 30 years. 

“I think the community of Liberty will be very happy to have us and we’re looking forward to doing business with them,” he said.

The new location at 1482 W. Liberty St. was remodeled inside and out. Johnson invested more than $15,000 in the renovations, which largely consisted of separating the one-room space into two sections.

“[We] made a private office out of it,” he said of the added room.

Before moving to the new space, Johnson’s firm was located in Warren for two and a half years. Last year, Bert Johnson Realty sold 2 homes in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties. His goals for the future of the business include giving first time home buyers 50% off of their appraisals

“Whatever [the] appraisal value comes to on their home, we will pay 50% of that appraised value to give back to the community,” he said.

For first-time homebuyers, Bert Johnson Realty offers classes and consulting on what goes into owning your own home, said sales assistance Jonathan Price.

“Purchasing a home can be a scary process, so a lot of times people shy away from it and just rent,” he said. “We [want to be able to] ease people into home ownership, taxes, insurance and adding things to their houses that prepare them for the next step.”

Even though it may be a daunting step to take, Price is noticing the younger generation realizing renting may not always be the best fit for them.

“The thought of owning a home is kind of scary because what happens if a plumbing issue goes wrong or [they have] furnace [issues] or anything like that,” he said. “We have several contractors that we work with, so we like to give those contractors as referrals.[We still] tell individuals to do their homework first before they try to purchase a home because they may not be ready.” 

Pictured: Sales associate Jonathan Price joined Bert Johnson Realty owners Bert and Patricia Johnson at the grand opening of the firm’s new Liberty Township office at 1482 W. Liberty St., Girard.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.