Charles Scott Sr. began selling homes the same year New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola was born. Two years later, he opened Tri-State Realty – where his son and daughter now both work – and he’s never looked back. In addition to running that business, he is involved with dozens of boards and civic organizations and last year he was named Realtor of the Year by both the Greater Bridgeport Board of Realtors and the Connecticut Bankers Association. When he’s not working, he enjoys seeing plays and reading biographies and motivational books.
Q: How did you get into real estate?
A: I’m also an insurance broker. I started out in insurance. As an insurance broker, I was in many households selling insurance. I started in 1969, working for Nationwide Insurance. I was familiar with the home-buying process and I knew a lot of people throughout the region. A friend of mine who had sold insurance and went into real estate told me it would be a natural for me. That was in 1985. I already had the customers, so I decided to get my real estate sales license. Today, I do very little insurance. Real estate keeps me busy enough.
I’ve seen it come and go; I’ve been through the heyday of 1985 and the downfall of the ’90s. I’ve been through ups and downs three times. I can remember when prices were so high it was difficult to find buyers who could qualify. In Fairfield County, it was very hard to qualify some people. Then, when the market came down, I was busier than ever. On the downside, it’s like the stock market – when prices fall, you buy more.
Q: Do you have a specialty?
A: I like to work with first-time homebuyers. It’s a niche market because it takes a lot of patience and work and there are a number of programs you need to know about. You have to be very well-versed in all of those because they all have pluses and minuses. There’s a science and expertise to it. I gravitate towards then because most agents do not.
In times like this, it’s been fairly good for me. There’s nothing better than selling a house to someone who went through two or three agents and I work with them and I get to see them move into a house. They tell their friends and the referrals start coming.
I teach first-time homebuyer classes and in those classes, I tell everybody not to be so particular with the house they’re buying because it’s called a starter home for a reason. The mistake many first-time buyers make is: They want the first house to be the last house. You have to be imaginative and look toward the future. Their needs will change and then change again. It’s a journey. It’s all about education.
Q: Would you recommend a career in real estate to someone in their 20s?
A: Yes, but I would recommend that people get as much information as possible. The profession is constantly changing. If you’re not aware of changes in the industry, you can make expensive mistakes. The biggest problem in our profession is people who have been in the business a long time and they’re still doing things the way they always have. We used to think computers would be the death of the industry. Now you’ve got the Internet and customers who know how to use it and know more about properties than the agents do in some cases. The warning is to become very knowledgeable and proficient in your trade. You have big corporations taking over the industry. Agents have to figure out a niche. Someone new coming into the market is probably more versed in the electronics and social media. I’ve been in business for a while, but I need to surround myself with people who know social media, etc. to get my name out there. I do TV ads, I host a radio program, I have a newsletter and do a lot of work in the community, too. You have to get your name out there.