You may recognize Andrew Dikes if you have ever been in The Commodari Group offices. Andrew, who met Rob while still in college, started out doing grunt work for the team in 2018.
“I started as an internship just to fulfill a class. I made cold calls. I did that for three months and then the marketing. The person he had (doing marketing) left the team so I took over that,” said Andrew, who graduated from Towson University in 2019 with a business marketing degree. “It was more tracking and keeping up to date with Rob’s transactions, (not as much) posting on Facebook and Instagram.”
Andrew first encountered The Commodari Group owner Rob Commodari at a college career fair. He said he recognized the name from one of his family members and thought real estate sounded like an interesting career choice.
“I first got interested in real estate when my friends were looking for rentals in college. I remember looking at a house and the agent didn’t know anything about it. I thought, I could definitely do this,” he laughed.
Even though Andrew started out in business marketing, going for his real estate license seemed like the right next move. Rob encouraged him to go for it.
“I thought I liked the flexibility but that’s not as true as they say. You kind of have to be available always and that takes some getting used to. But I like that it’s different than traditional jobs. I hate the stigma that you have to graduate college and do a specific job — like everyone graduates college and then just gets a sales job and sits and makes calls all day. Well, we do that, but I like the differences it has from the typical standard job, and you get to meet people every day pretty much so I like that aspect.”
Though Andrew is the youngest member of the team by a decent margin, he said he gets along great with the group.
“Everybody’s always talking about their grandkids and the news and it’s hard for me to interact with that stuff. But it’s part of real estate. Most people are older,” he said. “Compared to other (agencies), the experience and knowledge are hard to find. You may find flashier places, but the foundation is what makes this team strong. The process is what’s going to make it. … From an agent perspective, 9.9 out of 10 deals get done with the team. Everything is sold. You don’t hear about sellers going elsewhere. You never hear that with the team so I think that’s very important.”
Andrew said working with a lot of different personalities — both clients and team members — is one of the big perks of being in real estate.
“I can pretty much get along with any person I meet. If they’re super high energy I can work with it. I’ve never really met people that I couldn’t at least have a conversation with so that kind of benefits me a little bit. Everybody’s different,” he said.
Andrew, who was raised in Overlea before his family moved to Kingsville when he was four, has also grown significantly more familiar with the greater Baltimore Metropolitan region since becoming a real estate agent. Like most young people, he’s trying out city living before buying a home.
“I moved to the city, Fells Point. It’s about a 23- to 25-minute commute (to the office). It helps me living down there. It’s close to the highway so roughly 30 minutes to a lot of places. Living in the city, you’re really close to a lot of areas. Your average time is closer to a lot of places so it gives me a lot of flexibility to go to a lot of places which typically I would not.”
Showing Homes in a Busy Market
As a young agent, Andrew is still building a book of business so he’s mainly showing homes to Rob’s clients. What he likes best so far is the ability to help people find new homes and developments.
“It’s cool because it’s different every single time. You’re never going to find the same house twice. So I like that. Plus you get to explore a lot. I’ve lived here for 24 years but I don’t know all the areas that way so I’ve gotten to experience a lot of places in a small scale.”
In particular, Andrew is enjoying working with townhome buyers. Ironically, he said that while he never sees the same house twice, townhome developments have many similarities, which makes it easier for him to hone his craft.
“I’m starting to understand the values of places from that. I’m starting to get a better grasp on it. That comes with time.”
With the real estate market as hot as it is, the lack of inventory has been one of the biggest challenges of being an agent.
“Developers are trying to build wherever they can because there’s not much available. Homebuyers will buy wherever they can. The builders are taking advantage of it. Even downtown, they’re trying to find space wherever and they’re just throwing (homes) up.”
He said he has learned to focus on where new school construction is happening. Where schools are built, homes follow and vice versa.
“Vincent Farm elementary in the Middle River area (on) the other side of Pulaski by Richardson Farms. They’re putting a high school there. … When you start to see a lot (of construction) like in Canton, I wish I could get in on the places around them. They’re starting to update that area more and more, pushing back toward Highlandtown.”
As a new agent working is less about the money and more about helping clients and the team. For now Andrew is working as a buyer agent and primarily showing homes to Rob’s clients, several who are coming to the area from other regions.
“I provide time. The clients are more Rob’s people than mine so I’m helping in terms of being available because Rob can only be in so many places at once. Especially in this market if you can’t get in right away you miss out,” he said.
Helping People Find a Home
Having just graduated college and with the market being as frenetic as it is these days, Andrew is reluctant to buy a home for himself right now. But not everyone is facing the same set of circumstances and that’s who he’s out to help.
“Some people need to buy a house. Some people want to buy,” he said. “Some of my friends are in the house-buying mode. … It’s not as hard to buy a house as people think. Put down a few thousand dollars and then pay a mortgage that’s like rent. You don’t really need $30,000 or $50,000 (for a down payment). I think a lot of people are realizing that.”
For those who aren’t ready to buy a house, Andrew is also specializing in leasing. He said that most people don’t think of using a real estate agent to lease a place, but it’s important to have a professional to help. He also cautioned people, and especially Millennials, who are getting ready to buy to hire an agent.
“The difference between Millennials and the rest is not being thorough. People in our age group tend to do things without question. (I know) people who signed a contract and didn’t look at it. … You just put your trust in other people and not think about it yourself. That’s kind of normal in our age group.”
Andrew doesn’t know where he’ll be in five years much less 20 — the number of years The Commodari Group has been helping people buy and sell homes —but he said he’s enjoying the lessons he’s learning.
“Rob is really knowledgeable. He teaches you a lot of things. He’s always available to ask questions. If there’s anything you don’t understand, you can always just ask. Nine times out of 10 he’s already had that experience so he has answers so that’s great to learn from.”
Andrew is available most days for showing homes or helping with leasing contracts, but if you don’t see him on the road to his next appointment or in the office, he’s at the golf course.
“My favorite activity is playing golf. I love playing golf. I’m decent. I’m not going to say I’m good. It’s a great sport because it’s so hard. It’s a great sport to be good at. Golf takes three of four times longer to become good at golf than anything else. … If I wasn’t going to do (real estate), I’d do sports. … I played basketball and soccer in high school. But the golf thing molds well with how my mind works. It’s analytical and calming and takes skill.”
Want to talk to Andrew? Call him at 443-219-0191 or (443) 310-7072.