American businessman Anthony Hitt believes that “to be successful in real estate, you must always and consistently put your clients’ best interests first. When you do, your personal needs will be realized beyond your greatest expectations.” Paul Klenk, of Olympia’s Van Dorm Realty, embodies that selfless dedication.
A Minnesota native, Klenk started in real estate after a 5 year stint in the Marine Corps as an Air Defense Officer. He’s been an agent for more than 20 years, 17 of those as part of the Van Dorm family. He specializes in residential resale and admits “I love working for a client and earning a referral to another generation in the same family. I have about 5 families that I’ve assisted for 3 generations. I can’t wait for the next generation to graduate and help them, too.”
A devoted family-man, Klenk laughingly describes his hobbies as “getting our kids out the door! For the last 15 years: youth baseball, fastpitch, volleyball, wresting, band, plays, football…and my lovely wife, Lesley. Now we can start traveling. We are so proud of the kids; the oldest son is a lieutenant in the US Army, our daughter is a social worker in Maine, and the youngest is chasing his dream pitching on a college baseball team.”
This ability to adapt and juggle has definitely helped with some of the oddities inherent in real estate. While showing homes, he’s dealt with inspectors stepping through a roof, clients losing shoes in the mud, a toilet installed in the middle of a room, and discovering secret bunkers and rooms within properties. He lists, “I’ve been bitten by a dog, chased by a cat, stepped on a nail, twisted my ankle pretty badly, and had an 8-year-old lock me and my clients on a second story balcony—I had to climb down. And now, recently I lost a client to another agent—they got married!”
Now he, and his licensed assistant Ryan Fisher, love helping clients find their forever home or an investment property. Klenk wants sellers to know that real estate is his passion. “I believe that each property and each motivation for selling requires and deserves an individual and personal marketing plan.” For buyers, “this should be an exciting time, not confusing. Call me. Let me simplify the process of buying. Ask me questions. Challenge me. I will be with you through each step of the buying process.”
Real estate website Zillow reports that “Thurston County home values have gone up 6.0% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 4.0% within the next year.” While it is definitely a sellers market, with limited inventory available and home sales happening quickly, Paul is more than willing to sit down with interested parties and explain this detailed, often scary, process.
Van Dorm Reality is a family-owned business since it began 35 years ago. Their team of over 100 brokers means that someone is available seven days a week either in person or over the phone. Drop by their offices at 1530 Black Lake Boulevard, in West Olympia, to meet Paul or one of their many other real estate specialists.