In a digital age, real estate clients come to the marketplace prepared. Buyers typically search on their own for many months before engaging an agent to represent them. And we know this just isn’t about being casual, most people want to avoid engaging the wrong professional. But how do you know you’ve got the right agent? Is it 5-star reviews? Sponsored ads on social media? Sure, this is a good start. But if you dig deeper, you’ll see it’s about chemistry. You should hire an agent that makes you feel empowered. “Meet the Agents” is the guerilla realty guide to our professionals.
Meet “Diamond” David Tomasko
How long have you worked in real estate? What did you do prior?
I’ve worked in real estate since obtaining my license in 2013. For nearly a decade prior to becoming a realtor, I honed my construction skills as a partner in a contracting business, while simultaneously remodeling my own home with my wife. I’ve always had an appreciation for building because my grandfather and father were involved in the trade, and certainly passed along some of their expertise and skills. Though I still love elements of fabrication, I reached a point in my life where I was looking for a career transition that utilized the knowledge I had gained as a builder, but expanded upon it in new ways.
My friend, and now business associate, Rachel was instrumental in encouraging me to pursue Real Estate, a field in which she had already excelled. Over the years, we have formed a professional relationship, and strengthened our friendship, assisting each other in developing a successful real estate business and practice, and I am excited to see what the future holds.
You have a lot of artist clients, how did that happen? How does it impact your work?
The creative culture of Baltimore, and the diversity of people that live here, are what brought my wife and I to the city, and remain the reasons we have stayed. Through copious art openings, museum talks, performances, studio visits, and fundraisers, I have been fortunate to meet an incredible amount of talented, caring, compassionate creatives. My wife is a partner in one of the region’s top galleries, and through our lifelong support of artists, I have come to understand that artists often have very specific live-work space needs, to which I am very attuned. Baltimore has a wealth of mixed use inventory. Since I enjoy helping people, and because of our connection to the art scene, my personal contacts have aided my practice, and have helped artists invest, and put roots down, in our city.
You haven’t always lived in Baltimore, how does this perspective inform your work?
That is true, I have traveled extensively and have lived in more than one state, which allows me to truly appreciate Baltimore’s many charms and assets. I’m not in Baltimore simply because I was born here… I am here because I love this city and chose to live here the past 20 years. Having the experience of living in other places helps me recognize, celebrate, and accommodate differences in property as well as in people. Every experience I’ve had informs my practice, and has helped me build the empathy, patience, and humor that helps my clients through the process of buying real estate.
After a few years of practice, your registered “Diamond” as part of your trade name, what’s up with that?
A little humor goes a long way, especially if it is self deprecating. Humor relaxes people. I tend to befriend people who partake in good natured humor. Because I am not terribly active on social media, a few colleagues were discussing some of my work on their social media posts, referring to me affectionately I hope, as “Diamond Dave.” I have a meticulous nature, an in-depth understanding of properties, and am tenacious when it comes to making certain things are completed correctly and fairly. So I think they were having some fun at my expense… and it stuck.
What has it been like selling real estate during the pandemic while civil unrest dominated the news cycle?
Stressful, yet hopeful at the same time. For a few months following the shutdown everything felt tenuous. The future seemed so unpredictable, and clients were hesitant and nervous. Let’s face it, our clients feel anxious when faced with [what may be] the largest financial decision of their lives, and what they typically want – more than anything in the process – is reassurance. People were feeling very unsafe and unsure. However, since that time, each facet of the industry from lenders, title companies, inspectors and agents, have worked to establish safety protocols to protect our clients and ourselves. The pandemic caused people to spend more time at home. This also caused people to give more consideration to where they live and how they live. This elevated time for reflection caused many people to make changes or updates which in effect resulted in the recent surge in activity in the residential side of things, not to mention the historically low rates.
The civil unrest is a reflection of our history of injustice, in Baltimore and across the country at large. People are calling for change because change is needed. Real estate is certainly not immune – it is an industry with dubious discriminatory histories that have contributed to unfair and unjust systems, but the industry has been rigorously trying to address that past and put regulations in place that stop bad actors. Like most things in life, trust is earned through trustworthy behavior, and I am proud to work with a group of colleagues at guerilla / realty that affect positive change with an emphasis on anti-discrimination practices, ethics and fairness.
Can you share a few memorable experiences selling real estate over the past 7 years?
There are always surprises in Real Estate, which is to say, when I think about it, there is no surprise in the unexpected. For example, I recall when the facade of a client’s building they were purchasing was struck by a car while under contract. We needed to prove it was new damage using old photos from Google maps, along with the article from the Baltimore Sun detailing the incident. It was unanticipated, but we handled it. In another unexpected moment, I had to remove a locked door from its frame because the owner lost the key the night before settlement and the appraiser needed a photo of the interior. These are rare, but we find solutions. In contrast to the challenging moments, and what truly stands out, are the people. Helping people find the path to their best self is joyful and memorable. My clients tend to stay connected well after our transaction has concluded. Those bonds are why I love what I do. Some of them have opened prosperous business that brings positive outcomes in their community in the multi-use spaces I’ve sold them. I have been invited to multiple client weddings, have clients call me for a dinner date when they’re back in town, receive the happy announcements of babies being added to the family, and even play regular pickup basketball with a client. I’m humbled to admit, I even have a client who refers to me as “her real estate hero” each time I see her. These human connections are most memorable.