Written by H. K. Wilson for Executive Agent Magazine
A client described Realtor® John Menke as “a Diplomat, a gentleman and a great bargainer.” This is an apt description of a man who was once Cold War intelligencer and is today a broker associate Coldwell Banker Town & Country, where he fulfills the American Dream he helped to preserve.
Influenced by an uncle who was a real estate attorney, John took an interest in real estate at a young age, but the military caught his notice after college. With his gift for languages and amiable nature, he was selected to learn German and go to interrogator school (He was one of an elite few to be trained by the Israeli Mossad in interrogation). He spent the next few years working in then West Germany gathering intelligence for the U. S. government and its allies. During his last nine months in service, he interrogated or debriefed more than 26,000 people for which received the Army Commendation Medal. “I loved it,” John says. “It was the coolest job I ever had.”
The Berlin Wall came down shortly after John returned home to begin civilian life with his wife Karina, and with that momentous event, the world changed. John dedicated the following years to government service, from being a crime scene investigator to finance to managing a Public Works Department. He earned his master’s degree in negotiation and conflict resolution from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and eventually retired from his post at the City of Glendora. It was then that John returned to his first love — real estate. “I always wanted to be in real estate,” he says. “I was fortunate to be old enough to retire and still young enough to start a new career.”
From his extraordinary journey John brought with him a keen ability to read people and negotiate win-win terms. “I think one of my greatest skills is determining what everybody’s true needs are in a transaction. Once I know what’s most important for everyone, it’s possible to negotiate to that on both sides.” In this people-centered business, John excels as a communicator, and he is known for answering his clients’ calls, texts and emails around the clock. “I enjoy talking to people no matter where I go. My wife and I are the same — we start conversations out of the blue with strangers all over the place. I’m just interested in other people and want to know their story.” During the last 10 years of John’s government career, he was in charge of building maintenance for the City of Glendora. His experience in construction and engineering is another boon to clients, since he can advise them about improvements and costs for greatest return on their real estate investment.
As part of the management team at Coldwell Banker Town & Country, John enjoys mentoring newer agents and collaborating with them on deals. “I don’t have a team of my own, but agents pair with me all the time. I really enjoy teaching and coaching.”
John commands the respect of colleagues and clients alike. A cooperating agent said about him: “It was such a pleasure working with John. His professionalism and politeness made a world of a difference during our transaction.”
In her five-star review, a first-time buyer stated: “I am forever thankful I came across John Menke. He understood my needs with his knowledge of residential areas and his given word to help me find a safe home for me and my family. Always available whenever I needed him, whether to view a home or via email, just to rant and stress about the process. He always went one step above and beyond for me. I believe it is his integrity that makes him an exceptional person and Realtor®, and know he will do the same for you!”
Public service remains an important focal point in John’s life. He has held various leadership positions for Boy Scouts of America and contributes often to veterans organizations, including the Fisher House Foundation and the Semper Fi & America’s Fund.
Whether he is hiking, kayaking or exploring local cuisine and culture, John’s life motto has long been, “Live curiously.” He brings a sense of adventure to the home buying experience, along with a lifetime of skills that make it possible to close the deal with minimal stress and maximum satisfaction. “I want to be your happiness broker,” he says. “My goal is to help you buy or sell a home with the best result possible and move you along to the next step in your life without a lot of worries.”