KENNETH DELVECCHIO – Proper training important

With a professional history based in entrepreneurial endeavors, Kenneth DelVecchio has experienced a wide array of responsibility in the business realm, from successful salesman to respected leader.

DelVecchio’s first experience in the business world came early on when he opened his own video electronics business, which he eventually sold in 1992. “After I sold the business, I thought that it was a good idea to try a different path,” he said. “My cousin and uncle had been involved in real estate and they convinced me to give it a try.”

After the chancy venture of entrepreneurialism, DelVecchio said, he thought it best to use the business skills he acquired in a field with a more specific focus and limited responsibility.

“In retail you have to buy and control your own inventory, whereas in real estate you don’t have to buy your inventory,” he said. “When I started out in real estate, I knew that if I wanted to make the business grow, as I had in my retail [experience], I would have to focus on customer service. If you provide good customer service, your business will grow.”

DelVecchio, now a Realtor with RE/MAX Heritage in Westport, started his real estate career at William Pitt Real Estate in Trumbull. He spent almost two years there learning the technicalities of the business before moving on to manage the Fairfield office of Tom Brennan Real Estate.

It took some time and experience in the industry before DelVecchio found his niche – or, more accurately, it found him in 1996 when he was approached by a fellow broker. “I was actually sought out by an owner-broker who knew me from my retail days and thought that RE/MAX Heritage would be a good fit for me,” he said.

‘A Perfect Fit’

DelVecchio said he has found the RE/MAX business model conducive to his self-motivated work ethic. “The RE/MAX concept of individual entrepreneurialism appealed to me,” he noted. “Under RE/MAX’s concept we all worked for ourselves. We’re independent business people, who pay our own bills – we rent our own phones and office space – we are our own boss. It’s a perfect fit.”

As he became settled in the real estate industry, DelVecchio became involved with different associations that work to better educate Realtors and improve communities as a whole. Starting off on a local level, he first became involved with the boards by working as program chairman of the Greater Fairfield Board of Realtors.

“Then in 2000 and 2003, I received the Realtor of the Year award, which was an honor,” said DelVecchio. “In 2002 and 2003, I was the president of the Greater Fairfield Board of Realtors, which automatically put me on the board of directors at the Connecticut Association of Realtors in 2002.”

Since then, DelVecchio has enthusiastically increased his participation in CAR. “Last year I was elected to CAR’s Executive Committee and became the association’s treasurer for 2005 and 2006,” he said. “Being treasurer makes me chairman of the Finance Committee, where I work with six members of the Executive Committee and look at how CAR’s funds should be spent.”

Through his resources at CAR, DelVecchio has been able to examine changes in the business over the past half-decade. “The biggest change we’ve seen is the amount of new people in the business,” he said. “We had 9,700 Realtors in Connecticut five years ago and there are 17,300 today. I think what’s happened is that because the business had appreciated at such a dramatic rate many people elected to get into it. Now that it’s starting to slow down we’re seeing some corrections in prices, and if there is an extended slowdown, I think we’ll see people getting out of the business.”

According to DelVecchio, CAR has taken action to raise the standard for Realtor training over the past years, achieving success in 2004. “With the amount of new people getting into the industry, training has become important. Without adequate training we begin to see problems. It used to take 30 hours of classroom training before you could take a real estate test but with all of the environmental issues and extra knowledge that has [amassed], it’s now required that you have 60 hours of training. The proposal was initiated by CAR and had to go to the Department of Consumer Protection first; it was approved and signed into law a year ago.”

CAR has also been involved with a number of other initiatives, designed to defend homeowners’ rights, on a legislative level. “We’re advocates for homeownership,” said DelVecchio. “That’s what we do – we’re not just here to help educate Realtors but also to help promote and defend homeownership through our lobbying efforts and keeping homeowners and politicians notified.”

Noted for his fresh approach to public speaking, DelVecchio said he enjoys entertaining his fellow association members while keeping them informed. He noted, “When we have the board of directors meetings, I’ve always tried to interject a bit of humor into my reports. I started off the meeting this year by walking out to the 150 board of directors by playing the theme [song] from ‘The Apprentice’ [‘For the Love of Money’]. My feeling is that we should all be sitting there having fun, not with scowls on our faces. Just because some treasurer’s reports are fairly boring, doesn’t mean that they have to be.”

DelVecchio plans to remain active as a major player at CAR. “My peers in the business know that if they ever have any questions about what’s going on both nationally and locally in the real estate industry, I can steer them in the right direction,” he said. “Because of my CAR involvement, I can refer people to anyone in the state who I know from the association.

“I’m happy that people know that if they need help, they can always call me.”