By Susan Bowness
Tenacity and persistence have served John “Rum” Rumcik well in both his professional and recreational pursuits. As an Associate with RE/MAX Gateway in Lorton, Virginia, Rumcik methodically built a referral base that has helped him achieve RE/MAX Hall of Fame status as a solo agent. Outside of real estate, his achiever’s mindset – along with a giving spirit – has led to an upcoming meeting with his hero, bodybuilder-turned-movie-star-turned-California-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
A bodybuilder himself, Rumcik set his sights on entering the Arnold Classic, Schwarzenegger’s annual competition in March 2019, a goal Rumcik figured would incentivize his workouts and, ideally, put him on course to meet the famous host. But even as he started to train, Rumcik kept his eyes open for other opportunities. He found one on the website www.omaze.com, which connects donors with once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Since he donates to Children’s Miracle Network anyway with every house sale, Rumcik bid on the chance to have Schwarzenegger be his life coach for a day—and won. Now he and his wife will fly to Los Angeles to meet the celebrity in the fall of 2018. By the time he enters the competition, seeing Schwarzenegger will be a reunion of sorts.
Back in real estate, Rumcik started out in 2006 thinking real estate would just be a side hustle to his full-time sales job. But his dreams grew big after he met Scott MacDonald, president of RE/MAX Gateway. Little did Rumcik know that his mettle would be tested almost immediately: Just as he committed to real estate full-time in the spring of 2007, the housing crash hit Northern Virginia.
That’s when tenacity kicked in. Rumcik resolved to do everything he could to flourish in his new career. “I got licensed in Maryland. I would drive anywhere, and I would work rentals, listed rentals,” he recalls. He became an expert in short sales and took every training course REMAX offered to hone his skills. He did so much evaluation of properties that he became expert at it.
While the rough market lasted through 2009, Rumcik’s business grew in spite of it. “I worked hard. I was able to keep getting out there and closing houses and developing relationships that would result in more and more referrals,” he says. Today, he focuses mostly on detached homes and townhouses; his clientele includes many second-time homebuyers.
Now in a position to embrace a role as a mentor, Rumcik stresses the importance of building relationships, which includes connecting and staying in contact with clients. He creates a personalized magazine, regular email campaigns, and a busy social media presence, especially on Facebook. He’s also a connector, going beyond real estate to recommend insurance brokers, roofers, anyone who can help his clients.
“I am and always will be a networker and a referrer. I literally have somebody who can do anything,” he says of his vast connections to service providers in his area. “When I started, I would talk to someone and they’d be like, ‘Hey, my business needs this,’ and I would go out and find people and send them the referrals.”
MacDonald agrees that this dedication makes Rumcik stand out. “Real estate is very competitive in our area, and Rum overcomes this by doing videos, doing client visits and keeping himself top-of-mind with clients,” says MacDonald, who adds only half-jokingly that the agent’s biceps also help him stand out. “He is a great connector as well, which helps him provide value to everyone he knows.”
It doesn’t hurt to be the physical embodiment of discipline. While Rumcik has long been an athlete — a football player and wrestler in high school and college — until recently his overall health wasn’t optimal. He’s been a weight lifter most of his adult life, the type to enter strongman competitions and perform impressive feats like flipping giant tires and lifting cars, but he hasn’t always paid attention to what he put into his body. The wakeup call came on his 40th birthday when his doctor informed him that he would have to start high-blood pressure medication; he was also borderline diabetic.
Again, Rumcik took charge. He started tracking his food intake and refined his routine at the gym, losing 65 pounds. Today he feels healthier, and his energy is evident to those around him, not least of all MacDonald.
“Rum is as dedicated to his clients as he is his workout routine,” MacDonald says. “Hours in the gym, strict diet and dedication has helped John get to where he is today. He puts in tireless hours in the office to ensure client satisfaction, and his dedication to his profession has made him a Hall of Fame RE/MAX agent.”
That daily dedication is perhaps Rumcik’s strongest advice to newcomers in the field. He notes that he treats his referral base like he treats his weightlifting and diet — all requiring daily attention. “You do the small tasks repeatedly on a daily basis,” he says, “and that makes the overall goals you want to achieve so much easier.”