Jonathan Sketas puts people skills to good use in real estate
April 29 - May 5, 2019
By Becca Bona
A longtime bartender at Lost Forty Brewing, many locals will know Jonathan Sketas from his friendly smile and informative, easy-going banter.
“I get to interact with a lot of out-of-town people from behind the bar,” he said. “I have like a nice little script that I go through. […] I will give you the whole spiel of what to do when visiting Little Rock.”
The New York native has been in Arkansas long enough to consider it home, as he grew up in Conway. Although he went back to New York for culinary school, he never quite got past that Arkansas pull. Sketas started off with Yellow Rocket Concepts in Conway’s Zaza location. He moved around getting a taste of almost every restaurant position possible – working at Big Orange, Local Lime, and finally landing at Lost Forty where he found his stride behind the bar.
“My Dad likes to joke that I’ve had a billion careers,” said Sketas, smiling. “I think I finally settled into real estate because it’s scoped down everything I like into one common interest.”
Working at Lost Forty opened the opportunity for Sketas to meet quite a few people – even some who have become his regulars. One such customer – a Realtor – convinced him to get his license, although he didn’t initially do much with it.
“I had my license for a year and didn’t do anything with it,” he recalled.
Fortune would have it that he would meet another Realtor who happened to own her own company not long after.
“We had a conversation about how she enjoyed real estate, and she liked making connections and meeting people. That’s kind of where I wanted to go with that,” he said.
Sketas joined Carle Properties, where he is thankful he’s found a mentor in the company broker/owner, Melissa Allen. The firm is a small, boutique outfit with an office off Kanis in west Little Rock. The laid-back vibe fit Sketas’s personality, and he began transitioning to sell last August.
He discovered there would be plenty of hurdles to getting his feet wet – namely, he didn’t get his first listing until January of this past year. The biggest lesson he’s learned so far is that you have to stand out from the crowd.
“A lot of working in real estate is self-marketing, getting my name out there, and trying to appeal to people. Because honestly, a Realtor is a dime a dozen. Everyone does the exact same thing. It comes down to how your brand is different than everyone else’s.”
Sketas remember how nervous he was when he met his first client, but as his numbers grow, so does his confidence in his ability to do a good business.
His best asset has been networking face-to-face – especially as that’s become his comfort zone behind the bar.
“I just helped my brother and his fiancé get a house,” Sketas recounted. “It was fun because they were talking about kids in the future, and I just felt like I could help them.”
As a new Realtor, Sketas was quick to join the Little Rock Realtors Association (LRRA). The benefits from the group while maybe not apparent at first, quickly came into view as he said, “I like that we do equal housing and we have a very strict level of ethics that we have to follow. That’s a good general state of practice to be involved in.”
He also is amazed at the amount of educational courses the LRRA offers members as he said, “It’s a really great resource.”
These days Sketas is focused on utilizing social media to help grow his business, especially as he knows that younger homebuyers will likely be found there.
“People in our generation are going to find a Realtor online,” he said. “A billboard advertisement really doesn’t do it these days. If I can post so many times on Facebook, you’re bound to see my face and you’re going to remember it.”
Thus far Sketas is enjoying being his own boss. He feels he’s motivated and finally finding a stride that just might stick.
“I hate when people ask that question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I had no idea. I tried a bunch of things and didn’t like them. And I finally found the one thing that I feel that I’m confident in, I enjoy doing, and checks off all the boxes for me,” he said.
When not working, Sketas likes to see how fellow bartenders are behind the bar, especially at breweries that he and his partner visit when traveling.
This summer, you’re likely to catch Sketas on the lake, as he said, “Summertime here is the best.” One thing’s for sure – Sketas has found his niche.