Although he’s only 40 years of age, John Dinkins of Madison has been in real estate more than 20 years. That’s because he started while still a student at Mississippi State University where he majored in real estate and mortgage finance.
“I knew I wanted to be involved with real estate, and I went ahead and got a license while I was in college,” he says. “I like that property is tangible. You can touch it. You can feel it. It’s permanent. You have the ability to change and affect its value. Development is my favorite because of the before and after.”
One summer he walked into Jackson’s J. Walter Michel Agency and volunteered to answer the phones and type letters, figuring if he created his own job, they couldn’t refuse. “It was a great experience and I learned a lot,” he says.
He came back to work with the Michels after graduation and some time off touring the South Pacific. “While working there, I had two generations of influence, which really exposed me to real estate management, leasing and sales.”
In 1991, he was the youngest Mississippian to earn a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation, fulfilling requirements of more than 240 classroom hours and more than $3.5 million in documented real estate transactions.
“Because I was so young I felt it was important for me to have that designation,” he said.
‘Willing to move
to the active sector’
Dinkins likes that real estate is constantly changing. “The demand for different types of properties is dynamic. When I started in the 1980s, office was my focus. A few years ago multi-family was a market need and that became my focus. If you are to survive in this industry, you have to be willing to move to the active sector.”
He says his clients see him as their real estate department. If they want to buy any kind of real estate they count on him to take care of it. In addition to Mississippi, he is licensed in Louisiana because of the needs of a Fortune 20 client.
“The new challenges keep me fresh,” he affirms.
In 1993, Dinkins and partner, Rob N. Stockett III, formed Madison Properties, Inc. The company served as the brokerage company for Lake Caroline in Madison County and represented Lake Caroline as the exclusive agent. Also, Dinkins developed South Glen and Camden Court at Lake Caroline.
Dinkins grew up in Jackson, the youngest of five children, a family position that he says gave him a great vantage point to observe cause and effect, actions and consequences.
“My older brothers and sisters were early influences on my life. It really helped me in my decision making, even though I still made plenty of bad decisions,” he said. “But at least I understood how it worked.”
He also lists business partner Stockett as an influence, noting that the two have been friends since they were 10 years old. “Our different strengths work well together. I focus on the commercial investment side and Rob specializes in recreational hunting and farmland,” he said. “It’s good for us to have so much history.”
Seeing things come together in real estate is rewarding for Dinkins, but timing can be a problem. “It’s frustrating when things fall through,” he said. “Some of my friends ask me how I can do it, but I love the flexibility and the challenges.”
The former president of the Mississippi Association of Realtors says the relationships he formed during that time were a big benefit. He traveled the state, getting to know people everywhere and keeps in touch with many of them.
Not currently active in the association, Dinkins says this is his season of life to keep up with his children. He and his wife, Alison, are the parents of Bonner, six, twins McNeill and Coleman, four, and baby girl Weathersby, four months.
“Relaxation is not a part of my life right now. We’re having too much fun playing to stop and relax. I’ve had to forego extra curricular activities. The children are the focus these days,” he says.
Noting that his wife is terrific, Dinkins says she and the children keep him motivated. “She encourages me when I become discouraged and my kids tell me they love me and think I’m great,” he said.
Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at firstname.lastname@example.org.