John Bernard had a desire to invest in real estate as far back as he can remember. Becoming a real estate agent seemed the best way to pursue it. But the path to real estate wasn’t straight forward.
Born and raised in Natchitoches Parish, he graduated from Natchitoches Central High School and went to work at his family’s dairy with his 11 brothers and sisters. Before becoming a licensed agent in 2006, Bernard worked for 20 years as a game warden.
“We didn’t have much when I was growing up,” said Bernard. “I thought of the things I always wished I could do and I knew the best way to go about it was to get involved.”
Luckily, his years as a game warden meant he knew a lot of people and a lot about the Parish, which has a large demand for rural property. Growing up with such a large family taught him how to work with people. These skills fit hand-in-hand with his work as a real estate agent.
“Basically every day you’re trying to solve problems and I like that,” he said. “I keep all the ‘thank you’ notes I’ve received over the years and I read them every so often. It helps me remember that I’ve worked hard for them and they appreciate that.”
Bernard is a strong believer that you can change a house, but there’s not much you can do to change the land. You can add a bathroom easily, but you can’t add 100-year-old Oak Trees to a tract of land. In real estate the house is just as important as the property it sits on.
“That’s my strong suit,” he said. “I can help people find the perfect piece of land for timber, hunting, a weekend retreat, or to build their home on. All these facets are what makes the real estate business so intriguing for me. My favorite part of it all is helping people find what they need or want in life.”
Growing up Bernard worked for a carpenter in his spare time. This gave him a big insight into how houses are constructed and what to look for, or look out for, structurally.
“You can dress a house up nice on the outside, but sometimes it’ll still have issues on the inside,” he said.
Bernard is a big believer in inspections, which he says can save home owners thousands in the long run and can help with negotiations.
Now a real estate agent at Rhodes Realty in Natchitoches, it’s important to Bernard to be brutally honest. He gives his clients advice and tries to help them understand every aspect of the buying and selling process.
“A lot of people are on a short time frame,” he said. “This is just a fact of life. But I like going over everything and I truly enjoy spending the time with them.”
Bernard is on the board for the Women’s Resource Center and passed his broker’s test in 2019, which is something he’s wanted to do for a long time.
“A happy day for me is one spent with a client,” he said.