When I first met Charlie Maneikis, I was considering investing in a multifamily home in Dorchester along with one of my friends. Having met with other realtors prior to this, it was clear from the get go that Charlie was atypical in his approach, style, and knowledge. There were no hard sells, no strong arming to get us to sign paperwork we were not comfortable signing, and he was never too busy to take the time to look at properties with us or give us advice over the phone as we brainstormed a variety of purchase scenarios.

Charlie truly loves the real estate business and this shines through immediately.  His network of relationships is unmatched and was on display as we viewed multiple homes. I honestly cannot think of one time when Charlie did not either personally know the seller, their broker, or a mutual friend that they had.

As a longtime owner of multifamily properties and a multi-family housing manager for 34 years, Charlie’s extensive knowledge was constantly evident especially when we viewed homes.  Naturally, we continually drew on his vast knowledge during our search for an investment property of our own. In some cases, these homes would look great on the outside, but had multiple issues that only an experienced professional could identify.

Having this experience on our side was invaluable, especially in a hot market where many homes were overpriced and needed extensive repairs. When we did make offers, Charlie was able to provide us with breakdowns of the sale prices and features of other homes in the area and gave us an idea of the property’s true value. For example, when placing a “best and final bid” on a multifamily property in Milton, he counseled us not to get carried away in a bidding war with another potential buyer. His data showed that the property was only valued at a certain amount.  We took his advice and our offer was accepted! Unfortunately, a comprehensive Home Inspection revealed potential issues with the electrical work.  We then exercised our Home Inspection contingency and our deposit was refunded.

Around this time, I decided that it was not the right time (and not the right market) for me to embrace the complexities of buying and managing a multifamily property in this market.  So, I began looking at single family homes and condos. In this pursuit, I decided to use my VA loan eligibility instead of a conventional loan.

The VA approach had a number of advantages (such as no PMI) that made it the best option.  However, when shopping around for a lender, I found a great deal of resistance to the VA loan process due to the paperwork and time involved in getting properties and loans approved. I also spoke with several buyer brokers, who claimed to specialize in the VA loan process.  While they did have experience with the VA loan, often they were unwilling to show me condominium properties that were not already VA approved. These brokers cited the amount of paperwork and time that it would take to get these properties approved. In addition to this, once I experienced a very hard sell from a broker trying to get me to sign a contract to exclusively work with him within an hour of having the meeting.

Other options for VA loan specialization were large companies headquartered out of state, and while I found them to be knowledgeable and very pleasant to work with, I had reservations about doing the majority of communication over the phone.

When I spoke with Charlie about looking at homes using the VA loan, he told me that he would be totally fine with it and he exuded a confidence about getting the job done in spite of not having undertaken the VA approval process before. I attribute this confidence and take charge attitude to Charlie’s keen intellect and very extensive professional experience.

After looking at a number of single family homes and condos over a period of months, I finally found a great condo that was perfect for me in Quincy.  The condo association was not VA approved and Charlie took complete responsibility for preparing the VA package for submission by the Lender. He also saved me at least $1,000 by directly confirming that a complete legal review and attestation was not needed in spite of frequent marketing references to the contrary. While the approval process took some time (about 6 weeks in this case), the package that Charlie prepared was approved without comment, revision, or request for clarifying documentation – in other words a slam-dunk VA approval at no cost to me!