Those close to Justin Hermes say his real estate career is about far more than the commission check he receives at the end of each transaction.

“If his clients aren’t raving fans throughout the process, he feels like he has failed,” wrote nominator Martha Marzolf, managing broker of RE/MAX Properties Inc., where Hermes has been an agent since 2014.

Hermes agrees with that assessment. He has the same wish for every client, regardless of price point or homeowner status — “just, at the end of the day, for them to be happy.”

“That’s what I enjoy about it — we work with a variety of people,” Hermes said. “A lot of Realtors are just high-end or half a million [dollars], or they just do VA [housing sales] around $300,000. We will do stuff as low as $100,000, all the way up to $1 million … and then we get to work with people who are renters as well.”

A Colorado Springs native and Cheyenne Mountain High School graduate, Hermes has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ferris State University in Michigan. As a real estate agent with RE/MAX, he sold more than 200 homes from 2017 to 2019, and currently  is a property manager for more than 100 properties.

For Hermes, the real estate business is less about helping clients find a place to live and more about creating additional income streams.

“A lot of people just buy a house. They never look at it as, ‘What’s the long-term investment?’ — they get caught up with the granite countertops, the stainless steel and the things that don’t matter,” he said. “We should be educating people more on the long term — what a property can rent for, the long-term appreciation, the infrastructure around it that’s going to affect your values.”

Educating clients about the investment potential of their property is especially critical in a place like Colorado Springs, which has been plagued in recent years by a dearth of affordable housing, Hermes said.

“I think Realtors should be focused on finding places for people to live rather than just selling,” he said. “We have to have more of a priority of helping people find that affordable housing and giving them avenues. … There can be big solutions but ultimately … one person has to help another person. There’s no way that government is going to solve it.”

About three years ago, when he found himself “making amounts of money I’d never dreamed of — ever,” Hermes realized he was well positioned to make a difference in his hometown. He is involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Junior Achievement, and has served on boards for nonprofit TwoCor and Colorado Springs Rising Professionals. Additionally, he has hosted fundraisers for Springs Rescue Mission and local first responders, raising $20,000 in 2018.

“To whom much is given, much is required,” Hermes said. “I realized, getting older, that I’ve had things pretty well off and not everyone has been in such an amazing position in life. A lot of these people have unbelievable obstacles they have to overcome. They can’t control the positions they’ve been put in.”