Tim Hullinger -Featured Agent

Former Teacher/Construction Worker Makes For A Great Realtor: Meet 616 REALTY’s Tim Hullinger


Growing up with construction

Tim Hullinger knows houses. “I grew up in a family of contractors. I have worked construction my entire life, summer break, Christmas break, spring break, and I did it through college.” He went on to GRCC and Grand Valley to get his BA and added high school social studies teacher and coach to his resume.

Becoming a teacher

After college, Tim didn’t stray too far from his roots. While teaching, he recognized that it was a good time to start picking up investment properties. He and his brother, a contractor in West Michigan, started buying properties. “We built a pretty good size rental portfolio over the next decade.”

Evolving into a real estate agent

Shortly after they began purchasing houses, Hullinger saw an opportunity. “After about my second house purchase, I got a little tired of having to go through realtors to schedule showings.” Shortly after, he earned his real estate license and added ‘agent’ to his growing list of titles.

After seven years of teaching, coaching, and commuting one hour each way, Tim decided to make real estate his full-time career. “The drive was starting to wear on me. I was getting older, and we started a family. It got to be more and more difficult to be at school late at night.”

His years working in construction, educating students, as well as buying, renting, and selling his own investment properties provided the perfect amalgamation of skills and wisdom he needed to be a great real estate agent.

Not a salesman

One thing Tim admittedly isn’t is a salesman. “I am not much of a “salesy” type guy… I’m a boards, pipes, and wires guy. I can look at a home and tell clients if it is structurally good, whether it is safe. I have pretty good knowledge of a home—a lot of background knowledge from years in construction. I can explain to them what they are getting into and give them confidence. I’m not trying to sell them a product. I will explain to clients what they are getting into and what some of their responsibilities will be especially as first-time homeowners.”

Using his skills as an educator

Rather than a sales hat, he often puts on his ‘educator hat.’ “I walk people through the process… I have been in situations where I have told clients, ‘Don’t buy this house. There is way too much work or there are just too many red flags.’ I can just tell when it is really poor construction or I can see it isn’t a good fit. Of course, I have to balance that with not crossing the line. I am as upfront as possible to get them into a good situation. At the end of the day, they are never going to call me again, and they aren’t going to tell their friends either. if I take them through a house and push them into buying something they didn’t want or that they didn’t understand.”

Why being an agent is the right fit

“I get a lot of satisfaction from my job, watching the excitement that comes with that, giving a first-time home buyer their first home, or helping the family that is upgrading achieve their dream… For most people, buying a house is the most expensive thing they will do in their entire lifetime, the weight of that… I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to help them make a solid financial decision and at the same time enjoy the experience of them buying a home and watching their family grow, or entering the next chapter of their journey.”

Giving credit where credit is due

Tim is humble and gives credit to others for his success. “I have been blessed with some really incredible mentors, especially in the construction field. I have done a lot of work with different builders. Their side is very different from the sales side of it. But, I have been blessed to have learned a lot of valuable lessons from them.”

Experience is a great teacher too

Tim’s also gives credit to experience. “My first rental property was a great learning experience. I went into it super excited but through the process of remodeling a home, you can incur all kinds of extra costs. The deeper we got into it the more we realized what we should be doing, and I overspent from start to finish. You make all the money by getting a good buy on the house, you can pour a lot of money and time into getting it liveable. But that is part of the learning curve with anything.  It takes you awhile to get going, and you make a lot of mistakes along the way.”


“I have been with Scot since 2019. Scot is very supportive as a broker, and he has a great support team. He has a lot of great agents with a ton of experience who we can bounce ideas off each other. He has developed a very good brand. He does a really nice job and has grown it a lot. It is fun to see people just starting out and getting their feet wet.”

Advice for first-time homebuyers

  • Take your time-“Be patient, your time will come. There will always be more houses. Don’t go crazy and fall in love with the first house you see and be disappointed if it doesn’t work out. In today’s market, you have to be patient.”
  • Prepare for the moving process-“Whether you are buying or selling, you are going to incur some costs. Clients think they can transition from one place to the next without any costs. I try to be honest about what that is going to look like and make it as smooth a transition as possible.”
  • Avoid these red flags-“The most expensive features are generally going to be the kitchen, roof, bathroom, heating system or cooling, and drain field so if you walk into a situation… It is tricky because you almost have to waive your home inspection to get an offer accepted. But, there are certain things you don’t want to waive because it could cost you $30,000 down the road because you were in such a hurry to make a move. I am never going to tell someone not to get an inspection.”

Advice for sellers

“Just be patient and think things through. Don’t rush into anything.”

Choosing a realtor is a big decision, huge! Choosing one who has the wisdom of home construction, the heart of a teacher, and the experience of buying and selling his own investment properties, seems like a great idea. So call 616 REALTY’s Tim Hullinger today with any of your real estate questions and needs.