Deaf Realtor Speaks His Clients’ Language

While many Fla. brokers note that at least one agent speaks Spanish, a deaf Maryland Realtor found success serving customers who prefer sign language.

FREDERICK, Md. – Ryan Bonheyo said he always wanted to own a business. That dream came true about a month ago, when he opened Bonheyo Real Estate, which specializes in services for the deaf community.

Bonheyo, who is deaf, said deaf children might miss out on “incidental learning” that comes with listening to someone talk about real estate with family members and the new townhome they bought. His goal is to help other deaf people navigate the real estate world and educate them, so they can pass on what they learn.

“I recognized that niche was missing, where that gap was,” he said through an interpreter.

Currently, Bonheyo works remotely in his home in downtown Frederick, and is the only person on staff. He hires contractors here and there, he said.

His business focuses on three services: real estate, property management and consultations, which are done with people nationwide.

Even though he’s only had his business for a month, word has spread through the deaf community and demand is high, he said. He has done consultations with deaf people in California, Florida, Texas, Indiana and Minnesota.

Allysa Dittmar is from Ellicott City, and she and her husband are currently using Bonheyo’s property management services since they currently rent out a property. Dittmar, who is also deaf, wrote in an email that working with an agent who knew her language was amazing.

Usually with hearing real estate agents, they’ve had to use third-party relay services on the phone, which they weren’t comfortable with considering they would be sharing sensitive information.

“Being able to communicate with Ryan in our native language is exactly how it should be,” she wrote.

With Bonheyo, the Dittmars closed an over $1 million real estate transaction when there were 54 competitors, she wrote. That was in 2022, when Bonheyo was working with ExecuHome Realty. They liked his services so much, they followed him when he opened his business, Dittmar wrote.

Bonheyo is also hoping to create employment opportunities for deaf people as his business grows. He will see where the need is, and act on it, he said. The last month has been successful, he said, and he’s enjoyed taking down barriers for others in the housing market.

“I’m finally working with people to make their first purchase, [whether] it’s a primary home or it could be even an investment property, too, so it’s really great to see, “ he said.

© 2023 The Frederick News-Post (Frederick, Md.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.