By Janee Law
Barbara Wanamaker said she had a bit of a rough start when she entered the real estate industry in 1979.
“I didn’t understand this business for nothing, and I would get home at night and I would just start crying. I was so upset,” Wanamaker said.
But that changed when she landed her first listing.
“I was hooked because there’s a real rush and once you get hooked on that, it’s hard to let go of it,” she said. “You want to make it happen.”
Now, Wanamaker, 73, of Huntington, is the associate real estate broker and owner of Prime Properties in Huntington, which she opened in December 2014.
“I wanted to create an office where it’s locally focused and locally owned,” she said. “It’s all about making it a wonderful experience for buyers and sellers.”
Wanamaker has employed 17 agents so far and, although the company is new, its staff members are not new to the industry.
“My goal here is to have a quality company with educated agents that understand the real-estate business. I want agents that I know are very skilled and also very much like team players,” she said. “When you work in a real estate office, you really become very connected and you work with people who have a lot of give and a lot to share. We all work well together and we all learn from each other.”
Wanamaker herself has 36 years of experience, during which she’s sold over 950 homes.
She said the industry can “be traumatic,” but it can also be “fabulous.”
“One of the things I say when I teach is the only truly predictable thing about real estate is it’s total unpredictability,” she said. “It’s a business that constantly teaches you that you don’t know it all. It’s a very humbling business, constantly learning, but that’s also part of the fun of it.”
Prime Properties services the Town of Huntington, Commack to Lloyd Neck and Fort Salonga to West Hills, Wanamaker said. For first-time home buyers, she said prices typically fall into the range of $300,000-$500,000. But some homes can sell for up to $4 million, she said.
“That’s kind of the board spectrum because Huntington is such a diversified town that there’s little village houses for $500,000 and then there are mansions down in Huntington Bay for $2 million,” Wanamaker said. “So you get to see a lot of different kinds of houses and get a lot of different kinds of buyers too.”
When showing properties, Wanamaker said it’s important to find a quality home, but accommodating the lives of both the buyer and seller is also key.
“That’s what makes it fun if you like people, and I love working with people. I love helping people solve their problems,” Wanamaker said.
“I’m very fortunate to have found my true love in my business and I know that a lot of people don’t get that opportunity,” she continued. “I love real estate, I’ve always loved it. It’s not what I do, it’s who I am.”