West Islip resident Dianne Scalza was named “Salesperson of the Year” by the Long Island Board of Realtors at a gala recently held at the Crest Hollow Country Club. Scalza is a licensed associate broker for Netter Real Estate in West Islip:
Why did you choose a real estate career 23 years ago?
My children were small, and I needed more flexibility in time. As a nurse, I was working an eight-hour shift and I wanted more time with my children. So instead of working 37 1/2 hours a week, I was now working 50 hours a week, but they were 50 hours of my choosing. Of course we didn’t have personal computers then, which would have been a lot easier.
What has been your proudest career achievement?
Introducing the Long Island area to [the] buyer agency. When I started this quest 15 years ago, no one knew what it was. It wasn’t even part of my licensing course in 1986. But I was doing a lot of relocation at the time, and the buyers were asking for representation. After finding someone from Pennsylvania to speak to my local chapter, of which I was president at the time, there seemed to be some interest. We made arrangements with the state to have a two-day class taught at our board, but very few of us were using it. My colleagues said, “Don’t bother, that’s not the way we do real estate here.” ... But when the real estate boom came in 2000 and many listings were office exclusives, the only way you could show that house was if you were representing the buyer. Aha! Now they were interested. Not that they did it correctly, but at least they were embracing the idea. We now have a regular curriculum that teaches it. I speak all over the island about buyer brokerage, teach private classes and receive at least four to five calls a month regarding [the] buyer agency. It just makes sense to have your own representation.
What was your most memorable sale?
It took place about 10 years ago. I had a young couple who lived in Manhattan and wanted to have a house and a yard. I found them the perfect house. An older gentleman who had raised his five children in that house had lost his wife about two years prior and could no longer keep up with the large house. Everything went perfect. When I mentioned to the homeowner that the buyers were expecting their first child, he stated that the windows upstairs were not good enough. He would give them a credit at closing as a present for their new family and they could purchase new windows. I was not allowed to tell them, as to be a surprise. So at closing, he congratulates them and tells them he wants them to purchase new windows as a gift from him. But before we left, the young couple had a gift for him! They had asked me to get a picture and presented him with a large gilt-framed watercolor of the gardens the way they had looked when his wife was alive and had cared for them. Then they asked him to come by when they had it back to its original splendor. Not a dry eye in that closing.
What do you think of today’s real estate market?
In over 23 years of real estate, you get to see it all. In 1989 when the market crashed and there we so many houses on the market, then the real estate boom, and now a depressed market again. It is always cyclic. But this does seem to be somewhat worse. It is good that so many young people are now able to buy. After all, they are our future. But sometimes the property taxes scare them.
Permission Long Island Board of Realtors