Broker Spotlight Life experiences foster atmosphere of cooperation
Carlene McDuffie has seen many changes in the real estate business since she started in 1978. She says that one thing has remained the same.
"People still want houses."
McDuffie is owner/broker of Palm III Realty in Fernandina Beach. "I can remember," she says, "when interest rates went to 18 percent to 21 percent. It was hard. It was a lot of money then, and it's a lot of money now. I don't think it was any different than what they're going through today.
"But the greatest gift I can give anyone is to help them get into a home."
Her philosophy of giving extends to everyone. Sharon Silva, a Realtor at Palm III, said, "I met Carlene around November of 2004. It was my first sale, she was the listing agent on the other side; she wasn't even with the same broker as me. If not for her, I wouldn’t have made it though it. She was so gracious, dealing with a rookie. She was even in Hawaii on vacation, and she took the time to call me."
She best tells the story of how she got into the business.
"I got into real estate out of desperation. I was 26, getting divorced, I had two jobs … Somebody said to me, 'you should go into real estate, you have such a wonderful personality'. So I looked into this school and I liked what the man was saying, but I didn't have any money to pay for the classes. So I looked around and offered to clean his offices for six months in trade for schooling. And that's what I did; I cleaned his office and went to school.
"When it was time for the state exam I borrowed $200, slept in my car in Orlando and took the test."
McDuffie uses her life experience to teach what she feels isn't taught in school, and fosters an atmosphere of cooperation. Silva gets the most out of that feeling. "She works as a team, anything you need, any time you need it. She wants to make people as successful as she has been, and it works." Silva seems to make the best of her lessons. "There are ways of making money out there; I've closed over $1 million since January, with three more on contract right now."
McDuffie doesn't believe that joint effort can even be questioned. "You're part of my team, right? We're all part of a team. I tell everyone, there's no room for cutting anybody's throat. We're all in a lifeboat. Sometimes you're in the water, sometimes you're in the boat, but if we stick together we'll make it."