Barbara Hanaway: Voracious reader, experienced agent
Family: "I have two children and four grandchildren. My son lives in Bedford, New Hampshire, and has two sons; the older one is attending Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, and the younger one just got his driver's license. My daughter lives in Barrington, her older daughter is at Villanova and her younger daughter just got accepted to Notre Dame, to study engineering.
"My husband and I have been married 53 years. We met when I was 19 and working as a secretary in the sales department at Petro, the oil company. He was a pilot (he would eventually retire from the Air Force as a full Colonel), who had just come home and joined his father's advertising firm. Petro was one of their clients. I knew right away that he was the one. We were married the next year."
Why real estate? "When I was in my early thirties and my kids were in school, Kelly and Picerne, at the time the largest agency in Rhode Island, offered a real estate course in my husband's office. I was ready to try something new. They sent me to North Kingstown, an area I knew nothing about. I did well there — it was around the time the Navy pulled out of Quonset, and a lot of officers were putting their homes on the market."
My mentor: "After a few years I left Kelly and Picerne and started working for Albert Realtors, Better Homes and Gardens. It was close to my home in Cranston. Albert Scaralia, the owner, was the best salesperson I have ever met in my life. I stayed with him until I moved to the South Yarmouth, on Cape Cod, in 1997. My husband retired from advertising at that time and became my real estate partner — we called our business the 'Sold Mates.' "
Home today: "We moved back to Rhode Island five years ago. We got tired of taking care of the big, old house with a pool and a pond. It was a lot of work. We chose the Villages at Mount Hope Bay for an easier lifestyle. I got to know people there by joining the hospitality and landscaping committees. I love it there. We have a great view, great amenities, and the grounds are spectacular."
Free time: "I love to read. I just got back from spending a month in Florida and I read seven books. Lisa Genova is a current favorite. I'm reading 'Still Alice' right now, and have read 'Love Anthony' and 'Left Neglected.' Her books are wonderful. I also enjoy Elin Hildebrand. Her stories are a little lighter, fun to read, and set in Nantucket. I like gourmet cooking and decorating, and dining at the Boathouse. I love the atmosphere and the food there, and the service is great."
My real estate philosophy: "I've been assisting buyers and sellers for 40 years in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and you only make one chance to make a good first impression. How you present yourself is so important. I'm a Capricorn and we work hard. And it's important to stay positive, even in a down market — there is always someone out there that has to buy a home. Sellers must be realistic when pricing their property. Sellers that price right from the start make more money in the long run. Real estate gets shopworn on the shelf, and I always tell buyers that they can price their home to keep it, or price it to sell it. I would rather have fewer, well-priced listings and do a great job promoting them. I believe in constant communication, and I like to call my sellers and update them after every showing. One thing I've learned is that everyone has different needs. When you are serving your clients you need to adjust, and always keep a smile on your face. A smile always puts people at ease."