As the housing market continues to climb out of the crash that marked the start of the worst economic downturn the country has felt in decades, one Glen Head couple is jumping in head first.
“We’re part of the community, and when you’re selling houses, to know the community – that’s an important fact, that you’re local people that live here,” said Deborah Orgel-Gordon, media and communications manager for Extravagant Realty at 15 Glen Head Road in Glen Head.
The spot was the longtime home to Romantic Travel, then Curves gym. It sat empty for several months before the Gordons began the process of establishing the new office there in January.
Orgel-Gordon’s husband, Richard Gordon, has brokered real estate deals as a bank attorney for more than ten years. He said the crash also meant that a void was created which represents a real opportunity.
“When a market turns down, it actually filters out other competitors,” he said. “I think there’ll be advantages to getting in in a down market.”
While the plan is to build their brand and eventually expand to other areas, Gordon said they are focused locally for now.
That focus is a defining aspect of this business, said office manager Michelle Magrino.
“Deb and I have been in the community with our sons for years,” said Magrino, who lives in Glen Cove. The women became friends after each moved to the area from New York City and connected through their involvement with their childrens’ schools. Their friendship grew out of a shared love of their new community, Magrino explained, and out of that friendship grows a business venture that seeks to give back.
“One of the things that has kept us friends is our beliefs – we both go to the small-time hardware store down the street as opposed to the Home Depot. We both enjoy restaurants, so we frequent our local restaurants,” she said. “This is how the community continues, everybody working together and supporting each other.”
That has been the spirit since day one, said Orgel-Gordon. Using local businesses to build their own, sponsoring local youth sports teams, attending community or Chamber of Commerce events – it’s about being a part of the social fabric, not just capitalizing on it.
Magrino spent four years as a licensed real estate agent before leaving as the market collapsed. She said she has seen the negative side to selling people on houses. She was shown places she couldn’t afford during her own search for a home, and wants to offer customers a better standard.
“I’m not an obnoxious salesperson," Magrino said. "I’m not overly pushy."
She noted that aspect of her selling style as important.
Orgel-Gordon agreed, stressing the importance of listening to the customer’s needs.
The venture comes as Orgel-Gordon opens another business just down the street. Gem Craft Boutique will offer gifts and accessories, harkening back to the jewelry business its owner helped her mother run as a teenager.
Extravagant Realty is looking to fill several positions for licensed real estate agents. Glen Cove mayor Ralph Suozzi will attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony, being held May 21.