The government may consider retirement age to be 67, but at 94 Charlotte Dack is still showing up to work.
“I guess I just don’t know what else to do with myself,” she said.
Dack, the principal broker at Universal Realty in Hermiston, is the oldest licensed Realtor in Oregon. Last week she was named Realtor of the Year by the Columbia Basin Board of Realtors.
When Dack got her license in 1961, she was only the second woman in Umatilla County to do so. Today women make up almost two-thirds of the real estate agents in the country.
Dack was working at US Bank at the time, but had decided she could make more money selling real estate and liked the idea of being her own boss. She worked by day and studied by night; after getting her license she spent three more years at US Bank while selling houses in the evenings and weekends.
She sold her first house on East Highland Avenue to a doctor and his wife.
“It’s still in use today,” she said. “It was a well-built house.”
Each piece of real estate has its own character and interesting things about it, Dack said. Finding the right match between people and property can be difficult, but Dack said it’s also rewarding to help someone find a home that fits both their needs and their budget.
“Every sale is kind of a miracle, because so many things can happen to keep the sale from happening,” she said. “Finance is always a struggle. We always want a little more than we can afford.”
Dack described herself as a people person, and said that craving for human interaction is a big part of what keeps her coming to work. Being patient is the most important part of being a real estate agent, she said, because people will often come into the process not knowing what they want. A Realtor can show them a house that is exactly what they described, and they might reject it and choose something completely different from what they originally said they were looking for.
She said some of her favorite sales have been helping immigrants who have arrived from a foreign country find a home in America.
“It’s interesting to get to know their background, and very satisfying when you help them find what they want,” she said.
These days, Dack spends more time in the office than out selling houses, but she said she still does help with the occasional sale if a former customer comes in and asks her to help them with an upgrade or downsize.
She was given high praise during the Columbia Basin Board of Realtors banquet, with the presenter noting that while many Realtors can’t “cut it” in the industry for more than a few years, Dack “has taken great delight from the very beginning in watching our area grow and prosper and still does to this day.”
She has remained active in various clubs and organizations in Hermiston during her time there, and even bought an airplane in her younger days so that she could fly to real estate classes and make it back to her customers faster.
Her motto in facing tough-to-love properties is “there’s a buyer for everything.”
Contact Jade McDowell at email@example.com or 541-564-4536.