Claire Hunter weathered the changing winds of the real estate market.
The year was 1982 and interest rates were at 17%, an all-time high, limiting the number of people who could afford to buy a home.
But that was when Claire Hunter got her broker’s license. It was a tough beginning, but this December she is celebrating the 35th year of business for Hunter Realty, now located at 310 Wilmette Ave., Suite 1, Ormond Beach.
She worked out of her home when starting out in those early, tough years, she said recently. She sold vacant lots and even orange groves. She would walk the neighborhoods and knock on doors. She carried a wallet full of dimes to make phone calls, since cell phones had not yet been invented.
The sale of one home led to another and pretty soon Hunter established a base of loyal clients. Through the years, she adjusted to the changing winds of the real estate market.
Looking back, Hunter said her fondest memory is being a part of people’s lives, and helping them accomplish their goals. Asked for advice for those new to the business, she said to let your work speak for you, and always focus on doing the right thing.
She also said you have to open to changes.
“There are so many factors that affect real estate, especially the economy,” she said. “And you always have competition.”
A VARIED CAREER
Through the years, Hunter had other careers, while continuing to sell real estate. She was assistant director of public relations for Ormond Memorial Hospital. She worked as circulation marketing manager for the Daytona Beach News-Journal in the early 1990s and was later recruited by Halifax Hospital as sales director. She attended evening classes at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, earning a master’s degree in Health Services Administration in 1999.
In 2000, she transitioned to real estate full time, because the demands of her health care career limited time with family. She had two sons, Brian and Jonathan.
Hunter incorporated her business and Hunter Realty became Claire Hunter Realty, Inc. In 2002 she opened an office on Seabreeze Blvd. and began recruiting agents. She said she used marketing and public relations to create distinctive advertising that set her apart from the competition.
She relocated to the present office in 2004 after hurricanes blew windows out of her Seabreeze office, twice.
ONE CONSTANT: CHANGE
Hunter served on the board of the Ormond Beach Chamber, the Chamber’s Executive Board and later as president of the Chamber for two terms. She served two terms as chairwoman of the Volusia-Flagler Chapter of the American Cancer Society and founded the Ormond Beach Relay for Life.
In 2004, she was honored by the Daytona Beach Area Association of Realtors with the Community Service Award, and her contributions were recognized in 2008 by the Volusia-Flagler Business Report, which named her one of five “Influential Women in Business”.
“I feel it’s important to participate in community service and embrace your role as a leader,” she said. “The community is an integral part of our success and it is incumbent upon us to give back.”
In real estate, she continued to adjust to change.
In 2006, when the housing market took a turn for the worse, she became certified in short sales and foreclosures, and became certified as an expert in Internet Real Estate Marketing.
Although Hunter loves her work and has no plans to retire anytime soon, she knows someday she will be leaving the company in good hands, her son Brian, she said.