HGAR is a leader in the realm of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and is committed to diversifying our membership, creating a deeply diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization for our members, and embedding inclusive practices in the ways we work and learn.
SPOTLIGHT ON: Carole McCann
Dancing into Real Estate
With more than 30 years in the real estate industry, Carole McCann has enjoyed a successful career, including owning her own brokerage in Washingtonville since 1990. But what may be surprising to learn about the owner of Hudson Heritage Realty, is that she is also an accomplished dancer and former producer of a semi-professional theater group that toured across the nation.
Long before sashaying through open houses in the suburbs, McCann was studying dancing at a young age while growing up in Brooklyn. Her mother was a concert pianist, and her entire family was involved in local theater. After graduating from Brooklyn College, she joined a stock brokerage firm in Manhattan, where she ran its production department. However, McCann was never far from her first love—theater.
“I guess you could say that was my hobby, but I was part of a theater group for over 20 years,” she recalled. “We produced shows that had been on Broadway and we traveled across the country performing.” McCann choreographed for the shows, which included young people from the age of 12 to 25.
Based out of their local church parish, the group performed for the International Lions Convention one year. “We actually shared the same stage as Danny Kay,” she recalled. “I got to see him, but I didn’t meet him.”
One of her protégés was a young deaf woman who always longed to dance. McCann was able to work with her and the group so that she could be part of the show. Later, McCann would take an American sign language class and work with a hearing- impaired program in Goshen High School. “One of the big loves of my life is having the opportunity to work with buyers and sellers who are hearing-impaired, “she said.
In 1980, McCann moved to Orange County and recalls it was the Realtor who sold her the house who first inspired her to get into the business. “She told me I’d be good at this, but at the time I had young children. A few years later, another friend told me the same thing, and with my kids in elementary school then, I was ready to give it a try,” she said.
McCann began working with a small firm in Blooming Grove, and then moved to a larger one before deciding to start her own brokerage. “I felt like there needed to be a place where agents could rely on brokers who would have the answers, or find the answers to their questions,” she noted. “I wanted to create an honest, comfortable place to work.”
It was 1990 when she opened with just herself and a couple of agents. “I don’t know that anybody ever has enough experience to start their own company, but real estate is the kind of business where you’re learning something new every day,” she admitted.
Today, McCann has 14 agents and is happy with her small group. “We are independent and control our own destiny,” she said. “Of course, we still have to compete with the big guys all the time—sometimes they win and sometimes we do. I guess it’s all about what you want—some people like the corporate atmosphere and others want the ‘mom and pop’ feeling.”
Over the past year and a half, McCann, like other local Realtors, has seen home prices soar throughout Orange County. While the climate is still considered a seller’s market, McCann has started to see more homes slowly coming on the market, and prices beginning to stabilize.
“It was a real feeding frenzy, but I’ve been through a few markets like this—there are always ebbs and flows and I think we’ll start to see the tide turn a bit,” she reasoned. McCann also noted the continued popularity of nearby Sullivan County, especially for those young couples who can now work at home, as a result of the pandemic.
McCann has been involved with the association from the beginning, serving on the Board of Directors for the former Orange County Association of Realtors, as well as its president. Currently, she is vice chair of HGAR’s Faculty Committee and has been a real estate instructor for 25 years. She continues to teach classes on Real Estate Licensing, Agency, Distressed Properties and more. “We’ve all had to adapt to instructing by Zoom, and while I like it, I do miss the live connection with students,” she said.
In addition to her Realtor roles, McCann is in her 28th year of serving on the Assessor’s Board of Review for the Town of Blooming Grove and also serves on the Board of Directors for the Blooming Grove Chamber of Commerce.
She loves to spend her spare time with her three grandchildren, now 20, 14, and 10. “And of course, you know I still love to dance,” she quipped.