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Heart of real estate
After traveling the globe, Mariah Buck found her passion right here at home.
While she always planned to work internationally, the allure of real estate called to her and now Buck manages the largest office on Orcas Island.
“Real estate is about emotion and creativity,” she said. “The best part of my job is when I feel like I am really helping someone with the next chapter, whether it’s for agents or clients.”
Buck attended Vassar College in New York after graduating from Orcas Island High School.
At 19, she sailed from Puerto Rico to Grenada and lived in the Caribbean for a year on her sailboat. Buck’s major was in international studies, and she thought a career in the foreign service was ahead of her. By age 22, she had visited 22 countries.
“As a kid, I equated everything to plane tickets,” she said. “At 13 I had a job as a waitress and a good night was half an airplane ticket.”
Buck returned to the island in 1997 and she got her start in real estate four years later as an assistant to Fred Munder at Coldwell Banker. She was running her parents’ Radioshack store when Munder asked her to join his team.
During her time in that office, both Munder and Pat Pomeroy taught her about the business.
“Pat was a fabulous example of how to be a businesswoman in a small community,” Buck said.
After a year, she gained enough knowledge to go out on her own as an agent at Coldwell. Then Buck went over to ReMax, owned by Jim and Val Murray and Stu and Patsy Stephens. In 2006, that office joined Windermere, which later merged with Gudgell Properties two years later, bringing the grand total to 22 agents. Windermere is owned by John Dunning, who divides his time between Orcas and San Juan.
Buck has been general manager of the business for five years.
“We had grown to the point where we were needed a full-time manager,” she said. “It was a tough decision to step back from selling. But it’s been rewarding to help other agents be successful.”
Buck says their success is not necessarily measured by dollar signs.
“It’s about balancing your personal life and professional life,” she said. “You are on-call 24/7 and sometimes there are crises.”
Her philosophy is simple: Do the best job you possibly can and the business will come.
“There is enough business out there for