SOMERS, N.Y. –The first thing Faye DeSanto tells senior real estate clients is to start packing. The Somers resident and real estate agent for Better Homes & Gardens, Rand Realty knows they are in for some tough decisions.
DeSanto, a Realtor for 20 years, says one of the most difficult things seniors face when they downsize is deciding what to take with them. She says the solution is to start early.
“From the first minute I speak with them I tell them to start now,’’ said DeSanto, who earned the designation as Senior Real Estate Specialist and has helped people move to Florida, Arizona and just about everywhere in between. “I have seen people who just dither. They can’t decide. I empathize with them. You are divesting yourself of years of memories and emotions, and things that you love. It just becomes a matter of which do I love most.”
DeSanto has a tight connection with senior residents outside of her role as a Realtor. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of At Home in Somers, a nonprofit that helps the elderly live in their own homes independently, comfortably and safely.
She has managed communications for At Home in Somers and is currently working on the program committee as well as driving and serving as a phone responder. She also lives in Heritage Hills, which helps draw her closer to seniors in that community.
“It just seems that since I’ve been in real estate, I’ve always had an older clientele,’’ DeSanto said. “People downsize for many reasons, to relocate to be near children or to move to a home that better suits their lifestyle as they age. Decluttering is key to an easier transition and I have a whole list of professionals that I can work with at any time to provide guidance and assistance. Very often I find that so many families no longer live close to each other and the Realtor often becomes their primary resource.”
Besides her commitment to senior citizens, DeSanto is also the president of Canine Companions, where she spearheaded a two-year drive to build an off-leash dog park in Somers. The park opened earlier this summer.
“There are a lot of elderly neighbors with small dogs, and the dog is their primary companion,’’ DeSanto said. “The difficulty is there are no walking paths. You’re walking on the road, and that becomes very problematic and dangerous, especially for seniors.”
DeSanto said she initially wanted to create a dog park at Heritage Hills. There was some neighborhood resistance though, and she soon learned the town was considering creating its own park. After two years of fund raising, the park opened on Route 100 in July. A grand opening is scheduled for late September.
“I thought it was a wonderful place for people to walk their dogs, especially seniors,’’ DeSanto said. “They’re not in danger from traffic. It becomes a social group. I actually saw it as a necessity.”
DeSanto joined the real estate world after a career as a stock broker and working in the banking industry. The flexibility of the job has allowed her to dive into many charitable organizations while also working.
“It was the right call to go into real estate, absolutely,’’ she said. “The way I described it then was I got my life back. If I wanted to go play tennis on a given afternoon, I could do that instead of getting on the train at 7 in the morning and getting back at 7 at night. I loved working in the community in which I lived. It was definitely the right call in terms of my life.”