Melissa Carrington of RE/MAX Elite
Licensed Real Estate Broker Melissa Carrington, owner of RE/MAX Elite on Rockaway Beach Boulevard, may be the first Rockaway realtor to advertise a haunted house. Or at least sponsor a Halloween home decorating contest, compete with a top prize of a $300 gift certificate at any local restaurant. It is all part of supporting and being part of the Rockaway community for Carrington.
“I’m originally from the Hudson Valley area, where I met my husband,” she explains. “We moved to the Rockaways in 1998. But his family goes way back. His father and grandfather were doctors here. Dr. Carrington, his father, could literally fix anybody in a pinch.”
And that name means something around here.
“I’ll be in the post office in Far Rockaway, and somebody will tap me on the shoulder when they hear my name is Carrington,” she said. “They’ll tell me about how Dr. Carrington delivered them, and it’ll turn out to be my husband’s grandfather.”
Carrington cemented her own Rockaway roots when “we entered a lottery for the first new units being built at Arverne by the Sea. Out of about 1,200 entries, we were one of 27 that got picked.”
Even then she saw firsthand Rockaway’s real estate potential.
“Oh, with Arverne by the Sea people were saying, ‘Why would anyone build there?’ Then, ‘Oh, they’re just going to build the first few and that’ll be it. You’ll see. But we bought into that first phase, and it has been growing ever since.”
Though now deeply steeped in the peninsula’s growing real estate scene, hers was not exactly a sunny, sandy beach path in getting there.
“I was working three jobs, studying interior design at Fashion Institute of Technology and commuting back forth between Manhattan and Rockaway. After I graduated FIT, I took a job as a marketing manager with a home design company. It was family-owned, I liked it. It was good,” Carrington said, smiling at the memory. “Then they were bought out by a large company. After a while, well, it was not so good, and it was too much. Eventually I quit…without a plan.”
For a while she worked at Hot Yoga on Beach 116th Street while taking lessons from owner Anita Ruderman. She also got to know realtor Lisa Jackson.
“I had lots of stuff—curtains, shower accessories, etc. leftover from my interior design days. So I offered to work dressing up the houses she was showing.”
Before long, Carrington went from dressing houses to showing them with Jackson sponsoring her as she got her own real estate license. Although Carrington eventually went her own way, she was happy to say about Jackson, “We still have a good working relationship.”
When Carrington started her own business, she saw national/international real estate firm RE/MAX as a natural fit. Mixing her own highly local touch with international resources and support, she says, “My attraction was that RE/MAX is the most recognized brand in realty. But it’s also still family-owned. My favorite thing, though, that made me choose RE/MAX was they contribute to support the Children’s Miracle Network.”
Founded in 1973, RE/MAX has offices in over 115 countries around the globe. Carrington’s business, with her staff of nine agents and two administrative assistants, is also partnered with three other offices in Brooklyn and Staten Island.
“RE/MAX has tremendous technology, resources, databases and support. They really keep us updated with training. Even during the pandemic when everyone was overwhelmed, they kept us updated weekly on all the new changes, regulations” and how to move forward.
The move to RE/Max continues to pay off. Even now, she says she can pick up the phone or get on a Zoom call with a colleague across the country or around the world and get their input, advice or help in finding a client a home anywhere in the world. So she can offer her clients enormous flexibility. The worldwide reach, however, is not as important as the local touch.
For Carrington, support for her community is close to home. She invites neighborhood businesses to place their advertising stickers prominently at her receptionist’s station, and supports organizations and events like Rockstock, the Broad Channel Athletic Club, Rockaway’s annual skate competition and Rockaway Little League.
“During the pandemic we sent pizzas to the Precinct, to the St. Johns’ workers. I’ve been here, part of this community, through 9/11, the Fight 587 crash, the financial collapse, Sandy and now the pandemic,” she says from her Beach 90th Street office.
“I’m really excited to be here, to get the support and feedback from the community. People come from all over, she says, because they like the Rockaway lifestyle.
“We get visits from clients from Beach 149th Street to Far Rockaway” and far beyond. “And wherever our clients are, we’re here to help.”
RE/MAX Elite is located at 90-15 Rockaway Beach Blvd. Call 718-500-3077 for info or check out www.buyrockaway.com
Story and Photos
By Dan Guarino