Carolyn Argento remembers one of the first homes she sold as a rookie broker in the Five Towns region of Long Island.
The owner was recently widowed and, in the hot real estate market of the late 90s, Argento sold the house the day it went on the market.
In the years since, Argento has helped that client and his daughter through five more transactions, as they’ve relocated, left the area and then returned.
“In different phases of life, people come back to you. The best thing I’ve ever had is repeat business from people who trust me,” said Argento, who recently joined Prudential Douglas Elliman in Long Island along with her business partner, Joan Small.
With residential properties that range from retirement condos to multi-million dollar beachfront mansions, the Five Towns region of Nassau County has something to offer almost any buyer, Argento said.
And she would know. At 40, Argento has spent her entire life on the south shore of Long Island. For the past 15 years she has lived with husband Frank in Lawrence, where they have raised six children.
“We’re very entrenched in this community, and it’s been a great place to live. You give to it and it gives back to you,” she said.
Argento started her real estate career in 1999 with Pugatch Realty Corp, a three-office firm in the Five Towns. In 2004, she took over as office manager of the New Inwood branch office, and in 2006, she decided to go back to school to hone her marketing skills, enrolling in an accelerated program at Briarcliffe College.
“I wanted to know what the newest things were, what drove people to my company, how the Internet worked and what it did — because that’s where the future is,” she said.
“Even going to class I would ask people, “If you were looking for a house, what would make you go to me instead of someone else?’ “
By 2008, Argento was the general manager of Pugatch’s main office in Woodmere. In 2010, she moved on to help establish 1st Choice Realty Corp. in Lynbrook, where she worked on developing the company’s marketing materials, including its website, logo and mission statement.
Argento is keenly aware of the way modern technology has changed the real estate business.
“There’s a lot of statistics on the internet and there’s a lot of resources,” she said. “Homebuyers and sellers are computer savvy. They already have information; they’re coming to me to expand on it.”
She is also skilled in using the Internet to drive customers to her website instead of the competition’s.
But Argento’s infectious love for her home goes beyond anything you could find in a Google search. “You’re still by the ocean, but you’re by the airport. You have malls and shopping centers,” she said. “We’re centrally located to everything, whether it’s Wall Street or the Hamptons.”
Carolyn and Frank Argento met in 1997, when she was managing a Gap store and he stopped in to buy a winter coat for his daughter Laura. Both were single parents — he had a son and a daughter, she had three girls — and they hit it off. “Two years later, we were living together with five kids and we decided to have one more to complete our bunch,” she said.
The six kids went to both public and private schools in the area, and none have wandered far from home. Laura, now 28, is a fifth-grade teacher in Valley Stream, three towns away from the family home in Lawrence. And Frank Jr., now 24, is the assistant manager of a Long Island Country club, where he is following in the footsteps of his father, who was the general manager of Lawrence Country Club for 26 years before moving over to the Rockaway Hunt Club, also in Lawrence, in 2010.
Frank Argento is the sanitation commissioner for Sanitary District No. 1, and is on the St John’s Hospital Development Board, where Carolyn also volunteers.
She is also vice president of the Ladies’ Division of the Lawrence Country Club, having taken up golf three years ago.
Golf was a way to get closer to her husband, Argento said, but she also noted that most deals are done on the golf course.
“It’s a mind-altering game — very humbling. I never thought it would be so difficult to hit something that doesn’t move,” she said.
Argento has competed in some tournaments, and her youngest child, 11-year-old Adam, sometimes joins her on the links for a couple of holes after work.
If she lived in sunny Florida, she said, there would be more opportunities to play — but she quickly dismissed the idea of moving away from Long Island.
“I don’t venture far, ‘cause it’s all right here,” she said.