Not real estate. That was not the direction ReNaye Dame planned for her future.
Every trip to the grocery store took forever when she was a kid because her mother, Betty Dame, was a real estate agent who always found multiple folks to chat with in the aisles. When it was time for family vacation, ReNaye and her sisters waited with frustration alongside their suitcases by the car while Betty finished up all the last-minute details with her clients.
“We’d be ready to go and Mom would be writing a contract,” ReNaye remembers.
ReNaye planned to be a nurse when she started at Christopher Newport University, but on a return trip home to Gloucester, she fell into a conversation with her mom about real estate and why it had been such a good career for her. Betty’s father, Cecil Booker, started Gloucester Realty in 1955; when Betty was pregnant was ReNaye she became a Realtor.
“She talked to me about all the things she had in her life because of real estate and what a blessing it had been for her,” Dame says. “She converted me instantly. I went back that following week and changed my major to business.”
When Dame graduated in 1992, she joined Gloucester Realty full time. Her grandfather has since passed, but her mother, at age 81, remains a licensed real estate broker.
Gloucester Realty certainly could have grown bigger over the years, but ReNaye, now the managing broker, preferred to keep it small. The business employs six Realtors — ReNaye’s sister, Denise Hinnant; Betty Dame; Marian Clements; M. Scott Brown; and of course, ReNaye — and licensed assistant Brooke Hasty.
“I don’t have aspirations be a huge company; I like small and intimate,” Dame says. “It allows me to not just be a manager but to focus on listing and selling. I like being hands-on.”
No two days are the same, and now Dame is the one holding up getaways with her husband, Chris Hurst. Like her mother, she’s detail-oriented and dedicated to her clients.
“I love the people part of it,” she says. “You’re always meeting new people, characters from all walks of life. I’m always interested in their stories, where they came from and what made them who they are.”
The legal part of real estate appeals to her, too, especially the intricacies that come with negotiating solid contracts. She also enjoys the photography and marketing aspects.
Dame sells residential and commercial property all over the Middle Peninsula, in the Northern Neck and on the Lower Peninsula. One of the perks that comes with the job is the view is always changing and often included water.
“Waterfront is my jam,” she says. “I just find it so therapeutic. So anything I can do near the water is pretty much my happy place.”
The same goes for Gloucester Village. Gloucester Realty is located right by Gloucester Courthouse. The building at 6528 Main St., is the same location where Dame’s grandfather started Gloucester Realty. It was the first building to have central air conditioning in the Village, built by longtime Gloucester attorney J. Edgar Pointer.
“I love the synergy with the other business owners and how we all try to support one another,” Dame says. “I like that I can just walk down the street and get a closing gift for a client or walk across the street after I’ve worked late and get dinner. I don’t ever have to get in my car. In the evenings, you can hear kids laughing and going by with their parents. I can hear the Board of Supervisors going to do their work on Tuesday nights and on Mondays, the running group from the brewery brings a lot of activity. It’s just so lively.
“There’s so much I love about Main Street. I wouldn’t move my business from Main Street for anything.”
Gloucester Realty at 6528 Main St., is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Closed Sundays. Call 804-693-3032 for information.