Tanco Honored For Real Estate Sales Milestone

by Debra Lawless
Sandra Tanco, Sienna Azure and Brenda Azure, "The Tanco Team."  COURESY PHOTO Sandra Tanco, Sienna Azure and Brenda Azure, "The Tanco Team." COURESY PHOTO

Kinlin Grover Compass has honored real estate broker Sandra Tanco with an award for reaching the astonishing milestone of $1 billion in sales, one of only four Cape Cod agents to do so and the only woman in the group.

It also honored Tanco for handling over 1,300 transactions, again, one of only four agents to reach that milestone and the only agent to achieve both high points.

Appropriately, Tanco’s award was announced during March, Women’s History Month, at a luncheon in Hyannis.

“A lot of women have been saying ‘girl power,’” Tanco said during an interview one afternoon last week.

Tanco and her daughter Brenda Azure reminisce about Tanco’s 40-year career in real estate while sitting in the downstairs conference room in the Kinlin Grover Compass office in Harwich Port. The office is located in a pretty bungalow-style house.

For Tanco, real estate is becoming a family affair as Azure, who has had her real estate license for a decade now, recently joined Tanco working in this office.

“I grew up listening to real estate talk,” Azure says.

Also, Azure’s daughter Sienna, 18, is working toward her license while taking college-level business courses. Sienna will be the third generation in “The Tanco Team.”

Tanco grew up in New Jersey and moved to Harwich in 1974. She says she came here for summer vacation “and never left.” After jobs as varied as waitressing and working as a title examiner, she took a real estate course and entered the field in 1985.

“I fell in love with it,” she says. “Either you love it or you don’t.”

And real estate hasn’t disappointed her. She specializes in waterfront, water view and village properties and she still loves helping her clients find the house that is right for them — a process that can take months or even years, depending on the market. And finding the right house is a lot more than granite countertops, she notes.

“I want the buyer and seller to be really happy,” she says. For that reason, she misses the pre-COVID tradition of both buyers and sellers, rather than just attorneys, attending closings. “They would meet each other. Everyone would get to know each other. It’s so emotional for people.”

Tanco’s clients, Azure says, often talk about how “patient and kind” she is. Tanco establishes relationships with her clients and many become friends afterward the sale. Because Tanco has been selling real estate in the Lower Cape region for nearly four decades, she has by now sold houses to the children and grandchildren of her original clients.

How has the industry changed in four decades? A lot, as it happens, particularly in the realm of technology. In the early days, preceding the computer and online listings, real estate agents referred to the MLS book for Cape Cod listings. Tanco would copy a page from the book and then tape photos of the house to the photocopies. Then she would mail the package to her client. This was in the days before even fax machines.

Does that sound slow and cumbersome? It’s quite a bit different from taking a virtual house tour courtesy of Zillow or Trulia or through the agencies’ dedicated websites. On occasion Tanco will preview a house to an off-Cape client by walking through it with her iPhone or iPad and describing the house as the client follows at home on his or her computer.

These days clients are “very educated,” Tanco says. “They don’t have to wait for us to tell them about it.”

Also, tastes change. Back in 1985 you had to fill in a swimming pool to sell a house. These days, “everyone wants a pool.”

What else is different? The prices are a lot higher, of course. Tanco’s first sale was a piece of land in Brewster that went for $12,500.

Developments in real estate come fast and an agent has to keep up.

“You have to keep checking the ‘hot sheet,’” Tanco says. That’s where the newest MLS listings appear. “You have to keep watching that all the time.” If a listing pops up that she thinks will interest one of her potential buyers, she calls her client immediately because “things are selling so fast.”

One reason property is selling quickly in this sellers’ market is because the inventory of houses for sale is so low. (While 1,736 houses were on the market in Feb. 2019, less than half that number were on the market last month, according to online data.) Some owners hesitate to list their houses because they have an interest rate of 3 percent on their current mortgage. If they either down- or up-size, their new interest rate will probably be in excess of 6 percent.

Tanco recalls that during the COVID epidemic, when people were moving from the cities to Cape Cod, she juggled 45 offers on one single house. “People were crying,” she recalls, begging her to accept their offer. “We don’t see that anymore. But properties are still going fast, usually at the first open house.”

But no matter how radically technology has changed, selling real estate still comes down to making sure both buyers and sellers are happy. Azure describes her mother as an “inspiration.”