Waystack Reflects On 35 Years Of Building Trust

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Business , Real estate , Housing and homelessness

Richard Waystack, 2021 Massachusetts Realtor of the Year. COURTESY PHOTO

Named 2021 Massachusetts Realtor Of The Year

HARWICH PORT Richard Waystack, the newly minted Massachusetts Realtor of the Year, leans forward in his chair when he talks about his profession. Thirty-five years after he started selling real estate, Waystack now enjoys teaching people who are new to the industry, and his eyes light up when he talks about the key to the business. It’s the same mantra he lives by: build strong relationships, communicate well and earn people’s trust.

Now executive broker with Jack Conway and Co., Inc. in Harwich Port, Waystack began as a realtor in 1986, working for his father at Waystack Realty. He learned the business from the ground up at a time when the industry had yet to be transformed by the internet. The Multiple Listing Service regularly printed booklets of properties, and to find the latest listings in the neighborhood meant calling other agents and asking them what properties they had listed.

“It was all relationships,” he said. Waystack has seen the real estate market ebb and flow; it was in full boom when he started work, and it all but died a few years later. The market, which was red hot in recent months, has shown signs of cooling, but not because demand has dropped off. “There’s still a tremendous lack of supply,” he said. Some properties are now selling without contingencies for home inspections, radon screening or septic inspections because buyers are so eager not to lose their chance for a purchase. Others place bids with special escalation options that allow their bids to increase, auction-style, so they can edge out other buyers.

It’s an exciting, fast-paced time to sell real estate, but it’s not the easy paycheck that some assume it to be, Waystack said. Commissions might be impressive on big sales, but they’re split many ways. Buying or selling property still requires a big investment in time to build those relationships and also requires experience and savvy when helping clients to find the best property or offer. The volume of transactions can also be very high, in part because of technology.

Listings today are posted online and shared among scores of real estate sites. When a real estate agent clicks to post a property, there can be enthusiastic inquiries from far and wide within minutes. Technology helps drive the business on many levels; agents can now take photos of empty rooms in a home and then have them “virtually” staged with computer-generated furnishings and props. It’s another area where trust is important, Waystack said. For instance, virtual staging can put a lit fire in the fireplace, but a reputable agent will only do so if the fireplace actually works. That’s the advantage of hiring a realtor instead of another broker; realtors agree to abide by a national code of ethics, Waystack said.

The Massachusetts Realtor of the Year award recognizes Waystack’s contributions to the industry on the local, state and national levels, as well as his service to the local community.

“I was always taught that you give back,” he said. As a new member of the industry, Waystack became active with the Cape Cod Association of Realtors and soon found an outlet for volunteerism in Harwich. “I got involved with the gang” that included Dick Gomes, Bob Murray and Denny Duggan, three of the charter members of the Family Pantry of Cape Cod. Waystack and the others collaborated on a new housing development on Driftwood Lane under the auspices of the Harwich Community Development Council. It’s gratifying to see that the development is still a vibrant neighborhood, Waystack said.

He urged people to find a way to get involved, no matter their backgrounds. As a realtor, when he’s encouraging people who are looking to make a new life in Harwich, Waystack brings people to the Harwich Community Center so they can see the wide variety of activities that are available. “Everybody has some ability to give back to the community,” he said.

While Waystack has volunteered helping people in recovery for years, and has served on the town’s council on aging board and the board of assessors, he’s understandably passionate about finding ways to address the lack of affordable and workforce housing. He helped broker the recent purchase of the Marceline property on Route 124 by the town’s affordable housing trust and said he’d personally like to see the property host a mixture of affordable and market rate housing, including units reserved for veterans and others.

“It doesn’t all have to be the same,” Waystack said of the housing units. “Let’s look at creating some neighborhoods. Because neighborhoods are important,” he said. When it comes to creating housing, communities need to make a concerted effort to do so, Waystack noted. And while there are challenges that face every housing proposal, they can usually be overcome. It’s a lesson that the late Bob Murray repeated often.

“He’d say, ‘We have to stop saying “no” and start saying “how?”’” Waystack said.