Nya Clarke, Broker/Owner
Martha’s Vineyard Island-Wide Realty
What got you started in the brokerage business on the Vineyard?
I moved back to the Vineyard from a career in design in New York City. In some ways I fell into real estate … I already had a retail background, working in the fashion design field for almost ten years. My grandfather bought some lots near downtown Oak Bluffs, built some houses and eventually sold them. He owned a painting company that serviced the town buildings of Oak Bluffs and many of the beachfront Victorian homes. It was somewhat of a family interest that drew me in. This year marks my 22nd year in brokerage!
Tell us more about your Island roots
My mom is part Wampanoag Indian from the Island and African American with siblings living in Oak Bluffs and Aquinnah. I was born in Brookline; my mom moved back to Oak Bluffs when I was 5. I grew up on the Island and graduated from high school here.
Your office was originally called, Century 21?
We were Century 21 – Island wide. The office has been in Vineyard Haven on Beach Road since the late 1960s. Sometime in the early 90s the owner decided to merge with Century 21 as a franchise business. When I took over the office, I kept the Century 21 name for a few years. But all of us in the office are full-time agents — year-round Islanders — and a lot of our business is referral from Islanders. We didn’t feel the need for the franchise name here.
Who are your clients?
Our business — the strength of our rentals and sales — has a lot to do with people we know. Many of our sales come from people who rent through us, and then decide they want to buy on the Island. Most of our business is residential sales with close to 80 percent of those bought as secondary homes. Especially right now with this market.
Have you seen changes in the business?
I have seen so many changes. When I started the business I had a good run; then 9/11 happened, and it got a little quiet … then we had the housing fallout in 2009. We have definitely seen some market dips and some incredible gains, like now as a high gain. We have navigated through the storms of real estate!
Today buyers do a lot of their research online. They call us when they want to get inside and see the house after they’ve researched the market. We do so much online now, even the contracts can be done that way, as clients may be in Europe or just about anywhere. Some of our sales, particularly during COVID, were done remotely, using Facetime with Facetime tours of the houses.
What are short sales?
We worked with the banks during those troubling market times doing short sales and foreclosures. These allowed a lot of first time buyers to get into the market at low entry level price points. The 2009 economic downturn resulted in many foreclosures and we worked closely…