Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

A Long and Varied Journey to Real Estate

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

A Long and Varied Journey to Real Estate

Article excerpt


SARASOTA -- Throughout her working adult life, Karen Wantuck consistently moved around; job-to-job, city-to-city.

She never made much money. Or friends.

But now, at the vibrant age of 74, Wantuck is earning more of both than she ever has before -- selling real estate in Southwest Florida.

The Coldwell Banker agent on St. Armand's Circle is now selling at a comfortable pace of about two homes per month -- ranging from a $64,000 unit to a $1.4 million home -- and she doesn't plan on slowing down anytime soon.

She credits her success at this stage in life to the twists of her past -- days of art teaching, travelling and professional writing -- while adapting to future trends.

"People say to kids you have to pick a career, what do you want to be?" she said from the tidy living room of her $284,900 listing in the Beekman community near University Parkway. "But one thing I learned is you don't have to pick. This is a changing world; you have to change with it, more so now than ever."

After growing up in Long Island, Wantuck spent the earlier part of life in the 1960s as an art and Italian teacher at a high school in New York, following the advice of her mother.

But just as she put in her seven years to earn tenure, she quit.

"Tenure is when you're safe; they can't fire you," she said. "But I get bored easy. I moved about 17 times."

She headed to Kentucky -- a far shoot from the suburbs of the Big Apple -- and took a gig as a college professor in a small town on the foothills of the Appalachian. Morehead was a dry town at the time, so her friends would drive across jurisdictional boundaries to stock up on booze. Wantuck started a print-making department at the college there.

"I had a lot of hair, a longer nose and looked (to the locals) like I dropped from Mars," Wantuck said.

After two years passed, her time in Kentucky did, too.

Wantuck quit her teaching job again, and this time, her aspirations took her to Athens, Georgia, where Wantuck enrolled in school to pursue her third collegiate degree. Only this time, she met a journalism professor, and was introduced to a new love -- the written word.

That detour brought her to Atlanta to launch a career as a freelancer. …

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