By Maureen Werther
After running her own renovation and construction business for 25 years, Lisa Tracy, owner of West Branch Inc., is shifting her focus exclusively to her other business, Terra Firm Realty.
Tracy began her career as a kindergarten teacher and her husband, Warren Tracy, is a licensed architectural engineer. He started West Branch Architectural Engineering and Consulting PLLC and has done many projects for New York state as well as in the private sector. When the couple had children, Lisa decided to stay home with them and take over the ownership and all daily operations of the company.
“He handled all the design and construction and I handled all the back-end business,” she said. In the course of the next 25 years, she said she learned everything there was to know about the construction business, as well as real estate development, property management, and buying and selling properties.
Gradually, her role “morphed,” and Tracy got her real estate broker’s license in 2007. She was already researching and writing deeds and doing title work, so the move over to real estate was the logical next step.
Now, her company, Terra Firm Realty, is occupying the lion’s share of her time and energies. She started Terra Firm in 2007 and she focuses mainly on residential transactions. However, because she also owns and manages commercial properties, she feels very comfortable working with commercial buyers and sellers.
“I’ve never worked for another broker. I’ve had to learn everything by myself,” said Tracy.
Terra Firm had an exceptional 2017 and she is looking forward to continuing to grow the realty business.
“The competition is hard, but my niche is property management, which is good for me,” said Tracy. After 25 years of running West Branch, property management has become second nature to her.
“Lots of other people don’t like or want to do it. Lots of times my existing tenants decide to buy their own properties and they become my clients,” she said.
Tracy focuses her business in the Capital Region, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties. She is a one-woman operation, but she does employ part-time administrative support as well as sub-contractors.
“If I’m doing property management I need sub-contractors, but I am the on-call, 24-7 person. Our construction company could do the maintenance and repair work, but I prefer to keep it separate,” she said, adding that she has earned a reputation for taking care of her clients’ properties as if they were her own.