SPOTLIGHT ON: Amanda Martinez
Mary Prenon | March 2020
A Lifetime of Volunteering
After spending 32 years working with the New York City Housing Authority, it’s no surprise that Amanda Martinez has a knack for finding people homes. The Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty agent actually started her real estate career just two years ago in the brokerage firm’s Goshen office, but has already made a name for herself not only in business, but in her volunteer work with the Hudson Gateway Realtor Foundation.
No stranger to volunteering over the years, Martinez has lent a helping hand to non-profit organizations like the Red Cross, Alzheimer’s Association and Pets Alive among others. Last year, she joined the HGRF’s Program Committee, which provides volunteers for the various events and activities to the charities and non-profits that the HGRF supports. “There is such a personal satisfaction in helping people and it makes us all feel good,” she said. “Sometimes that can be even more valuable than a paycheck.”
This year, Martinez is setting up volunteer activities at Hi-Tor Animal Shelter in Pomona and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh, and has added the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley in Cornwall-on-Hudson. In the past two years, Martinez has also been a staple at HGRF check presentations including for Hearts to Home, Catholic Charities, Center for Safety & Change, Christ Church of Ramapo and Habitat for Humanity.
Martinez honed her volunteer skills while acting as an auxiliary officer with the New York City Police Department for 14 years. The volunteer position included helping with crowd control and making sure people were safe at large functions like parades and other events. “I wore a uniform, but didn’t carry a gun,” she explained. “I found it to be very rewarding.”
An animal lover, Martinez has been very active with Pets Alive in Middletown, helping to walk dogs, plan events and create gift baskets for fundraisers. She has two rescue dogs from there, and also worked with the organization’s “Trap-Neuter-Release” program for feral cats. “I’ve seen kittens outside my home and once I fed them, they decided to stay,” she recalled. “Of course, that wasn’t the plan, but that’s what happened.”
Born in Manhattan and growing up in the Bronx, Martinez came from a family of eight. She attended Fordham University, earning a B.S. in Psychology, and set her sights on becoming a therapist. Originally, she worked in the New York City family shelter system as a caseworker before transferring to the Housing Authority some 18 months later. She started out there as a social worker and quickly rose through the ranks to become a housing assistant, manager, translator, trainer and eventually, property manager.
As for her budding real estate career Martinez said it was a natural shift following the Housing Authority. “I was actually interested a long time ago and took classes, but I had to put everything on hold because I had just started a new job in a new department,” she said.
She made the move to Middletown in 2006, trading in a city lifestyle for a suburban one in the Hudson Valley. “Transitioning into real estate was fairly easy since I already knew about fair housing rules and regulations,” she said. “What was different—I was no longer reporting to an office every day. With the Housing Authority, you’re accountable to people above and below you—both managers and clients. But with real estate, you’re accountable to yourself because you’re running your own business.”
Martinez admits there have been some challenges. “I think I’ve already run into every negative situation, “she said. “Some people ended up buying houses with other agents even after signing with me, and there have been situations with the same family working with two agents. You just can’t control what people are going to do. You just hope they’re honest.”
To stay on top of things, Martinez believes in constant education and networking. “Real estate is definitely not a part-time job,” she added.
Most of her real estate clients are in the Orange County region and she loves the every-day diversity of her job. As for volunteering, Martinez plans to continue contributing to the foundation’s Program Committee. “I like where this is headed—getting everyone out there and providing help where it’s needed,” she said. “I also think people will donate more when they know where the funds are going, and it’s also a wonderful opportunity to give back.”