Due East Reflects on 15 Years in Real Estate at Holiday Party

Realtors, secretaries, attorneys and their families gathered at the 15th annual Due East holiday party, held this year at Samuel’s at the St. Croix Country Club. (Photo by Lura Jackson)

By Lura Jackson

For the past 15 years, there’s been one major name in real estate in Washington County: Due East. Formed by Al Rummel, the company’s roster of realtors now includes particularly influential and informed community members, including the Mayor of Calais, Billy Howard, and, most recently, former State Senator Kevin Raye. On Saturday, December 1st, Due East held its 15th annual holiday banquet, choosing Samuel’s as its venue.

Rummel, who has been in the real estate business for 35 years – selling properties in New York and Key West – expressed that the market is doing very well. “Last year was the best year we’ve had. Every year has been better than the next.” He said that they are anticipating selling around 200 homes this year.

Asked if he felt that rising property taxes were a barrier to sales, Rummel astutely observed, “I see things going up, but it has to do with the services.” Along with the relatively low price of property in Washington County, some areas have particular selling features. While Rummel explains that he is not technologically savvy, he understands that such a direction is “the future” and that such developments as Calais and Baileyville’s fiber optic internet utility are attractive to some potential residents.

Due East recently made its own investment into technological upgrades, purchasing a $7,000 Matterport camera that enables a virtual tour of the home they are selling. Prospective buyers can tour the home online and get an idea of whether or not they are interested before scheduling an in-person meeting with the realtor.

Among the realtors that have been with Rummel since the beginning is Billy Howard, now the Mayor of Calais. “It’s been all good,” Howard said succinctly of his time with the company. Howard’s daughter, Jessie, has become one of the most successful realtors in the area since she joined Due East.

One of the more recent realtors with Due East to receive his license is former State Senator Kevin Raye of Perry. Raye shares that he always wanted to become a realtor but his life took a different course. “It’s a good fit for me personally. I really enjoy helping people fulfill a dream, and to introduce new people to the area.”

 

Samuel’s, which stayed open specifically for the party, was tastefully decorated for the holiday season with a fully-trimmed tree and festive lights augmented by the gentle crooning of classic Christmas music. Award-winning Chef Rocky Rakoczy prepared a variety of hors-d’oeuvres for the occasion, including oysters on the half shell, in addition to a gourmet meal.