By Robin Jovanovich
After spending an hour with Barbie Haynes, a leading realtor at Houlihan Lawrence, you come away recognizing that the friendships she’s made in her 38-year career have meant the most to her. Yes, she’s consistently ranked in the top 10 percent and yes, this spring she found a buyer for one of Rye’s most desirable waterfront homes, but she’s not one to boast. She will allow that the buyer found her through the recommendation of a friend, and that the sale is likely the highlight of her career.
What she loves most about her job, however, is “walking away with pride after accomplishing an objective for someone else.”
As a young mother of three living in Indian Village, a block from her childhood home, Haynes was, in her words, “a “professional volunteer”. It was realtor, friend, and fellow hockey mom Diane Holmes who suggested she “make some money for herself and get her real estate license.”
Haynes knew and liked Jack and Joan Henningsen, who had their own agency in town. She went to work for them with the proviso that she wasn’t going to miss a game or a ballet recital, that family came first.
It was Billie Prizio who convinced her to join Merritt Associates. “Billie was my mentor and we’re best friends and colleagues [Prizio is also at Houlihan] to this day,” she said.
Haynes was one of the “last soldiers” at Merritt when it was announced the Elm Place office would close, but she transitioned easily to Houlihan, because manager Audrey Rapaport had long been asking her to come down the street.
Blessed with lovely clients, Haynes prides herself on listening to them, learning something about them, and being honest with them. Years ago, when Dan and Bunny Burke asked her to list their house on Dogwood Lane, they received an offer quickly. Dan asked Barbie, “What do you think we should do?” She advised them to “Take the money and run!”
She likes the fact that every deal is different. “You have to adapt and be resilient. You have to manage expectations.”
If she writes her memoirs, the title will be “Still Smiling.” Every time you run into Barbie Haynes, you see a woman who radiates ageless grace, kindness, and happiness. While she enjoyed an enviable childhood in Rye, her husband, Hayter Haynes, a Vietnam veteran who was wounded and suffered from his wartime experiences, died in 1990. Her eldest child Ward, who worked at the World Trade Center, died in the attacks on September 11, 2001.
“When Hayter died, I had two children in college,” she related. “They got jobs. Their objective was to ‘keep Mom in her house.’”
Her daughter Katie often asks her, “When you get to heaven, do you want money or memories?”
There’s no question that Barbie Haynes made the right decision a long time ago. Katie and her brother TJ always ask their mother to come along with them on family trips. She missed one and promised herself she’d never miss another.