MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Lawrence Zacks has lived in Putnam County for more than 50 years and knows the area like the back of his hand. It’s just one of the many reasons that he’s one of Putnam and Westchester counties’ premier real estate agents.

“I have lived here since 1965 and graduated from Mahopac School District,” Zacks said. “I know the area extremely well; it’s one of my strengths. When I was a teenager, I drove all around the region making deliveries for my family’s business. I know all the back roads and the short cuts and all the communities within 30 miles.”

But knowing the territory is just a part of being a successful Realtor, said Zacks, who works as a licensed broker associate for RE/MAX Classic Realty based in Somers. You also must be a people person and a good listener. He honed his people skills after his parents bought a summer home on Lake Mahopac and began inviting friends and business clients to come to visit.

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“My parents loved to entertain, and I was the tour guide on Lake Mahopac driving people around on the boat and teaching people to water ski,” Zacks recalled. “People were coming up from the city and lower Westchester—lots of friends and lots of dentists. Dad had a dental laboratory business. I loved it. That planted the seed [for a career in sales].”

When Zacks graduated from college in 1982 with a business management degree and minor in psychology—and the psychology has really helped—he decided he wanted to go into business for himself. He began working in the real estate industry after landing a job with a brokerage in Patterson and from there to a Somers brokerage, now with RE/MAX for over 22 years.

“As a kid, during the summers, I had a lawn business and did handyman work taking care of homes for people who needed things done,” he said. “When my family bought a home on Lake Mahopac it needed a lot of work and I worked with the contractors to help renovate it. That experience has helped me as a Realtor. I am familiar with systems that need upgrading; summer homes have a different standard. I know the mechanical systems and structural systems. That comes in handy when resolving issues that constantly pop up during a sale. It’s all about knowledge and experience.”

Having designed and sold a lot of new homes and luxury homes, his knowledge of how homes are constructed enables him to speak more intelligently about the houses he helps sell.

That knowledge and experience have enabled Zacks to rack up an array of honors and accolades as a RE/MAX broker. He was named to the RE/MAX Hall of Fame and received the company’s Lifetime Achievement Award for a record number of sales in just 10 years.

“It’s been 37 years since I started and I have over 2,500 happy customers,” Zacks said as he looked back on his career. “Through booms busts, bubbles, and recessions. I’ve seen it all.  I’ve sold 133-acre farms, commercial and industrial projects and almost 800 vacant lots from Harrison on north.”

Zacks said the real estate industry has seen considerable changes over the past three decades, the biggest being the internet.

“When I started the info [available to the customer] was pre-internet, but post-internet the consumer has a tremendous amount of information,” he said. “Everyone goes online. They are very knowledgeable now and knowledgeable customers are the best customers. We have incredible online exposure that has a global reach with just the push of a button.”

“I have a high level of experience and am adept at overcoming issues, whether it is titles, water, septic, roads, credit, or finance—I have seen it all,” he said. “When I first started, 60 percent of transactions were owner-financed because interest rates were so high. People couldn’t afford the banks. Now, that’s come around 180 degrees and you can buy a home with little or nothing down.”

Zacks said he stands out in a crowded field because he loves his work and he is good at making the transaction smooth for his clients.

Because of his experience, Zacks is able to find solutions to complex problems to make his clients’ lives easier.

“When [problems] come up, we are able to get them resolved so they don’t have to be all stressed out,” he said. “It’s like hiring someone who has nearly 40 years of experience versus someone who has a little or less experience—who can do a better job? Why would you want to experiment with someone who has less experience? I am sophisticated in that I have built homes and renovated homes. With me, you are getting a real professional. I love helping people with something I feel strongly about. Real estate is the American dream.”

Zacks said his core territory includes the Mahopac/Carmel community and surrounding neighbors such as Somers, Katonah, Cortlandt, and Yorktown. It is his experience and intimate knowledge of the region that makes him an obvious choice to serve as your real estate agent.

Zacks loves living in the Hudson Valley region, a place where the natural beauty makes it all that easier to sell property.

“I love to fish, water ski on the lake, and use the bike trail,” he said. “I really love the outdoors. I also frequent and enjoy the restaurants we have in our area—we have so many great ones. And I stay here because of the natural beauty, the rural character, lakes, reservoirs and mountains. It’s a nice, safe place to live.”

You can reach Zacks by calling him at 845-628-1010 (office) or 914-557-6073 (cell) or emailing larryzacks@msn.com. He handles all aspects of real estate; residential, vacant land, industrial and commercial.