Gina Pelaia named Realtor of the Year

For the second time in her career, Gina Pelaia, a real estate agent with Bay Realty, was the recipient of the Realtor of the Year award at the annual Kachemak Board of Realtors holiday party and fundraiser last December.

“This means a lot to me, to be recognized by my association and my fellow Realtors,” said Pelaia, who is also the president of the Kachemak Board of Realtors. 

Each Realtor association sets their own criteria for winners, but Realtor of the Year recipients are often selected based on service to their community, notable business accomplishments and attendance at state and national conventions, said Pelaia.

Pelaia began her real estate career selling manufactured homes and land in Texas in 1996. Growing up, her mom was involved in property management and sales, and Pelaia says that she was drawn to that work.

When her brother and mom moved to Homer, Pelaia came up to visit. That visit turned into a life in Homer — and a career at Bay Realty, where she has spent the last 14 years. 

Pelaia credits her broker, Debra Leisek, for inspiring the work habits that have helped her become Realtor of the Year. 

“She’s instilled a really strong work ethic to all of us here at Bay Realty,” said Pelaia. 

Some of the best rewards from that strong work ethic are the people she has sold homes to — who went on to become lifelong friends. 

“Everyone that is a really long-term friend — I sold them a house,” she said.

Pelaia notes that another reward from her work is the pleasure of giving back to the community that has given so much to her and her family.

One of the ways she is giving back is through her work with the Kachemak Board of Relators on a $2,100 Placemaking micro-grant from the National Association of Realtors. 

The grants are awarded to Realtor associations to help start projects in their communities, like turning an empty parking lot into a local market or a vacant lot into a play space. 

“As the Homer area becomes more attractive and welcoming, nearby properties may also increase in value,” noted Pelaia. 

This particular grant will be used to partner with the Homer Chamber of Commerce in building an informational kiosk at the Baycrest overlook. 

Tom Stroozas, president of the chamber’s board of sirectors, said that it was a great surprise when the Kachemak Board of Realtors contacted the chamber about the micro-grant. 

Many visitors — especially in the summer — arrive at night after the chamber is closed, and the chamber recognizes a need to be able to provide self-service information 24 hours a day. The planned structure will be a 16-foot octagon with space inside for chamber members to place rack cards and brochures. 

An additional $100 per month will be charged to members who wish to place information at the kiosk, but Stroozas said no one has balked at the fee. 

The grant will help offset the cost, which is projected at $18,000, but the additional charge is necessary for the chamber to be able to provide the facility — which they hope to have ready for summer traffic. 

“Our goal is to have this thing up and running by May,” said Stroozas. 

In addition to her work with the board of realtors, Gina Pelaia is a mother of three, a member of the Kachemak Bay Rotary club and enjoys volunteering at the annual spaghetti feed for Share the Spirit. 

She also enjoys kayaking, fishing and downhill skiing.

Toni Ross is a freelance writer who lives in Homer.

Kachemak Board of Realtors
Annual Holiday Party and Fundraiser

$7,000 was raised and will be divided among the following: three scholarships for $1,000 each to graduating seniors, $4,000 divided between Hospice of Homer, the Kach-a-Kid Foster Program and the two local food banks.

Award Recipients:
Realtor of the Year, 

Gina Pelaia

Affiliate of Year, 

Julie Woodworth

Lifetime Achievement Award,

 John Calhoun 

Board Of Directors 

for 2016:

President, Gina Pelaia

President Elect, Lynne Hibdon

Vice President, Debra Leisek

Secretary, Shelly Stradling

Director, Joleen Lind

Treasurer, Claire Kiesel

Director, Marjolein Cardon

Director, Amanda Miotke