You’d never guess how old Joyce Vanderpol is, and, even if you did, she wouldn’t tell you.
A small, spry woman with silver hair and endless energy, Vanderpol is the epitome of vivaciousness and has found no lack of ways to keep her days full. If she’s not out brokering the next deal for her real estate business, you’ll most likely find her swinging a racket on the tennis courts, either on the courts at Blaine High School or at tournaments throughout the U.S. and
Originally from Kirkland, Vanderpol and her husband Nick found a home in Blaine after Nick retired from the Navy. After a stint working with U.S. Customs, she decided to make a change. “I wanted a job that allowed me to play tennis,” she said. The compromise? Opening a real estate office.
Her first sale was for a mobile home in Blaine. She was the only one in the office where she was apprenticing, and after showing the customers the lot, they said, “Write it up, Joyce.” She accommodated and had one transaction under her belt. The thrill of the sale was enough.
For the past 29 years, Vanderpol has used her mix of charm and shrewd attention to detail to help Whatcom County residents find their dream homes.
But, she may have underestimated the time commitment. “Real estate is a seven-day-a-week business. I work Monday through Friday, and then still stop in on Saturday to see what’s cooking,” she said. “There’s always paperwork to do.”
Things have changed a lot since Vanderpol started her real estate business in 1983. Back then she says it only took two pages of paperwork to complete a property sale – now it’s more than 15. “The legality has increased,” Vanderpol said. “It’s a lot more complicated now.”
She’s managed to roll along with the times, though, and takes classes every year to keep up her real estate license and stay up to date on the trends in the marketplace. She could have retired long ago, but says she continues because she likes “the challenge and sense of accomplishment” running her own business gives her. “I just don’t want to sit here and twiddle my thumbs,” she said.
It’s doubtful that Vanderpol would have any time at all to twiddle her thumbs, though. Her other commitments keep her on the move, and the tennis circuit calls her name on a regular basis.
Vanderpol picked up the sport in high school with her sweetheart Nick, who passed away 12 years ago, and has never been able to drop the racket. She competes in tournaments across the country on a regular basis, and was invited to participate with the U.S. Tennis Team in the Wilson Friendship Cup in Portschech, Austria this summer. “I play tennis three times a week,” Vanderpol said. “Both singles and doubles – but not at the same time.”
She is scheduled to play in Salinas, California soon, and then will rest up for a week before heading to Vancouver, Washington for another tournament. “It’s a good thing that real estate is slow so I can go,” she said jokingly. “I squeeze it in on Saturday and Sunday, but when I am gone, Terry Conway at Century 21 covers for me.”
“I think [tennis] keeps me younger, and it’s healthy for me,” Vanderpol said. “And there’s still so much to learn.” Vanderpol takes lessons from the tennis pro at Semiahmoo Resort to stay on top of her game and to learn new techniques. “I try to get in at least one clinic a week.”
Despite her already full schedule, she is also the president of the Harborview Condo Association and the vice president of the Semiahmoo Tennis Association. Vanderpol has been a member of the Semiahmoo Tennis Club since it opened.
As for free time? Well, Vanderpol has found a way to fill even that, if she manages to find it. “I might go shoot pool in a tavern with my sister,” she says. “And I’m fairly good at golf … but it takes a lot more time.”
Vanderpol has no plans to slow down anytime soon, and is contemplating starting another “spec house – a home that she’ll design and construct in order to sell – to stretch her talents even further. This will be her ninth spec house to date.
“I just like to be out in the business world,” she said.