How did your business start?
I moved out to Carbondale in 2000 as the chair of the language department at Colorado Rocky Mountain School. In 2003, I was ready for a change and had always found real estate intriguing. After five years working at two local offices, I decided it was time to open my own office. Since 2010, I have been in my current location in the Tamarack Building in downtown Glenwood.
What do you sell?
I guide, educate and coach my clients through the process of buying or selling their home. I make the process as easy and as stress-free as possible for what is typically the largest single asset we ever own. Many people think that Realtors just open the door of houses for sale or advertise a property and wait for a buyer to arrive. The reality is that there are so many facets to a sale, and so many places where a deal can fall apart. I love putting a difficult deal together and keeping it together even when apparent road blocks appear.
What positive lessons did you learn during the recession?
Real estate was hit particularly hard during the recession, and many Realtors were forced out of the business. By being able to control my expenses and persevere, I was able to ride it out, but not without my first gray hairs. Between working with sellers on short sales, banks with foreclosure sales, and investors, I have learned a huge amount over the last few difficult years that helps me every day working with the “traditional” sales that have thankfully become the lion’s share of our market again.
The other thing that the recession taught me was the importance of understanding and constantly analyzing local market trends. The rapid increase in supply of homes for sale back in late 2007 and 2008 should have told us that a downturn in prices was imminent even as prices continued to rise. Since then I have become an avid follower of our market statistics. Right now for example, supply has increased steadily (but not dramatically) since January to the point that it suggests prices should start to level off.
What strategy do you use to hire good people?
I have thought long and hard about growing my business through taking on new agents, but prefer the freedom and control of keeping my operation small and personal. This said, I recently hired a wonderful assistant, Selene Grajales, who is a CMC student and a member of my Rotary Club’s new Rotaract club.
What is your strategy for growth in the next year?
By taking on an assistant, as well as hiring an experienced Internet marketing consultant, and a bookkeeper, I am freeing myself up from many of the more administrative aspects of my job, which gives me more time to focus on following up with my past, current and future clients. Like so many things, in real estate, success builds on success and so long as I continue to provide exceptional service and results to my clients, I trust they will continue to recommend me to their friends and family. Just being voted the Locals’ Choice Best Realtor, while being a huge and very pleasant surprise, feels like a vindication of this approach.
What is the best thing about running a business here?
I traveled 5,000 miles to be here! What better place to run a business than Glenwood, within a small town community where people care about each other and the place we live. On top of that, we have an incredible climate (especially compared to my native England) and the exceptional beauty of the mountains with limitless, world class outdoor recreation. As a Realtor, it makes it pretty easy for us when talking to out of town clients thinking about relocating.