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Another wave of Aspen Realtors relocate

Scott CondonAspen CorrespondentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

ASPEN, Colorado Carol Ann Kopf has taken the ups and downs of the Aspen real estate business in stride for more than 40 years but never has she seen anything quite like the musical chairs sweeping the industry right now.The free agency signing period in Major League Baseball has been tame this offseason compared to the last month in the Aspen real estate industry. Kopf was among the wave of real estate agents to switch firms this month. She joined her longtime peer Tony Scheer at Aspen Real Estate Co. after Aspen Sothebys International Realty closed on Feb. 13. She said her longtime colleagues Richie Cohen and Jackie Wogan also came with her to Aspen Real Estate Co., as did David Berley, formerly of Aspen Sothebys.Kopf got her real estate license in 1966 and started Carol Ann Jacobson Realty in Aspen in 1972. Her office merged with Chaffin Light Real Estate in 1992 and combined them under the Chaffin Light name five years later. She and several longtime brokers in her office joined Aspen Sothebys earlier this decade and were forced to go on the move again when that firm decided to close.Kopf said that at this point in her career she wasnt thrilled at the prospect of switching firms again but instantly pursued what she felt was the best option.I decided to call the man who runs a business most like I ran at Carol Ann Jacobson Realty, she said. Kopf has known Scheer since the 1960s and liked the way he operated his business keeping it relatively small with a close-knit group of real estate agents.I feel theres still a spot for the small, personal office in Aspen, she said.The majority of real estate agents from Aspen Sothebys International Realty as well as the Sothebys franchise went to the firm now known as Morris & Fyrwald Sothebys International Realty. The firm added 25 real estate agents in recent weeks, including former Aspen Sothebys managing partner Mike Russo and partner Raifie Bass, longtime Aspen real estate agent Ed Zasacky and longtime Carbondale veteran Lynn Kirchner.Other agents joining Morris & Fyrwald were AnneAdare Wood, Barbara and Kevin Owen, Chris Leonard, Chris Vecchiarello, Jennifer Dunbar, Lenny Allen, Margi Crawford, Michael Perau, Mike Elkins, Rob Bordan, Rochelle Bouchard, Sue Hess, Susan Hershey, Wendy Wogan, Zack Feast, Nancy Jankovsky, Lydia McIntyre, Cody Reed, John Reichert and Lolita Shaffer.The other big shake-up so far this winter was the breakup of Coates, Reid and Waldrons Aspen office. Joshua & Co. purchased ResortQuests real estate sales arm and didnt offer jobs to well-known real estate agents Robert Ritchie, Brian Hazen and Brent Waldron, part of the managing partner group who had been there for 30 or more years. Ritchie and Hazen joined Mason Morse Real Estate along with Jonathan Feinberg of their former office. Waldron is now managing broker of the Aspen office of Chaffin Light Real Estate. Mike Gerbaz of Coates, Reid and Waldron also joined Chaffin Light. Maggie McVoy and Brenda Wild, formerly of Aspen Sothebys, also joined Chaffin Light.Ritchie said he doubts the shake-up in the Aspen real estate industry is finished yet. There will still be more consolidations, he said, adding that one to three more firms could vanish.Changes among firms might depend on what happens with the market. Right now, every real estate company owner and manager is facing the impossible task of anticipating revenues, said a real estate company partner who didnt want to be identified.Ritchie said there has been a slight jump in activity recently because some leveraged owners have been forced to price their property at a level guaranteed to sell. He said there will probably be more activity in 2009 than in 2008 simply because the recession is forcing some owners to sell. In addition, no one wants to invest heavily in the stock market, as it keeps sinking lower, so that makes Aspen real estate more attractive.Kopf said she expects it to take up to two years for the market to straighten out. Everybody wants to buy at the bottom, but no one is certain where the bottom is yet, she said.Kopf estimated she has seen seven or eight cycles where the Aspen-area market soared, then corrected itself. This time is different, though, because the boom had been so robust, she said.This is going to be bigger and longer just because (the preceding boom) was higher, crazier and greedier, she said.scondon@aspentimes.com


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