I’ve been asked over the last couple of years, “Why did you leave a large real estate brokerage in Denver to join a small, local brokerage in Bailey?”.  People always assume that real estate brokers are always in the business to make money at another’s expense.  I’m here to say, not so.  You see, it started a few years ago when I moved up to Bailey and joined the Platte Canyon Area Chamber of Commerce.  I attended most meetings and events that the chamber hosted.  I always saw the same people in attendance and working the events.  As I got to know these people, I met a wonderful woman who was all about the community and helping people along the way.  We had similar values and thoughts as it pertained to people, business, and being active in the community.  It turned out she was the managing broker at a small, local firm here in Bailey.

I knew I wanted to specialize in the Mountain Area between Morrison and Kenosha Pass.  What a beautiful area!  I also knew in order to do that I needed people that not only knew the business but also were experts in Mountain Property.  People who knew the ins and outs of purchasing and selling mountain homes.  Wells, Septic Systems, Metes and Bounds vs/ Township and Range, these were all new concepts to me.  The real estate brokers that worked in her firm were experts.  When I was in Denver I would call my Managing Broker and IF I received a reply it may be days later and they knew less than I did about the real estate business in the mountains.  So here started my research on small local firms vs. the large firms down the hill.

First I focused on technology.  The real estate business has changed drastically over the last 10 years due the advances in technology!  Most homes that are purchased are seen on a web site first.  Let’s face it, if you’ve purchased your home in the last few years, you had searched and searched websites until you found the few that you wanted to see.  I found that the smaller brokerage used the same Multi-listing Service (MLS) that I had used down the hill.  They used the same web based Property Showing Service that I had used for years.  This service allows real estate agents to request showings on properties 24 hours a day.  That was much better than some firms that require you to leave a message after 5 p.m. and they will call you in the morning.  This firm also used the same web based contracting software I had used at the larger firm.  Not much of a difference between the large and small firms so far.

Next I researched the advertising the smaller firm was using, both paper and internet.  They had website with searches available.  They actively used Facebook to market their properties.  The smaller firm advertised their properties in a well-known real estate magazine that only marketed Mountain and Ranch properties.  The Denver firm did not, as this was not their market.  There was a plus for the smaller firm and for what I wanted to do with my business

Finally, what really got my attention?  The brokers in this particular office and the way they treated their clients and each other.  I watched them at events and they were truly having fun and spending time with their neighbors.  They weren’t out trying to build business, their genuine care for the community and their neighbors shined through.  They were entrenched in this community.  After meeting with a couple individually I found that they had sold some homes 3-4 times to different people because clients kept coming back to them for help.  The small, local firm bases their business on return clients and friends.  They do right by people.  They do right by each other.  They customized their serviced based on their client’s needs.  Paper contracts if that is what their clients prefer.  Driving miles back and forth to get the one signature they need to finalize a deal.  That’s the kind of business I want to do business, that’s the kind of business I want to represent!

So, when you go looking to sell or purchase your next home, remember that there isn’t much difference between the large and small firms, EXCEPT the real estate brokers from your small, local firm the neighbor that you see at church, school socials, the eateries your frequent.  They know your neighborhood inside and out. They know the vendors to contact to get the job done, whether it’s inspectors, lenders, insurance agents, or well and septic companies that specialize in mountain properties.  They want to make sure you come back to them both as clients and as friends.  So, next time you are in Bailey, stop by, take a load off, and have a chat with your local Realtor®.  We’ll keep the coffee warm and the tea cold.

–Crystel Sandos