Originally published in Enchanted Homes
Alix Smith became acquainted with northern New Mexico, where she’s had family, since 1988. A self professed former “urban rat,” she was attracted to the expansive skies and the clean, natural beauty of Taos. No wonder she chose to make it her home in 2001.
Smith was referred to Harvey & Associates because of the company’s roots in the law rather than in real estate sales. “My father and grandfather were attorneys and I was seriously considering going to law school,” she said, “but then I met Harvey Blaustein and an opportunity in real estate took me on a different but parallel path.”
The daughter of a reformed real estate broker, as she describes her mother, Smith decided to start a new career in real estate. The attraction of old adobe houses (she currently lives in one) was another factor that helped her make the decision. It isn’t difficult to sell something you like and she was smitten with Taos’s architecture since day one.
Her experience in theater (she had a ten-year acting career in the East Coast) was also valuable when she became a Realtor. “Acting and the theater are all about collaboration, negotiation, paying attention, hard work, and building relationships,” she said. “And so is real estate.”
Smith talks enthusiastically about her ongoing efforts to educate her clients and herself so they can make, together, the best decisions. “I’m very frank with people, which is helpful in sales because sometimes clients, especially buyers, are suspect of old school sales ‘smoke and mirrors’ routines,” she explains.
No smoke and mirrors here. Frankness is for sure one of Smith’s distinguishing qualities. Her assessment of the current housing market in Taos does not come sugar-coated. “My view, which may not be what property owners want to hear, and I’m a property owner, is that prices will drop some more,” she said. “But, hopefully, that will attract buyers and this way we will move some of the present excessive inventory.”
But she is also an optimist. “In a world where ‘comps’, or comparable sales are critical in the appraisal process, and with the appraisal process being the biggest hurdle in many cases, there have been recent distress sales that are, unfortunately, anchors for other sellers,” she said. “I wish it were different. And it will be… just not yet.”
And how easy, or how difficult, is it to be a realtor in this economic downturn?
“Being a realtor in this market is tough, particularly in Taos,” Smith admits. “I really walked into the barrel of a gun and started in this profession just as the market was starting to fall so making money hasn’t been easy. That said, I enjoy being challenged and evolving as a business professional.”
Her workplace, Harvey & Associates, motivates Smith and her colleagues to always do their best. She speaks highly of her Qualifying Broker. “When you work with me, you’re not only getting my expertise, energy and enthusiasm, you’re also getting the expertise of the broker with the most energy, enthusiasm and education in this market,” she said.
“I love working for myself, but also love the people that I work with and the support that our office provides,” said Smith. “I like meeting new people that I’d otherwise not interact with but for this profession. I also love the flexibility and the fact that I don’t have to sit at a desk 9-5, Monday through Friday.”
Flexibility and persistence are indeed assets in her business. “Obviously the market has been very challenging in the last two or three years and prices have declined,” she said. “Some sellers have a hard time accepting that reality and we try to guide them accordingly. Honestly, if a seller needs out sooner rather than later, he or she has to reach down to find a buyer in this market.”
Her personal philosophy is that a Realtor should try to distinguish herself from the rest of the pack. “Show up, listen, pay attention to details and expect nothing,” she said.
Harvey & Associates has a great website and Smith admits that she hasn’t yet felt the need to get one for herself. “But make no mistake, the Internet is the present and future of this business.”
As for her current goals, “I want to be a good person and not to sweat the small stuff,” Smith said. She certainly doesn’t look like someone sweating the small stuff. She enjoys being comfortably settled in Taos and helping others to do the same.
Alix Smith works at Harvey & Associates, 603 Camino de la Placita, Taos, NM 87571. Call her at 575-737-5678 or email her: firstname.lastname@example.org