Vail Board of Realtors celebrates 30 years
EAGLE COUNTY Sue Rychel remembers the Vail Valley real estate business in the 1970s. It was, of course, a lot different.We were all young, Rychel said. We skied hard and had a great time. We loved the industry, and felt so fortunate to live and play in the place where we worked.In 1978, some among that band of young brokers decided to created the Vail Board of Realtors, a small chapter of the state and national groups. The board became a way for brokers to share information and gave them access to the bigger groups educational programs. Rychel, a broker with Slifer, Smith & Frampton, was president of the local board of Realtors in 1984 and has been a member almost since the start.Back then, many, if not most, local real estate brokers had to hold down other jobs at least some of the time. There were only 113 sales in 1978, and only two of those sales topped $200,000. Sure, the local cost of living was a lot lower then, but there still wasnt a whole lot of commission money available.I was raising two kids at the time, Rychel said. I had to take other jobs from time to time. People were practicing real estate and waitressing, cutting hair, bartending.These days, Bill Wilto believes that a moonlighting real estate broker should be a red flag for a buyer.We really encourage people to deal with people who are full-time brokers, said Wilto, the owner and managing broker of the local ReMax office. Theres so much misinformation out there.Wilto, who was president of the Vail Board of Realtors in 1994, said with all the information available on line, customers are far more knowledgeable than they used to be. But, he said, a lot of popular real estate Web sites are peddling misleading information.I tell people to see if someone from Zillow.com will sell your house or buy it at that price, Wilto said. Rychel said the sophistication of customers may be the single biggest change in the local real estate business over the last 30 years or so. Sophisticated customers require sophisticated brokers. And thats where the Vail Board of Realtors can help.The board has really helped with broker education, Rychel said. They offer wonderful classes locally. In the early years, you had to travel to get that kind of education.Current board president Chad Brasington, a broker with Prudential Colorado Properties, said the local board of Realtors is also a way for brokers to share information.Whenever I meet a fellow member, I know theyre committed to the profession, Brasington said. In other places, thats not always the case.Not everyone gets along all the time, of course, and Brasington said the Vail Board of Realtors has conflict resolution services available.The three brokers interviewed for this story all said education, information and other professional services available through the local board can be critically important when times are slow, as they are now.But all three said they continue to be excited about their profession.Wilto said that buyers in this market can find some outstanding values right now.Brasington said the valleys market, while slow at the moment, remains strong relative to the national real estate market.I think we have some savvy investors, he said.Asked what excites her about the next couple of years, Rychel said she loves a challenge.It keeps you on your toes, she said. You dont take anything for granted.Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or firstname.lastname@example.org.