Alan and Anne Vorenberg
This interview series focuses on the people in Santa Fe’s real-estate industry. Alan and Anne Vorenberg are associate brokers with Sotheby’s International Realty.
How long have you been working here? Alan: I came to Santa Fe 1972. From where? From Albuquerque, but I grew up in Carlsbad. After a year in Europe I came here and I was in the restaurant business from 1973 to 1989. What restaurants? Just one: La Tertulia. Oh, that was a wonderful place. Yeah, one of the icons of local restaurants. We put together a whole machine that was unlike anything anybody else had done here: New Mexican in a fine-dining setting. The ‘70swas a great time, but I have to say that Santa Fe is still every bit as wonderful a place to be. Anne, where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Albuquerque and I graduated from Eldorado High. What did you want to do with your life? I always liked sales. I worked at sporting-goods stores for many years in Albuquerque and Taos. I was working at Taos Ski and Boot when I met Alan. When did you get into real estate? 1995. Alan: I was licensed in 1989 and after we got married, Anne got interested and got her license and we’ve been working together since 1995. Were you with French & French? No. I was initially licensed in 1982 with Chris Webster but I didn’t work in the business till ’89, when I got my broker’s license. I spent five years with John Grover and Joel Bennett at Coldwell Banker and I spent five years with Wally Sargent at Santa Fe Properties, then in 1999 I moved to Sotheby’s and Anne and I have both been there since.
Our website is a big part of our business. We also began that in 1999. It’s our primary focus.
Anne: It’s an easy website to remember: santafebeautifulhomes.com.
Have you paid for certain search terms to bring people to the site?
Alan: No, we don’t do paid marketing. We just work it personally, and it’s been around for 18 years. We have really high traffic and we have a lot of content. Bottom line, we close a lot of business fromour website. And whenever we list a property, we create a web domain for that property. You do that for all of your listings? Every one of them. For example, we have a beautiful property you‘ll find at 125overlook.com, and we’re listing a 1910 pueblo adobe, 42sansebastian.com.
Anne: And we have video virtual tours for our higher-end listings.
(They demonstrate on a laptop.) Very nicely done. And with music! Do you do try to target different types of clients with the music, like Mozart and Def Leppard?
(Both laugh.) Alan: Well, we’re rock ‘n’ roll mutants, so we would love to use Def Leppard. We just went to see Goo Goo Dolls last night, really a good show. You two are basically real-estate nuts, aren’t you? (Anne laughs.) Alan: We are. We’re real-estate junkies, because Santa Fe’s so full of real interesting properties, and interesting people. Even though we work hard and we work a lot, we live life like a vacation. What do you like doing in your spare time? Anne: I can’t get Alan to take an actual vacation. Alan: Anne just got back from two days on the Arkansas River in Colorado. And we’re avid skiers. We have a cabin at Taos Ski Valley, and our kids have grown up on the slopes. Tell us about your kids. Our oldest is Shana, but she’s known as Kitty. She’s a senior pre-med at UNM. Jeremy is a sophomore at New Mexico Tech, a double major in electrical engineering and mathematics. And Trevor is still at home; he’s in middle school at Monte Del Sol. How do you work as a team? Anne: I think we complement one another. Alan knows everybody, he’s very thorough.
Alan: There’s a lot of electronic work and paperwork. Paper didn’t go away like we all thought it would; it just turned into digital paper. We show a lot of property, so there’s a lot of client interaction.
We live in a town still where people want to meet you and talk. And people have to see the house at some point, not just online. This work is about real estate and houses, but it’s really more about people and relationships. Do you show together? Anne: Sometimes, but we usually show separately. Alan: Our clients usually know both of us, but it’s so busy that we separate duties.
Busy times? Business has exploded this summer. Anne: We get a lot of emails from our website, people asking about properties or wanting to go see our properties. And we have a lot of showings on our listings.
Alan: The market has been generally improving over the last year. After 2008 there were some dark years and the improvement was slow in coming. It took until the end of last year before you could honestly say we hit the bottom. Theremay or may not be a logical explanation; it’s just what happened.
Anne: It’s usually the East Coast and the West Coast that are going gang-busters and in fact right now we have a lot of clients from California. I think what happens is those areas get busy and as people sell out, they can then come to Santa Fe.
Alan: Most of our dollar volume is from California and Texas. And I think the reason business has improved so much is that it’s official: Santa Fe real estate is on the move again and the word is out. I mean, everybody would like to buy at the bottom and you never know until it’s already happened and then people think, OK, it’s time to buy, and that’s what’s happening right now.
Anne: People are starting to list again. Inventory is starting to improve and many more buyers are looking. We didn’t have any new homes on the market for 10 years. A home built in 2008 is like a new house nowadays, so it’s time that builders are starting to build again. And now that people are able to sell their homes in other parts of the country because those markets have improved, they can buy in Santa Fe.
Alan: Also, a great part of our market is lifestyle destination. Santa Fe’s one of the best places in the world to live.