This interview series focuses on the people in Santa Fe’s real-estate industry. Mindy DeMott is a longtime associate broker with Coldwell Banker TrailsWest Realty and was recently named by her peers in the Santa Fe Association of Realtors (SFAR).
You’ve done a lot of volunteer work, including for Habitat for Humanity and the Santa Fe Animal Shelter.
And I also volunteer every year at the FolkArt Market one week out of the year. With the animal shelter, I started out volunteering in 2005, doing the dog-walking. Is that just as straightforward as it sounds? Not really. When you have dogs at the shelter, it depends on where they’re coming fromand howthey’ve been treated, so we have to go through training to recognize their needs. We even had some of the dogs from Hurricane Katrina. They had to euthanize some of the animals. This is a kill shelter, if you will, but they do place about 98.6 percent of all the dogs. Then at one point I moved to the satellite shelter where they do the spaying and neutering. Where’s that? Over next to the Outback Steakhouse. I volunteered there in what they call “On the Beach,” helping the pets come out of anaesthesia. One day they gave me a rabbit and I said, What do I do when a rabbit wakes up? And they said, “Just be really fast getting it back in the cage because they wake up really fast.”
And they wake up jumping! Mindy, wherewere you born and raised?
San Diego. We used to go skiing becausemy uncle had a lodge in Mammoth Lakes, so I went to the University of Denver for a year, then I went to visit my aunt and cousins inAspen and that fall I got a job teaching skiing that lasted 16 years. Goodness. And did you go back to college? I did, at Hamline University in Minneapolis. I went into studio art and I ended up getting into metal sculpture. After I got my degree I moved back to Aspen for a time, then I went to San Francisco and I lived in a boat.
Right there in the middle of the harbor, Fisherman’s Wharf or the Embarcadero?
No. I started out in the harbor in Sausalito, then I was in the brand new harbor that was opening up in Richmond. Was it a houseboat? A sailboat, a wooden sailboat. And I wasworking in a restaurant. We’d get stars, like McLean Stevenson, and the America’s Cup sailing people would come in, and guards from San Quentin— it was a big mix of interesting people. And then, one Sundaymorning on the boat, a friend rode over to tell me they had gotten a call that my father had passed away. You went back to SanDiego? Yes, and I went back to school to get my teaching degree. I ended up teaching elementary school, with a supplemental art certification.
And next you became a rocket scientist or you actually visited Mars.
Well, practically. Back in the day, you could end up doing a lot of things, but the common thread was the teaching. I had also coached high-school softball and soccer in Minneapolis.
At some point, Santa Fe and real estate come into the picture.
Yes. A very good friend in SanDiego decided tomove to Santa Fe because her two girls were coming to the junior-high level and she wanted them to be in a smaller community. She called me up and said she had room at her house if I wanted to move here. Within two weeks I was office manager for Dr. Pollan, who was the only allergist in town in those days. On the weekends I was skiing and working in the skier services department up at Santa Fe and that turned into more of a full-time job. Back in the ski world. Yes. Then only a couple more transitions. I worked at Sunrise Springs helping with weddings and selling packages. Then I met my husband, Chas DeMott, who works for Labatt Foods, Albuquerque. He had a very good friend whowas executive director at Ponce de Leon and they were looking for an activities director. I said I can work for you, bult I’monly going to do it for a year. By that time I had my real-estate license. When was that? In 2005, and pretty soon the market tanked. I thought I’d take asmany classes as I could to learn asmuch as I could about real estate. Our relicensing is on a three-year cycle and we’re required to take 30 credit-hours, but in my first three years I think I took 130 hours.
You have a slew of designations, including the ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative), the RSPS (Resort and Second Home Property Specialist), the CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), the AHWD (At Home with Diversity), and the National Association of Realtors Green Designation.
I also got the short sale and foreclosure licensing and the senior representative licensing.
How long have you been at Coldwell Banker Trails West?
Since 2005, since the beginning. Chuck McKinley hired me and I think the first year he was scratching his head, wondering why. Ha ha ha. Why, you weren’t having enough closings? Yeah, it was a tough time. As a very newbroker, it takes six months to get people aware that you’re out there. I found that even people you’ve known a long time aren’t prepared to hire you as a Realtor until you have somewhat of a track record. How many homes are you listing right now? My inventory is down a little bit now. Itwas about 12 two months ago and I’m down to four — because I’ve sold them all. And this time of year people tend to wait until after the holidays to list their homes. I have three more closings for the year, so I’mstill working on all the people involved in those. Truthfully, as a one-man show— and I have no plans of ever having a teamand a staff, whatever — 12 or 14 listings at a time is just about all you can handle, and do well for all of your clients. And make money to keep living in Santa Fe. Yes. My husband has always said that we live here in a place people come to vacation. We have a great lifestyle. What do you like doing in your spare time? We like to golf. We do a lot of that. It’s a new challenge for me. I try to go horseback-riding once a year. I used to have horses. You left out that part. Oh. Yeah, my first horse I shared with one ofmy friends when I was about 13. Horses are cheap to buy but they’re expensive to keep feeding. But they’re a lot of fun. And we like nice wine. We’re planning on going with some friends to Spain next year. That should be fun.