Brokers David and Judy Buck are the owners of Coldwell Banker Lota Realty, Inc. (204-A Paseo del Pueblo Norte). They came to Taos in the early 1970s from back East with their two young daughters. When asked if they were part of the hippie movement at that time, Judy proudly declares, “No, we were ski bums.” They built a house in Taos Ski Valley and ran a lodge, but soon after settled in town to be more extensively involved with the Taos community.
Lota Realty was founded in 1976 by Joe and Wanda Wilson. The Bucks began working as brokers in 1979 and bought the company in 1984. Shortly thereafter, in 1986, they became affiliated with Coldwell Banker.
“That really broadened our exposure to clients all over the country, all over the world,” David explains.
Today, their company has 10 associate brokers. With this wealth of Taos real estate experience, Enchanted Homes asked the Bucks to reflect on the changing times.
“In the old days, it used to be a one-page purchase agreement that you typed out. Now it’s 16 pages, not counting the addenda,” says David.
The Bucks also explain that 40 years ago, Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the Board of Realtors and exclusive listings didn’t exist. Also, in the early days of the company, interested buyers would walk into their office with a copy of The Taos News under their arms asking to see advertised homes. Lota Realty was then located at the front of the Plaza (where Ed Sandoval’s gallery and the vape store are now).
“That was important because back then, the streets weren’t paved. There was no zoning. The streets didn’t have names. That didn’t happen until it was decreed for post office delivery and emergency services,” says David.
So back then, an interested buyer really depended on and really needed experienced brokers who know Taos, like the Bucks –– and that is the one thing that hasn’t changed.
“Today, people look at houses on the internet and then call us and say, ‘We want to look at that house,’” Judy says. “But based on what they’ve told me, I send them other properties via email. They say, ‘We’re coming on a certain day’ and from there, we funnel it down.”
This initial contact begins a process that Judy says can sometimes last 10 years. David explains that because no one is transferred here for work –– i.e., no one “has to” be here –– Taos is more of a retiree or second-home market, so there is less urgency for out-of-staters to buy quickly. That wasn’t the case in previous years, when Forest Service employees were transferred here and were regular buyers, as were employees of the molybdenum mine in Questa.
Coldwell Banker Lota Realty has listed and sold properties in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and parts of Río Arriba County and Colfax County. The strength of the Taos-based brokers, however, lies in Taos and the Enchanted Circle at large.
For any local who recognizes a name similarity with Blake’s Lotaburger, there is a connection. Joe and Wanda Wilson were good friends with Blake Chanslor, founder of the restaurant, and asked if they could use the name “Lota.”
Considering how much development Taos has seen over the years, the Bucks remember when there were no houses out of town: no golf course community on the south side and nothing on the mesa except one Michael Reynolds house.
“It’s such an interesting market now. We’re dealing with people from all over the country. That’s one of the strengths of the Coldwell Banker name,” David says. “We’re pleased with the evolution.”
Being such a strong part of the community – and for so long – David and Judy point out that they are very involved in supporting local nonprofits. But they do more than just write a check; they are actively involved in some key organizations, such as Taos Feeds Taos, Stray Hearts Animal Shelter and the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally. “We feel very strongly about supporting local nonprofits. We want Taos to thrive.”
David also points out that, like most of the Taos buying market, “We moved here from somewhere else. We love the natural environment, the diverse culture, the arts. And we still ski a lot. We enjoy sharing our enthusiasm with other people. Taos is a special place and we want to keep it special – and you do that by inviting more people into the community and adding more diversity. What makes Taos interesting is that Taos always attracts interesting people.”