Since the early boom days of the ‘70s, Taos always had its fair share of agents for real estate. Each one had their first day on the job, their first listing and their first closing – and most will be able to recount those milestones at a moment’s notice.
Many of those Realtors have been around the Taos scene since then – now for some 40 years. As their generation moves into the golden years, there’s talk of “slowing down,” “passing the torch” or even full-on retirement. As such, opportunities for new blood have opened up all over the Taos real estate landscape.
One such newcomer to the business is Kristine Wood, now an associate broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Taos Real Estate.
“There has been movement in my life, and the time was right for something different and new,” said Wood during an interview in her office on Paseo del Pueblo Norte. “I’ve done sales quite a bit of my life, and my kids are getting older. It was time to get back to work.
“Besides, they wanted me here!” she said with a laugh.
Like many before her, Wood was drawn to Taos by its culture of fine arts. Born in the Midwest, she got a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from the Milwaukee Institute of Art Design. Around 2001, she heard about Taos, packed up her car and drove westward.
Initially, waitressing paid the bills. A two-year bartending gig followed, but a love of art kept tugging at her.
The Taos Center for the Arts needed a visual arts coordinator to arrange exhibits in the center’s lobby, and Wood got the job: “It was my first job in business and in something that was related to my art background.”
Her six years at the TCA familiarized Wood with the Taos business community and solidified her understanding of this quirky, rough-edged town. From there, she moved into her first sales job at The Taos News. Some of her clients were real estate agencies, and she got a feel for what that business was all about.
“I sold to Marny and Joel [Schantz] before they became Berkshire Hathaway,” she said. “Whenever I came into their office, I could feel the action. And, Marny became a good friend.”
After The Taos News came a stint selling beauty products for Vapour Organic Beauty. At both stops, Wood found that she had a propensity for selling.
She married Chris Wood, now advertising manager at The Taos News, and they had two children. Being a full-time mom has been her job for the last five years. As the kids get older and more on their own, she started thinking about getting back into the workforce.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Taos Real Estate came calling, and Wood decided to get her real estate license. Ninety hours of schooling, both online and live, took two months: “It was difficult, long and intense studying. Hadn’t done that for a while, but I had to learn what I had to know.”
This summer, Kristine Wood earned her license and started work at the agency as a buyers’ broker. Her previous contacts in sales around Taos have helped her start to build a clientele of people who are looking to buy, and her millennial-ism prompted broker Joel Schantz to put her in charge of the agency’s social media.
Nationwide, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices provides extensive support for its people, including advertising placement, templates for documentation, up-to-date databases, educational videos, tools for marketing. Along with all of that, Wood brought an understanding of her fellow 30- and 40-somethings.
“The new generation of buyers are moving out of their parents’ homes and have the money to buy,” Wood said. “Like many, they want it done quickly and they are very adept with the internet. By the time they get to us, they already have an idea of what they want and what’s available out there.”
She has her first listing – a plot of land on Hot Springs Road – and, like those hundreds who came before her, she will remember that for a long time. She’s adopted a personal slogan – “I get it done” – and settled into a midlife career.
“I feel very engaged,” said Wood about her new job. “I’m happy to be able to learn a new career for a new era in my life. It’s great to get back on my feet after a period of family life.
“And, because of those changes in my life, I relate well to the clients who come in the door and are ready to make a change in their own lives,” she said.