I enjoyed Geoff Hanson’s “An ode to the ’90s” column and the memories that it invoked for me. I moved here in ’83 and waited tables at Colorado O’Willey’s and Julian’s, so my perspective is a little different. While your article is very nostalgic, I do have some different observations. First, it is much harder to sell real estate after the internet’s development than before that period. The reason is that before the internet, real estate agents had control of all the information. Now, the sellers and buyers come armed with a lot of information, which is unfortunately not always accurate. So real estate agents have to work through that, which makes the process much more difficult. In layman’s language, the sellers and buyers think they know everything and they don’t.
I’ve lived in Telluride during my poorest times and my best financial times. I’ve enjoyed both perspectives. During the Great Recession, which lasted five years, 30 percent of agents left because they could not survive a 75 percent cut in their income. The rest of us just barely survived those five years. Yes, it’s been better the last five years, but nothing like 2002-07. You may not know the number of Realtors practicing here today is about 175, down from 250 in 2007.
While I have fond memories of my first 10 years, I disagree that those were better times. In my 35 years here, Telluride and the region have improved in many ways every year. The challenges for the “working” newcomer in Telluride are no different than at any other resort in Colorado — or Denver or San Francisco or a lot of the rest of the U.S. Fortunately, lots of other places in the States combine affordable housing and good jobs.
Lastly, my personal opinion about Telluride being a happy place is different than what you observe. I greet people on the sidewalk every day with a smile and hello and usually get that back. In fact, I practice that wherever we travel and find that always works. You get back what you put out.