Realtor plans to help locals

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— The former owner of the local Prudential Trimontane real estate office, Tony Walton, says he will take a pay cut to help fellow locals buy homes of their own.

Walton has partnered with Mason & Morse Real Estate, an Aspen brokerage house, to form a new real estate firm. Mason & Morse Real Estate, Steamboat Springs, recently opened its doors in the newly renovated Sequoia Building at Ninth and Oak streets.

"I couldn't be more excited about this new real estate partnership," Walton said. "It's a good marriage in that it blends my local knowledge of the Steamboat Springs real estate market over the last 15 years, with the vast real estate business experience of a firm like Mason & Morse."

Mason & Morse Real Estate, Steamboat Springs, plans to offer a unique "locals discount" program.

"We're going to knock off somewhere around 20 percent or so of our published commission rates, and pass that along to the buyer or seller of real estate," Walton said.

A longtime Steamboat resident, Walton raised a family here and felt the need to help younger people hoping to do what he did.

"We feel very strongly about this," Walton said. "Everything costs a ton of money here. And we're lucky that the local fabric in town is still pretty strong no matter what some people may think. We feel there's room in our sales commission the source of our profit and how we make our living to accommodate locals local locals. I'm not talking about somebody with a P.O. Box in town who lives in Chicago half the year.

The idea, says Walton, is to help those residents who see home prices soaring way out of reach.

"We're going to put a ceiling on the price of homes in the program, but I'm not yet sure what it will be. But it will be reasonable. I really want to focus on people who live and work here, and who don't have a ton of discretionary income to throw around."

Walton sold Prudential in January to his two top agents Pam Vanatta and Cameron Boyd. He said he was ready for a new project.

"I took two agents with me from Prudential who were at my Catamount sales office Steve Asbury and Vicky Hanna, as well as support people Christine Hands and Meagan Hifey. I had a very good experience at Prudential, and enjoyed it very much," Walton said. "We built it up to a prominent position and I have a good relationship with the folks there. It was just time to move on to a different challenge."

While they work on the details of the locals program, Walton and his associates also have their hands full selling for Catamount Ranch and Club.

"We've been very pleased with the performance of Tony's sales team," said Mike Mutter, Catamount's executive vice president of community development. "They'll remain committed to working well with the co-op brokers in the valley to assist them in making their customers members of our community."

Walton also is the listing broker for the final 60 lots in The Sanctuary, which just recently came on the market, office manager Christine Hands said.

Mason & Morse Real Estate is the top selling real estate brokerage in Aspen, with five offices throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, Hand said. It is a privately held and wholly owned company that has been in business there since 1961.

"I've known the principals for 10 years and have always admired how they run their business," Walton said. "They have systems and procedures in place for their agents to make a fine living and for the company to be profitable as well."

To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail bnadzam@amigo.net

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