Worden strives to bring local Realtors together


— Realtors in other ski towns can't figure out how Steamboat does it, John Worden said. They want to know how Steamboat consistently draws 90 Realtors to attend a weekly meeting of the Multiple Listing Service.

Worden is the new president of the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, taking over for Jill Limberg.

"I'm proud to say a high percentage of the licensed agents in town attend," Worden said. "Some of the Realtors in Summit County asked to attend one of our meetings to find out how we do it. We're about the only board in the state that actually pulls off the weekly meeting."

There are about 230 people licensed to sell real estate here, but 40 percent of them are faithful about attending MLS meetings, Worden said.

The Multiple Listing Service is a system that allows all of the Realtors belonging to the Steamboat board, which encompasses all of Routt County, to share information about properties they have listed. It's a big plus for property owners seeking to sell, because it ensures all of the Realtors in town who might have interested clients are aware that the property is for sale.

A great deal of information is shared at the weekly meetings, Worden said.

"It's an invitation for all of the other members to bring their buyers and sell the property," Worden said.

In Steamboat, the MLS meetings go back to the days when Realtors swapped information by printing up fliers describing new listings and bringing them to the weekly meetings. Later, the Board of Realtors began printing up a softcover book of listings every two weeks. That had the disadvantage of omitting new properties listed on the market just after the printing deadline, Worden said. When fax machines became pervasive about 10 years ago, Realtors were able to update each other between printing deadlines, but faxes didn't replace the weekly meetings.

Today, a combination of tradition and peer pressure help keep the meetings vital, Worden said.

"It started so long ago," Worden said. "And we're still a small town, where everyone knows everyone. At the meeting, you get your chance to sell a property to other brokers. That's your first opportunity to present it in person. All of a sudden, (the property) comes to life and all of a sudden the home has a personality."

The MLS meetings also afford opportunities for most of the Realtors to get together and discuss ethical business practices as well as their latest deals, Worden said.

As president-elect last year, Worden was instrumental in helping the Board of Realtors shift over to a new MLS system that is far more reliant on computer updates.

This year, as president, Worden has set a goal of increasing participation among Realtors in volunteer events sponsored by the board.

"When you think about volunteer groups, you ask, 'How do you measure success?'" Worden said. "You measure it by your level of participation in board projects. It's something you can measure."

Worden believes his main competition in striving for his goal is the amount of time available to his busy colleagues, who already are struggling to meet commitments to family, church, friends and other clubs. To convince them to put in the time, he says he'll have to offer something of value in return.

"If you serve turkey at the Christmas Day dinner, you leave with a smile on your face. That's value," Worden said. "If you spend a day with a paintbrush in your hand or dirt under your fingernails from planting trees at a neighborhood revitalization project, you leave with a smile on your face."

Looking at the current condition of the Steamboat Springs and Routt County real estate markets, Worden sees several categories where he doesn't believe consumer demand isn't being met. Those categories are in addition to the much-documented need for more affordable housing.

"I think we have a real shortage of rural home sites 5- to 10-acre home sites," Worden said. Citing the existing rural subdivisions of Whitewood and Blacktail, Worden said, "There hasn't been a new one in quite a while."

Worden also mentioned a distinct lack of ski-in, ski-out property due largely to the narrow base area of the Steamboat Ski Area. There also is a limited supply of smaller homes as well as building lots fronting on golf courses, Worden said.

Worden can't help but point to the experience of the company he works for in that regard the 25 golf course lots in Catamount Ranch sold very quickly, he said.

Worden said after originally selling real estate at South Lincoln Real Estate, then for 10 years at Trimontane, which became Prudential Trimontane, and Re/Max Steamboat for two years, he's enjoying the change of pace afforded by Catamount, where he specializes in one project.

"Catamount came in and raised the bar," Worden said. "They read the community survey and saw that people wanted low-density, high-quality developments, and that's what they're building."

To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210

or e-mail tomross@amigo.net


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