SANTA FE, NM - Darlene Streit, Sotheby’s International Realty, is the 2016 sales star among Santa Fe’s residential real-estate brokers. Her sales volume for the year totaled $78 million and change.
Her qualifying broker, Gregg Antonsen, said she “treats it, and runs it, like a business. All the brokers are independent contractors, but she does as much business as some small companies and that’s what is always fascinating to me. And I hear from her clients that her follow-up is unbelievable. She’s always there with a text or an email or a phone call.”
Antonsen couldn’t help but add that when it comes to 2016 residential sales in Santa Fe, six of the top 10 brokers were Sotheby’s people.
Home met with the two at Sotheby’s E. Palace Avenue office on a January afternoon.
That is a lot of home value, $78 million.
Streit: And I think $48 million or $49 million was the previous high in the MLS. But I have help. I have a staff that helps with listings, helps when it’s under contract; we have a lot of people doing different things.
How many people do you have working with you?
And so what do you focus on?
Buyers and sellers. I spend a lot of time communicating with the sellers. It’s really important to give them feedback. I’m pretty hands-on with the clients, but there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes helping with the paperwork, like I’m here right now and my transaction person’s helping these people walk through and sign an offer. I would normally do that, but I was able to meet with you because she can do that.
Antonsen: Darlene is highly organized. She knows how to work with all the different venues — print and digital — to work referrals, to get referrals. It’s difficult to do referral business; she does quite a bit of it. She has a lot of leads because of the advertising she does. And it’s her response that’s outstanding.
Streit: I have bought and sold houses, in life, and it’s probably a bit of a personality flaw because I want to know what’s going on. I tell everybody working with me, You can be working feverishly for three days but if you’re not communicating, people think you’re doing nothing. I can’t go to bed without finishing every email, because I think communication is so important.
I have a system for keeping track and keeping up. The challenge is it’s not just me. I have to get the feedback from someone and sometimes that’s hard.
And probably frustrating.
And frustrating. If we have a showing and we don’t get feedback from the person with the buyer looking at the listing, it’s very hard but I at least tell them we’re trying. A lot of people have the idea that nothing happened so there’s nothing to say. Well, that is something to say: nothing happened. Communication is key and it takes a lot of time. It kind of takes over your life.
You and your husband, Tommy Gardner, had Santa Fe Realty Partners for several years before it was purchased by Sotheby’s in 2011. Was your job description the same at Santa Fe Realty Partners?
No, I was helping and managing the brokers and referring all my business to them.
I wonder about your range. Are you working mostly with high-end properties in Santa Fe?
No, I work a broad spectrum. Most people who do the high end just do that. Well, I do it all. I’m here really trying to help people. It also builds on itself, because people know, because my name’s out there so much, in many ways, including the number of sales when they’re researching. I don’t even know where they find it.
I do have a large internet presence. I was one of the earliest to use it, first with Realtor.com. Tommy is very savvy about the internet.
I imagine you pay so that people can find you using various search terms, such as “Santa Fe real estate,” or many search terms?
Yes. It all costs a lot of money.
Antonsen: That’s what I meant that she treats it like a real business, because she also invests a lot into it.
Streit: It pays off the investment, but it is costly to do this the way I’m doing it. And basically these internet companies are using our leads to get us to pay them money to get them back. They do promote them very effectively, but you kind of have to pay them to get back your leads. And then you have to respond to them. All the time.