Friday, July 10, 2015

For the Love of a Building

I never knew it was possible to love a building. I grew up in Grand Junction, my parents attended First Presbyterian Church. Built in 1928 it was a landmark building in the Grand Valley. Here she is in her heyday. 

(photo from

As a kid I can remember walking in through the front steps every Sunday. To the left of the doors was a beautiful old wooden pew. Above the pew just a sample of the stunning stained glass that was featured throughout the iconic building. Most Sundays our family would sit in the balcony. We sat on what can only be described as the most uncomfortable wood theater seats imaginable. I loved those seats. If you picked the right one you could move your legs up and down through service and listen to it squeak. From the balcony you could look to the left as the light streamed through the many panes of stained glass. Below you could watch the other church kids coloring on bulletins or maybe even in the hymnals or bibles in the pew backs. To the right was the most wonderful pipe organ. Again, not something you appreciate until you get older. The notes that came out of those big pipes were simply beautiful. As a musical sort of kid it was always a special treat when the Harpsichord was played! Many Sundays I sat in those squeaky wood seats, listened to the Organist and tried my best to stay awake through the sermons. 

Now after the service was when the real fun began. My dad was very involved in the church. From the bell choir to being a deacon we were the church family. As he was doing his deaconly duties my sisters and I along with the other "church kids" went exploring. Do you see the dome on the top of the building. If you knew where you were going you could go through the back rooms, up a rickety roped off set of stairs all the way to the top of the dome. It was AMAZING! There were many, many rooms in that building that I went in that I'm fairly confident we definitely weren't supposed to be in! 

Eventually the Presbyterian Church built a shiny new building with no secret rooms or hidden stairways, no creaky wooden theater seats. The grand dame became a wedding and event hall and finally ended up sitting vacant. No pitter patter of little patent leather shoes running through the halls, no pipe organ filling the sanctuary with divine songs. 

In August 2011 my then fiance, now husband and I were having engagement pictures taken and much to my surprise the photographer suggested White Hall! My old stomping grounds! 

Thank God we did it, just a month later on September 15, 2011 she went up in flames. Devastating flames. 

 (photo courtesy of The Daily Sentinel)
Heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking. 

Again, she sat empty, half burned, chain link fence surrounding the lot. About 2 years after the fire they demolished the sanctuary part of the building. And there she continued to sit until this past week when the demolished the rest of the building. 

I received an email this morning from a photographer that took a final picture of her just before the finished demolition. I found beauty in the broken stained glass, the different levels of doors and windows smiling at the memories of running through the halls. Even the graffiti brings beauty to the picture. The old radiator that is in the middle of the picture is so cool! It made me smile and it actually made me cry. 

As a real estate agent with a heart for infill development projects I look forward to the next phase of life for the 600 block of White Avenue. 

As for the grand dame... she will be missed. My memories of her are held dear. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Innovation vs. Marketing in Real Estate

I recently ran across this article on

As a real estate professional I am constantly balancing my innovative ideas with marketing and how my branding and marketing can go hand in hand. Having a marketing background it is easy for me to go over the top with my marketing ideas. However, recently I was told one of my "awesome" ideas was not as easy to produce or as cost effective as I had anticipated (aka hoped!). Does that mean I'm not going to do it for my client? No, in fact it drives me even more to make it happen because I truly believe in the power of innovative marketing. To successfully represent your client these days it takes much more than just general real estate contract knowledge. Oh how the times have changed since I was first licensed 12 years ago! 

I've thought about the skill set that I use daily for my clients and it looks something like this:

This is very generic and definitely just a snapshot of my business. This varies greatly depending on the specific client and transaction needs. Working with Buyers always requires much more local market knowledge and negotiation skills than marketing and innovation. Listing more unique properties requires much more marketing and innovation. Your property is unique, the marketing should be equally so!

Here is what I recommend when considering hiring a real estate agent. Ask them what they do that is innovative. How will they market your property to SELL it? How do they utilize social media? Ask for specific examples of unique marketing they use. Ask for the most difficult contract they have dealt with recently and how they overcame the issues. Often times it takes innovation to hold a deal together! Ask about their last deal that fell apart. You can always learn a lot about a person from their failures and what they learned from them. How do they plan on dealing with potential appraisal issues? (Yes, there are still appraisal issues. Anybody that tells you otherwise is a liar) 

This quote is from the Forbes article and 100% sums up my philosophy...

“What can I do today to provide my clients with a greater advantage or benefit, to get them closer to the ultimate result they desire?”

Once you have interviewed everybody else, give me a call and let me show you the true power of marketing and innovation! There is a difference, it is tangible and solid!

Kelly Maves 970.589.7775