With dedication to clients, community, Granby Realtor nabs Realtor of the Year award
When the Great Recession of 2008-09 hit Grand County, Granby Realtor Kristie DeLay did her best not to panic. Instead, she hunkered down and went into “survival mode.”
DeLay persevered through that time and even ended up opening her own firm. But it wasn’t just her strong business acumen and fine attention to her clients that led her to win this year’s Realtor of the Year award. It was also her deep support of the community.
“I’m kind of addicted to looking at houses,” she said, “and I’m really addicted to helping people.”
DeLay, 48, a mother of two, has devoted herself to the community that she loves. She serves on the Granby Chamber board, is a Rotarian, served on the Habitat for Humanity board, just wrapped up a three-season stint coaching girls’ volleyball and graciously serves the Grand County Board of Realtors, including as board president in 2016, which presents the Realtor of the Year award.
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“Kristie DeLay was an outstanding leader for the Grand County Board of Realtors for many years,” said Deb Brynoff, CEO of the board of Realtors. “Her intelligence and common sense were invaluable to the board.”
Brynoff explained that DeLay had successfully managed through difficult economic years and helped steer the board towards successful outcomes. “Kristie has been a tremendous coach and mentor to many people in the real estate industry,” she added.
At NextHome Choice, her smaller yet thriving realty business in Granby, DeLay stays busy helping homebuyers and sellers find what they want and need. That’s not always an easy feat in a market already crowded by real estate agents. But DeLay believes she’s a strong candidate to meet the needs of those entering Grand County’s bustling real estate space.
She started her real estate career, in 2009, on the advice of her sister, which she initially resisted because, “who wants to do what their big sister tells them,” she said through a laugh.
At that time, having lived in Granby for about five years, DeLay began really thinking about joining a brokerage. As a benefit, the job would promote flexibility, which she sought while raising two children. So, she called up a friend who had a local firm and she was ultimately able to work with him while obtaining her real estate license.
“From the very get-go, when I got licensed, it was my dream and goal to open my own brokerage,” she explained.
She worked for about a year-and-a-half as an independent agent before joining RE/MAX Peak-to-Peak, staying there for almost four years.
Her dream came true when she opened NextHome Choice on Feb. 1, 2017.
“I’m my own boss,” she said. “I get to set the culture and tone for how I want my business to be.”
DeLay’s territory, along with the three agents she employs, focuses on Granby, Grand Lake and Hot Sulphur Springs, though she said she would sell homes in any part of the county.
She doesn’t necessarily target a certain clientele or income level, and actually enjoys working with first-time homebuyers. “That’s where I really get to teach, and I’m a teacher and coach by nature.”
This is the first year she was named Realtor of the Year, something she says was a high honor.
A committee formed of past Realtors of the Year selects the winner, who has to first be nominated by their peers. It’s not based on performance or sales but service to the industry and outside organizations.
“I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for the 2018 Realtor of the Year award than Kristie DeLay,” Brynoff stated.
As the year inches out of shoulder season and into winter, selling homes gets a little tougher, according to DeLay.
DeLay confirmed it’s definitely a seller’s market as the currently lower real estate inventory is driving up prices across the county. While DeLay said summer is by far the most active time for buyers, heading into the winter sees a bit of a slow down in the market.
Winter also provides other challenges when it comes to showing homes, according to DeLay. She once had to strap on a pair of snowshoes to make it up to a home near Grand Lake. The snow, she recalled, was up to her hips.
She finds herself shoveling a lot of driveways, too. “It’s not fun,” she laughed.
But it’s a labor of love for DeLay.
“My favorite part is the process,” she explained. “Sometimes you’re working with a buyer and they think they know exactly what they want, so you start to show them that. And sometimes I’m completely surprised by what my buyer decides to choose.
“I love the working with my clients, educating them.”
DeLay quickly acknowledged that buying a home in real life, as opposed to the countless home buying programs on TV, is much less painful and frustrating, at least from her perspective.
“You show them three houses and you know they’re going to buy one?” she smirked. “That’s not how it works.”
And the majority of her clients aren’t as “high maintenance” as those usually seen on TV, she quipped.
For somebody considering buying a home in Grand County, DeLay had a few quick tips. Namely, contact a lender and get pre-qualified; find out your budget. From there, interview real estate agents.
“Just because somebody has the highest sales, they might not be the best fit for you,” she said. “You’re going to be spending time in a car, looking at houses, you have to feel like you can trust the agent you’re working with and that they’re going to have time for you.”
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