Veteran Taos realtor Norris Romero said, “Years ago, people would say if the mountain wants you to stay here, you’ll stay, and if it doesn’t you won’t. I believe that.”
It’s a commonly held belief here in Taos, and they’re still saying it now. So how does the mountain decide whom to keep? Perhaps the mountain invests in the passion of individuals willing to stand their ground through extreme changes, not just then and now, but also into the future.
From the days of one-page purchase agreements, through the creation of a local Multiple Listing Service, Association of Realtors and the ups and downs of the market itself, Romero and her husband, Ernest, have conquered every test, leaving no doubt of their determination to keep it up, whatever comes next. As realtors and as citizens, they’re happiest when they’re helping people find their place in the Taos experience.
“People who come here are unique in that they want to be in Taos,” Norris said. “We’re not promoting the sale of a house; we’re promoting an experience of participating in the Taos life.”
We’re promoting an experience of participating in the Taos life.
Sharing that experience with new Taoseños has made the start of many lasting relationships. Repeat customers and next-generation buyers are, and will continue to be, a significant part of the Romeros’ clientele.
“People call and say, ‘My mom and dad bought a house from Norris 20 years ago, and now we’re buying a house,’” said Ernest.
The Romeros are still as passionate as ever about their work, dedicating as much time as possible to training and keeping up with the latest practices. After over 40 years in business, retirement is a puzzling concept.
“I’m just trying to figure out, what is retirement?” said Ernest. “I view it as a termination of something you were happy doing, otherwise you wouldn’t have been doing it.”
Confessed provocateur and Dreamcatcher Real Estate Owner/Broker Pavel Lukes has that unrelenting passion. His vision for Taos has little use for diplomacy but hear him out and you’ll find a fearless community advocate willing to take a few hits in the pursuit of enriching the quality of all lives in the town he calls home.
“I probably did some disservice to myself, being outspoken, but sometimes that’s what it takes to light the fire,” Lukes said.
He came to Taos in 1994, well-traveled, with 21 years’ experience in real estate. His panoramic view of what’s possible stemmed from previous projects and experiences from around the world.
“I bought what the Taos News kindly referred to as ‘the dilapidated home on Dolan Street,’” Lukes said. “Sadly, that was the state of affairs in town at the time, but we’ve come a long way as more people have discovered Taos and applied their talents.”
Soon after his arrival, Lukes was appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission, where he has advocated for proactive responses to Taos’ burgeoning population.
Taos is such a gem in the rough.
The makeover of his own home was only the beginning. A vocal proponent of using what’s already there, avoiding what he calls “the Taos version of urban sprawl,” Lukes has developed tasteful and functional real estate in the center of town, including the high-end Pueblo de los Sueños condos and the Dreamcatcher business complex.
Among his current causes are alternatives to adding more traffic lights throughout town. He’d like to see roundabouts instead, which he argues are attractive and “traffic calming,” and will eliminate gridlock and minimize costs like power, maintenance and repairs.
“To this date I’m reminded that the existing roundabouts in Taos were instrumental,” he said, suggesting they would be especially beneficial in the heavy-traffic Paseo del Pueblo intersections at Albright and Siler streets.
“Taos is such a gem in the rough,” he said. “It would take so little to polish it into a real gem.”