At RE/MAX Mountain Realty in Angel Fire, everything qualifying broker Cathe Moon brings to the table is geared toward matching a property with the people who will live in it.
“I like to think about more than just the house,” Moon said during a recent interview in her office in Angel Fire. “I think a house’s value extends to the whole package of its surroundings, the climate, the terrain. All those add up to the value a house has for the people who are thinking about buying it.”
Moon’s big-picture nature comes from what she did before she first came to Angel Fire in the early 2000s on a birthday trip. After finishing college in Atlanta, Georgia, Moon headed to New York City and worked for media company Condé Nast and the famed J. Walter Thompson ad agency, where she critiqued travel posters for their ability to reach a younger consumer.
One client was Pan Am World Airways. Soon, she was a flight attendant – known then as a “stewardess” – for the international air carrier. Moon traveled to exotic locales, including ferrying Vietnam soldiers to and from rest and relaxation in the South Pacific.
She was based in San Francisco and concurrently, along with her husband, Doyle, got into the restaurant and bar business in the Bay Area. During that time, they bought and sold a number of businesses and houses, and it’s there that Moon cut her teeth in real estate while continuing with Pan Am.
“The California market was interesting, ever changing, and that gave me some basics of the business,” she said. “It was the total opposite of boring.”
After 35 years in California, a sailing trip in the early 1990s to Florida ended up with the couple relocating to Fort Lauderdale, where they bought a house. By then, Pam Am had gone out of business, as had Moon’s career as a flight attendant.
Doyle Moon was born and raised in New Mexico. Therefore, before long, the couple made a vacation trip out West. After a birthday celebration in Denver, Colorado, they drove south. They were heading to Santa Fe, but took the long route through Cimarrón and into Angel Fire.
“I just loved New Mexico right away,” said Cathe Moon, “and we kept coming back in the following years.”
In 2002, the Moons bought property in Valley of the Utes. However, they couldn’t build, as Angel Fire Resort struggled to get utilities to the development on the back side of the ski area. So they built a house in Taos Pines, and it didn’t take long before New Mexico began to tug hard at Doyle and Cathe Moon. In 2008, they decided to live part time in Angel Fire and, shortly thereafter, they moved to the Moreno Valley full time.
“I was officially ‘retired,’” Cathe Moon said, “but I wasn’t any good at that. I was like a border collie without a herd.”
She got a license to sell real estate in 2011. Real estate made sense to her because she had a wide variety of skills and experiences that would translate into representing people who were buying or selling properties.
Because of her time in the Bay Area in the early days of computing – the Moons had the first computerized restaurant in San Francisco – Cathe Moon was very comfortable with the rising digital age. That translated into an understanding of the internet and how that has transformed the real estate business in recent years.
“Plus, I think my flight attendant experience gave me insight into people’s psychology and also worldly experience that allows me to see a larger perspective for my clients,” she said. “A house is not an island. It exists in a particular location, on certain terrain, with a proximity to other houses and town.”
The preponderance of internet activity in today’s real estate business makes sense to Moon. She believes that almost all potential home buyers shop first online, not only narrowing down their selections, but also giving Realtors like Moon a glimpse at the style, size, location and other factors that are important to the buyer.
“By searching properties online, buyers give me some ‘common threads’ to go by,” Moon said. “They might prefer contemporary style – or a warm-and-fuzzy place. They indicate whether they are willing to spend money on upgrades or whether they want the property turnkey.”
Her magazine time at Condé Nast gave Moon an eye for photographs – a skill she has used to great success in real estate with her faithful smartphone: “The value of photographs is very high online. It’s critical that the Realtor present the property fully, both with photographs and with public remarks by the Realtor. You have to tell the story of the property, including the ‘feel,’ the ethos that you feel for the house.”
She contends that a house is way more than just square footage and acreage: “The New Mexico market is so diverse in how people live. Their ideas on how they want to live is what I seek to find out, to understand their spirit and the personality they want in a home.”
Right now, Moon sees the Angel Fire market as getting younger. Key to that has been marketing at Angel Fire Resort aimed at a younger audience – and a four-season lifestyle. The well-known mountain bike park, music concerts, farmers market, summer night movies and a new food and wine festival in August all target people who still have working years left.
“There’s an individualist DNA that thrives here,” Moon said. “And there’s a wider range of buyers than ever, who they are, where the come from, the ability to work online. And they all bring an individual feel to what they want.
“As a result, our part-timers are spending more time here, and there are more full-time residents,” she said. “What was an affordable vacation home may, sooner than later, become someone’s permanent residence.”
Catherine Moon | RE/MAX Mountain Realty | 3655 Mountain View Blvd. | Angel Fire | (575) 377-1919 | moonre.com