“My dad was a dentist by day and a developer by night,” said Downs, a broker with 8z Real Estate in Boulder. “He built a lot of speculative residential houses and did some commercial development. I was really interested in it.”
Her early exposure to real estate also made her quite handy.
She is at home with a hammer, saw, and screwdriver.
“I’m pretty handy with tools,” said the 38-year-old Downs. “I can do tile work and can do light plumbing and electrical work. I think that is a help. I work with a lot of first-time homebuyers and a lot of them don’t have the vision to see what a place could look like. I give them construction tips on what can be done that won’t break the bank. Let’s face it. If you are buying a home in Boulder, your bank is just about broken!”
Despite a life-long love of real estate, it wasn’t her first job after graduating from Colorado State University.
“I used to work in the apparel industry in advertising and sales,” she said. “I got tired of the corporate scene. I felt stifled in being in a cubicle.”
In 1998 she bought a condo from an owner of RE/MAX Alliance in Boulder, and six years later found her calling when she joined the company in 2004.
“I hit the ground running,” she called. “It was a great time to be selling real estate in Boulder and I had a great year. I enjoyed every part of selling real estate. I really networked myself in the community and met all kinds of people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Every day was different. In my previous job, I had to travel a lot. But now I could really get involved and become part of the community.”
At RE/MAX Alliance, it didn’t take her long to cross paths with Lang Hornung and Anthony Francaville.
“I kept popping into Lane’s office and asking what he was working on,” Downs said. It was the COhomefinder.com website, which has evolved into what is consistently the most searched real estate engine in the Boulder-Denver metropolitan area.
“I think they thought I was nosey enough, energetic enough and enough of a go-getter that they gave me a few bottom-of-the-barrel leads from COhomefinder,” she said.
She quickly turned them into sales and was hooked. “I thought this was really the future of real estate,” she said.
In 2009, when 8z Real Estate launched, she didn’t hesitate to jump on board.
“I had one of the first tickets on this 8z/COhomefinder train,” she said. “It has been fantastic. Lane is such a brilliant individual and 8z is truly like working for a family. It is like no other model in real estate, with its heavy emphasis on the latest and best in technology. There is a lot of team-work and camaraderie at 8z. We’re not competitive with each other, but just help each other do really great.”
Currently, Downs is farming the Kings Ridge area of northeast Boulder.
“It’s kind of NoEbo,” she joked. She also sells homes throughout Boulder as well as in neighboring communities such as Lafayette, Longmont, Louisville, and Superior.
She has lived in Kings Ridge since 2005.
“I bought this bank-owned, 3,000-square-foot home for $325,000. It was a smoking deal. I planned to fix it up and move on. But eventually came a cat and a dog and then a baby came, and we are still here.”
She’s had opportunities to cash out of her house and move elsewhere in Boulder, but it’s not just the real estate that keeps her in Kings Ridge.
“I could never leave my neighbors,” she said. “They are so nice. Just east of me is an empty nester who is kind of a mother to me and a grand-mother to my 2-year-old, Cooper. Another neighbor comes over all the time to walk my dog.”
She is not alone with not wanting to leave Kings Ridge, roughly bordered by Valmont Road, 47th Street and Hayden Lake.
Attached homes are typically valued from about $250,000 to $450,000, while single-family homes typically priced from the $500,000s.
“Homes in Kings Ridge were typically built from the early ‘80s to the ‘90s, so it is newer product than in a lot of places in Boulder,” she explained. “When you look at the type of square footage you can get for the price, there is really no where else to go. There’s not an up-sell side. A lot of people who move here, stay here.”
Kings Ridge is close to the Cottonwood Trail, making it easy access to Boulder’s trails. And Kings Ridge in aesthetically pleasing, with a “canopy of large, mature trees lining streets.
“But the newest, greatest thing, is the addition of the world-renowned Valmont Bike Park,” she said sincerely, without a trace of hyperbole. “That has really been a great addition.”
It’s an amenity that sits well with someone who grew up in Breckenridge. As you can imagine, she practically grew up with skis slapped on her feet.
“I haven’t skied quite so much since my little boy was born two years ago,” she admitted. “I have been doing a bit more Nordic skiing, but I can’t wait to get back on the mountain. I do just about anything outdoors – road cycling, mountain biking, cruiser bike riding, running, climbing and back-country skiing. And even though Colorado is land-locked, I thought I would pick up some paddle boarding.”
A look at a neighborhood through the eyes of an 8Z Real Estate broker is a monthly feature of InsideRealEstateNews. 8z Real Estate is a sponsor of IREN. To learn more about Shelby or to contact her, please visit this link.