Steven Shane the Aspen, Colorado real estate broker, went from selling snowboards to selling ski chalets among the glitterati and other well-heeled types who frequent the town. Shane used to be the owner of six snowboarding shops in Colorado, and in 1994 he thought he spied a more lucrative career.
“In time, it became apparent to me that with the prices of homes in Aspen being as expensive as they were, and understanding that a commission could be made of 2.5 or 3 percent, it would be worth my while to go get a real estate license,” Shane said.
He worked briefly for another brokerage, and then founded his own; the firm now has 22 agents, he said. His personal sales in 2010 were $100 million, he said, including a $31.5 million sale in Aspen. Obviously, networking plays a critical role in knowing who to reach out to in such a deal. But the overhead costs associated with moving in such circles doesn’t come cheaply, he said.
“Yeah, it’s very unnerving sometimes,” he said. “If you want to play with the big dogs, you’ve got to get out there.”
So, how much does such a business lifestyle cost? “Way too much,” he said, laughing. “Just ask my wife — it is scary. Believe me, if you’re selling a home to somebody at $5 million, let alone $10 million or $20 million or $30 million, there’s a pretty good chance that you won’t be enjoying any $25 bottle of wine.”
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