SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Brian Tercero grew up in a home built by his father on family property in the historic Village of Agua Fria, a long way from Santa Fe’s pricey east-side neighborhoods.
But Tercero, an agent at Keller Williams Realty, was one of the real estate agents involved in the highest-priced residential property sale so far in 2013 — a $4 million, 5,200-square-foot home at 1260 Upper Canyon Road.
Tercero represented the buyers, who lived outside the United States and shopped for properties with him over the Internet. The listing agent for the home was Paige Maxwell of Sotheby’s International Real Estate, who said the sale was also her biggest ever and a sign that the luxury market in Santa Fe is healthy.
“We’ve had an abundance of inventory in that market, but starting in October, the luxury market has really seen an increase in sales and showings,” she said.
Tercero agreed, saying the all-cash sale was watched by other agents and builders as an indication that homes on the historic east side are still appealing.
“There are a lot of prominent high-end builders watching this deal. It will impact the market significantly,” Tercero said.
With more than 8,000 Twitter followers and a knack for Internet marketing, Tercero said the sale means much more to him: that a Santa Fe local can deliver high-end buyers and succeed in real estate without leaving his hometown.
“We just didn’t want to leave Santa Fe,” said the fifth-generation resident who married his high school sweetheart. “There are ways to stay here if you want to, and real estate has done that for me.”
After graduating from Capital High School, Tercero went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in information technology at the University of New Mexico. He worked as the Web developer for Prudential Real Estate for nine years. During that time, he saw the business change — and witnessed how the reach of the Internet and search analytics transformed the way homes were marketed. In 2010, he took classes and got a real estate license.
“I never had a sales job. I never sold a home in my life,” he said.
Tercero did, however, grow up with an entrepreneurial spirit he got in part from his grandfather, Amarante Romero, a lifelong Agua Fria resident who died Aug. 31. Romero was dubbed the unofficial mayor of the village and operated a small gas station and grocery store that became the center of chatter and politics in the community. The store was attached to the family home, and Tercero, as well as other family members, helped around the business.
So it didn’t seem like a leap when Tercero decided to join Keller Williams Realty in Santa Fe and partner with Dale Heinemann, a veteran agent who specializes in ranch properties and shares Tercero’s philosophy about the use of video, the Internet and technology.
Tercero signed an agreement not to disclose the names of the buyers on the $4 million sale. But he said they found him through his website in January. Tercero kept in contact through email for several months — sending them information about properties and using his iPhone to shoot video of homes. The buyers had lived in Santa Fe part time and were looking to relocate here full time, so they were familiar with the city and even had a builder, Nick Ritter, with whom Tercero consulted about property choices.
He first took a video of the Upper Canyon Road property in May and sent it to the buyers via email. The couple liked the home and location, but they thought it was too pricey.
A $1 million price cut in early September got their attention. They came to see the home for the first time at an open house a few weeks later and things moved quickly after that.
Since New Mexico is a nondisclosure state for real estate transactions and sale prices are not public record, there is no definitive source on what homes sell for, except those included in the MLS database by the Santa Fe Association of Realtors. And not all sales are included, especially those on the high end, where both buyers and sellers might want privacy.
Longtime real estate agents believe the most expensive residential property (excluding ranches) ever sold in Santa Fe was the 20-acre Sol y Sombra property that once was owned by Georgia O’Keeffe and sold to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000. The asking price was $12.2 million.
The other large sale came in 2011, when Sotheby’s agent Neil Lyon represented both buyer and seller for a 40-acre Tesuque estate with a guest house, conservation easement and equestrian facilities. That $10.5 million home had been owned by builder Jay Ross.
The Upper Canyon Road home that closed last month has four bedrooms and six bathrooms on 1.18 acres with a 1,500-square-foot guest house.
Alan Ball, a Keller Williams broker who blogs about Santa Fe real estate, said 72 homes have sold above $2 million in the past 5 years, and only 15 above $3 million.
“It’s not rare in the Hamptons or San Francisco or with a penthouse in New York, but it’s rare in Santa Fe — we just don’t have a lot of multimillion-dollar sales. And you can’t count on them selling quickly or for full price in our market. But they’re wonderful, they make everyone feel good.”
Added Tercero, “It’s not every day you sell a $4 million house. I’ve come a long way.”