Steve Catsman is the kind of man you would expect to sell residences in a coveted and a historic place like Telluride. A resident of the mountain resort for over four decades, he has seen – and aided – the transformation of the region into one of the most desirable real estate markets in the world. Along with developing some of the most renowned projects in the Telluride area, such as Adams Ranch and Gray Head, Catsman and his wife established staunch roots in the region, ushering the growth of three generations. There is no peculiarity, no lifestyle option and no trend about Telluride that Catsman does not know. His well of professional knowledge and personal engagement has nurtured the deals of dozens of clients.
Below, Catsman shares some of his insight on Telluride.
You have developed many projects in Telluride and area. How does your property development experience translate into real estate brokering?
Taking a project from raw ground, the planning and design, the follow through to the finish line and bringing it to market. For example, with the Lawson Hill Development, I also did all the sales. Regarding Gray Head Development, as an ex surveyor, I started by finding all original corners in the wilderness using GPS and tools of the trade. We then designed multiple home sites in excess. The reason being we knew some would be tossed out after we had the home sites, we designed the roads and trails and built the trails before we sold the lots giving homeowners access to miles of wilderness access. Point being, with extensive experience like this, you understand brokering from the ground up.
You have lived and worked in Telluride for decades. How has its real estate changed over the years?
In 1972, main street Telluride saw one car every five minutes and there was no ski area and no retail stores. A great Victorian home in the center of town could have sold for $10,000 to $20,000 and the same home today would sell for $2.8 million plus and some approaching $7 million plus.
You have represented a variety of properties, from ranches to condos. Is there a single real estate category that has performed better than the rest in recent years?
Over time, single family homes in the historic town of Telluride have more often than not led the market with all other segments following suit over time.
What is the most important lesson you have learned in real estate?
I have learned to listen to my clients.
The US has several coveted mountainous, ski-in/ski-out resorts. What sets Telluride apart from cities like Aspen and Jackson Hole, for instance?
Exclusiveness, natural beauty, intimate valley-end location with peaks and water falls soaring to almost 14,000 feet.
How has the market performed so far? Are there any trends you are paying close attention to?
Over time the Telluride market has always been resilient with short-term fluctuation and long-term upswings.
What is your advice for buyers looking for a property in Telluride this year?
All buyers are unique in their searches for opportunities, so I would reserve any advice until meeting the buyer and hearing what they have to say.