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angel fire realtyReflection on life in the Moreno Valley real estate business Stan Harrell wasn’t good at pounding nails…


Story & photo by Cathy Lexa


‘When I moved here in ’72, there were 17 homes and 12 condominiums at Angel Fire Resort. Now there’s over 1,500 homes and 800 condominiums.’ -Stan Harrell

Stan Harrell has worked in the Moreno Valley real estate industry for approximately 9,800 days, and every day has been a new day with new changes.

Harrell, a realtor/qualifying broker, began working at Monte Verde Realty under former owners Bob Bright and “Bets” Loving in 1980, making him one of the longest real estate veterans in the area.

Even though he ended up in real estate, Harrell arrived in December 1972 after graduating from college at Texas Tech University in Lubbock to work as a lift operator at Angel Fire Resort. Later he would work on the ski patrol, returning to Texas in the summers to work.

“Back in the ’70s there were only two things to really make a living: pound nails or be in real estate,” Harrell said. “And I wasn’t very good at pounding nails.”

But when Bright and Loving took him under their Monte Verde Realty wings, Harrell found a passion of which he would make a career. And while he studied, passed the exam and received his real estate license, he credits Bright and Loving with really teaching him the business. His first sale was 20 acres at American Creek Ranch, and he was hooked.

“I prefer to do acreage and ranches,” said Harrell, who now owns the business. “Ranch business has been very good for Monte Verde Realty, especially the Moreno Ranch.”

But his most interesting experiences have been working with Native Americans.

“I’ve been privileged to work with Native Americans buying ranches. They have a different way of looking at things, especially the Taos Pueblo. They’ve been here a thousand years, so their ideas of what is important -their values -are very long term.”

An evolving landscape and business

During his near 30-year stint in the real estate world, Harrell said he has seen many changes.

“When I moved here in ’72, there were 17 homes and 12 condominiums at Angel Fire Resort,” he said of the time before the incorporation of the Village of Angel Fire. “Now there’s over 1,500 homes and 800 condominiums in the Angel Fire area. And of course the valley has grown. Driving between Angel Fire and Eagle Nest at night, there used to be just two little farmhouse lights. Now there are a lot more.”

The real estate business is no different when it comes to change. When Harrell joined Monte Verde, he said to the best of his memory, there were three agencies in the area. Now there are at least 23 in Angel Fire and four in Eagle Nest and Red River.

“When I started there was a one-page purchase agreement,” Harrell said. “Now it’s up to 12. Not only does
the industry change, but we deal with different personalities every day.”

The use of ranchland has changed, too, as wide expanses of land in northern New Mexico were truly agricultural areas, and people came and worked the land.

“People bought ranches to make money off the timber and livestock,” Harrell said. “Now, with the price ofreal estate, there’s no way they can do that. People now buy ranches for personal holdings for their family.”

Still a good bargain

Harrell said the value of property today still amazes him -there was a time when he was impressed the average cost of a home in Angel Fire reached $100,000.

“Now it’s over $360,000,” he said. “But the Angel Fire and northern New Mexico area is still an underpriced market, I think. There’s not a place prettier than here that I’ve found. So real estate is still going to be a good market.”

A wonderful place to live

While many people buy property and homes for vacationing, Harrell said he still enjoys living and working in Angel Fire, and doesn’t think he’ll ever quit his job.

“Some days are much better than others, but every day is a new day in real estate,” Harrell said. “But I can be here in the office, go take a l 1/2 hour lunch break and do a 10,000 vertical. (The ski area) is right here, you don’t have to go anywhere. The other wonderful thing about here is I’m out in the trees and seeing wildlife -elk, bear and deer -when I’m showing property. I’m thankful to be able to do that”

And Harrell doesn’t mind the increase in the area’s population during his 35 years in the Moreno Valley, but he does admit one downside.

“I used to know everyone in the Moreno Valley by their first name. Now there’s so many more people, that’s just not possible.”

Original Article [PDF]