Rebuilding after housing bubble burst

Xtrov Realty is a Cortez company that launched after the housing bubble burst.  The Xtrov team includes (from left) Art Ewing, Vonnie Robinson, Katherine Chaffin, Betty Cirbes, Brenda Hindmarsh and Mike Smith. Enlargephoto

Mary Shinn/The Cortez Journal

Xtrov Realty is a Cortez company that launched after the housing bubble burst. The Xtrov team includes (from left) Art Ewing, Vonnie Robinson, Katherine Chaffin, Betty Cirbes, Brenda Hindmarsh and Mike Smith.

The post-recession real estate reality for Cortez is a hot rental market.

For one local real estate entrepreneur, that meant transforming her business model to include property management to fit the times. Her business, Xtrov Realty, is celebrating its one-year anniversary, and she expects to grow in the coming years.

Katherine Chaffin moved back home to Cortez in 2002 and started doing short sales before they were popular or well known. Before the recession, she flipped about 40 homes.

“I learned the real estate business using my own money. When customers come in, I can understand their point of view because I lived it” she said.

But when the housing market bubble burst, Chaffin had to rethink her strategy and decided property management would be her next niche. But it would require a real estate license and two years of experience working under someone else before she could start again.

One day after she completed the two-year licensing requirements, she opened the doors at Xtrov.

“I was always cut out to work for myself,” she said.

Chaffin crafted the company’s name Xtrov out of the phrase “extra-ordinary value,” and in the same way has worked to build a unique business model and dynamic to the office.

Her team is now managing properties, but she is still matching buyers to the right homes. She also has not abandoned the fix-and-flip world, and the company just finished its largest remodel ever on Market Street.

She also recently brought on her first realtor, Brenda Hindmarsh, and may bring on more as the business expands. But she wants to give them the freedom to work from home with an office functioning as an upscale suite to meet clients.

“We are not a bullpen,” she said.

As for the future of the market in general, she feels that it will continue to grow.

“I think it is headed in a positive direction as long as the community in general stays forward-thinking,” she said.

mshinn@cortezjournal.com