Winthrop’s long tradition of a main street real estate presence endures with the opening of the valley’s newest real estate agency, Mountain to River Realty, which began serving clients last January.
Owned by brokers Ina Clark and Brian Colin, Mountain to River Realty is located just east of Confluence Park in downtown Winthrop, in the former Fasse North Cascades Realty office. In fact, Mountain to River Realty bought Fasse’s infrastructure (the physical space, the furniture, the office equipment), and most of Fasse’s agents, including Dale Fasse himself, stayed on as agents with Mountain to River. The result is a bustling agency with a brisk business serving buyers and sellers of Methow Valley homes and properties.
Clark and Colin, who worked together for years at Coldwell Banker, had always made a strong team. But when Coldwell Banker was bought by a broker outside the Methow Valley, Clark and Colin knew it was time to hang up their own shingle.
“We gave it a year with the out-of-valley ownership,” says Colin, who is currently the managing broker for Mountain to River Realty, “but we eventually realized that we could better meet clients’ needs through our own agency.”
Clark adds, “Our decision to open our own agency was based on our desire to remain a local company. It was really important to us to have everything be local – the ownership, our banking, our Internet provider, our logo design.”
Additionally, Mountain to River Realty only works with local properties. “To be proficient you really need to be local,” says Clark. “You can’t talk about a property with authority if you haven’t been in the home or on the land. It’s possible for us to really know all of our listings because we can spend time in them, and we can spend time with the people who want to buy or sell them.”
Commitment to clients
It’s this commitment to intimate relationships with properties and clients that serves as the foundation of Mountain to River Realty’s philosophy. “We don’t look at this as a sales job,” says Clark, “We look at it as a people profession.”
Both Clark and Colin are well-versed in people professions. Clark spent decades guiding in the San Juan Islands and instructing courses for Outward Bound, while Colin was a schoolteacher for years. “We’re shepherding people through selling and buying properties,” Colin says, “which is often quite stressful for them.” The team uses its nurturing, educational, and mediation skills constantly, says Clark, noting that the broker’s role utilizes the same interpersonal skill set she employed at Outward Bound.
Clark and Colin believe that they’re able to offer quality service to clients through Mountain to River Realty because as a small, independent agency, they’re not hampered by the policies and procedures of a larger company or a national brand. Clark gives an example: “Let’s say there is a seller who is a bit down on his luck and has something that needs to be fixed. The faulty thing is a deal-breaker for the buyer, but the seller can’t afford to fix it. We might just pay to have it fixed, and then everyone is satisfied. The buyer sells his property and the seller acquires a property he is completely happy with. We couldn’t do that other places.”
“We care,” says Colin, and while it might sound clichéd, the team has countless stories of individualized attention they’ve offered to buyers and sellers that reinforce Clark and Colin’s commitment to making client satisfaction – not beefy commissions – their end goal. “Whether you’re buying or selling a multi-million dollar property or a $20,000 lot,” says Colin, “if you’re happy with the purchase or sale, we’ve achieved our goal.”
Familiar with the territory
Colin notes that Mountain to River Realty’s brokers’ familiarity with issues specific to the Methow Valley also helps them offer attentive customer service. “We are aware of things like which roads get plowed by the county, how irrigation rights transfer, what the difference is between incorporated and unincorporated areas in the valley,” he says. “The Methow Valley is a unique and specific real estate market and we help buyers and sellers navigate that.”
Mountain to River Realty certainly benefits from its Winthrop main street location, conveniently situated just two doors west of Rocking Horse Bakery. “We get a lot of foot traffic,” says Clark, adding that the agency always has one broker designated as “floor broker,” who takes on any new clients who stop in that day. But the agency also enjoys a robust business from referrals, from clients who have felt well cared-for by Clark, Colin and the rest of the Mountain to River Realty team. That’s the ideal situation, says Clark. “The clients we’ve served know that we took good care of them. We want others to know that as well. We are going to take really excellent care of you,” she says.
For more information about Mountain to River Realty, visit www.mountain2river.com.