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Mother and son team up to open real estate company and multi-media entertainment center

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By Carol A. Clark

Longtime Los Alamos Realtor Tracy Langford is launching two new businesses later this month. The first is The LA Real Estate Group, which she said is going to approach real estate in a whole new way.“We are going to run an old business in a new way,” Langford said during an interview in her new offices at 1247-D Central Avenue Friday. “We’re going to be tied a lot more to the Internet than we are to traditional marketing concepts such as print media. The reason is that the cost of marketing today no longer allows for the bulk of advertising dollars to be spent in local print media.”Langford said the National Association of Realtors, in 2006, performed a study that showed less than 2 percent of buyers found their homes through local newspapers, while more than 67 percent of buyers found their homes on the Internet.“So rather than use the local press to advertise listings – we’re going to use it to provide information to its readers about the local real estate market, real estate investments, industry standards and more,” she said. “I’m going to write articles to educate the community on the current market. We’ll teach buyers what they need to do to buy a house and if they don’t qualify now – what they can do to qualify in the future.”Langford also is working with the FBI to bring a loan fraud class to the community. “It will be the first class in New Mexico to have the FBI make a presentation like that,” she said. “We are a community that values education and these types of classes will teach us how to avoid getting caught up in things like fraud.”Langford explained that she is going to interact with the community with respect to real estate. She said the company’s website, www.thelarealestategroup.com, is user-friendly, “beautiful to look at” and packed with information.The site provides information about the company, featured properties, MLS, buyer and seller tips, mortgage calculators, and information about the community and schools. Langford is setting up a live chat feature on the site. People with questions about buying or selling homes can click an icon and speak directly with a Realtor. They can go though the multiple listings right then with anyone, anywhere in the country, she said. “We as an industry have to put value back into the transaction,” Langford said. “I want people to perceive there is value in working with our Realtors and in working with our firm.”Langford put together a group of contractors willing to work at a discount for her clients. As an example, she said when someone selling a home needs electrical work done that would cost $3,000, her contractor will charge $2,700 to her client. The LA Real Estate Group also is negotiating to bring a full time commercial real estate broker to town. The broker works strictly with commercial real estate, she said. “Our company perceives there is going to be a shift in the next three to five years with respect to commercial real estate that goes hand in hand with residential real estate,” Langford said. “The change in our demographics is that we are aging for the first time and have a great deal of property that has never changed hands. A commercial broker will have the experience to help Los Alamos in its desire to move forward in economic development through contacts with developers and other means.”The LA Real Estate Group has connections throughout the state, Langford said, not only in her work in industry associations but through Catherine Richmond, who is the other Realtor currently working out of the office. Richmond has experience selling in rural Las Vegas and is very familiar with “short sales” for people in mortgage trouble. Richmond helps them work through the process with banks, mortgage companies and other interested parties.“Catherine is also familiar with septic regulations, which is very important in the valley,” Langford said. Being a member of the Energy, Technology and Environmental Business Association, Langford said, gives her the opportunity to “get information from Los Alamos National Laboratory first hand.”She added, “This will help our buyers and sellers understand current and upcoming changes in the market. Knowing, for example, that in the next three to five years the lab's going to shift its focus from weapons to scientific research causing 57 percent of the lab’s work on weaponry to decrease to 33 percent and that's important information to have.”As a Realtor, Langford said she gets questioned a lot as to why she would open a new real estate company now with the uncertainties that exist with LANL funding.“With all that's going on,” she said, “the whole community is really paying attention to the market and this is a great time to get to know the customer and to implement my innovative approach to help them buy and sell their homes during these challenging times.” For information, access www.thelarealestategroup.com or call 661-3700.