Kathy Deppe to retire after 32 years
When Kathy Deppe began selling real estate 32 years ago, Grand Junction was in the midst of the oil shale boom.
“It was wild,” Deppe said. “There were 800-plus Realtors.”
Then Exxon pulled out, the number of Realtors fell to around 250, and Deppe was a single mom with two young kids. She focused on foreclosed property, becoming a Freddie Mac broker. She also experienced first-hand some of the consequences of the bust.
“I moved seven times in one year,” Deppe said. “Every time we got into a rental house, it went into foreclosure.”
During the boom, Deppe sold brand new houses in the Oxbow subdivision near Patterson and 29 1/2 Road for $130,000. In the bust, she was selling foreclosures in the neighborhood for $35,000 0r $40,000.
“In 1989, I went to the foreclosure table 99 times,” Deppe said. “That was the year I made the least amount of money.”
Although the bust in the early 1980s was devastating locally, it’s not the same as recent recession. In many ways, it was worse, with real estate values plummeting far worse than they have in the last two years. In one significant way, especially for a savvy Realtor like Deppe, it wasn’t as bad.
“When Exxon left, the rest of the nation was good,” Deppe said. “The economic development people went out and told the Grand Junction story and attracted a lot of retirees to the area.”
Retirees from other parts of the country were delighted to sell their homes in booming areas, buy a house for cash and still have money left over.
Deppe feels like the local market is recovering, although she said it still has a long way to go.
“The market is what it is,” she said. “You still need a willing buyer and a willing seller.”
Although there are many moments in her long career that make her proud, what has pleased her the most is helping multiple generations find their first, second and third homes.
“I’ve sold homes to children who weren’t even born when their mom and dad bought their first house from me,” Deppe said.
Deppe retired June 4, on her 65th birthday. She has no big plans to travel to Europe, but she is looking forward to growing a garden that she’ll actually have time to tend.
“I’m looking forward to weekends off and lunch with friends,” said Deppe, who added that most agents work when nobody else is working, which means Saturdays and after 5 p.m. “I love what I do and my business is good, but it’s just time.”
She’ll continue to help her daughter, Paula Zimmerman, a real estate agent with RE/MAX 4000, with open houses at Walnut Estates. Deppe and builder Max Sneddon have worked together for 20 years and she isn’t quite ready to close that particular door.
“That’s part of my life,” Deppe said. “I can’t just walk out the door.”
She is, however, looking forward to spending more time with her husband, retired builder Gary Spomer, and hanging out with her grandchildren.
“My family deserves a lot of credit for my career,” Deppe said. “There were a lot of late dinners and missed dinners.”