Paul Cook is a realtor at Peak Properties Group. You can contact him at PaulC@SoldByPeak.com or 540-204-1250
I think that real estate’s always something I’ve been around. It’s something I’ve loved since I was a little kid. I’m originally from Virginia, and my grandfather was a home builder. So as long as I can remember, I was going to new construction sites with him and going through the process. It was always something I was fascinated by – both buildings and real estate.
As for how I ended up in Colorado – I went out to California after my undergraduate career. I continued my schooling in San Francisco, and that’s where I met my husband. He’s from Alabama, and we met in San Francisco. We stayed there for nearly a decade and then decided it was time for a change. To be honest, Denver is like Virginia and San Francisco had a baby – lots of outdoors, trees, and mountains, with infrastructure and things to do, and a vibe and a culture. We were very drawn to that.
What drives you to be the best at what you do in real estate?
Primarily, what drives me is the story of the client – why they are moving and how I can help them in whatever that is. Moving can be challenging and scary at times. There’s all this emotion tied to your sense of place and tied to … “where am I going” and “what am I doing.” It’s a very sort of visceral reaction, where you change your home base and where you are. So I think when you drill down to it, what motivates me is my client, what their story is, what they’re trying to do, and what they’re trying to accomplish. Once I know that, and I can get a vibe of what they’re doing and where they’re going, then we can move into the next steps.
What does being a realtor mean to you and your clients?
For me, it might be a little different from what my clients think. From the very first conversation, I want them to know I work differently than other realtors. I want them to know that I’m less concerned about this transaction than the relationship – because, over the course of your lifetime, you’re probably going to live in a few different places. So for me, it’s not about that particular transaction or house or property. What’s important to me is getting to know the client, understanding them, knowing their story, and finding out their motivations. Then we can get down into the details. It’s about drilling down into what they’re looking for – and having the focus be on them.
Super important. First, the levels of liability when it comes to experience. A colleague recently said to me that “Just because I’ve climbed this mountain hundreds of times, it doesn’t mean that the client has done the same.” While the group of pros I work with makes it look effortless, there are still things that can go wrong and things that can go really wrong – especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.
As far as buying your home – especially in Denver, where we see a lot of new construction, I try to impress upon my clients that… well, your construction is beautiful, it’s awesome, it’s a fun process to choose everything down to the wall color. However, it’s important to know that the builder’s rep is not a real estate agent. They have a different level of liability. They’re not going to suggest things – an independent inspection, HVAC cleaning, et cetera – that we would. It’s a different level of knowledge we can offer. Why would you want to assume that level of liability or risk, especially when it’s completely free to work with an agent?
What do you want prospective clients to know about you?
My biggest core value is authenticity. That’s how I speak. I’m a straight shooter. You’re not going to get super-flowery language or corporate speak. That’s not me, and it won’t ever be. If we walk into a house, I’m going to give you my honest opinion, whether that’s good or bad. I think that the authenticity piece is missing a lot, especially in our profession. There seems to be a wall between the client and realtor. I like to take clients under my wing, especially first-time ones. Like, seeing me at 9:00 at night on a Sunday is not a problem. We’re working together, I work for you.
The transaction I just closed yesterday, actually. That was an instance of everyone coming in, all-hands-on-deck, towards the target. We had an 18-day close, with an absolutely phenomenal lender able to make that happen. It was a situation with very specific requirements, one of those being “I need to be out as soon as possible – how soon can we turn this around?” There were also specific requirements for price point, square footage, and many other things. So being able to tailor those things for him and find the exact property he loved in the right area was really rewarding.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Colorado?
I’m a marathon runner, and I love the outdoor vibe. It’s very different from the urban environments I’ve been in before. You can actually run those distances here in Colorado. I just walk out my door into nature. I also think that Denver has an incredibly unique profile – just even the art scene in RINO is so up and coming. It’s a rival of San Francisco and New York – I don’t think there’s anything else like it in the world.
What’s one fun thing about you?
I also own a design company in addition to being a realtor. It’s for the commercial space, but now we’re branching out more into residential. As I said, I’ve been doing this since I was a kid – my grandfather was a home builder. I would get on his old drawing programs in the early 1990s and draw houses. That’s something I have always loved. It’s fun for me to go into a situation and say, “Okay, client, we’re going to take this wall down – probably not load-bearing, let’s do X, Y, and Z.”
Personally? I think one of my favorite things to do here is going to the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver. It’s an amazing, amazing place. The architecture is beautiful, and the works they showcase are amazing. That’s the place I go to for a recenter and refocus.