Sotheby’s International Realty
326 Grant Avenue
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
505 660-8600 cell
505 954-5505 direct office
Neil D. Lyon, CRB, CRS, GRI
Neil Lyon has been one of the top producing brokers in Santa Fe every year since 2002. A licensed real estate agent since 1975 and a licensed broker since 1979, Neil moved to Santa Fe in 1993 and was the managing broker of Sotheby’s International Realty until 2002, when he stepped down to devote 100% of his time and energy to working with sellers and buyers.
Neil has been with Sotheby’s International Realty since 1984, with the exception of a 12-month period, when he was president and CEO of a 15 office real estate brokerage in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The sale of that company reunited Neil and Sotheby’s International Realty in 1991.
Neil specializes in luxury homes and building sites in and around Santa Fe. His serious work ethic and his ability to get difficult transactions completed are his hallmarks, evidenced by his high level of productivity, which since January 2005 has been over $600,000,000 in closed sales volume. An impressive record for a market whose median residential sales price is approximately $425,000. Neil’s business is equally split in most years between working with sellers and buyers. Of the buyers that he works with, well over 75% are either moving to Santa Fe or purchasing a vacation home.
Neil was honored as Santa Fe’s 2001 Realtor of the Year. He has addressed real estate brokers from around the world at various Sotheby’s International Realty conferences, over many years. Neil also served as the President of the Real Estate Brokerage Manager’s Council in 1992 and Chairman of the Realtors National Marketing Institute in 1995. Neil has earned professional designations that include Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and Graduate, Realtor’s Institute (GRI). He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Real Estate Finance from the University of Oregon. Neil was also a Master Instructor for the Real Estate Brokerage Managers Council in the 1980s and 1990s
Neil is married to Cindy and they have two children. Victoria is a graduate of the University of Richmond and Washington University in St. Louis where she earned a master’s degree in Public Health. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest. Jake is a graduate of Dartmouth College with a degree in earth sciences and now lives in the Northeast working as a geologist.
My father’s real estate career began in 1948. By the time I was born 8 years later, he was well into building his highly visible real estate business and excellent reputation. As a result, many of my early memories are related to his business. As the son of a broker and entering the business at a young age, the real estate business has defined my identity to many who have known me for much of my life.
In May of 1975, two weeks before graduating from Wilson High School in Tacoma, Washington, I passed the salesperson real estate exam. I was told by people who should have known such things that I was the youngest ever to earn a real estate license in my home state. I was 18 years and 5 months old. In 1979, after graduating from the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in real estate finance, I earned my broker’s license. I was still young, but not record-setting young. In June of 1976, in the summer between my freshman and sophomore years, I sold my first home for the princely sum of $42,000. While visiting Tacoma, I have pointed that home out to my wife enough times that it has become a standing joke. What makes the story of my first sale even sweeter and more special is the very young girl who was one of my clients’ two toddlers, has become quite famous in her field internationally. When I hear about her or see stories of her achievements and success, it makes me very proud to have played a small but important role in the evolution of that wonderful Tacoma family.
My father, along with the help of many, including my brother and me, built up the family company to the point that it was acquired by Coldwell Banker in 1986 as they expanded into the Pacific Northwest. The sale of the company occurred approximately two years after I decided that I needed to stake my claim to the business outside of my family and Tacoma. After a failed partnership attempt in Southern California in the summer of 1984, I ended up in Boston on a very cold late afternoon in December of the same year, which in some respects is what I consider to be the true beginning of my real estate career. I worked with a special man and mentor, Saul Cohen, who taught me a great deal about life, real estate, the culture of the great community of Boston and chutney.
After becoming a senior vice president and general manager of the 33-office residential division of the very large and well-known firm in Boston (Hunneman & Company, established in 1914, and the Boston-area affiliate of Sotheby’s International Realty), I was lured away to become the president and CEO of a 15-office Connecticut real estate company. It was sold exactly one year later, which lead me to rejoin Sotheby’s International Realty at their world headquarters, then located on New York City’s upper eastside. It was a great position. I was one of four senior executives who managed the affiliate business worldwide. However, it required a 3 1⁄2 hour round trip commute on days when I didn’t travel, and 100 to 150 days a year of travel to the distant markets in my territory. My region included great cities like Toronto and Honolulu, and many wonderful places in between, which ncluded
Aspen, Telluride, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Chicago and yes, you guessed it, Santa Fe.
One thing led to another, and in 1993, my wife Cindy and I, with our 2-year old daughter, took a huge leap of faith and moved to Santa Fe with my new responsibilities of managing the Sotheby’s International Realty affiliate firm, owned by Chris and Patti Webster. To this day, my family has the Webster’s to thank for all of us becoming Santa Feans.
In addition to managing the offices of Christopher Webster Real Estate/Sotheby’s International Realty, I began listing and selling homes and land in September of 1995, and then worked my way up to becoming the top producing broker in Santa Fe by 2002. It was in that year that I stepped down as the Qualifying Broker of the company so that I could direct 100% of my time and efforts to serving my buyer and seller clients. We also had the good fortune of selling Chris and Patti’s firm to Sotheby’s International Realty in 1998, which was the first time in the company’s history that they acquired an affiliate firm.
Cindy and I had our second child in 1995, paving the way for the one member of the Lyon Family to be a true native New Mexican. Both kids were very successfully raised and educated in Santa Fe, with both ending up at great schools (University of Richmond, Washington University in St. Louis and Dartmouth) after graduation from Santa Fe Prep. They now live on opposite coasts, causing us to miss them greatly, but our pride and admiration for them is the reward for the few times each year that we see them.
During my non-working hours, I get tremendous satisfaction from riding my mountain bike on single-track trails in northern New Mexico and surrounding states. (A bike which interestingly cost about 40% of what I paid for my first home. An inexpensive first home and an expensive bike). During the winter months my bike gets stored in our garage and my skis become my main recreational vehicle. I primarily enjoy the steep terrain in the Taos Ski Valley or at some of the great ski areas in Colorado and Utah. Once every couple of years I splurge and go to British Columbia for a 5-7 day heli-skiing trip which is always one of the great weeks of my year.
Our job at the Neil Lyon Group is pretty simple… take care of our clients as well as we possibly can, satisfy their real estate needs professionally and extremely competently and continue to refine and expand our business practices so that our clients receive the best that we can deliver as the world and the real estate business evolve. Simple on paper, but very challenging in practice. It takes a very talented and committed staff, a commitment to technology and innovation and the stamina and the resources to achieve this year after year. That is the Neil Lyon Group’s vision and that is what we deliver with great pride.