Ian Benge had already worked as a musician, caterer, and construction worker when, three years ago, he made a life-changing decision.
He decided to open a company to market a new mobile-home community. A year later, his company took over Southwestern Land Sales, the largest land brokerage in Grant County, N.M. In 1999 he added Neal Real Estate, a local residential brokerage, and changed the name of the company to Southwestern Real Estate.
Today the company employs 10 salespeople in two offices and has a 25 percent market share. Total 1999 volume was $18 million. “We’re like a big, extended family,” says Benge of his staff. “There are probably not too many days when we don’t have kids crawling around.
Benge is also president of the Silver City Grant County Board of REALTORS® and is active in the local chamber of commerce and the Rotary Club.
At Southwestern, Benge says, his focus is on marketing, managing, and recruiting. On the management side, he’s considering going to a fee-for-service setup in certain situations. “I’ve never been afraid to try something new,” he says.