For some of my clients, through market conditions and pure luck, the move to Santa Fe happens in the blink of an eye.
For others, it can take a little longer. That was the case with Bill Holden and Mark Jordan, whose recent home sale in Texas had them waiting like eager parents. “It took us nine months to sell in Dallas,” Bill said. Since closing there, “we’ve been in Santa Fe, living in Airbnbs until now.”
But Bill and Mark have had their eyes on The Land of Enchantment almost as long as they’ve been a couple. Mark told me that since getting together 25 years ago, they’ve been vacationing in Santa Fe, and when they both began contemplating retirement, “Santa Fe was the simple answer.”
From Random Meeting to Silver Anniversary
The 25-year move to New Mexico was hardly a straight line. The couple’s journey (which is a homecoming for St. John’s College alum Mark) involved several states, a career change, and some significant achievements in LGBTQ+ studies.
Mark had a fascinating upbringing. Born in France to American parents, his family moved to Texas when he was a young kid. After his parents’ divorce prompted his mother to relocate to a small town in Mexico, Mark spent his youth going back and forth between Dallas and Mexico.
Years later, while teaching at Notre Dame University, Mark met Bill, the managing director of a trucking company. “It was a one-night stand that never ended,” Bill says.
An academic, Mark’s career path has taken him from Notre Dame to Emory University, Harvard University, the Danforth Center in St. Louis, and then back to Harvard, where he completed his teaching career.
Early in Mark and Bill’s relationship, Bill was looking for a career change. After 20 years as a corporate accountant, he returned to school for a master’s in library science. “It was a big career change, but well worth it.” Career highlights included Managing the public health library at Regional Center for Healthy Communities in Cambridge, MA, and LGBT Studies Librarian & Rare Book Cataloger at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. “I was their first LGBTQ+ librarian. I worked with Mark and other queer faculty to build their queer archives and collection,” Bill says.
Creating Their Own Writer’s Colony
Retired from academia, both are full-time writers now. Bill has been writing for twenty years in the genres of gay erotica, historical, horror, and urban fantasy. His most recent novels, The Demon Librarian, and Blood Crucible: A Witch’s Requiem are both looking for a publisher. Mark’s writing focuses on sexual ethics, queer religion, and the intersections of religion with literature. The recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, Mark has written almost 20 books, including Queer Callings, scheduled to be published in November by Fordham University.
Unlike many clients who find me through a “Gay Santa Fe” Google search, Mark and Bill were directed to me by a fellow realtor from Texas. “We asked our realtor in Dallas, and he said the only guy I ever refer to in Santa Fe is Mark Banham,” Bill told me.
The only fly-in-the-ointment with their move is partially a “champagne problem” for me these days—a thriving and competitive market in Santa Fe. Like many other markets, Dallas has softened, making selling a home there very challenging. The process took nine months, during which Bill told me, “We were constantly watching the Santa Fe market.”
Once they connected with me by phone, I sent a daily list of properties, keeping them abreast of the market. After months of back-and-forth through phone calls and email, we finally met in person in January of this year.
Listening to My Clients Pays Off in Dud-Free Searches
Finding a house that’s “just right” for any client is a balancing act of knowing the inventory and listening. Bill and Mark were no exception. After years of urban living, they wanted space and quiet. I work hard not to hear anyone say, “Why are you showing us THIS house?”
They told me they wanted Eldorado, preferably with three bedrooms and a den. “We wanted acreage, a walled-in garden, and we each wanted our own writing studio,” they told me.
After a nine-month search for a home in New Mexico, Mark and Bill are settling into Eldorado and are in love with their new “baby.” “It’s a beautiful home on 1.4 acres with a ton of wildlife. We’ve seen coyotes, rabbits, and even a bobcat,” Bill told me. “It’s nice. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. Everything the big city is not. Mountains in every direction.”
As an added plus, Bill brags, “We got everything we asked for with TWO walled-in gardens!”