Tracy & Joseph: Texas Transplants and a Longtime Love Affair with Santa Fe

Gay men purchase real estate in Santa Fe for retirement
Gay men purchase real estate in Santa Fe for retirement

It’s not uncommon to hear people say that they believe that fate brought them to Santa Fe.

The town has a magical feel. And the vibe that permeates “The City Different” is probably one of its biggest non-tangible allures. But even the biggest skeptics around would think twice about dismissing destiny after hearing soon-to-be Dallas transplants Joseph Mahoney and Tracy Fulton’s story.

Growing up in Los Angeles, Joseph has been driving to Santa Fe as part of long-distance camping trips since the 1980’s. Between 2005 and 2008, he lived in Santa Fe before his job as an insurance inspector took him to a post Hurricane Ike-ravaged Houston. Tracy, a native Texan, spent the summers of his childhood at his family’s cabin in Eagle’s Nest. As a young man, Tracy took his dear friend Eileen to the cabin, and the pair fell in love with Santa Fe. Although it’s likely that the couple may have unknowingly crossed paths, it would take years and personal tragedy for them to meet.

Fast forward to 2010. Joseph is settled in Houston and Tracy is in town visiting Eileen who was fighting late-stage cancer. Unwinding at a bar after visiting his friend in the hospital, Tracy met Joseph. The topic that spurred their conversation and launched their relationship: they both loved Santa Fe.

While living in Dallas, Joseph and Tracy started thinking next steps. The decision to relocate was a no-brainer. And while their five-year plan to move to the city is getting underway, they already have a cache of new friends including a few other gay Dallasites who conveniently live next to the condo they bought and lovingly dubbed “Casita Eileen.”

When did you decide to move to here?

Tracy: Before we purchased our condo, we had friend in Las Campanas who we’d visit three or four times a year. We always talked about buying a house there. In 2013, I sold my house in Dallas and we moved to a smaller place together. At that point, we knew we could start looking for a second home in Santa Fe.

What do you love about your second home?

Joseph: When we get here, the whole fast part of Dallas disappears.

Tracy: We love the shopping, the food and the festivals. We make a point of going to the opera every other year. But what we really love is the weather. In the summer when it’s 100 degrees and humid in Dallas, it’s 85 and dry in Santa Fe.

Joseph: I love it when there’s snow on the ground. Canyon Road on Christmas Eve. It’s so nice and people are just in the spirit. It feels like a completely different country sometimes.

Tell us about your new home.

Tracy: We’re in part of Pueblo Encantado, which is part of the Rancho Encantado development, in Tesuque. We like it because it’s outside of town but not too far away from people. We love the views and we like that it isn’t too close to the tourists downtown.

Joseph: Our place is across from the Four Seasons Resort. I like to tell our guests and renters that we have our own country club.

How did you find Mark Banham?

Joseph: I knew Mark when I lived in Santa Fe in 2005. He was always my go-to person with questions about real estate or the city in general.

Tracy: Before buying, we did most of the research ourselves because we wanted an easy process. For a while, I would look at properties online and send him an email message saying, “What about this? This is a beautiful house.” He’d let me know when the property did not coincide well with our criteria or was not as great as it seemed online. Mark kept us on track. He knew how much money we wanted to spend and guided us to the right neighborhoods.

Joseph: In 2015 when it came time to seriously look at properties, I called Mark. He showed me 12 properties. The one we liked best, we actually saw a year earlier. Thanks to a slow market, it was still available.

Would you recommend Mark?

Tracy: As a Realtor or a friend? I’d recommend him in either category!

Joseph: Yes! He knows the city really well. He keeps up with everything having to do with real estate and he’s available whenever we call.

Tracy: I also like that he gives back so much to the community. He likes to help others. Mark is very generous with himself and his time.

How do you find the LGBTQ community in Santa Fe? Has it been easy to build a social network?

Joseph: Yes! When you’re here, you slow down and spend more time with people. It’s not like back home. At this point, it almost feels like we know more people in Santa Fe than Dallas.

Tracy: This town isn’t exactly hurting for Texans. In some ways, Santa Fe has become a suburb of Dallas and Houston.

We understand you’ve brought even more of Texas with you.

Tracy: We’re in a triplex. Mark helped our best friends, Rob & Chuck, buy the house next door to us. And other friends bought the third unit.

Joseph: We’re creating our own retirement community by bringing everybody here from Dallas!

Gay Realtor Mark Banham helps Dallas buyers

Thinking about purchasing a vacation home or relocating to Santa Fe? Reach out to Barker Realty Broker Mark Banham to learn more about real estate opportunities in the Santa Fe Area as well as the cultural and social opportunities available in this unique, welcoming community.