Lori Greenly is a banker who fell into the niche condominium market.
After 25 years in the banking and private wealth management world, Greenly — who was the preferred lender on some of Colorado’s top luxury residential developments, including the Four Seasons, The Ritz Carlton in Bachelor Gulch at Beaver Creek and The Coloradan in Union Station — quickly realized the condo market is quite different from buying a single-family home.
And she noticed that the brokers representing their clients at those condo closings were struggling to answer a lot of questions about the properties and the process.
“I was answering more of those questions, and not because I’m smarter, but because it takes a lot of time to understand everything, like what you need to know about [homeowners' associations],” she said. “When you live in that world of condos, you start to develop a good reputation and learn the intricacies of that business.”
So, in 2017 — the same year then-Gov. John Hickenlooper signed legislation that made it more difficult for HOAs to file multimillion-dollar construction-defect lawsuits and, in return, gave developers new confidence to build more condo projects — Greenly left the finance world and started Denver High-Rise Living.
The real estate brokerage firm, which is licensed under Keller Williams, focuses solely on educating clients about the condo market, whether they’re looking for a new place to live or an investment opportunity.
And she says she brought along an “incredible portfolio” of “hundreds” of clients from her wealth management days.
“When the builder-defect laws changed, I started seeing condos as a really good investment,” she said. “And I knew I had a lot of potential buyers.”
Greenly’s firm is made up of 10 people from diverse backgrounds, including a Xerox retiree who will focus on the retirement community and a former concierge at the Four Seasons who will focus on the LGBTQ community.
She also poached a downtown Denver boutique shop owner who had a knack for customer service, and who was looking for a career change. All of those people obtained their real estate licenses specifically to work for Greenly at Denver High-Rise Living.
Her firm doesn’t sell condos for exclusive developers like another new firm, Iconique Real Estate, which is also looking to take advantage of Denver’s condo boom, does. Instead, Greenly is focused on educating clients about the condo-buying process and bringing those clients to developers and their sales teams. If all goes according to plan, the real estate transaction should be smoother, and it could entice more developers to pursue condo projects in Denver.
To ensure that happens, Greenly developed a 30-hour condo certification program that trains real estate agents to give clients, investors and developers good experiences when buying into that market.
Now, her team is going around collecting “condo intel,” developing a database that should make it easier to find the perfect home or investment opportunity for their clients.
Greenly has a big goal for the coming year, which runs Oct. 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2020: close $100 million in deals. If successful, she plans to take the “High-Rise Living” brand to other cities. She already owns the domains for NashvilleHighRiseLiving.org — a city that’s expanding similarly to Denver, she says.
She’s also considering San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Atlanta.
“I want to educate all of Denver on how we can grow vertically together in a super responsible way that gives everyone a great experience,” Greenly said.
And she's practicing what she preaches: She and her husband are selling their single-family home right now and plan to move into a downtown condo in the near future.