by Caleb Stento
Michael Underwood has recently made a few changes, one of which was relocating his businesses, Better Real Estate Services Inc., Ouray Property Management and Ouray Vacation Rentals, to 505 Main St.
Underwood has been a resident of Ouray and a member of the local business community for the past eight years. He started with a little property maintenance company, which is still operating today. Underwood says of his first endeavor, “That was my niche.”
Finding a niche was just one of Underwood’s keys to success. He was in business for himself long before coming to Ouray and finds it beneficial to stay goal oriented.
“I’ve been in business for myself for 40 years and have had certain goals in mind. It’s how I operate. Part of the long term goal is to build a business that is steady,” Underwood stated.
One of the ways that Underwood attempts to navigate the peaks and valleys that are the nature of real estate related business is diversification. Hence, his ownership of real estate, property management and rental businesses.
Underwood related that his realization for the necessity of diversification came when the market crashed. “There were the same amount of homes and the same amount of people. They just couldn’t buy, but they could rent,” he said.
Property management seems to be the anchor that provides a measure of stability in unsettled times. Underwood slowly built a portfolio and is doing his best to provide people what they want.
Times may be tough for anyone in the real estate business, but one of the key things that has helped Underwood roll with the punches is the realization that he gets to wake up in Ouray each morning.
“Things have been going well for us. I didn’t know anybody when we moved here. Ouray has just opened its arms to me and I really appreciate it. Ouray is home to me. I still wake up excited in the morning that I live here. I’m not the only one, but I’m one of them,” Underwood said.
When asked to give a prognosis on the real estate market, Underwood did not readily speculate. He got a start in the business when things weren’t really booming.
“I got into it at a really tough time, so everything is improving for me,” Underwood said.
Skeptical of real estate analysts who are always reading the signs like an overworked carnival fortune teller, Underwood said, “Signs indicate this and indicate that, but you never know what’s going to happen. But, we’ll be ready for it.”
One of Underwood’s greatest keys to success is the people he chooses to surround himself with and he is greatly appreciative of their efforts. “Eileen Allen is a steady hand on the wheel, full time bookkeeper and she keeps me in line. Beth Edwards is my vacation rental specialist and she works long and tirelessly. She works really hard to help people find the vacation rentals they are looking for. She goes that extra step.”