Recently Alison was featured in Lore magazine, which covers the endlessly fascinating and always unique persona of the residential real estate industry. Lore is the only magazine focusing on the lives of real estate professionals. Lore has its roots in the industry dating back to 2004 where it was a highlight amongst the top professionals in our colorful industry.
The article covered Alison’s transition from a corporate business owner in the San Francisco Bay Area to raising a family and starting a new career as a real estate agent in the Tahoe/Truckee area. We thought we would highlight some of Alison’s accomplishments along the way, so you can get to know your Truckee-Tahoe Realtor better!
After spending some time during college as an intern in Washington, D.C., Elder thought she wanted to be a lawyer when she graduated. “After some personal reflection, I decided I didn’t want to spend my life in a law library,” she says. Instead, she “accidentally ended up in healthcare administration” due to a family connection with the CEO of French Health Plan. “I loved the business and the people. I was impacting people’s lives in a positive way selling staff model HMO plans,” she says. In fact, she loved the healthcare business so much that she spent the next 12 years in the industry with several different companies, doing large-group brokerage sales for both HMOs and benefits administration. “As things started changing with Lincoln National Life, which moved out of large-group health insurance and started offering a small-group model that I felt wasn’t strategically aligned to the business, I decided to start my own company,” she says.
Capitalizing on the loyal following she had with insurance brokers and consultants, Elder took on two partners and started a small administration company that went from 9 employees in 1993 to 65 by 1997. “We had a sales organization in the Bay Area (San Francisco) and another in the Bellevue, Wash., area. We had clients like Oracle, Stanford, and Netscape, who all liked what we were doing because we had a tech aspect to our business,” she says. In fact, her firm, BeneSphere Administrators, was the first online benefits administration company for this type of product. “This was in 1993, during the boom in high tech. My husband is a tech guy and helped build the online system. It was pretty exciting to employees, who could get online and file claims and enroll in tax-free healthcare and daycare payroll-deduction programs; today, she says, it’s “normal and expected.”
In about three years, we had almost 900 clients,” she says. ProBusiness, a payroll and human resources company, bought BeneSphere and went public shortly thereafter. “ProBusiness, which was later purchased by ADP, wanted to buy my company because in 1997, integrated benefits (health, benefits, payroll and human resources administration) was launching. I had the benefits piece,” she says. By then, Elder felt that she had outgrown the job and was looking for a new experience and opportunity.
I did consulting for a few years, but the national travel, four or more days per week, was too much,” she says. By then, she had small children and wasn’t keen on leaving them. In addition, her then-15-year-old son, Andrew, had some health issues. “We had a second home in the Tahoe area, it just seemed a good fit and Andrew was so much healthier in the clean air,” she says. “I had a goal to raise my kids off the concrete, and I determined that real estate was the vehicle to help me reach that goal,” she says.
Transitioning into Real Estate
Not to mention that her corporate-learned skills were extremely transferable to real estate. The trick was helping her husband, who had finished his career at Netscape, plan for a slower pace. “He bought a branch of Pacific Mortgage Consultants and built his own business in Truckee, leveraging all our Bay Area contacts and local ones too,” she says. That was in 1998, and Elder has been thriving ever since.
She was named Chase International Real Estate’s Agency Realtor® of the Year for both 2011 and 2012. She’s on the board of the local chapter of the Excellence in Education Foundation and a member of the local Sports Ortho Council, a developing holistic surgery and rehab center for elite and weekend athletes. She’s also on the Cancer Advisory Council, which partnered with UC Davis, supported a successful community bond initiative and is a national rural model in cancer care.
As with her career in healthcare services, Elder is focused when it comes to real estate. “Everyone gets million-dollar service, no matter if they’re buying a $200,000 condo or a $5 million second home on Lake Tahoe. My service model honors every client’s needs,” she says. She also believes in “making sure my vision is clear. I want to know about my clients’ day-to-day experiences and whether or not they’re buying this property as a legacy property. Then, I take their vision and help sculpt it, based on their needs while honoring their budget.” About 75 percent of Elder’s business is with second-home buyers in Lake Tahoe. “The vast majority of my clients are high-net-worth indivi-duals from San Francisco, Carmel Valley and even Los Angeles who are looking for the next passion in their lives.”
It appears Elder has personally found that next passion. Both of her children are winter athletes. Her son is now an Alpine racer who participates in the Super G, Giant Slalom and Slalom as a full-time student-athlete at Sugar Bowl Academy, a prep school for competitive
athletes. Her 12-year old daughter, Angela, is a Sugar Bowl Academy student-athlete as well, who runs track and cross-country and is an avid equestrian. The entire family takes advantage of the Tahoe summers, spending a lot of time on their boat, Knot Again. “Our downtime is spent enjoying the solitude of our natural environment, attending ski races all winter, spending summers boating on Lake Tahoe and just hanging out with family,” says Elder. That’s a far cry from the hustle and bustle of corporate life. “I lived that corporate, fast-paced life in San Francisco,” she says. “It took me three years to re-engineer my life, but I’m there now and loving every minute of it.”
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Alison Elder continues to thrive in the real estate market, selling over 100 million in the Truckee/Tahoe area since 2009. Everyone gets the same passion and determination no matter what you’re in the market for. Alison continues to be recognized for her achievements recently awarded for the Top Listing Agent for the Lake Tahoe area and Volume Sold. Elder Group Tahoe Real Estate, proudly affiliated with Chase International you can contact Alison Elder at email@example.com or by phone, 530.582.8103. Visit their site for properties for sale at eldergrouptahoerealestate.com