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Buying or selling a house is a stressful experience for anyone, and it can be extra stressful for queer people. Alex Tooke of The Peak Properties Group strives to make the experience of buying and selling a house less stressful for everybody, especially queer people.

Tooke started The Peak Properties Group nine years ago with his husband, and they strove to make Peak a family company that doesn’t define families as a man, woman, and children. They give a cozy, family touch to everyone from poly family units and queer couples to “traditional” families and folks who just want to live their best life at home with a pet. They also buy and sell homes all over Colorado.

For these reasons, the Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce is naming Peak Business of the Year. OUT FRONT had the pleasure of sitting down with Tooke to discuss more about the company.

Is there a specific clientele you mostly work with?

We work with anybody and everybody; I think that’s what makes us special. Our team is super diverse as well as the client base we serve. We want everybody to have an amazing experience, and that’s where we base all our starting transactions. I think everybody has a great time working with us.

What got you into real estate, specifically?

I get asked that a lot. A big thing for me is, I want everyone to feel special, and I want everyone to have an amazing experience, be it buying a home alone or with friends or family. The main reason we got into real estate is, when we bought our first home, it wasn’t a great experience.

That sounds really negative, but to be honest, there were a lot of things that could’ve happened a lot better, but we were able to break that down into an experience that we want to provide to others. So, over the last nine years, we built a company around that mentality of providing an amazing experience for our clients.

Buying a house is a huge commitment for anybody. It’s a scary thing, especially for first-time homeowners. How do you alleviate some of that fear?

I think it starts with making sure you have a solid process. And for us at Peak, that’s where we start every single one of our decisions. So, a first-time homebuyer has 1000 questions, and those questions need answered up front. We want to make sure every single person on our team knows how to answer those, knows how to put people at ease and get to know exactly what they’re looking for and not what we think they want.

We want to make sure we are answering their needs and their questions on their schedule and then building a plan around that. We’re really, really big about putting a game plan together, and those game plans are different for every single person. So, it really makes sense for us to sit down, listen, really get to know someone. That also builds great relationships with the people that we work with, because they know that we’re there, and they trust that we can get them through the process.

Related article: PFLAG Are Protecting Our Queer Youth

Trust is a hard thing to develop; it’s not something that happens right away. Can you talk about building trust and the process of buying a home?

Trust has to be earned. Trust isn’t something you can sit down and educate somebody on. Trust needs to be shown in different ways, from asking the right questions to showing the right properties but really listening to how are they going to use that property; how are they going to use that home; how are they going to make it home?

And if we listen to how somebody is going to make something home, we can help them find the perfect house, and they can turn that house into a home. It’s just finding the right people that work for our company that actually care about getting from point A to point B to point Z. And that’s where the magic happens with all of our clients, is that it’s not just, ‘hey, let’s do this really quickly.’ It’s, ‘let’s get you through this process; we understand the process.’ And that’s something that I don’t think a lot of people take the time to understand.

Is real estate personal?

Absolutely. You’re helping find somebody’s home; you’re watching them see themselves live in four walls and watching them say, ‘I can bring my family here’ and just really start imagining what life could be. And when you think about the role we play in that; that’s immense; that’s huge. That’s a huge responsibility that we have to take very, very seriously. And watching that transpire time and time again does create these amazing communities, and we see the fabric and the threads of these things come together. And it’s just amazing to be a part of that experience.

Is there anything else you wanted to say?

One of the things we’ve been talking about with our team is, what is the importance of queer representation and the LGBT community? You know, we have a lot of straight people on our team. And a lot of LGBT [people]; we have a lot of people who identify however they want to identify. In this political climate, having a team that understands the needs and necessities of just listening and being a part of somebody else’s experience is so, so important.

It’s all about how we’re bringing people together, how we can be a part of somebody else’s story. And in today’s world, there’s nothing more important than listening. We have to come together, and I think that is one of the most amazing things we get to do as realtors at Peak or anywhere, We get to be part of other people’s stories. And I think that’s the most important thing we can do. One of our core values is ‘you be you,’ and that leads in many, many different discussions for our company and our team.

Photo by Veronica L. Holyfield