10 Questions with Ryan Nemeyer: Building Business through the Challenges

In the last few decades, the Napa Valley wine region has evolved into a hospitality hot spot for the food and wine industries. With its new five-star resorts, Michelin-starred restaurants, private wine-tasting experiences, charming galleries, small-town boutiques, breathtaking landscapes and wealth of open space, the region offers real estate investors and buyers more opportunities than ever to choose the lifestyle they truly want. That's not to say all is perfect in wine country. The area has weathered its challenges, like the 2014 earthquake, wildfires and blackouts. Local real estate agent Ryan Nemeyer of Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley has navigated it all with honesty, professionalism and trademark cool. Here, he shares his insights on wine country homes, moving through market ups and downs and the most surprising real estate trend this year for our new blog series, "10 Questions."

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryIf you were not a real estate agent, what would you be?

Ryan NemeyerI would be an entrepreneur. I would love to break ground on new companies and work with startups. I have a certain way of developing systems and conducting business that is not only appealing to me but for clients as well. I enjoy providing a service that is hard to achieve by others.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWhat originally drew you to a career in real estate?

Ryan NemeyerMy mom is a Realtor in New York. The idea was not foreign to me; however, it was my wife, Shannon, who kept hinting that I would be really good at it. She saw my attention to detail and communication skills as an asset. She stood behind me and sacrificed a lot while I built the business, which I am so grateful for. My aunt Jennifer was a transaction coordinator in Napa Valley, and she put me in touch with strategic leaders in our industry so I could learn and mentor with them. That really put me in a position to gain the experience I needed to face the steep competition in wine country and discover what made me different from the rest in order to stand out. The rest is history!

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWhats the most common question you get as a real estate agent?

Ryan Nemeyer“How’s the market?” People want to talk about activity and what their home value may be.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWhat is your favorite part about selling luxury real estate in your market?

Ryan NemeyerThe diversity. Our clients range from developers and celebrities to primary residence owners, second homeowners, etc. The complexity of the sales also keeps us on our toes. No sale is the same.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryIf you could change one thing about the real estate industry, what would it be?

Ryan NemeyerClients deserve good, transparent business and someone who will respond to a phone call. Communication, authenticity and strategy are what a client wants. We go against the grain to ensure we provide these to our clients in a refreshing way.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWhat is the one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?

Ryan NemeyerIn regards to business, it’s our goal to ultimately become No. 1 in our market. We are getting close. We have amazing agents in Napa whom I truly admire. We share the space as one of the leading teams in the area; however, it will be nice to tip the scale. In regards to my personal life, I would like to secure a true lifestyle balance that creates a legacy for my family for generations to come. My family and giving back to the community are two of the most important things to me. Being able to overflow in those areas and ensure I’m remembered for my character first and business second are my ultimate goals in life.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWhat is the biggest challenge your business has faced?

Ryan NemeyerFires, floods, earthquakes and now COVID-19. I have gone through all of these cycles in the last six years and have had to adapt to each one to ensure I kept traction on building my business through the challenges. Clients expect their agent to be an expert in all things real estate, so we need to be a resource to provide them the information they seek. How can they safely buy a home during COVID-19? What should they investigate with foundations after an earthquake? Can an insurance agent provide a policy in a fire zone after a major wildfire? A great agent needs to be knowledgeable regarding complexities of a transaction and market shift while, at the same time, approaching the business with a sense of understanding and compassion during difficult life-changing events. We created a very delicate balance in promoting our business/brand that is not offensive to the consumer.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWhat’s the most interesting trend you’re seeing in the market right now?

Ryan NemeyerWithin the past two months we have seen a huge demand from San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Now that tech companies are allowing employees to work remotely indefinitely, they have had a chance to re-evaluate their lifestyle and decide where they want to call home. Wine county is becoming a safe haven because of the low density population, weather, lifestyle activities and fairly reasonable prices compared to the rest of the Bay Area. This is keeping our inventory extremely low and creating multiple offers on properties. It’s a very unique time where the market is great for both sellers and buyers. All trends have their expiration date, but grasping on to the positive attributes in any cycle will keep your business thriving. You just have to be ready to change.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryWhat’s your top listing right now?

Ryan NemeyerRight now, my business partner and I have a contemporary estate we have colisted with Fredrik Eklund of “Million Dollar Listing New York” for $9.495 million. The listing is currently in contract. This is a rare property. Due to current view shed ordinances on ridgelines, an owner could not recreate it now. There are only a handful of properties in the Valley that share similar features. It takes in massive 360-degree views of vineyards and the distant San Francisco skyline. It includes its own vineyard, livestock yard, winemaking facility, a 6,200-square-foot home and 34 acres of privacy. It was on the market for nearly three years with other brokers, but we were able to secure a buyer within the first 90 days of our listing, even with the challenging climate of COVID-19. The sellers attributed the success to our superior marketing and outreach, as well as our knowledge of valuing the property according to relevant comparable estates in the area, taking into consideration the site, vineyard, infrastructure, view and amenities.

Coldwell Banker Global LuxuryLooking over your career, which of your sales taught you the most valuable lesson that you still live and work by today?

Ryan NemeyerI would have to say I always learn the most from our development projects. I thrive on being a part of something special from the ground up. Having intimate knowledge of what goes into creating these luxury properties builds my experience and overflows into all my other business dealings. I have leading vendors at my disposal, creative solutions for luxury buyers, up-to-date knowledge on what buyers are demanding, and some of the most intense negotiation and strategizing sessions an agent can be a part of. This builds character, experience and confidence at a rapid speed that you can carry with you for the rest of your career.


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