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Simply put, Lisa Smith managing the sale of my house was a gift that I will cherish the rest of my life.  Lisa is a woman of few words, and all action and results. She sold my house in one day. She managed every aspect of the escrow superlatively, informing me of actions needed, and always provided outstanding direction, with the most frequent comment being that she had already taken care of it.  It was the perfect escrow. We even closed a week early.  Lisa is one of the smartest, most capable and caring people I have ever encountered. I made a decision early on to just trust her 100%:  to follow her direction and advice without question. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.  She exceeded my highest expectations on a daily basis. There are not words to adequately praise Lisa Smith. And probably equally as valuable as her brilliant execution, Lisa has a heart of gold. My needs were truly No. 1.  It simply doesn’t get any better than Lisa Smith.
Robin Hale, Calabasas, CA

Living the Dream: I Retired to Santa Fe

Living the Dream: I Retired to Santa Fe

What’s it really like to retire and start fresh in the Land of Enchantment? We asked someone who did it.

By Winona Dimeo-Ediger on February 5, 2018 10:00 AM

Santa FeCourtesy of Davel5957

Welcome to Living the Dream, a series about people who made their big dreams a reality — and the places and communities that made it possible. Do you know someone who’s carved out a unique lifestyle or business in a small town or small to mid-sized city? We’re always looking for great stories. Email our editor for a chance to be featured!

Today we’re featuring Robert Basler, a journalist who, along with his wife Barbara, decided to relocate to their dream city after retirement. Here, Robert shares the story of how they made a nearly spontaneous cross-country move, tips for starting over in a new place, and why Santa Fe dinner parties are the best dinner parties. 

Robert Basler

Name: Robert Basler

Age: 70

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Occupation (pre-retirement):

Journalist. Several newspapers, then three decades with Reuters.

How long have you lived in Santa Fe?

Five years

Where did you live before moving to Santa Fe?

Lots of places, but the last three cities were Washington, DC, Hong Kong and New York.

Santa Fe Doorway

Photo by Robert Basler

Do you remember your first trip to Santa Fe? Did you instantly know this was a place you wanted to live?

It was 1996. We had recently moved back to the States after eight years in Hong Kong, and wanted to show our young son places that were very different from what he was used to in Asia. Santa Fe certainly qualified. But it would be some 15 years before we would decide this was the perfect place for us to live.

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Had you always known you wanted to retire somewhere else? What factors did you take into account when choosing where that would be?

We loved DC, but it was not a place to retire. If you’re not in a sexy job, you’re kind of invisible there. We had always assumed we would retire in the East, but when our son finished grad school and moved to Los Angeles, my wife suggested Santa Fe and it just seemed perfect. We visited again in 2011 to celebrate our 40thanniversary and spent a few days pretending we lived here to see what it would be like. One night, watching the mountains and the sunset and the stars from our hotel balcony, I said if we could live here, why would we go anywhere else?

New Mexico

Photo by Robert Basler

Once you decided to move, how did you go about making the dream a reality? Did the process go smoothly?

We found a real estate guy during our 2011 visit and told him we would probably be moving here in four or five years. Then we returned to DC, did the math, decided we could afford retirement, and nine months later we were living in Santa Fe. So yes, it went smoothly.

To Stay or Go: How to Decide Between Retiring in Place or Moving

Santa Fe intersection

Photo by Robert Basler

How did you go about getting settled in, meeting new people, and carving out your new routine? Was there anything about Santa Fe in particular that made this process easier or more difficult?

Let’s be honest: to use the clinical term, what we did was totally insane. We packed up our two dogs and two cats, drove cross-country for five days and arrived in a city were we knew not one single soul apart from our real estate dude. Who does that?

Santa Fe Blankets

SharonFoelz/iStock Photo

Luckily, there are so many transplants here they have created their own informal support system. I think we know maybe two people here who grew up in New Mexico. The rest are from all over the country. Back in DC, your first question when you met someone new was, “What do you do?” In Santa Fe, you’re not supposed to ask that. If people want you to know what they used to do, they’ll tell you. Many don’t, because they are reinventing themselves and don’t want their past to get in the way. You just respect that and move on. Then, when you get home, you Google them.

8 Places to Stop and Sip Along Santa Fe’s Margarita Trail 

Tell us what a typical day looks like for you in Santa Fe.

We live in a place honeycombed with wonderful mountain hiking trails, and we use them nearly every day, doing four or five miles on rocky paths. Apart from that, nothing is really typical. I’m on the Board of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, and that keeps me pretty busy. So does our own pack of pets. We also foster tiny kittens for the Shelter, and at times we’ve had as many as 10 animals in our menagerie. Try that sometime. I do most of the cooking, and that involves shopping for the freshest ingredients every day.

Santa Fe Shelter

Photo by Robert Basler

Do you have any tips for building community in a new place, especially in retirement?

I guess my only tip is to keep an open mind. Don’t try to plan retirement the way you planned your life. Fifteen months after we moved to Santa Fe I was writing a regular humor column for an alt-weekly newspaper, I was on the Shelter Board and I was studying Spanish. I didn’t plan on any of that, I just let it happen.

Santa Fe Railyard

ShaunaE/iStock Photo

What’s something that surprised you about relocating to Santa Fe?

How very, very smart the people are. If you go to a restaurant, the folks at the next table will be having the most interesting conversation you’ve ever heard. Everybody here is approachable. Everybody. A boorish snob wouldn’t last long in Santa Fe. You know who you are.

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It’s probably connected, but I’m also impressed by the spirit of adventure here. I was at a dinner party for eight a few days ago and all eight guests had been to Cuba! No, that wasn’t supposed to be a theme, it was just a happy accident.

Another surprise was what a difference the 7,000-plus feet above sea level altitude makes. I love to cook, but many of my East Coast recipes are useless here. I had to take a high-altitude cooking course, and five years later I’m still getting the hang of it.

New Mexico

Photo by Robert Basler

What advice would you give other people who are hoping to retire in a new place? Anything you wish you’d known before you did it?

Do your homework. Before we made our final decision we had a pretty good idea of Santa Fe’s politics, weather, cultural offerings, taxes, housing and medical facilities. We knew Santa Fe has a small town feel with big city amenities, like a symphony, a world-class opera, visiting artists and lecturers and a couple hundred great restaurants.

Santa Fe Christmas

Photo by Robert Basler

What do you like most about Santa Fe?

Good God, y’all! Do you have a week? People. Sunsets. The “City Different” kind of vibe. Lights on the Plaza at Christmas. The magical walk up iconic Canyon Road on Christmas Eve. The fragrant smell of pinion logs burning in our fireplace. The aroma of fresh chiles being roasted outside during the season. Taking out-of-town visitors hiking at Kasha Katuwe and showing them Meow Wolf and blowing their minds both places. The free outdoor concerts at the Bandstand throughout the summer. Bird-watching at the Audubon Sanctuary. The very real sense of history in a city that was established years before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. The fact that two different downtown buildings have bronze plaques claiming to be the site of the jail where Billy the Kid was incarcerated. And the fact that you would never, ever, ever mistake this dusty little cowboy town for anyplace else on earth. Those are the things I love most.

Santa Fe

ivanastar/iStock photo

I just have to ask: where’s the best place in town to get a burrito?

I’m a Harry’s Roadhouse or Tune Up Café kind of guy.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Yes. If you come here, be prepared to stay. You’ve been warned.


Eldorado Tree Pruning Workshop

Eldorado Tree Pruning Workshop

Feb. 27, 5 – 7 pm Vista Grande Public Library

The ECIA Road Committee is once again sponsoring a tree pruning workshop for residents of Eldorado and the 285 Corridor. Admission is free and no advance sign-up is required. The workshop will be given by Tom Dominguez, the Santa Fe County Agricultural Extension Agent, and will cover pruning techniques, timing, and tools. If time, weather, and daylight permit, a practical demonstration will be given on one of the roadside trees near the Library. Please direct any questions to John Gervers at or by phone at 202-236-3940.


First Time Open – Sunday Jan. 14, 1-3 pm

35 Alondra Road │ $439,000
3 bedroom, 2 baths, 2,204 sq. ft.
Beautiful Eldorado custom home by Homes by Marie. Dramatic dining room with gorgeous kiva and banco. Generous master suite has kiva fireplace double sinks, stand up shower and soaking tub. An office/home gym area is off the master with a wet/dry sauna. Good separation between owner’s suite and guest wing. Living room has a kiva fireplace, high viga ceilings and custom shutters. Eat-in kitchen has a pantry and rear portal access. In-floor natural gas radiant heat and tankless hot water heater. Oversized 2-car garage with storage and workshop space. Additional storage unit attached to garage. New roof in 2014. Cherry, peach and apple trees and a grape arbor with blush and purple varieties. Long and deep covered rear portal.



2017 Eldorado Real Estate Market Report – Good News!

2017 Eldorado Real Estate Market Report – Good News!

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Eldorado Real Estate Report – June-Nov. 2017

Eldorado Real Estate Report – May-Oct. 2017

Eldorado Real Estate Report – May-Oct. 2017


Lisa Smith reviews

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"Lisa is competent and professional. She knows her facts or will quickly find out. She is in close communication with her clients -always in a pleasant ... more "
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"Lisa Smith (Santa Fe Properties) was extremely helpful throughout the escrow period. She sent me an e-mail of the property on October 29th. By ... more "
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"Lisa helped us sell a home with a challenging layout. She kept us motivated and through her networking skills, helped us to sell! She is a "no ... more "
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