- Profile of Mark Cooper.
- Cooper used to play for the Denver Broncos.
- Now he is a Coldwell Banker broker.
Realtor Mark Cooper loves football.
He was in the stands at Sports Authority Field at Mile High when Peyton Manning set the NFL record for most career touchdown passes in the game against the San Francisco 49ers.
While it was exciting to be among the more than 77,000 fans in the stadium to cheer Manning’s 509th and 510th touchdown passes in late October, breaking Brett Favre’s previous record of 508, Cooper prefers to watch Bronco games on TV. That was what he did on Sunday, for example, when the Broncos beat the Buffalo Bills, 24-17.
“I really like watching what is happening on the offensive line and they usually replay the plays on TV,” Cooper said.
After all, he was a right guard for the Broncos from 1983 to 1986 and played in Super Bowl XXI, which unfortunately the Broncos lost to the New York Giants, 39-20.
The Florida native also played the Tampa Buccaneers from 1987-1989.
These days, he evens discusses things like what happened at the line of scrimmage, trap plays and blocking highlights on Tuesday mornings on Mile High Sports radio host Gil Whiteley on FM 94.1 and AM 1510.
Even before playing for Tampa, Cooper bought a home in the Denver area and knew that was where he was going to set his roots.
“Denver is such a nice city and such a great place to raise your kids and the school system is so wonderful that it is hard to beat,” said Cooper, who has sold more than 1,300 homes since he began his real estate career in the metro area almost 25 years ago.
When he first retired from football, he didn’t immediately go into real estate though.
In fact, retiring is a bit of a misnomer.
“Back then, we were under no illusion we would “retire” when our playing days were over; we didn’t make the money players make today,” Cooper said.
While living in the metro area, the lifelong fisherman was operating a fishing and diving travel agency that booked tours to the Grand Turk Island in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
But when Trans World Airlines (TWA) and Pan American World Airways declared bankruptcy, it killed his travel business.
One of the ways he made money was buying a large number of wholesale airline tickets and re-selling them when he booked travel packages, something that he couldn’t do when Pan Am shut down.
“I sold my travel agency to a buddy in Tampa, who was the same guy I had bought it from,” Cooper recalled.
At the time, he was playing softball with buddies from RE/MAX and decided that selling real estate would be a good fit.
“Even when I played ball, I was messing around a little bit in real estate and had made some real estate investments,” he said.
Asked for if there are similarities between playing pro ball and selling real estate he laughed.
“Well, in both professions you have to work on weekends,” he said.
He took to selling real estate like a fish in water, said Cooper, who now gets the emotional surge he used to get from playing football through competitive fly fishing.
“When you hook a 100-pound tarpon, I get the kind of adrenaline rush I used get on the football field,” he said.
“The only thing Colorado is missing is salt water fishing,” which he addresses with frequent trips to the Florida Keys.
Cooper, who expects to sell about $20 million in homes this year, cut his teeth in Denver real estate by starting a company called Genesis Realty.
Cooper saw big change at Coldwell
After about two years, he merged it with Scott Webber’s Coldwell Banker Premier Realty.
At the time, Coldwell Banker was still a franchise operation and Webber, now the president of Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty, had Coldwell Banker franchises in Colorado, Utah and Las Vegas.
Webber bought Coldwell Banker Premier from international uranium trader Oren Benton, who also was an owner of the Colorado Rockies, but lost his stake in the baseball team after declaring bankruptcy.
Webber also bought the venerable Van Schaack Co. from Denver-based MDC Holdings Inc., parent of Richmond Homes.
Cooper managed Coldwell Banker/Van Schaack for Webber, who then sold his entire operation to NRT.
“NRT was buying up everything — the companies Scott put together, Moore and Co., Perry & Butler, and others,” Cooper said.
Cooper stayed with Coldwell Banker, managing what was then called Coldwell Banker Moore, taking over the position held by Jack O’Connor, who left to form his own company, the Prestige Real Estate Group. O’Connor now owns the Denver 100 LLC.
Not surprisingly, clients often want to talk football with Cooper.
Non-Bronco fans welcome
And while many of them are diehard Bronco fans, that is not always the case.
“It’s funny,” Cooper said. “I’ve ended up selling homes to Raiders fans and Redskins fans and Cowboy fans. You name a team and I’ve sold homes to fans of that team.”
Even though he doesn’t pursue clients tied to football, he’s found many of them are football fans.
“Sometimes the husbands are more into it then the wives,but sometimes the wives are more rabid fans than the husbands,” Cooper said.
“We have a lot of fun during the football season.”
Like many in the real estate industry, Cooper finds the Denver market is being held back by an appalling lack of inventory.
“I follow what a lot of people are saying and i agree that we probably will see about 4 percent or 5 percent appreciation in 2015,” he said.
“I also think consumers will have some more new homes to buy next year,” he added. “I think new home builders are cautiously optimistic.”
Of course, what people really want to know from him is: will the Broncos play in the Super Bowl this season?
“Absolutely,” he said, without hesitation.
Will they win this time?
He paused for a moment before answering.
“Like always, it probably will come down to which team is the healthiest and who is peaking at the time. But you know, we’ve got our running game back and if we get Peyton Manning back to what he does best, the Broncos are going to be pretty hard to beat.”
Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. InsideRealEstateNews.com is sponsored by Universal Lending, Land Title Guarantee Co. and 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.