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Making it in Big Sky: ERA Landmark Real Estate

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Robyn Erlenbush has lived in Bozeman since 1981 and she has owned ERA Landmark Real Estate since 1990. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBYN ERLENBUSH

By Gabrielle Gasser EBS STAFF

BIG SKY – ERA Landmark Real Estate has been serving the Big Sky community since 1999 when the Big Sky office first opened. The company was founded in 1976 in Bozeman, became an ERA franchise in 1979, and boasts four offices across southwest Montana in Bozeman, Big Sky, Livingston and Ennis.

Robyn Erlenbush, a broker and the owner of ERA Landmark Real Estate, joined the company in 1982 and she has owned it since 1990. Erlenbush is a Montana native; she grew up in Baker and she has lived in Bozeman since 1981.

A total of 59 agents work across their four offices, and deal with a variety of properties, including commercial, vacation and residential. There are nine agents at the Big Sky office, and almost all have been in Big Sky since the ‘70s. 

EBS spoke with Erlenbush to learn more about ERA Landmark Real Estate’s 40 plus years serving the Big Sky community.

Explore Big Sky: Tell me why the Big Sky office is different?

Robyn Erlenbush:“I would call us a boutique team. We’re not the largest office by any means, instead we are a very experienced group of brokers with many years of living in Big Sky. We serve clients in the entire Big Sky and Gallatin Canyon market. Our specialty is residential resale due to that fact that we have so many repeat clients and our agents who lived in Big Sky while those properties were first coming out of the ground. Our agents are very involved in the Big Sky community.”

EBS: How has ERA Landmark grown with Big Sky?

RE: “ERA Landmark has been serving Southwest Montana since 1979.  I joined the firm in 1982 and purchased the company in 1990.  We have expanded to Big Sky, Livingston and Ennis.  Our Big Sky office was established in May 1999.  We rented a small space in Meadow Village and soon outgrew our location.  We constructed our current office building at 36 Center Lane in 2004.  The 7000+ sq ft two story building was built by Dennis Stoner. Through all the years, we’ve seen the ebb and flow of different developers and we have watched a few recessions come and go. As a team, we all share a huge love for Big Sky, the mountain, and mostly the people in the community. I was  involved with Bozeman Health and the original steering committee that helped build the Big Sky Medical Center.  I have served as co-chair on several Bozeman Health capital campaigns including “Caring Forward” which help secure funds for the expansion of services, equipment and sustainability of our local hospital.” 

EBS: What sets ERA Landmark apart from other real estate companies?

RE: “The longevity of our agents is crucial because they have expanded market insight and historical perspective. They’ve all been members of the community for quite some time and they understand the value of real estate as a long-term investment.”

EBS: How has ERA Landmark adapted during the pandemic?

RE: “Our firm went ‘paperless’ in the fall of 2019. Since we are a multi-office company, we have corporate staff in Bozeman and additional staff in each of the offices. We already had good systems set up for remote communication. Because we went to a paperless platform for our clients and agents, it was very easy to do transactions electronically and digitally. Of course, we didn’t plan on a pandemic… we just happened to be transitioning our firm, so we were very well suited to deal with “sight unseen transactions” for our out of state clients. The fact that we already had systems and protocols in place, helped us to deal with the pandemic efficiently and effectively.”

EBS: How has ERA Landmark Real Estate fared in the current real estate market?

RE: “We mirror the area market trends. When the resort closed abruptly, there was a time in the Big Sky market where sales came to a halt and created a dramatic downturn from the previous year. With the Governor’s phase one implementation in June, we started seeing buyers return to Big Sky and the market rally in all areas. Probably the most poignant number out there is the change in the sales price in condos. The average year over year went up 65 percent.  There’s been a very large ‘land play’ this year with clients wanting to own a piece of Montana, with the security of a place like Big Sky that isn’t dense, and that isn’t highly populated.”

EBS: What’s the best business advice you have ever received?  

RE: “From a pragmatic perspective, I believe in not expanding into markets you don’t understand, or into product lines where you don’t have expertise.”  My own personal mantra which I practice every day is ‘Do right, fear not.’ This pandemic, if it has shown us anything, proved that leadership is an art and is about understanding how to care for people, community, and clients undergoing stressful situations. What we have seen in this past year is incredible compassion and resilience that makes Big Sky so special.”

EBS: Is there anything else you would like the community to know?

RE: “I would simply offer my thanks and gratitude to the community. I’ve spent many days here and have always found whether it’s someone on a cross country ski trail or just stopping to be helpful and neighborly… it is the famous Montana hospitality that really shines through in Big Sky, and hopefully we at ERA Landmark are examples of that passion to newcomers and neighbors in the community.”

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