Brokers Jumping Ship…

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This just in….
I’ve been receiving texts all afternoon from excited fellow Realtors that Westchester’s Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate, in a bold play to create a presence in Greenwich, has successfully raided top players from Sotheby’s, Greenwich Fine Properties, and Prudential.

Pulling up stakes and moving are Prudential’s top broker (that title always in contention with Julianne Ward) Barbara Wells, Greenwich Fine’s Julie Church and Ellen Mosher, Sotheby’s Marie BK Bates, and others. The new location is said to be a 2nd floor spot in the US Tobacco building, across from Greenwich Library, the whole thing to be managed by Prudential broker, David Haffenreffer.

This kind of thing always puzzles me, because, in the case of top-selling brokers like this, it really doesn’t matter much where you work. I always cite the examples of brokers Jean Ruggiero and Chris Finlay; these two could sell real estate from a lemonade stand on a street corner, such is their talent for unloading properties.

So why go to the bother of switching firms? All a broker really wants to know is, will my office publicize my listings sufficiently? If yes (and honestly, all of them do a decent job of it), then the broker should be happy. Oh, and the split between the broker and her office, is it at least 75/25? Maybe even 80/20? Fine, then stay where you are, and continue to thrive. But…they don’t. They jump ship. It’s a puzzle.

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The High-End Wakes UP

All summer long I’ve been asked, “How’s the market?” I’ve answered, “Great, up to around $4M.”

But what began as a trickle in March, has now picked up steam, to the point where you could almost pronounce the high-end as “recovered”. I say “almost” because here we are, six long years since the collapse, and there are still plenty of back-country properties worth less than their owners paid in 2006 or 2007.

Nevertheless, here’s the good news:

17 sales of high-end, $7M+ properties (under contract or already closed, in the last six months).

Below, a stellar example…

List: Tamar Lurie

Sell: Marijane Bates-Hvolbeck

76 Winding Lane (close to town, off Lake Ave), $11.750M, now has deal.

76 Winding Lane (close to town, off Lake Ave), $11.750M, now has deal.