Brokerage Beat: Growth in Canada, Cyprus, Caymans, Caribbean and more
The Agency adds third Toronto office, Realty ONE opens in Cyprus and Caymans, Christie's expands to St. Croix, Great Life joins Real, Mainframe RE touts tech.
Editor's note: The brokerage business is a busy one, with frequent moves, mergers and milestones. Here we highlight some of the latest activity among brokerages across the U.S.
The Agency adds third Toronto office
The Agency continues to grow in Canada. The firm now has 14 offices throughout the country and three in Toronto, Canada's largest city. With the addition of this latest office, The Agency has opened a total of six offices so far in 2023.
The newest location, The Agency Toronto West, will be led by managing partners Katia Bailey, Steve Bailey and Paul Greenberg. Matt Lionetti will be managing director.
"Our strategic expansion in Canada has been exceptional as we continue to seek like-minded partners who embody The Agency brand," said Jim Ramsay, executive vice president of franchise sales at The Agency.
Katia and Steve Bailey already oversee multiple offices in Canada, including Waterloo Region, Brantford, Oakville, Muskoka, and now Toronto West.
Paul Greenberg has led The Paul Greenberg Group and brings more than 13 years of real estate experience to Toronto West. Matt Lionetti, managing director for the new location, is an agent with a robust social media presence and a modern marketing sensibility.
Realty ONE opens in Cyprus and Cayman Islands
Realty ONE Group announced the sale of franchise rights to owners in two new global locations.
Nicolas Christou will lead the Cyprus franchise. He brings more than 15 years of experience in Cyprus real estate and has a background in finance and business consulting. The Cayman Islands office will be run by Sergio E. Gonzalez, an entrepreneur with more than 20 years in real estate, who also owns the Costa Rica franchise.
"We're so perfectly aligned with Nicolas and Sergio and enormously grateful to add their business and real estate experience along with their passion to expand our global footprint," said Kuba Jewgieniew, CEO and founder of Realty ONE Group, in a news release.
"With Realty ONE Group, we'll add significant value not only to the real estate industry in Cyprus but to each and every individual professional, our prospective clients and the business sector," said Christou.
"Realty ONE Group is offering me an opportunity to help more real estate professionals and to be incredibly competitive with a business model and brand that make perfect sense," Gonzalez said.
Christie's expands its presence in the Caribbean
Christie's International Real Estate U.S. Virgin Islands announced its expansion to the island of St. Croix, adding to the brokerage's existing offices in St. Thomas.
Jill Cherubin will lead the St. Croix office and hopes to quickly add about a dozen agents. An experienced Virgin Islands agent, Cherubin was most recently at Coldwell Banker St. Croix Realty and will be joined by Coldwell teammate Pamela Hunt McFadden.
The St. Thomas office has long served St. Croix, but according to Cherubin, increased buyer interest on St. Croix indicated a need for a freestanding office on the island. In the past 18 months, Christie's International Real Estate USVI closed two record-breaking sales in St. Croix: The Castle of St. Croix, which sold in March 2022 for $9.5 million, and Pyramid Point, which sold in September 2021 for $6 million.
"Our buyers' market remains strong," said Cherubin. "The pandemic fast tracked many buyers that may have had a five-year dream of property ownership in the Caribbean. Many decided you only live once, and went for it."
Christie's International Real Estate has a strong presence in the Caribbean with offices in the Bahamas, St. Barthélemy, St. Martin, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, and the British Virgin Islands.
Great Life RE joins Real
Formerly with eXp Realty, Great Life RE, LLC, has moved to The Real Brokerage.
The firm was founded in 2017 by Lainey Jones and Eleanor Cippel as an independent brokerage and includes 30 members serving Knoxville, TN; Florida; and North Carolina. The group generated $100 million in sales in 2022.
"Great Life RE's success is built on the values we cherish the most at Real — partnership and an unwavering commitment to provide agents with a platform that allows them to deliver great service," said Sharran Srivatsaa, President of The Real Brokerage.
Jones has a varied career, starting out in real estate as an appraiser in Florida, and working for nearly a decade as a software development manager. She became a licensed agent in 2007.
"We started Great Life with a vision of creating a better place for agents. Real provides us with an opportunity to offer our agents an advantage," Jones said.
Cippel has a background in media and marketing and began working in real estate full time in 2017. Both Lainey and Cippel have specialized in luxury and lake homes.
"We've built Great Life around a culture of collaboration. At Real, they are focused on eliminating silos and ensuring that agents are positioned for long-term success," said Cippel.
Central Florida brokerage doubles down on tech
Orlando-based Mainframe Real Estate announced several technology initiatives, including plans to sell its in-house tech and rebuild its proprietary agent platform.
The brokerage, with more than 60 agents and operations in Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Miami, has positioned itself as a tech-forward company since launching in 2012. In a news release, the company announced its intent to form partnerships in 2023 with the goal of positioning its technology for sale. A portion of any proceeds would be shared with the firm's agents.
Mainframe is also developing a new version of its back-office software, which includes advanced transaction management, a custom e-sign platform and social media graphic generator. In addition, the company is developing consumer-facing products including a property search engine and consumer accounts.
"As our new tech projects started to unfold last year, we realized that we were creating one of the best platforms the industry has ever seen," said Sean Frank, founder and CEO, in a statement. "But as an independent brokerage, we realized the tech needed a larger platform, which is why we are now positioning it for a sale. As we continue to develop and demonstrate our software, I'm confident it will become highly sought-after in the industry," said Frank.