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Brokerage Beat: News from C21, Real, The Agency, KW, Christie's 

Century 21 gains three new affiliates; Real snags 50-agent brokerage; The Agency opens in Panama; KW gains Bay Area firm; Christie's expands in UAE; more.

October 7, 2023
8 minutes

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.

Century 21 gains 3 new affiliates

Synergia Realty

Bloomington, California's Synergia Realty is now operating under the Century 21 brand.

Sandy Hernandez, Century 21 Synergia Realty.
Sandy Hernandez, Century 21 Synergia Realty.

Broker/owner Sandy Hernandez established the firm in 2006, following her mother's footsteps into real estate. Hernandez was featured in VoyageLA magazine in November 2019, and is one of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professional's top 25 agents in 2023.

Century21 Synergia Realty is locally recognized as a leader in working with the Hispanic community, first-time buyers and distressed properties

"We look at ourselves as a one-stop-shop for anyone interested in homeownership," said Hernandez. "We're more than just a brokerage — we're a resource. We've navigated some of the worst crises in real estate history and we want to share the industry knowledge that we've gained along the way to anyone who may need it."

Mike Miedler, president and CEO of Century 21 Real Estate LLC said the Synergia affiliation fits with the company's growth strategy. "The Century 21 brand prides itself as being a global network with a local focus," he said. "By collaborating with proud multicultural professionals such as Sandy, we can truly reinforce that stance."

Folks Properties

Folks Properties Inc., a North Carolina-based firm run by broker/owner Rhonda Folks, is now Century 21 Folks Properties.

Rhonda Folks, Century 21 Folks Properties.
Rhonda Folks, Century 21 Folks Properties.

Folks founded the firm in 2018, which now has locations in Bunn and Louisburg, North Carolina, after a career in finance.

The company provides both traditional residential sales as well as property management and new construction sales.

With many of its agents living in and around the Lake Royale community, the firm is involved in the local school, church and community around the lake.

"We're extremely fortunate to serve the area that many of us have called home for most of our lives," said Folks. "If we want to continue to better our communities, that starts with the services we provide to old and new residents alike. We all promise to always go above and beyond and help make people's American Dream into a reality."

Folks hopes to use the Century 21 affiliation to expand the Louisburg office and move into the Rocky Mount or Spring Hope areas.

DiGioia Realty

Family-run DiGioia Realty, a Charlotte, North Carolina-area brokerage, is now operating as Century 21 DiGioia Realty.

Anthony, David and Nancy DiGioia, Century 21 DiGioia Realty.
Anthony, David and Nancy DiGioia, Century 21 DiGioia Realty.

Based in the community of Cornelius, the firm, which has served the Charlotte and Lake Norman markets for more than a decade, is led by broker/owner and 20-year real estate veteran David DiGioia.

DiGioia has earned multiple awards and was featured as the cover story in the Charlotte Real Producers Magazine in June. His son, Anthony, helps manage the business, and his wife, Nancy, is focused on recruiting, retention and professional development.

"As a company, we have all been very fortunate to experience tremendous success in a market that's extremely enticing to agents and consumers alike," said David DiGioia. "However, we know that we can still achieve more. The most obvious answer as to how to accomplish that was as a Century 21 affiliated company."

FresYes says 'yes' to Real

The Real Brokerage has added 50 new agents in California's Central Valley with the addition of independent brokerage FresYes Realty.

The firm's agents closed 539 transactions valued at $175 million in 2022, according to a news release. 

Jason Farris, FresYes Realty.
Jason Farris, FresYes Realty.

The Fresno-based brokerage was founded in 2014 by broker/owner Jason Farris, who also works as a Tom Ferry Team Coach. Farris has been in real estate for more than 15 years, and he has focused on digital marketing in addition to coaching and building his brokerage. He produces a weekly newsletter with more than 80,000 subscribers and has managed to amass more than 30,000 followers on the FresYes Instagram channel.

Real President Sharran Srivatsaa said Farris "is the type of individual we strive to attract," adding that "Jason is one of the most astute marketers in the real estate industry and enjoys nothing more than seeing others reach their full potential. All of our agents at Real stand to benefit from Jason's expertise."

 Farris highlighted Real's revenue sharing program as one of the factors behind the move. "For our agents, who will have the support of Real as a broker and the opportunity to benefit from the company's wealth-building programs, joining Real is the right thing to do," Farris said.

The Agency opens first office in Central America

Panama marks the newest location for the global luxury firm, adding to the brokerage's international lineup which includes offices in Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe. In total, The Agency has launched 21 new offices this year, according to a news release.

Juan Diaz Rivera and Victoria Levitam, The Agency Panama.
Juan Diaz Rivera and Victoria Levitam, The Agency Panama.

The Panama City office will be led by Victoria (Vicky) Levitam and Juan Diaz Rivera, who bring several decades of combined real estate experience.

Levitam has a background in high-end property developments and has worked with area developers for more than 18 years. 

For Rivera, Panama marks his fourth Agency location: In Mexico, he owns the San Miguel de Allende office and is a founding partner of the Los Cabos office, and he leads The Agency Dominican Republic. He also oversees the operations of The Agency's New Development sales department in Panama. Previously, Rivera was chief operating officer of Grupo Riveras, known as Coldwell Banker Riveras.

"Our new office in Panama is an exciting development for The Agency as our brand continues to prioritize international growth," said Jim Ramsay, EVP of franchise sales at The Agency. "Given Panama's global presence as a gateway to thriving economies in Central and South America, we know that this market will be a perfect addition to The Agency family."

San Francisco independent joins KW

OWN Real Estate, a San Francisco-based firm founded in 2019 by Wilson Leung, has joined the Keller Williams brand.

Wilson Leung, OWN Real Estate, KW.
Wilson Leung, OWN Real Estate, KW.

It's a homecoming of sorts for Leung, who had been a Keller Williams agent from 2014 until founding OWN as an independent office. Leung started his career in property management at just 16, and obtained his broker's license at 23 in 2010. Last year, the firm's sales volume was more than $107 million, and includes 19 agents and six staff members.

"Keller Williams' culture is second to none, and its referral network is the best locally and nationally," Leung said of his decision to affiliate with the company. "I'm education and learning based, and so is Keller Williams, and that is why I came back."

Debbie Bradley, regional operations manager for KW in Northern California and Hawaii, said she's proud to have Leung affiliated with KW again. "Wilson is one of the brightest minds in real estate and has an exemplary reputation in the local and national real estate market."

Leung said he's focused on long-term growth. "In this market, I recommend that real estate agents build your brand and relationships as a hedge for tomorrow," he said. "What we're doing now may not get us paid today. And we must be okay with measuring our day, week, and month with activities that will build our business for tomorrow."

Christie's expands in UAE

Christie's International Real Estate has opened an office in Ras al Khaimah City in the United Arab Emirates.

Jackie Johns and Dinesh Chhatwani, Christie's International Real Estate Dubai.
Jackie Johns and Dinesh Chhatwani, Christie's International Real Estate Dubai.

Managing partners Dinesh Chhatwani and Jackie Johns, who have been Christie's exclusive affiliates in Dubai since 2021, will operate the new office.

"With thousands of luxury apartments and hotel rooms in the development pipeline, Ras al Khaimah City is a ground-floor opportunity like Dubai in 2004," said Chhatwani.

Ras al Khaimah City is 50 miles northeast of Dubai's city center and is a popular getaway for UAE residents. Its lower price points compared with Dubai and laws allowing foreign nationals to purchase properties have made it popular with investors.

"The incredible momentum and untapped opportunity for high-end real estate in Ras al Khaimah make this the perfect time for Christie's International Real Estate to enter the market," said Johns. "The area is poised to be the next center of luxury real estate in the Middle East, and quite possibly the world."

John R. Wood boosts agent count

John R. Wood Christie's International Real Estate in Southwest Florida gained 15 new agents in August.

"We are pleased to welcome these accomplished professionals as they become part of our distinguished Lee and Collier County teams," said Phil Wood, John R. Wood president and CEO.

In Collier County, Becky Erdek, Karmen Griffin, Linda Kennedy, Lily Kurtz, Sam Mirakian and Rasa Rimkus joined the Fifth Ave. office. Bill Bergen, Lisa Lagergren and Hannah Woods joined the Vineyards office. The Broad Ave. office welcomed Brendan Duffy, while Teresa Kinkead joined the company's North Naples office.

In Lee County, the McGregor Blvd. office welcomed Allison Harris, Debra Lacey and Andrea Miyares, and Laura DiPillo joined the Ft. Myers Beach office.

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