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Brokerage Beat: 'Bachelor' alum, 'agent to the stars' make moves, and more 

"Bachelor" star takes team to Real; Compass celeb agent expands reach; Christie's nabs Bay Area team; Corcoran Pacific adds owners; The Agency enters Marbella.

November 29, 2023
6 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.

'Bachelor' star Jason Mesnick joins Real

MDG Residential, led by former "The Bachelor" star Jason Mesnick and his business partner Chris Dalto, has moved from Compass to Real.

Jason Mesnick and Chris Dalto, The Real Brokerage.
Jason Mesnick and Chris Dalto, The Real Brokerage.

Since forming just over a year ago, the nine-agent Seattle-based team has closed more than $100 million in home sales. 

Mesnick came into the public eye as the first single dad on the long-running "Bachelor" reality series. He subsequently began his real estate career more than a decade ago and has sold 500+ homes in the greater Seattle area along with his wife and MDG team member, Molly, also a "Bachelor" alum.

Both Mesnick and Dalto praised Real's "authenticity" and "community" in a news release.

"We are real people selling real estate," Mesnick said. "We've been following the company for more than a year, and have been impressed with the authenticity of everyone we've met. It's what drew us to Real." 

Dalto, a former Seattle-area police officer turned real estate agent, closed 45 transactions in his first year, earning him a spot on the local publication 425 Business' "30 Under 30" list in 2022. 

In addition to the Mesnicks and Dalto, the team includes agents Monica Church, Jason Sass, Montana Preston, Devin Leon, Tyler Morgan and RaeAnne Marcum. The team also boasts a strong social media presence, with Dalto ranking as one of Seattle's top agents on Instagram with his 23,000 followers. 

Celebrity broker Carl Gambino expands to New Jersey

Carl Gambino, known for his work with A-list celebrities, has announced a significant expansion of The Gambino Group into New Jersey. The move will allow the team to bridge the gap between New York and the Garden State, widening its national footprint. The Gambino Group, a Compass team, currently has a presence in New York City, the Hamptons, Los Angeles and Miami.

Carl Gambino, The Gambino Group, Compass.
Carl Gambino, The Gambino Group, Compass.

Gambino, who has been recognized by publications such as The Hollywood Reporter, The Wall Street Journal and Variety, has worked with the likes of Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, Nick Jonas, Priyanka Chopra, Joe Jonas, Harry Styles, Renée Zellweger, and Mindy Kaling.

With personal connections to New York, where he was born, and New Jersey, where he was raised, Gambino expressed excitement for this expansion, highlighting the area's potential for growth.

"Expanding to New Jersey was a natural next step, both from a personal and professional standpoint. It's already a strong market with ample room for growth. We have notable clients choosing New Jersey for their primary residence, secondary homes, and investment properties." Gambino said in the announcement.

Christie's Real Estate adds team to Bay Area office

Luxury brand Christie's International Real Estate announced the addition of Michelle Balog's agent team to its newly launched San Francisco | Marin | Wine Country venture. 

Michelle Balog, Christie's International Real Estate.
Michelle Balog, Christie's International Real Estate.

The team, which is moving to Christie's from Side, consists of seven seasoned agents boasting substantial experience and expertise in the San Francisco, Marin, Wine Country and East Bay markets, averaging $150 million in annual real estate sales, according to a news release.

Balog expressed enthusiasm about the move, citing Christie's global brand recognition and unique company culture as pivotal factors. 

"In unison with its global brand recognition, the company's culture is something very special that you don't find often in our industry," Balog said in the announcement. "And we know that this will not only bring value to us as agents, but will also immensely benefit the clients and communities we serve."

Chris Trapani and Ryan Iwanaga, owners of the Silicon Valley-focused Christie's International Real Estate Sereno, spearheaded the expansion, emphasizing Balog's respected reputation and alignment with their ethos. The addition of Balog's team marks a significant stride for Christie's International Real Estate, reinforcing its foothold in the luxury real estate market across Northern California, the company said. 

Corcoran Pacific Properties expands leadership group

Hawaii-based Corcoran Pacific Properties has announced a shift in its ownership structure following the retirement of both its co-founder and CEO. 

Corcoran Pacific Properties owner group.
From left: Julee Kipi, Heidi Bertucci, Stephen Cipres, Bill Ward, Gregg Antonsen, Yvonna Khouri-Morgan, Chuck Garrett, Mary Lavoie-Olsen, Phil Fukushima.

The firm, which serves the state's four most populous islands, was founded in 2005 as One Ohana Corporation (formerly The Elite Companies) by Stephen Cipres and Paul Mayer. Mayer recently retired, along with CEO Anton Steenman, presenting an opportunity for Cipres to restructure the company with the goal of revitalizing the firm and increasing support for its more than 200 agents.

Cipres and existing owners Mary Lavoie-Olsen and Steve Peykoff will welcome seven new co-owners: Yvonne Khouri-Morgan, Heidi Bertucci, Bill Ward, Gregg Antonsen, Julee Kipi, Phil Fukushima, and Chuck Garrett, who joins as president and principal broker.

"This ownership shift marks the realization of a long-held vision," said Cipres, adding that the diverse new group of leaders brings over 200 years of combined experience in Hawaii real estate, coupled with expertise in legal, tech, HR, and management.

Since affiliating with Corcoran in 2020, the firm has expanded its reach to include 11 offices across Hawaii, and remains committed to philanthropy and community engagement through its 1 'Ohana Foundation.

The Agency opens in Marbella, adds agent in Miami

Global luxury brand The Agency has touched down in Marbella on Spain's Costa del Sol, the firm announced. It's the company's second office in Spain after launching in Mallorca earlier this year, and its 25th new office in 2023.

Leif Orthmann and Kristoffer Enger, Managing Partners, The Agency Marbella.
Leif Orthmann and Kristoffer Enger, Managing Partners, The Agency Marbella.

The newest office will be led by managing partners Kristoffer "Kris" Enger and Leif Orthmann along with sales director Benjamin Beza.

Enger is a seasoned real estate professional in Marbella with deep expertise in the area's luxury market as well as a background in investment banking. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to introduce The Agency to Marbella and bring this pioneering brand to the region," Enger said. 

Orthmann, with  more than 17 years of real estate experience, is a local expert who has lived in southern Spain for more than a decade, and also has a finance background. "The Agency is more than just a residential real estate brokerage — it's a lifestyle brand, and that is what drew us to this partnership," Orthmann said. 

Beza also has significant experience in the region, which he has called home since moving there as a teen. He most recently worked as a sales director for a major property developer.

The company also announced that high-producing Miami broker Sharon Beck has joined The Agency's Miami office.

Sharon Beck, The Agency Miami.
Sharon Beck, The Agency Miami.

Specializing in pricey waterfront properties, Beck has sold $200 million in volume since 2021. She set the record for selling the most expensive home in Surfside, a Miami-area beachside community, in 2021 — and then topping it later the same year with another record-setting sale.

Before moving into real estate, Beck attended the Culinary Institute of America, working as a private chef and founding a chef and concierge service, KPC Concierge. Her venture evolved into catering to elite families nationwide, with her reputation for impeccable service and discretion paving the way for connections in luxury real estate and hospitality. 

Beck is also committed to charitable causes, supporting initiatives like United Hatzalah and launching the RCCS Cancer charity in Miami.

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