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Brokerage Beat: News from RE/MAX, Real, CB Warburg, more 

RE/MAX adds 120 agents through two affiliations; Real takes on Kansas City; CB Warburg promotes COO; C21 gains firm in Illinois; The Agency opens in Boulder.

December 9, 2023
7 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.

RE/MAX adds more than 120 agents on opposite coasts

Bentley's Real Estate, a brokerage with more than 60 agents serving the Greater Newburyport area in Northeastern Massachusetts, and Tidal Realty, a 58-agent San Diego firm, have moved under the RE/MAX banner. 

Now doing business as RE/MAX Bentley's, the coastal Massachusetts firm is led by co-owners Robert Bentley and Alissa Christie and will operate within the brand's luxury division, The RE/MAX Collection.

Robert Bentley and Alissa Christie, Co-owners, RE/MAX Bentley's.
Robert Bentley and Alissa Christie, Co-owners, RE/MAX Bentley's.

The move is a bit of a homecoming for Bentley. The co-owner started his real estate career in 2008 as a RE/MAX sales associate, forming Bentley's Team in 2014 with future business partner Christie and four agents. The team, which had grown to 10 members by 2016, was ranked as the top team in Essex County. Two years later, Bentley and Christie opened their independent brokerage, which closed more than $350 million in sales volume in 2022.

The co-owners said their experience working as a team, and the importance of leading with a team mentality, meshed with RE/MAX's approach. "We specifically created a brokerage where teams will find value and support," said Bentley. "We have a 'rising tides will lift all boats' mentality, and we're all working together to move everybody to peak performance. Aligning with RE/MAX will only lift us higher."

On the West Coast, Tidal Realty, led by broker/owner Claude Blackman, will soon be operating as RE/MAX Tidal

Claude Blackman, broker/owner, RE/MAX Tidal.
Claude Blackman, broker/owner, RE/MAX Tidal.

Blackman began his real estate career in 2006 and opened his independent brokerage in 2010. The firm, which has grown to 58 agents, closed nearly 95 million in sales volume in 2022. He specializes in REO, short sales and real estate services for active-duty military and veteran families.

Citing RE/MAX's resources and business model as motivations for the move, Blackman said: "With RE/MAX I am in business for myself, but not by myself. My agents and I are most excited to be backed by a proven business model and national marketing campaign. And the number of resources that will be at our disposal will allow us to focus more on our clients — and me, my agents."

Real Brokerage takes on Kansas City

Four prominent real estate teams in the Kansas City metro have banded together and moved their business to The Real Brokerage.

Together, Group O'Dell Real Estate Team, Applebaum KC Homes, The Andy Blake Group and Long Real Estate Team have sold more than 9,000 home sales valued at $2.5 billion.

The seven-agent Group O'Dell Real Estate Team is led by husband and wife Dan and Maria O'Dell along with their son, Mike O'Dell. They have been doing business in the area for nearly three decades, selling more than 5,000 homes valued at $1.5 billion since 1995. Dan and Maria O'Dell are also mentors certified by real estate coaching giant Buffini & Company.

Applebaum KC Homes, also a husband and wife team, is led by Jeremy and Liron Applebaum and includes two additional agents. Jeremy Applebaum has a background in the home building industry, working for one of the area's largest builders which was founded by his father. The team has sold more than 1,300 homes since 2012, and in 2022, sold 125 homes valued at approximately $50 million.

The Andy Blake Group was formed in 2013 by Andy Blake, a licensed agent since 2007. The nine-agent team has sold more than 1,600 homes with a sales volume exceeding $500 million.

The leader of Long Real Estate, Tony Long, started his career with Group O'Dell, then formed his own team in 2013. His career sales, including the sales of his four-agent team, include more than 1,100 homes. In 2022, the team sold 130 homes worth $48 million.

Real President Sharran Srivatsaa noted that the teams' collective move has "transformed Real into a market leader in Kansas City overnight."

Manhattan luxury firm promotes veteran leader

Coldwell Banker Warburg, a New York City brokerage that's been at the forefront of luxury real estate for more than 100 years, has elevated COO Kevelyn Guzman to Regional Vice President with Coldwell Banker's national team. The promotion coincides with the retirement of President Frederick Warburg Peters, who will move into the role of president emeritus.

Kevelyn Guzman, Regional VP, Coldwell Banker Warburg.
Kevelyn Guzman, Regional VP, Coldwell Banker Warburg.

Guzman has been with Coldwell Banker Warburg since 2007, and as COO, was responsible for more than 100 agents across multiple offices as well as internal company functions and infrastructure.

"From navigating through challenging times like the financial crisis and the pandemic to driving innovation and growth, including the development of WarburgU and the transition of Warburg Realty to Coldwell Banker Warburg, it's been an incredible journey so far," said Guzman. "I look forward to building a strong leadership team and furthering our commitment to excellence in New York's luxury real estate market."

Kamini Lane, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Realty, called Guzman "a natural leader" in the brokerage world and beyond, highlighting Guzman's efforts to establish a now-thriving New York City chapter of What Moves Her, the mentoring and advocacy network for women launched by Sue Yannaccone, CEO and president of Anywhere Brands, in 2020. 

The firm also announced this week that agent Michael Yehuda has joined the company. Yehuda began his real estate career in 2015 and was most recently at Christie's International Real Estate in New York City. He specializes in residential sales and has experience working with investors, developers, buyers, sellers and tenants in the complex NYC market. 

Central Illinois brokerage joins Century 21

Green Acres Real Estate, based in Bloomington, has affiliated with Century 21 as it prepares to hold a grand opening for its third area office. 

JJ Devore, broker/owner, Century 21 Quest.
JJ Devore, broker/owner, Century 21 Quest.

Now doing business as Century 21 Quest, the firm has been led by broker/owner Jessica "JJ" Devore since its founding more than a decade ago. The brokerage specializes in farm and ranch real estate, serving clients looking to buy in rural areas of Central Illinois.

Devore was named REALTOR® of the Year in 2018 by the Bloomington-Normal Association of REALTORS and was the president of the Mid-Illinois REALTORS Association in 2022. 

Prior to her real estate career, Devore worked in design and merchandising. Her expertise in brand marketing has helped her grow the firm to three offices, and she has her sights set on future expansion. That eye toward growth, as well as the resources offered by a global brand, were among the reasons she decided to bring her firm to Century 21. 

"We were also particularly drawn to the CENTURY 21 brand because of its learning and development and onboarding resources," said Devore. "We have always had a distinct focus on educating new and existing agents to be the best they can be, and now with the CENTURY 21 brand's coaching resources at our disposal, we'll be able to streamline our professional development offerings."

The Agency opens first Boulder office

The Agency announced this week that it has launched a new office in Boulder, Colorado. It's the global brokerage firm's fourth office in the Centennial State. Other locations include Denver and the resort towns of Aspen and Telluride.

Clockwise from top left: Jared Blank, Kacey Bingham and Jay Hebb, Managing Partners, The Agency Boulder.
Clockwise from top left: Jared Blank, Kacey Bingham and Jay Hebb, Managing Partners, The Agency Boulder.

The Agency Boulder will be led by managing partners Jared Blank and Kacey Bingham, who opened the Denver office in 2021, and Jay Hebb. Broker Marybeth Emerson will serve as Chairman Agent.

Hebb is a 20-year real estate veteran who has managed over $1 billion in transactions during his career. He previously founded and ran the boutique brokerage company LATITUDE40 in Boulder, where he led the investment, development and asset management divisions.

Blank and Bingham, both Denver natives with deep local knowledge, each bring more than a decade of experience in the Denver and Boulder markets. Blank also has a background as an architect, and Bingham has worked extensively with developers. The pair recently held the most expensive listing in Denver, a property priced at nearly $30 million. Their Denver office — which closed more than $325 in sales so far this year — has grown to 35 agents since opening in 2021.

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