Select Sotheby’s merges with upstate New York brokerage

Select Sotheby’s International Realty will double its listings and the number of agents serving in the Lake Placid, New York region following a merger with Century 21 High Peaks Realty.

Select Sotheby’s will add nine agents from Century 21, giving the brokerage 18 in the Lake Placid area and 60 total.

John Burke bought the Select Sotheby’s franchise rights in 2007 and opened his first office in Saratoga Springs. Since then, Burke has been working to expand the franchise’s footprint to luxury and resort areas around the state, opening offices in Lake Placid and Bolton Landing near Lake George. Burke said Select Sotheby’s now is tapping into high-end real estate markets in the Finger Lakes, the Catskills, Rochester and Buffalo.

The franchise had $120 million in overall sales last year, as volume grew about 35 percent over the previous year.

Burke said he began talking with Century 21 High Peaks about three months ago about a potential merger. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Burke said all of the agents will join Select Sotheby’s, including Century 21 High Peaks broker and owner Mike Damp.

Burke said the agreement will give Damp and his agents access to a big referral network and more marketing resources. Select Sotheby’s meanwhile is gaining access to agents who have strong ties and relationships in the Lake Placid area, Burke said.

Burke said he expects the total number of agents at Select Sotheby’s will grow another 30 percent or more this year.

Select Sotheby’s merges with Century 21 High Peaks

LAKE PLACID – Two local real estate firms have merged, bolstering their position in the local market.
The news was announced Tuesday, Jan. 27 by Select Sotheby’s International Realty, a real estate company that sells luxury homes. The company will double its personnel by adding eight employees from Century 21 High Peaks, including owner Mike Damp. The newly added employees are expected to work out of Select Sotheby’s office on Main Street in Lake Placid.
Both Select Sotheby’s and Century 21 High Peaks are mid-level companies in terms of number and amount of sales they made locally in 2014, compared to their competitors in the crowded Lake Placid real estate area market. Merrill L. Thomas, Adirondack Premier Properties and Fesette Realty are industry leaders in the Adirondack-Champlain Valley market, according to research conducted by Merrill L. Thomas.
Select Sotheby’s CEO John Burke described the merger as a “natural fit.” Burke said he and Damp have developed a friendly relationship over the years that made the merger possible.
The two men had been negotiating a deal for about a month, according to Burke. The terms of the merger were not released.
“We feel having the additional personnel on board, along with their listing inventory and well established rental program will add to the quality of what we will bring to the table in Lake Placid,” Burke said.
Burke said his company has a deep referral network of homebuyers that goes beyond the Adirondack Park, and that was what led Damp to agree to the merger. Most of Select Sotheby’s second home buyers in the Adirondacks come from the Saratoga Springs-Albany area and the New York metropolitan area. Select Sotheby’s Lake Placid office is a branch of its Saratoga Springs-based operation.
Damp said Select Sotheby’s is a “high-quality franchise” and the merger was in both companies’ best interests.
“I love real estate and our team and people,” Damp said. “I just looked at what was best for everybody.”
Century 21 High Peaks, with offices in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, is a family business founded in 1928. Damp took over the company in 1995 after the passing of his father, former owner Edward Damp.
Damp is also the part owner of the Saranac Lake Marina company, which is trying to revive and expand the old Crescent Bay and Annex marina on Lower Saranac Lake. Damp said the marina business venture did not play into his decision to merge his real estate company. He said many of the homes he sells are on waterfront properties, and described the two jobs as more of a symbiotic relationship.
“I plan on getting stronger with real estate property listing through the marina,” Damp said. “It’s going to be a beneficial relationship.”
Select Sotheby’s, a company with offices in 56 countries, had a total of 120 million in overall sales last year. Burke said his company is “one of the most rapidly growing firms in the region.”
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