Houlihan Lawrence just celebrated their 1 year anniversary in Greenwich and what a year it has been (for them and all of us involved in Greenwich Real Estate). Over the past year, I have moved from Greenwich Fine Properties to Sotheby's International Realty, Greenwich Fine Properties and Round Hill Partners were bought out by Coldwell Banker, and Douglas Elliman hired Jean Ruggiero signaling their entrance into Greenwich, though they don't really have a full blown office here yet. I still wouldn't count them out, they are coming...
Most importantly of all, I partnered with three fantastic agents (Lyn Stevens, Beverley Toepke and Robin Kencel) to created The Fieldstone Group of Sotheby's International Realty, though this post isn't about that. This is about the real estate agency shake up in Greenwich, Connecticut.
I can't tell you how many conversations I have had about big agencies (Houlihan Lawrence and Douglas Elliman) coming to Greenwich and small agencies (Greenwich Fine Properties and Round Hill Partners) being bought out (by Coldwell Banker). Houlihan Lawrence made the gigantic splash a year ago starting off day one with some top tier Greenwich agents, who happen to cover the entire town, not just high end central Greenwich, but Old Greenwich, Riverside, Cos Cob, Glenville, Byram, North Mianus, etc.... Houlihan picked well and have, in turn, done very well. Coldwell Banker also did a great job in acquiring Greenwich Fine Properties and Round Hill Partners, which gave them not only a slew of new savvy agents, but also a fantastic new office location on Mason Street.
Agents of all levels of experience and success have been moving offices and have been worried about those that are moving offices. They have been worried about those new agencies coming into town guns a blazing and those that are closing up shop. At first I was excited and saw lots of areas to be concerned and lots of areas to grow from. Then I realized one thing, while Greenwich has seen some pretty serious real estate money come into town, we (the agents) haven't seen any new competition, we are still competing against the same agents.... the competition and worry really should be for the owners of these shops, not the agents themselves.
The agencies should worry. Greenwich now has some pretty serious hitters in town which cover the gambit from large shops like Sotheby's International Realty, Coldwell Banker, Houlihan Lawrence, Douglas Elliman and Berkshire Hathaway though the mid-sized and smaller shops like Real Living, David Ogilvy, William Raveis, Weichert, Anderson Associates, New England Land, and now Brad Hvolbeck & Associates. It's a big town, so I'm not going to say we are way too saturated with agencies and agents (though it does feel like nearly everyone has their license at times), but it is pretty obvious that competition is stiff and there isn't much room for coasting.