Dale Sorensen Real Estate on track for fourth straight $1B year


Even though the island real estate market has slowed since the glory days, Dale Sorensen Real Estate is on track for its fourth $1-billion-plus year in a row, with sales volume in the first five months of 2024 up 10 percent over the same period last year.

And there has been a flurry of sales since then.

“As of June 17, we had $582.2 million in closed sales,” says Dale Sorensen Sr., founder of the island’s largest homegrown brokerage. “That projects to over $1 billion for the year – unless the market goes haywire for some reason, which we don’t expect.

“People who say the market is still super strong and booming are Pollyannaish, but we don’t see it tanking, either.”

“We are basically in a pretty good market,” adds managing partner Dale Sorensen, Jr. “We are seeing a typical, normal market leveling off after an incredible boom.”

Statistics tell the same story.

The median sold price of a house in Florida in May was up 1.6 percent compared to May 2023, according to a new report from Florida Realtors.

In 32963, the median sold price in the first quarter of 2024 was down 2 percent year-over-year, from $1,250,000 to $1,225,000, while price per square foot was up 5 percent, according to data supplied by ONE Sotheby’s International Realty.

The balanced, leveled-off nature of the market was confirmed by the latest report from Altos Research, the data analytic division of Real Trends, which shows a slight buyer’s advantage for single-family homes and slight seller’s advantage for condos.

Dale Sorensen Real Estates’ continued growth in a time when price growth has slowed is due to the quality of company’s agents and the support they receive, according to Dale Sr.

“I just did some research and found that out of the top 100 agents in Indian River County, we have 26 of them – and we have 75 agents who have sold properties valued at $1 million or more. When you have talented, committed, energetic agents like that, it has to produce positive results.

“A big reason the agents are so successful is our tremendous administrative staff,” Dale Sr. continued. “We have this group of almost invisible people that no one ever sees backing up the agents in every way, which includes our marketing department and a contract coordinator in every office.

“We give the agents incredible tools to work with and we are there to support them personally. Neither Dale Jr. nor I list or sell homes. We are 100-percent focused on managing the company and helping our agents with everything from listing appointments to contract negotiations.

“Our agents are experts, but things come up. Everything doesn’t always go smoothly with contracts and addendum, and I am constantly in meetings with our agents and their clients, helping get deals done.

“We have a good agent who had a family emergency early in the year and had to leave town to attend to a family member,” Dale Sr. continued. “Even though she has had to work remotely since February, her numbers are up for the first five months of the year compared to last year. I think that really shows the strength of our administrative and support staff.”

“We have an outstanding group of associates with in-depth knowledge of the local market,” says company co-owner/broker Matilde Sorensen.

The company, which has about 150 agents operating out of eight offices in Indian River, Brevard and St. Lucie counties, sells across the spectrum from small starter homes on the mainland to ultra luxury oceanfront estates, with Matilde Sorensen leading the way.

A perennial honoree on Real Trends much-cited list of top brokers in the country, she personally sold $127 million worth of real estate in 2023. Over the past two years, she has listed or sold 13 homes priced between $5 million and $20 million.

“Being in the business here for more than 40 years has given me an extensive knowledge of the market,” says Matilde, who husband Dale Sr. calls her the company’s “Tom Brady.”

“I have very strong client relationships with potential buyers and sellers and offer them a personalized service that earns their trust,” Matilde says. “My most recent oceanfront sale was due to a call from the daughters of two clients who passed away. The daughters told me their parents left instructions in their safe deposit box to ‘only call Matilde to list our home.’

“Things like this are the reason I love what I do.”

Dale Jr. notes that the company as a whole has similar roots in the community, where it and its agents are deeply integrated and engaged, in philanthropy and civic causes as well as business.

Founded as a one-man operation in a small office on Beachland Boulevard in the 1970s, the company grew to billion-dollar size right here in Indian River County. Dale Jr. led the successful expansion into Brevard and St. Lucie counties, but the company still does the bulk of its business in Vero Beach.

Besides the family members, including Elizabeth Sorensen, a top producer at the brokerage, many longtime agents at the company grew up in Vero and live on the same streets where they list and sell houses, dropping their kids off at the same schools as their clients and attending the same churches.

“Our agents are committed to this community,” Dale Jr. says. “During the boom, people didn’t really need to hire us to sell their house. They could just stick a sign in the yard and the house would sell. But they hired us anyway because they value our expertise.

“Now that inventory is increasing and the market has slowed, sellers value our local market knowledge and expertise even more.”

The company’s hyper-local focus and independence enable it to adapt successfully in a changing market, Dale Jr. adds.

“We have always prided ourselves on our level of analysis and knowing what the market is doing right here in our backyard,” he says.

“We are always looking ahead to trying to determine how we can provide the best services for our clients and agents.

“We are flexible because we don’t have someone at a corporate level telling us what to do and it’s easier to adapt across eight offices tightly grouped in one geographical area than to adapt across 50 offices or 50 states.

“We try to figure out what’s coming next in the market, and what is coming in the next 10 years, and we have several concepts in mind for how to act or react to the changes that are coming in our industry.

“We can’t implement them yet because we’re still waiting to see how all the lawsuits are going to turn out and what the government is going to do. But we think we are in a good position to continue our success when things are settled.”

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