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Business Spotlight: Premier Sotheby’s Expands in the High Country

By Jesse Wood

Premier Sotheby’s International Realty now has a presence in Banner Elk and Blowing Rock with the 2015 acquisitions of The Sterling Company, Mountain Sotheby’s International Realty and Blowing Rock Gallery of Homes & Land.

Premier Sotheby’s is the real estate division of the Naples, Fla.-based The Lutgert Companies, which opened the 1,800-acre Linville Ridge development in 1982. Serving as the exclusive marketing and sales brokerage of many other high-end developments, Premier Sotheby’s represents buyers and sellers of luxury homes and condos in Florida and North Carolina.

Emily Bish, a managing broker for Premier Sotheby’s International Realty in Banner Elk

Premier Sotheby’s International Realty’s President and CEO, Judy Green, said that one goal of the company has been to “expand our footprint in the High Country.” The company, of course, is already well established locally with its Linville Ridge office, and also has a presence in Charlotte and Lake Norman.

“One of the reasons North Carolina is so important to us as a market and why we expanded our presence is that so many of our customers purchasing properties in Florida are from North Carolina and vice versa,” Green said. “It’s a very good feeder market both ways; it just made sense for us to expand our operations in North Carolina.”

Premier Sotheby’s is an independent franchise of Sotheby’s International Realty, the latter of which was founded by the famed Sotheby’s auction house in 1976, several years after The Lutgert Companies started its real estate division.

Green said that Premier Sotheby’s International Realty has a “unique and far reaching marketing program,” one that spans the nation and throughout the globe with the ability to place listings on over 550 websites. Its marketing department has 18 employees that “focus every minute of the day” making sure each property has the requisite exposure.

Asked about the types of properties that pique the interest of Premier Sotheby’s, Green said that the company looks at properties that are not only luxurious, but also unique and special.

“We look at lifestyles, and we sell lifestyles,” Green said, adding that the property has to be one that Premier Sotheby’s would be proud to put a sign in front of and one that meets the standards of the company.

Properties include new developments, commercial properties, single-family homes and condos. Special markets include waterfront, golf, farm & ranch, historic and ski properties.

This past year, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty recorded a sales volume of more than $4 billion and closed on more than 5,200 sales, a year-over-year increase of 19 percent for both figures, according to the company. Green noted that Premier Sotheby’s is one of the top affiliates of Sotheby’s International Realty, usually ranked as a top three franchise among the brand per volume.

Don Blair, a managing broker for Premier Sotheby’s International Realty in Blowing Rock

Emily Bish, of the former Sterling Company in Banner Elk, and Don Blair, of the Blowing Rock Gallery of Homes & Land, both cited the power of the Sotheby’s brand when asked why they decided to merge with Premier Sotheby’s.

Bish, who was the majority partner of The Sterling Company with Sarah Whitfield and Lawson Fields, noted the enhanced marketing, networking and international reach of Sotheby’s International Realty and the “referral network” and the “reputation and culture” of Premier Sotheby’s.

“This is an opportunity for us to be able to elevate what we can do for our clients,” Bish said.

In Blowing Rock, Don Blair, who was a partner of Blowing Rock Gallery of Homes with Jan Blair, Zach and Linda Tate, Lynn Hill, Greg Buchanan and Faisuly Scheurer, said that he immediately received calls and walk-ins just because of the Sotheby’s name after the changeover occurred in the middle of November.

Blair said that the partners of Blowing Rock Gallery of Homes & Land had been trying to figure out how they could expand their business reach on a global scale, whenever Premier Sotheby’s came knocking on their door.

“We knew the name and were interested in talking with them from that standpoint,” Blair said. “Understanding the power of their brand, we felt like that was going to take our marketing and sales efforts to a new level, a higher level and would enable us to really expand our business the way we wanted to.”

For more information, visit http://www.premiersothebysrealty.com or call 1-877-425-6001.

Premier Sotheby’s International Realty’s Blowing Rock location
Premier Sotheby’s International Realty’s Banner Elk location
Premier Sotheby’s International Realty’s Blowing Rock location: From left: Don Blair, Linda Tate, Brittney Tensi, Yvonne Ziel, Greg Buchanan, Jan Blair, Tony Hulbert, Zach Tate, Eric Ritchie, Lynn Hill
Premier Sotheby’s International Realty’s Banner Elk location: From Left to Right (Standing): Derek Rowley, Lawson Fields, Mary Jernigan, Sarah Whitfield, Loretta Trayer, John Angel, and Gary Waters. (Sitting): Jenny Brown, Emily Bish, Melinda Eggers