The Market Leading Brokerage in Luxury and All Price Points Closed $3.49 Billion in Real Estate Sales in Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte County in 2020
The nearly 700 agents and 200 support staff of Michael Saunders & Company gathered virtually yesterday morning for their annual company meeting. The leading broker and number-one independent real estate company in the region has much to celebrate - 45 years of real estate service to Florida’s Gulf Coast, a record-breaking annual sales volume and its largest MSC Foundation grant distribution.
Following a strong start to 2020, the market came to an abrupt halt due to an unprecedented pandemic causing a shelter-in-place order, only to later experience a robust rebound, resulting in the company’s $3.49 billion in annual sales volume and commanding market share of 24.12% in the luxury market and 12.38% in the overall, all price point market.
Now entering a year-long anniversary celebration, the company kicked off 2021 with an inspirational, virtual event of keynote speakers – including Josh Linkner, tech-entrepreneur and best-selling author, and Bonnie St. John, Paralympian and “one of the most inspiring women in America” according to NBC News – as well as, upbeat Motown musical interludes provided by the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. Interspersed with the lineup of national speakers were real estate luminaries, Paul Boomsma, CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, and Mickey Alam Khan, President of Luxury Portfolio International. Both shared an outlook and trends for the coming year in the national and international real estate space. Mr. Khan spoke to the cobranding of luxury real estate with other luxury brands and experts. These two powerful affiliations provide many benefits to the company including extensive national and global networking opportunities. Marci Rossell, a nationally renowned economist, provided an encouraging outlook on the future stability and growth of the local, national and global economy. Michael Saunders and Drayton Saunders, as well as, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer, Randall Graham, shared exciting new initiatives for 2021.
“When Michael Saunders & Company opened in 1976, I don’t think I could have predicted the ebbs and flows our firm would weather, but I knew the value of investing in people,” said Michael Saunders, Founder and CEO. “Our success in 2020 is a testament to our people and the core values we share – integrity, mutual profitability, excellence and communication. Today we celebrate these values that have held us in good stead and are indicative of the trust we have built among all stakeholders over our forty-five years.”
In 1976, Michael Saunders opened her first office on St. Armands Circle with a $5,000 loan she secured from a bank that required a male business client to co-sign as banks did not lend money to women in those days. She had an agreement to represent the Tiffany Plaza development on Longboat Key. As a trailblazer, she began to build her business forming relationships based on trust and by providing exceptional service. In year one, Michael Saunders & Company closed $11 million in sales volume. In year nine, it topped $100 million in sales. By year 14, the company achieved more than $1 billion, and in 2005, at the height of the real estate bubble, it closed just over $3 billion. Today, after a decade, Michael Saunders & Company has surpassed the 2005 record with a record-breaking sales volume of $3.49 billion.
The company’s deep local roots in the community and commitment to doing the right thing were displayed in the wake of the global pandemic. With real estate deemed as an essential service in mid-March, Michael Saunders & Company quickly pivoted and adapted to an array of digital resources all while relocating its agent services team to home offices in order to stay connected to customers, the community, and each other. The company was the first in the marketplace to host virtual open houses through Facebook Live and provided other necessary digital services to streamline transactions and allow for remote closings. However, what really stood out was the many agents who leveraged their community connections to support local restaurants and frontline workers. This support was further evidenced by the company’s philanthropic arm, the MSC Foundation, which reported its largest grant distribution since its founding in 2011 – $66,500 to local organizations offering shelter, sustenance, education, and a path to self-sufficiency.
“We started the MSC Foundation in 2011 with the intent of providing a vehicle to the agents and staff who had already been generously donating their time and resources throughout the community,” said President Drayton Saunders. “Every donation made by an agent or a team member is a decision to invest in our community, and we couldn’t be more grateful that after 10 years these individual decisions have added up to nearly one million dollars.” The MSC Foundation expects to hit the $1 million benchmark later this year, having given more than $957,000 to over 200 local organizations.