Letter From Home: Agent rankings: Inside the numbers

Large three- and four-bedroom townhouses in The Hammocks at Riviera Dunes are priced at about $300,000 to $330,000 when they come on the market. Staff photo / Harold Bubil; 10-19-2015.

Agents who have both "sides" of a real estate sale get credit for twice the selling price in the rankings of agents by volume. Staff photo / Harold Bubil; 10-19-2015.

Mindful that (a) I am not a statistician, (b) statistics can be manipulated, and (c) there are “lies, damned lies and statistics,” I went ahead and used my limited skills with Excel spreadsheets to take a closer look at the real estate agent rankings recently released to me by brokers.

Agents take a lot of pride in these rankings, and some sellers and buyers may consider them when hiring agents.

The prerequisite for this topic is understanding the concept of a “side.” When an agent represents the buyer in a closed home sale, that counts as a side — the buyer’s side of the deal, so to speak. The agent who represents the seller also gets credit for a side. If the buyer does not have his own agent apart from the listing agent, then the seller’s agent, also known as the listing agent, gets credit for both sides. In that case, a $1 million sale becomes $2 million in volume.

Interesting facts were discovered in my examination of the statistics. For example:

-- In 2015, members of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee (RASM) sold 9,093 Sarasota County properties at an average sale price of $313,000. The total price of these sales — the volume — was $5.7 billion.

This enormous pie can be sliced several ways, often to the advantage of the person holding the pie server:

-- Roger Pettingell of Coldwell Banker was the top-selling agent by volume. The total value of the deals in which he represented either the buyer or seller was $63.9 million. His average deal was for $1.3 million, or No. 14 on the spreadsheet. Reid Murphy of Developers Realty was No. 1 in average price, at $2.47 million; he achieved that with only five sides. Michael Hays (seven sides) of Michael Saunders & Co. and Deborah Beacham (11 sides), also of Saunders, averaged more than $2 million per sale, too.

-- Bill Howell of Hook and Ladder Realty had the most sides at 177. As Hook and Ladder sells a good number of distressed properties, Howell’s average was $156,000, or No. 102 for RASM agents in Sarasota County. His volume was No. 14 at $27.7 million.

-- Agents tend to rank themselves by volume, and in that case, Kim Ogilvie of Michael Saunders follows Pettingell at No. 2, generating $55 million out of 29 sides.

Some of the best-known agents have the highest volume numbers, but not the most sides. As volume yields commission earnings, the key to success in local real estate appears, from these statistics, to be listing expensive properties.

To do that, agents need to make a name for themselves, through experience and the referrals of satisfied customers. And the sale of high-dollar homes. It helps to concentrate on the barrier islands and west of the Trail, where most of the expensive homes are found.

But that analysis overlooks the achievements of agents such as Glenn Brown of RE/MAX Alliance Group. This workhorse has been a top producer for more than 20 years, often at or near the top in homes sold among Sarasota County RASM members. In 2015, he had 96 sides — the equivalent of 48 sales — and an average sale of $320,000.

So to be successful, agents tell me, you can sell a few expensive homes, or a lot of inexpensive ones, but most of all it comes down to hard work.


Sarasota’s top 10 agents by volume in 2015:

  1. Roger Pettingell, Coldwell Banker, 52 sides, $63.9 million.
  2. Kim Ogilvie, Michael Saunders & Co., 29 sides, $55 million.
  3. Barbara Ackerman, Coldwell Banker, 47 sides, $52.3 million.
  4. Cheryl Loeffler, Premier Sotheby’s, 30 sides, $45.4 million.
  5. Brandy Coffey, Keller Williams, 67 sides, $42.8 million.
  6. Lynne Koy, Coldwell Banker, 28 sides, $42.2 million.
  7. Judy Kepecz-Hays, Coldwell Banker, 35 sides, $41 million.
  8. Stephanie Church, Michael Saunders, 20 sides, $37.6 million.
  9. Joel Schemmel, Premier Sotheby’s, 36 sides, $37.5 million.
  10. Ian Addy, PA, Michael Saunders, 24 sides, $33.6 million.

Source: Realtor Association of Sarasota Manatee. Note: Agents may work as individuals or in groups of two or more; that distinction is not made in this list.


Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: January 31, 2016
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