Sotheby’s International Realty might be known for marketing places like the $165-million, 12-bedroom home and 15-acre ocean-to-lake estate in Manapalan, Florida, but that doesn’t mean the company doesn’t like what it sees in the East Valley.
In fact, it is specifically opening an office in the area because it likes what it sees – a lot.
So much that Sherri Monteith is leaving her home of 24 years in Flagstaff, where she has been the managing broker of Ross Lyons Sotheby’s office in that city, to assume the same position for the company’s new office in Gilbert.
“I’m making a huge change and making a huge commitment to this office,” said Montieth, a Pittsburgh native who has been in real estate for 17 years – all but three with Sotheby’s.
She has been Ross Lyon Sotheby International’s managing broker for its Sedona office for nine years and the rest of the time at its Flagstaff operation.
“This is a very important office she’ll be running,” said Jeff Hall, an Ahwatukee Realtor and retired attorney.
Hall is not only relieved he doesn’t have to drive to Sotheby’s Scottsdale office anymore, but he’s excited about seeing more exposure for Sotheby’s in the East Valley.
The 250-year-old British multinational company, based in New York City, is often recognized for its massive auction house operation.
But Hall said that when comes to real estate, “We have the sophistication of a well-cut suit. Nothing is loud. Everything is subtle. That’s what Sotheby represents – quiet sophistication.”
And for agents like himself, he added, “The management is so professional and meticulous. They take care of their agents. They make sure their agents have every single tool they need, and the monthly fees are a quarter of what many agents pay elsewhere. They go all out to help the agents.”
Hall said Sotheby’s decided to open an East Valley office after studying upward-trending real estate markets worldwide.
Montieth said the decision has little to do with the region’s seven-figure housing market even though the company’s name often is associated with high-end luxury homes.
“Our bread and butter is the three-bedroom and two-bath home,” she said. “We do well in the high-end market because of the international exposure but the client selling the $100,000 condo will get the same treatment as the person selling the seven-figure mansion.”
Conceding “we’ve always done very well in the high range,” she added, “but our emphasis has always been on quality, not price point.”
Montieth didn’t set out for a career in real estate when she started at Northern Arizona University, graduating with an advertising-marketing degree.
She worked at Century 21 for three years before Sotheby’s lured her away.
Despite her long tenure in real estate, “I’ve never sold any,” she said. “I’ve always been in management.”
And she sees her new job as an attractive challenge.
“I love start-ups and love meeting people” she said. “And I’ve always had my eye on the East Valley.”
“There’s plenty of room for this office to grow. In Flagstaff, you get to the Tonto Forest pretty quickly,” she noted, a reference to how nature hems in the firm’s geographical area.
Her job at the new office will growing its presence in the region and making sure her agents have all the tools they need to succeed.
“If they are successful, we’re successful,” Montieth said. “I want people to come in and be part of the family atmosphere. I take a huge interest in my agents.”
Montieth said that as she figures out “how to use the Sotheby name and branding to build its business,” she’ll be pushing hard the notion that sellers can expect “the international treatment” from the company, whose dark blue “sale” signs “carry a lot of prestige.”
As for home buyers, she said, “I think they will like the high-quality type of agent we attract.”