Coldwell Banker Timberland Properties continues growth with Stamford office
By Julia Green
The president and principal broker of Coldwell Banker Timberland Properties recently opened a new office in Stamford, upping his locations to three. The office, which was previously CB Lawrence Real Estate, was officially acquired in May and opened for business under its new owner last month.
“The idea is to really tie up the entire Central Catskills,” he said. “We go from just this side of Hunter and Windham to Gilboa to Summit to Jefferson… we go all the way to the Delaware County line, touching Otsego County to the west. We go west of Walton and toward Roscoe and Colchester, and from Phoenicia west back toward Margaretville. It’s quite a wide area we cover now.”
In 2007, Wedemeyer’s company was named number one in the northern region, an area that includes 19 states from Maine to Missouri. In May, the office was the number 10 brokerage company nationwide for its size.
Those successes Wede-meyer attributes in large part to the company’s aggressive marketing, which includes inserts in The New York Times, dynamic Web sites, and connections in Manhattan through which they advertise properties.
He also cites the strengths of the people who staff the offices.
“I have a great staff,” he said. “They have numerous awards, and they work very hard. As they say, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going.’ I have agents who work hard, and they earn their awards. It’s a team, and I’m very proud of the team.”
A number of the Coldwell Banker agents have been recognized by the Diamond Society, which distinguishes the top seven percent of Coldwell Banker agents nationwide.
“In the northern region, there are about 42,000 agents; we have, I think, five Diamond Agents,” Wede-meyer said.
So how is it, as foreclosures are becoming more and more commonplace and the real estate outlook is widely considered to be bleak, that such a company is actually thriving?
“We all know the negative news on real estate; let me give you the positives,” Wedemeyer said. “As far as the central Catskills are concerned, we’re within two or three hours of the city. The reason we’re doing so well is we are as close to the New York metropolitan area as you’re going to get and have a four-season recreation area. We continue to have more limited supply and an increasing demand.”
That limited supply, he said, is due to a number of factors, including the area’s location in the watershed, a continued climb in the income level, a pristine environment with clean water and air, and the aforementioned proximity to New York City.
“‘The air is fantastic.’ I hear that all the time. That is why we continue to do well.” He also acknowledges the advances made in technology as having contributed to the continued real estate growth in the central Catskills.
“The major reason we have had positive change is technology: you can connect,” he said. “The lack of cell phone service is a constant complaint, but we’ve had forward thinkers with the phone company. High-speed Internet has been a tremendous help to allow people to spend more time up here. The central Catskill Moun-tains will continue to attract people who like the convenience of being fairly close to the city while having a pristine environment that will be protected.”
That juxtaposition of increasing demand and decreasing supply is, Wedemeyer says, “very unusual, if not unique, nationwide. And yet, he does acknowledge the challenges that face the industry in the current economic landscape.
“There are tremendous changes in the real estate market nationwide; there’s quite a shift,” he said. “The strong agencies will come out of this even stronger. I’ve been through three of these before; this is just another one.
“Coldwell Banker Tim-berland Properties, the whole idea of this expansion, we intend to be at the vanguard of this environment and strengthen our market share and be part of the quality growth of our mountains.”
Wedemeyer and the company have been strong advocates of protecting the environment of the Catskill Mountains while encouraging quality economic growth.
“We have it on all our advertising: ‘We have built our reputation on integrity, leadership, and innovation since 1971.’ That’s what we live by. We’re very community involved as well. We have been supportive of just about any worthwhile community project in the region.”
Needless to say, there are no plans to slow down: the company has begun marketing the Catskills on the international level, advertising on European Web sites. There has also been a push to grow the market on the west coast.
“We try to see the future and go where our clients will be best represented in trying to market their property,” he said.