- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Four of the area's largest residential real estate agencies said yesterday they are joining to create one giant real estate brokerage.
The new company, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, is being formed by the combination of Pardoe Real Estate, Coldwell Banker Stevens, O'Conor, Piper & Flynn, and Coldwell Banker Realty Pros. Ltd.
The merger of the four companies leaves as competition in the local real estate market Long & Foster, Re/Max Realty, Century 21, Weichert Real Estate and other agencies.
"For the most part this will be transparent to the home buyers … it creates more of a one-stop-shopping type atmosphere for consumers," said Dale Mattison, an agent with Long & Foster and president of the Greater Washington Area Association of Realtors.
"As an agency you sell your benefits being small or large," he said. "If you're large company you sell the strength of size and perhaps a higher level of support and service. If you're a small broker you sell the benefit of an intimate service and easier accessability."
Wesley Foster, founder and president of Long & Foster, the region's largest agency, expects to gain agents from the creation of the new company.
"We think it will work in our favor," he said. "Because there are a lot of agents at these companies who liked being able to pick up the phone and call Bob Graham, who owns Pardoe, and get an answer overnight or immediately. And they can't do that anymore, and it will frustrate the daylights out of them."
The new entity will have more than 90 offices between Northern Virginia and Delaware and about 4,000 sales associates. It will be behind one in every five sales, said Sarah Sinnickson of Pardoe, who will be senior vice president of Coldwell Banker Residential.
Tom Stevens, president of Coldwell Banker Stevens, who will be president, said uniting the four companies into one "will take some time." He would not say how long it will be before the companies operate as one.
The union is a step by national residential real estate company NRT to gain market share in the region.
It started its effort three years ago when it bought Pardoe Real Estate in the District and O'Conor, Piper & Flynn in Baltimore. This week, it bought the two Coldwell Banker agencies.
NRT has more than 750 offices and 40,000 sales associates, and it owns and operates companies in 24 of the nation's largest metropolitan areas. It posted $107 billion in revenue last year.
Mergers in the real estate business are an everyday occurrence that doesn't change the home-buying market for consumers, said Yolanda Mamone, an agent with Randall H. Hagner & Co. in the District.
"We've had all kinds of mergers in the past, and if you look at a company like Long & Foster, they are still bigger locally than this new organization," she said.


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