MYRTLE BEACH, SC – Coldwell Banker Chicora, a dominant player in the Myrtle Beach real estate market for 45 years, announced today that it is merging with a Coldwell Banker network comprised of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage of Greater Wilmington, NC and Coldwell Banker Advantage of Raleigh, Fayetteville and Southern Pines, NC. With the merger, Coldwell Banker Chicora will now be known as Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage. The announcement was made today at a sales meeting attended by Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage agents at the offices of Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors.
Don Smith will remain as President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage, Cheryl Brush will continue as Vice President of Operations, and Rod Smith as Director of General Brokerage. All will retain an ownership interest in the firm. With the merger, new business partners include Tim Milam, president of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage; Gary Rabon, president of the Raleigh office of Coldwell Banker Advantage; Ralph Huff, president of the Fayetteville office of Coldwell Banker Advantage, and Brian Moxey, Vice President and Director of Business Development for Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage.
“Our Coldwell Banker franchise agreement was set to renew this year, so we felt the time was right to consider the best way forward for our company and agents,” said Don Smith. “There was never any doubt that we would stay with the Coldwell Banker brand, but we began to explore the benefits of a partnership and how it could strengthen our firm and broaden our reach. Tim Milam and I have known each other for more than 20 years and often share ideas and best practices, particularly since Wilmington and Myrtle Beach have many market similarities as coastal communities. I have great respect for Tim and his partners at Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage. I am confident our cultures and business models will work very well together, and that this merger will bring many advantages to both our clients and agents.”
Added Tim Milam, president of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, “Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage is a hugely successful company with a great reputation and excellent management team. We look forward to building on this success and helping take Chicora to the next level in the Grand Strand market.”
About Chicora Advantage
Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage was created in 1972 by Tim Jemison and Paul Malone and quickly grew in both size and services. In 1999, Jemison and Malone retired and Don Smith became the new CEO and President – a position he still holds today. Under Smith’s direction, Chicora merged with the Coldwell Banker Roberts Agency to form Coldwell Banker Chicora, one of the largest real estate brokerage firms on the South Carolina coast and among the top performers in the Coldwell Banker franchise system nationally. Today, Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage has 165 agents in six offices from North Myrtle Beach to Georgetown. In 2016, Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage had $286 million in closed sales volume and 1,758 in closed sales transactions.
In addition to its leadership status in sales, Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage has also earned a reputation for the strength of its commitment to the Grand Strand community. Six Chicora Advantage agents have served as President of the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors and Don Smith is the Incoming President for 2017/2018. Company personnel have also filled leadership positions in a wide variety of business and charitable organizations, such as the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, Red Cross, YMCA, Coastal Carolina University, United Way, Waccamaw Community Foundation and many more.
“Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage has grown to the company it is today through our ability and willingness to adapt to market changes,” said Don Smith. “This merger will spur new growth and create significant benefits for both our agents and buyers and sellers.”
According to Smith, these benefits include ready access to referrals throughout North Carolina; state-of-the-art technologies that make buying and selling a home easier for homeowners; an ability to reach a broader group of potential buyers to facilitate more sales; enhanced marketing and social media campaigns; access to a Full-Time Training Director; a Technology Help Desk for all agents, and much more.
“Our philosophy at Sea Coast Advantage has always been that “We Work for the Agents. They Don’t Work for Us,” said Milam. “With that in mind, we will implement a survey of the Chicora Advantage agents to help identify their priorities and what tools and resources they need most to help grow their business.”
Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage will email each of its agents a link to the online survey this week. The results will be tallied over the next three to four weeks and will guide the leadership team as they craft a strategic plan for the continued growth and success of Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage.
“One change that we all agree will be implemented right away is the hiring of a full-time IT Director to create and manage an onsite IT department and Help Desk,” said Milam. “Our industry is so dependent on technology and online and mobile transactions that it is imperative that all or our technologies are running smoothly at all times. The IT department at Sea Coast Advantage is invaluable and is credited with significantly increasing the efficiency of our agents since we instituted this several years ago. Our in-house department handles the technology so our agents can concentrate on what they do best, which is helping their clients buy and sell real estate.”
The Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage Network
“Within our Advantage network, each of our regional offices is managed by a local owner who has deep roots in the community,” said Milam. “Gary runs Raleigh; Ralph runs Fayetteville; Cathy LaRose runs Southern Pines; I’m in charge of Wilmington and Don will continue to manage Myrtle Beach. This type of local knowledge has been integral to our success. We have the resources and broad geographic reach of a large company, but through our management structure, we have been able to maintain the local expertise more typical of a small firm. It’s a win-win for our clients and agents and is an innovative business model in our industry. We believe it is the best way to run a real estate business.”
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage is the largest and best-selling real estate company in New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender and Onslow counties. Sea Coast Advantage was founded in Wilmington, NC in 1988 and joined Coldwell Banker in 1993. Sea Coast Advantage is staffed by more than 450 real estate agents in 12 offices from Jacksonville to Holden Beach. Coldwell Banker Advantage has more than 430 agents in 18 offices from Raleigh to Fayetteville. Coldwell Banker Advantage was established in 1988 and joined Coldwell Banker in 1990.
The partnership of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage and Coldwell Banker Advantage is the #1 Coldwell Banker company in NC, #3 in North America in sales volume and #4 in North America for closed transactions. Together, these 30 offices closed more than $2.7 billion in sales volume in 2016 and 12,692 sales transactions. With the addition of Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage, 2016 figures totaled $3 billion in sales and 14,450 in transactions.