Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Surviving to Growing to Thriving

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Surviving to Growing to Thriving

Article excerpt

Re/Max Platinum's owners overcame the downturn and expanded to five offices; now comes the fun part

BRYAN AND CHERI GUENTNER opened their real estate brokerage at the onset of the region's worst housing market in decades.

But rather than grow anxious and become defeated by the inauspicious timing, the couple found a way to use the downturn to their advantage.

Over the years, the Guentners have expanded, adding four more offices and growing Re/Max Platinum Realty from just two agents to a group of more than 50 Realtors who handle transactions throughout the three-county region.

There's no secret sauce involved in their success, said Bryan Guentner. It just took some hard work, strategic planning and a little clever marketing.

"It's a tough business," said Bryan Guentner, the company's broker and co-founder. "But we have a long-term commitment to the industry and the Sarasota area."

The Guentners are 30-year veterans in real estate.

With a focus on the luxury market, they were among the top 10 producing teams for what was at the time called Re/Max Property Group in Sarasota, a brokerage that now goes by Re/Max Alliance Group.

In 2004, the couple decided to branch out on their own and purchased a Re/Max franchise in Osprey two years later.

The Guentners originally planned to specialize in high-end and waterfront listings, but when those market segments began to take a beating as the Great Recession took hold, they broadened their approach.

Using the Internet, they located out-of-area buyers interested in good deals on Florida investment homes -- from foreclosures to short sales and bargain basement listings. They also focused on keeping overhead down.

Now that the market is buzzing again, the tandem is in the driver's seat.

The company has purchased two additional local franchises to expand Re/Max Platinum Realty to five offices, in downtown Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Osprey, Venice and St. Armands Circle.

The brokerage also employs two full-time administrators, two part- time clerks and seven assistants to run the back-office, each with different specialties. …

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