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Team sets local real estate sales record: ‘Can you believe this is happening?’

STORY BY STEVEN M. THOMAS (Week of January 6, 2022)
Photo: Richard Boga and Cindy O’Dare at Premier Estate Properties.

Cindy O’Dare and Richard Boga had a hell of a year in 2021, closing $277.7 million in real estate transactions and putting another $18.9 million under contract for a total of more than $296 million in sales, according to company records provided to Vero Beach 32963.

That number crushed the team’s previous record of $168 million, which they set in 2015 with then partner Clark French..

During this past year, the O’Dare-Boga team sold the two most expensive oceanfront homes that changed hands in 32963 – including one for $27 million that set a new island price record – and it brought the buyer for the top riverfront sale.

“They knocked it out of the park,” said Joe Liguori, co-owner of Premier Estate Properties, where O’Dare and Boga are based.

In-between the grand-slam deals, the partners got up early and worked late to manage a torrent of more typical $1 million to $5 million deals, which they call their “bread and butter,” as their transaction numbers tripled.

“Premier only sells homes priced at a million and above and in a typical year, we do 30 or 35 transactions,” said Boga. “This year we closed 82 deals and put another nine houses under contract for a total of 91 transactions.”

“It was tough, really tough, working day and night, working harder than we have ever worked before,” said O’Dare. “But it was also fun, so much fun!”

“It was our most exciting year,” said Boga, who joined O’Dare at Premier Estate Properties in 2009, a year after she and a handful of other agents started Premier’s Vero office. “We would just look at each other sometimes in the middle of a deal, sort of wide-eyed, and we didn’t even have to say anything.”

The unspoken thoughts where, “Can you believe what is happening?” and “Are you as tired as I am?”

“Kristin and Vicki worked just as hard,” O’Dare said, referring to Kristin Dobson, an agent who joined the O’Dare Boga team three years ago, and Victoria Wilburn, the partners’ longtime assistant. “Kristin is an incredible agent with loads of drive and talent, and everything kicked in for her this year.”

It took more than hard work, though, to set a new island record for the highest sales volume in a single year. So, how did the little three-agent team at a small office at the intersection of A1A and Beachland pull it off?

In a word – preparation.

Their success came in the context of the pandemic migration that created an annus mirabilis for the real estate industry here and across the country, but the extent of that success – the “wow” factor of inking multimillion-dollar contract after contract in a time of severely limited inventory and making it look almost easy – emerged from years of diligent groundwork, cultivating a network of adoring clients and potential luxury buyers in key feeder markets.

Liguori, whose company had a record year in 2021, said he and his partners “worked for 28 years to be ready for this market,” establishing the reputation and relationships that enabled Premier to double its companywide sales from $1.55 billion in 2020 to more than $3 billion in 2021.

In the case of O’Dare and Boga – who accounted for a notable percentage of that blockbuster company sales total – they have worked for more than a decade in Vero Beach to accumulate what one client who has done multiple deals with them calls “incredible knowledge” of the island real estate market, build a wide network of influential buyers and sellers, and develop the expertise and style to meet those clients’ needs.

“They are top-quality real estate professionals,” said legendary investment manager Dennis Stattman, who with his wife Beth Grosshans has done a dozen island real estate deals with O’Dare and Boga. “We have invested in real estate in many places – residential, commercial and agricultural – and they are the best we have seen.

Absolutely the icing on the cake.”

Along with cultivating loyal local clients, O’Dare and Boga during the past five or six years invested heavily in targeted advertising, reaching out to luxury buyers in South Florida, New York City, the Hamptons, Nantucket, Los Angeles and San Francisco to sell their Vero listings.

When the floodgates of the pandemic buyer surge opened, O’Dare and Boga’s brand was already well known in those key markets and their phone started ringing non-stop.

People they had talked to about earlier deals called back with new urgency and friends, relatives and business associates of existing clients came knocking, looking for a piece of Vero’s increasingly renowned little paradise.

There was a similar dynamic on the seller side, as homeowners O’Dare and Boga had relationships with reached out to them to sell their houses, creating opportunities for the inrush of buyers.

The partners’ connection with Premier was a major asset, too, opening a pipeline of buyers from Palm Beach and South Florida – where Premier’s other four offices are located – who saw O’Dare and Boga’s Vero listings on the company website or were referred to them by Premier agents.

“Often buyers look here when they are done looking in Palm Beach [where prices are much higher],” said O’Dare.

But getting clients to Vero is only the first step in selling a multimillion- dollar property; next the agents have to find a house that appeals to them and then negotiate a complex, high-stakes deal with multiple personalities and preferences amid fast-changing circumstances.

Here, again, the years of prep work paid off.

“Richard is on the young side, but he has really, really mastered this thing. On the second deal we did with them, there were 11 back-and-forths in the negotiations and Richard remained absolutely unflappable, cool as a cucumber,” said Beth Grosshans, a child psychologist and author.

“He is very exacting about contracts and has so much knowledge about oceanfront and riverfront properties at his fingertips. And Cindy has a sixth sense about what property would be right for a client and what the price should be.”

“I pick a price for a listing based on intuition and my sense of the market, while Richard crunches the numbers,” says O’Dare. “We always end up very close to the same place.”

“One thing that really impresses me about them is their ability to find the right property, given buyer criteria, and get the deals closed,” said Ken Cooper, an entrepreneur and real estate investor who had a successful career in the music industry as an artist and executive before founding North American Dental Group.

With his wife Melissa, he has done seven real estate deals with O’Dare and Boga, buying and selling on the ocean and the river, from the Estate section to Windsor, as the couple and their three children tried out different island lifestyles over the past seven years.

“With these kinds of deals, it isn’t just the price. It is the terms,” Cooper said. “The terms really matter, and they are exceptionally good at identifying sticking points for each side and helping both parties adjust and compromise and move in the right direction, closer together, so the deal survives.

“They are incredibly strong around knowing this market and they have great expertise around architectural style, understanding the type of house a buyer is looking for and finding it or finding a buyer for a particular house, such as a Mid-century modern house on the river that Melissa and I renovated and recently sold. They found that special house for us and found the right buyer when we were ready.”

Besides hard work and expertise, O’Dare and Boga bring dedication and personal charm to their real estate deals, according to their clients.

Retired telecom executive Michael Fuller and his wife Mary wrote in an email to Vero Beach 32963: “We have known Cindy and Richard for almost four years and worked with them on three real estate transactions, both buying and selling, and couldn’t have been more pleased. While they are totally professional in their business dealings, they are delightful in their personal interactions, and they take the stress out of buying and selling property.

“Given their incredible knowledgeable of the total real estate market, their accessibility, responsiveness and attention to detail, it is not surprising that they have achieved this milestone of professional success. When meeting with them, one has the feeling that you are the most important client they have. We have moved a number of times through the years and can say without hesitation that Cindy and Richard are the very best realtors we have ever had the pleasure of working with, both professionally and personally. We have total trust in their advice.”

“Cindy and Richard have a wonderful alchemy,” said Grosshans. “Their driving interest is in their clients being happy and satisfied at the end of the transaction, feeling good and having the house they want in the neighborhood they love. It is fun to buy and sell real estate with them!

“You laugh through the whole process.

“Even when there are challenges and complications, you still feel good at the end of the deal. They are as ethical as the day is long and we absolutely love knowing them and doing business with them.”

“Where others see problems, they see solutions,” said Cooper. “They are empathetic. They understand the value and dynamics of relationships and never force the wrong fit on anyone. They’re just good people.”

O’Dare’s daughter, Lily O’Dare, told Vero Beach 32963, “My mother and Richard are not only respected and loved by their clients, because they are the hardest working and go above and beyond in all that they do, but they are well respected by their colleagues and our community, too. I think that alone speaks volumes, when even their competitors can agree how wonderful they are!”

Lily O’Dare seems to have inherited her mother’s talent for real estate, selling $12 million in her first year as an agent with ONE Sotheby’s.

“I have been listening to my mom on the phone doing real estate deals since I was in elementary school. She’s a very strong yet elegant businesswoman, and I have always looked up to her. She is my greatest mentor and has guided me in navigating the real estate world this past year.”

“Cindy and Richard are well known for being top producers,” said Liguori. “They have a great reputation. They have the listings and are well versed in every aspect of the island market from the estate section to Riomar to the north end. We are very pleased with their performance and with the whole Vero office, which had a record year in 2021.”

“It is not mainly about the commission for Richard or me,” said O’Dare.

“It is always about the great feeling of having both parties happy and satisfied at the end of the deal.”

“Don’t get us wrong,” Boga said. “The money is great! But it’s the satisfaction of a job well done that is most personally fulfilling.”

O’Dare doesn’t think the party is over.

“I expect a very – very, very – busy season in 2022, starting mid-January through April or May,” she said. “I think we will do well. We have lots of listing potentials coming up and we are prepared for this market. We are ready.”