OC Exclusives Team joins Surterre Properties

I’m sure most of you have noticed the new Surterre Properties® logo around ocexclusives.com and I thought, now that it has been a couple of months into the transition, you might enjoy a bit of backstory on the move.

Surterre Properties Logo

First off, for the uninitiated, the way the real estate industry works is that real estate agents like myself work under a brokerage. We’re free agents of sorts. No paid contracts, just a good partnership with a brokerage. For years, the brokerage I was with was Coldwell Banker and Coldwell Banker was, and still is, a good company. I think I can speak for the team and say that we were all proud to work there when we were there.


So – why the change?


Real estate brokerages run the gamut from faceless internet portals to small, one-agent operations to huge corporate behemoths and, as you can imagine, they are not all created equal.  While it is ultimately true that in the real-estate-agent-&-brokerage balance sheet that the agent is 90% of the effective equation, there is a major difference in the development and support of an agent and that’s where good and better brokerages come into play. And when you’re focused on providing the best service in the industry to your clientele, you chart a path. Our path took us from “good” to “better”.


From Good to Better.


Click for big photo - Surterre Properties Monarch Beach Office

Surterre Properties, Monarch Beach Office

Surterre Properties can accurately be described as a boutique brokerage… I’ve been calling it the “Prada of Real Estate” since I started here. Surterre is first-class and completely agent- & client-focused… While I’m sure someone is balancing a budget somewhere, it seems that they spare no expense with their offices and their support teams. The company is eco-conscious, which to me was just a nice ideal looking from the outside in, but now that I’m here, I can see that having an eco-consciousness woven into the DNA of the company produces more than the trendy “green PR” buzz, it produces real results and at the end of the day just feels like plain old-fashioned responsibility. I like that. There are three offices located at premier addresses in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach & Monarch Beach with two more on the way. I like that, too. The level of cooperative & collaborative communication between agents here is remarkable and may be the biggest and best surprise since we’ve been here… I expected courtesy and collegial cooperation but this is different… this is a real collaborative effort to get things done right, with egos (mostly) aside (hey –we’re real estate agents!) and our client needs at the forefront. That’s pretty bitchin’.


From Better to Great.


Long story short, we moved because it was better for our team which means it will be even better for you.  We’re really grateful to be here. I’m hopeful the years ahead of us will prove to be even better than the good years past and we’ll see our choice wasn’t just from “good” to “better”, but from “good” to “great”.




I think this post would be remiss without recognizing a few of the people behind the company who made it happen and continue to make it happen for all of us.


Gary Legrand, the president, is a gracious person. A natural-born statesman.  I hadn’t met Gary when I had joined the company though I kept hearing about him, of course… my natural instinct was the guy had to be some harried super-ego maniac capable of corralling the 300+ other ego maniacs (aka agents) in the company… I had no idea what age he was, what he looked like… nothing… a week after we moved in, someone knocked on my office door, and after shouting “C’mon in!” in walks this guy. I looked at him, stood up and said “You must be Gary.” There was nothing imperial about his entry, I could just tell he was really happy to be in the room and the way he took in the unpacked boxes, the new desks, the unhung artwork said everything… the big smile on his face said “Wow. This is great! It’s working, it’s getting better and I LOVE IT!”  I’m hopeful I get the chance to know Gary better.


Paula Ansara-Wilhelm is the Chief Marketing Officer for the company, one of the founders, the brand author (is that a term?) and is a brilliant beaming ray of enthusiasm for the company. Her focus is a sight to behold. She’s the kinder, gentler Anna Wintour of real estate.


Tom Iovenitti is the head of business development (you all remember Tom, right?).

Tom. It’s good to be here.


Our manager, Rick Trevers – forget about it! This guy knows this biz down pat. He has an acute sense of humor and knows his way around a real estate deal. With a smile on his face he’ll say, “I don’t know what you guys were doing before this, and I’m sure it was fun and helps you with your clients, but me? I’ve been in real estate forever… I mean it – FOREVER!” Office meetings with this guy at the helm are like graduate-level classes in real estate. A Californian who kept the best of NYC with him who plays soccer, and based on the limps and twisted ankles he brings in every few days, apparently a mean game of soccer.


Nikki Norman our Marketing Coordinator – the best! Fran Hazell – we love seeing you here everyday! Lacey Meyer – tops!

OK. I’ll stop now.


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