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Coldwell Banker Paradise has announced it has merged with the Schmidt Family of Companies, No. 70 in RISMedia’s 2018 Power Broker Report for sales volume, to create one of the world’s largest independently-owned Coldwell Banker franchises and one of the nation’s largest real estate firms, with 80 offices and approximately 1,700 agents in Florida, Michigan, Ohio and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Schmidt Family of Companies, led by Ken and Mike Schmidt, is a full-service real estate brokerage firm that was founded in 1927. The company already has a presence on Florida’s West Coast, centered in Punta Gorda. According to a company release, the firm had a combined 18,259 transactions and $3.3 billion in sales volume in 2018.

Coldwell Banker Paradise will retain its name and continue to be led locally by Linda Schlitt Gonzalez and Steven Schlitt, who have been with the company since 1972 and 1998, respectively. The full-service firm, which provides residential, luxury and commercial sales, relocation, and property and community association management, was founded by their parents, Ed and Marguerite Schlitt, in 1953. Coldwell Banker Paradise has 11 offices and more than 280 agents serving 135 miles of Eastern Florida coastline, including Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, South Hutchinson Island, North Hutchinson Island, Vero Beach, Sebastian and Melbourne.

“Our parents built the business and always took great pride in being innovators. We have maintained that legacy,” Steven Schlitt says. “We were one of Coldwell Banker’s earliest franchisees back in 1983 and that helped fuel our regional growth. Joining the Schmidt Family of Companies is another bold and exciting moment that maintains our family leadership and exposes our agents, clients and the Treasure and Space Coasts to greater resources and audiences.”

Schlitt expects area homes in the $200,000-$400,000 range will see a 2019 price increase of 2-3 percent with job-centric Brevard County growing at a 6-8 percent pace. The merger will expose these and the region’s high-end homes to the relatively untapped Ohio and Michigan buyer pool.

“Our luxury market has exploded largely as an outgrowth of South Florida and we are seeing that 45 percent of those buying these homes are moving here to forgo the hustle of South Florida,” Schlitt says. “The Schmidt Family of Companies has a dominance in waterfront, resort and luxury markets. We will benefit from their leadership in exposing our high-profile listings through the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury program and the shared resources of a 15-person marketing team.”

“This is a marriage of two firms with similar beliefs, and together we have 157 years of family involvement in real estate” says Ken Schmidt, CEO of the Schmidt Family of Companies. “Focusing on their core values of family, trust and a deep commitment to community, the Schlitts’ legacy goes beyond their decades of service and good family name.”

Ken Schmidt’s son Mike, president of the Schmidt Family of Companies, believes the Treasure and Space Coasts are poised for continued economic growth after the merger of Harris Corporation and L3, Boeing’s investment in Embraer and the regional emergence of Space X and Virgin.

“We are very excited about this new phase in our company’s development,” he says. “We are clearly in a growth mode. [This] announcement is another positive sign and shows how bullish we are on the region’s future. We are committed to ensuring that all home buyers and sellers receive the best imaginable service and that our agents and brokers are afforded every opportunity to maximize their business potential.”

“I have worked with Ken and Mike Schmidt for many years and have always been impressed,” says Charlie Young, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. “The Schmidt team has done an amazing job of increasing their company’s footprint over the years, yet has never wavered on their dedication to ensuring that the needs of their agents, brokers and clients are met. The Schmidt Family of Companies, which now has the most U.S. offices in the Coldwell Banker network with the merger of Coldwell Banker Paradise, understands the value of joining forces and has aggressively sought to do that, and then seamlessly integrates the newly joined family.”

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