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Vitals: ONE Sotheby’s International Realty
Years in Business: 11
Size: 17 offices, approximately 850 agents
Regions Served: South Florida: Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin Counties
2018 Sales Volume: $2.45 billion
2018 Transactions: 4,794

Daniel de la Vega, president of ONE Sotheby’s International Realty in South Florida, has led the firm to annual sales averaging more than $2.5 billion since its founding in 2008. He followed in the footsteps of his mother Mayi, a luxury broker. Immersed in real estate for most of his life, working more than a decade as a professional broker, de la Vega utilizes a background in finance and marketing to help manage a property portfolio totaling $5 billion-plus in both new, luxury condo developments and listing inventory.

I understand you are an avid art collector. Tell me a little about your collection.
Daniel de la Vega: I’ve always been into art and appreciated it ever since I was little. I am a people person and enjoy talking with people and visiting new cultures, and I feel art brings all of that together. The creativeness behind it always intrigued me. I had wanted to collect art for many years, and as I traveled around the world, I learned more about how to view and buy art, and now I have a collection that is primarily North American- and South American-focused, with a sprinkle of Cuban art in there. I plan to continue to grow my collection in the years to come.

Characterize the importance of blending real estate, art and culture in South Florida as part of the Sotheby’s brand.
DD: I think people lose sight of this, but when you look at why real estate is booming in South Florida, one of the primary reasons for this increase in pricing is because of the culture that is taking place here and all the different neighborhoods being created. It’s the museums and the restaurants and everything that most major cities have, that Miami had always lacked, that are now appearing in the city. There was a lot of pent-up demand for this culture. We now have a stronger city, and this allowed real estate prices to increase to ultimate highs.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities for increasing business right now?
DD: Our market has been strong, and our numbers are up, so it’s something that we are definitely thinking about. I’m predicting 2020 will be a good year despite the fact it is an election year. We are going to be opening in a new market at the end of the year—a high-end luxury market—and we also have three other acquisitions planned. We believe in the future of the industry and our people, and we believe in the companies we are buying.

What are the biggest challenges you’re currently facing?
DD: Companies that are trying to break into the market without understanding the true fundamentals of the industry and giving away crazy deals to agents. We are not a financial experiment.

What do you look for when bringing new agents into the company?
DD: The first thing I look for when I bring someone into our organization is someone who’s smart. I like to surround myself with people who are way smarter than me. It’s equally important to bring on people with a long-term vision for the industry and who believe in the industry.

What’s a way that you differentiate yourself from others in the market?
DD: We just launched a new wellness program for all of our employees and agents. This is something that Mayi and I have wanted to do for a long time—helping people who we are with, who give us so much every day, by letting them focus on themselves—but doing it as a group and doing it as one.

Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.