VERO BEACH, FL - During a year in which the number of home sales were down overall in Indian River County, mainly because of limited inventory, Matilde Sorensen beat the trend and had the best year of her long, successful career, closing $105,230,196 in sales.
That made her the top real estate agent on the barrier island and in Indian River County by a large margin. In fact, the next three highest-selling agents combined did not do as much business as she did. She also sold the highest-price property that changed hands during the year, a 1.7-acre oceanfront estate at 2310 Ocean Dr. in Old Riomar, and the three highest-price properties that sold in Orchid Island Golf and Beach Club.
Sorensen attributes her success to the level of service she provides to her clients. "I am very careful and caring when I am working with someone," she says. "Even if I know they are going to buy something, I don't just want to make a sale. I want to find them the exact right place. Selling real estate for me is a very personal service, because it is a very emotional thing. It isn't just buying or selling a house, it is people's lives and memories, and it is important to always remember that."
That attitude and the encyclopedic knowledge of island real estate she has built up in more than three decades as a Vero Beach agent and broker have gained Matilde Sorensen a dedicated clientele who return to her again and again when they buy or sell property.
"Matilde is very kind and personal and she knows what I like," says John Rutenis, formerly the president of May Design and Construction, where he designed 380 Macy's stores and shopping centers. "We don't spend more than five or 10 minutes looking at property before we know if it is a go or a no-go. That is one of the things that makes her so special."
When Rutenis and his wife Vida bought a luxury condo from Sorensen late last year, it was the 10th property deal the couple had done with her. "We met her when she sold our condo in Sea Oaks 25 years ago and we have always gone back to her," Rutenis says. "She is truly a professional who doesn't try to oversell and who is very knowledgeable about her business."
Sorensen works with a team that includes an executive assistant, a marketing director and a licensed showing agent. She says her success in 2016 came mainly in riverfront and oceanfront home sales, typically the highest-price properties on the island.
She handled 54 transactions sides during the year, including 33 listings and 21 sales, and did slightly more than four percent of all the residential real estate volume in the county.
"I love what I am doing. I love being with people. And I have been lucky enough to have a lot of repeat clients and referrals," says Sorensen, who with her husband co-founded Dale Sorensen Real Estate Inc. about 40 years in what she calls "a teeny, tiny office on Beachland."
In the years since then the company has experienced phenomenal growth and become the dominant real estate agency in Indian River County, with sales of $652,605,000 in 2016, up from $617 million in 2015.
In recent years, Sorensen Real Estate has expanded to St. Lucie and Brevard counties and now has approximately 180 agents.
Matilde Sorensen says there was good price appreciation in the island market in 2016 and she expects that to continue in 2017.
"I think we are going to have a great year," she says. 'People are more settled politically and economically. We are getting built out, and prices are moving higher because there is less and less land available.
"Back in the 1970s, we used to have T-shirts and hats that said, 'Keep Vero a secret' — they were very popular —but that time has passed. People have discovered Vero Beach and the next round will be higher. People ask me if they should wait to buy, but I say if you want to live in Vero and you can afford to purchase property, this is the time to buy."