By Dawn Krebs
With more than six decades of experience helping the residents of the Treasure Coast find their perfect home, brother and sister team of Steven Schlitt and Linda Schlitt-Gonzalez took a few moments recently to reflect back on the history of their company and speak on how their commitment to the people that live and work on the Treasure Coast enabled them to stay successful.
Mr. Schlitt and Ms. Schlitt-Gonzalez are CFO and President, respectively, of Coldwell Banker Paradise Hoyt Murphy Realty. The name "Schlitt" will sound familiar to several of the older families in the area, as it was their parents, Ed and Marguerite Schlitt, who first established the realty in 1953.
Back then, it was an insurance and realty company with just five employees located in what is now known as the Irish American Club on 20th Street in Vero Beach.
"I started doing phone work in high school, then went into sales in 1974," said Ms. Schlitt-Gonzalez. Her brother Steven came back to the family business in 1998.
Back then, through to the 1980s, the realty worked on developing projects.
"We were involved in the building of the first two condominiums on the island," she said.
By the 80s and 90s, the company shifted focus to selling land to developers, who then sold to builders. When the new century began, the focus in real estate shifted again, this time to a resale market.
Mr. Schlitt noted the increased professionalism that realty companies as a whole experienced over the years.
"We now have the multiple listing service, professional standards and cooperation," he said.
Now, the market is experiencing a growth in real estate sales, but because of the longevity of the company, they expected the upturn.
"There have always been these cycles of real estate in Florida," Mr. Schlitt said. "We've seen the bottom and now we're going to see a period of growth."
In the local market, the company does a lot of business with retirees and second home buyers. But a growing trend here on the Treasure Coast is of families moving to the area, both from up north, as well as from the southern part of the state.
The team relies on the strength of the company to be able to serve the variety of needs that an agricultural community that also sits by the ocean presents.
"We have specializations in every area, and our agents work very closely together," he said.
What helps is the new technology that is not only available to them, but what they have also developed themselves.
"We can now access data and research in a more mobile environment using iPads and cell phones," Mr. Schlitt said. "For example, we can use an iPad to give someone in another state a virtual tour of a property here."
In addition, the use of technology allows the company to do business remotely to help the buyer or seller that can be here in person.
The company has also developed its own buyer's guide that is published four times a year, featuring a vast selection of different real estate properties all over the Treasure Coast.
Recently, the realty acquired Hoyt Murphy Realty in June of 2012, as well as Paradise Property in Brevard that same year.
The secret to their success lies in working together as a team and helping others in the community.
"We spend a lot of our own time organizing fundraisers," Ms. Schlitt-Gonzalez said. "Our agents are very active and eager to give back to the community and their clients."
Coldwell Banker Paradise Hoyt Murphy has nine offices on the Treasure Coast.
In Fort Pierce, they are located at 411 N. U.S. 1 in Fort Pierce, at 4007 N. Highway A1A on North Hutchinson Island and at 221 South Ocean Drive on Hutchinson Island. For more information, call (772) 461-3250, (772) 461-1324, (772) 464-7007.
In Port St. Lucie, they are located at 7202 S. U.S. 1 in Port St. Lucie. For more information, call (772) 878-3200.
Go online to www.flcoldwellbanker.com.