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Sotheby’s International Realty is a luxury brand that has made its name around the globe. The company has won a number of awards for their work. Along with their real estate business, Sotheby’s International Realty publishes a semi-annual real estate and lifestyle magazine called Reside. 

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The Good

  • International
  • States
  • Agents
  • Offices
  • Real estate options
  • License
  • Commission/selling cost
  • Experience
International

Compared to many agencies that are limited to one country (such as the United States) Sotheby operates internationally in 52 countries and territories worldwide, including Asia, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East, Oceania, South Africa, and the United States.

States

Sotheby's U.S. local offices are found in 44/51 States. This is less than typical real estate sites, but it is significant for luxury real estate.

Agents

Sotheby's has more than 14,500 sales associates worldwide and a total of 17,961 real estate associates globally. These numbers may vary depending on the source and there exist differing opinions on whether the number of agents is sufficient. Currently, considering that the customer base is wealthy buyers of homes in exclusive neighborhoods or historic homes located only in certain places, the contention is that the numbers are sufficient for the luxury industry.

Offices

Currently, Sotheby's network totals 700 offices. This is higher than many real estate offices, especially considering Sotheby's is international. With so many local offices, agents have local knowledge and expertise on surrounding area real estate and community features. With real estate sites that operate entirely online, it lacks the first-hand knowledge a local agent can bring to the situation.

Real Estate Options

Sotheby's offers services to help sellers market luxury properties. They do this through a comprehensive and customized marketing plan created by Sotheby's local real estate professionals with local market knowledge. This marketing plan utilizes print, digital, public relations, advertising and social media. Sotheby's team of brand marketing experts offers support to agents through assistance, consulting, and an array of tools and resources to offer to potential buyers.

They also offer services to buyers through their website and through the company's signature mobile application, SIR Mobile. The app helps you search and find homes, find a local real estate professional and explore local lifestyle amenities. Currently, SIR Mobile is the only luxury real estate mobile app on the market that works anywhere and searches globally.

License

Sotheby's requires its agents to have a license. When shopping for a luxury property, you can choose from real estate agents and real estate brokers. Although the company doesn't mention this directly, they do have realtors on staff who are members of the National Association of REALTORS.

Commission/Selling Cost

Due to the high-level playing field in the luxury real estate industry, commissions for agents are much higher than average.

Experience

Founded in 1976 in relation to the historical Sotheby's auction house, Sotheby's International offers a unique and top-quality real estate experience. Global expansion began in 2012, when Sotheby's entered into a long-term partnership with Realogy Holdings Corp., a global real estate franchising and brokerage firm offering relocation and settlement services. Ever since, Sotheby's has been offering membership in its franchise system to select real estate brokerage companies. The company has been in business for an impressive 40 years. They represent distinctive properties around the world.

The Bad

  • Filtering options
  • Specialties
Filtering Options

Sotheby's has a limited filtering search of 6 options. The general filter lets you choose between Offices and Associates. If you scroll to the bottom of the website pages, the footer contains 4 additional searches: More Luxury Destinations, Popular City Searches, Popular Lifestyles and Popular Destinations. This pales in comparison to most real estate commercial sites. However, it should be noted that in the luxury real estate business, buyers have the financial means to have the agent do most of the filtering for them.

Specialties

Brokering luxury properties is a specialty in itself, but in terms of specialty services that many real estate companies offer, Sotheby's is limited. They deal primarily in luxury homes and estate properties, some that may hold for recreational purposes.

The Bottom Line

If you have an exact picture of what you want, Sotheby's search is very accommodating and sophisticated. The only downside is that there is a low number of properties available on the site. While definitely not a company for the average buyer or home, Sotheby's International Realty is a great source for those looking for a luxury real estate experience. With beautiful properties in the world's most renowned destinations, Sotheby's is a great source for your next lavish property purchase.

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User Reviews

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Paula & Jay Hutchison
May 24th, 2019 Wentworth, NH

We chose Sotheby's to list our home because of International advertising. Sotheby's sent a sales Assoc. to list our house. She came 15 mins late. She tried to make us go round up the pertinent tax info & maps vs her going to get them. She came with photographer a week later, 15 mins late. We were promised a drone filming of acreage, a walk through of the office sales agents/brokers, and corrections (2) to listing, and updates. We went south for winter and gave all the contact info and didn't hear from her. We called her and got promises ads. Never did the walk through, drone photos, or updates occur. One week after our return, which was 3 weeks prior to contracts end; she called to book a showing, then cancelled it 3 days later. She called one week later to relist the property. NOWAY. Broken promises, no communication, & questionable tactics.

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Larry M.
April 1st, 2019 Naples, FL DETAILS
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Realtor talked herself up about how great she was. Not so. O K at first. then removed lock box from house so that she could be involved in every showing. I'm sure this turned some people off. House finally sold but thru another realtor.

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mary scott
October 1st, 2018 South Orange, NJ DETAILS
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We had an extremely disappointing and highly unprofessional experience with Sotheby's broker Linda P in Midcoast, Maine. We were very motivated buyers and had found the home of our dreams. From the moment we first called her, to our final offer, she was ismissive and disingenuous. Ultimately, she ptovided a disservice to her seller. It was clear she had her own best interests and financial gains as the primary motivator of her behavior. We will not work with sotheby's because of her.

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Maxime Delcourt
October 25th, 2017

Our experience with Sotherby's International was a bad one. The market was at an all-time high, and we languished for 18 days without a single offer. The communication with our realtor was atrocious. We were lied to repeatedly, and the only "strategy" that was talked about was lowering the asking price. They were essentially waiting for the market to sell our home. We were not even advertised on their site after two weeks, only progressively trickling "new actions" through their automatic emails that missed and misrepresented a lot of information.

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Jagruti Patel
October 13th, 2017

We are a client and we have a contract with Sotheby's to sell an empty lot. In the beginning it was fine and we were receiving offers and all of a sudden it stopped. We tried reaching out to the realtor hired to manage that property but he would not pick up our phone. If Sotheby's is not even going to answer their clients phone then who are they going to answer to. Why even put a phone number down?

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craig lemoge
June 13th, 2017 Daly City, CA

robert J who is a part of the anthony R team in the east bay area california team is untrustworthy and only has their pocket books at heart. They were my selling agent any made many blatant disregards to us. one of witch is robert jones said he had a "go to guy" to take care of our landscaping. Trusting him we told him to take care of it and they did a terrible job. now he delayed our closing so he can collect/extort payment in full and contacted the title company so I would be forced to pay so title would fund. do not trust robert J anthony R or sotheby's

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S&C Muir
March 13th, 2017

We hired the services of Maria S from One Sotheby's Int'l, Fort Lauderdale, FL. This agent was someone we met while she lived in Bethesda, Md--she was a member of my Bible group. When she moved to FL she started grooming us to be our agent when we retire here. The first thing she told us that all the houses in FL were sold AS IS; furthermore she hired a home inspector Precision Home Inspectors from us that was recommended by the seller's agent--w/o disclosing it to us. Rest assured that the house passed the inspection with flying colors. However, the house was full of mold, the floors were stained with urine and feces of previous owner's pets. There was a previous leak in the kitchen sink that was covered with a piece of plywood --the bottom of the kitchen cabinet was full of mold (owners got $$ from insurance but did not fix damages--instead they updated their bathroom) and to top the great inspection there is a kitchen cabinet that blocks an outside window "huge fire code violation." Salgado is a realtor with total lack of scruples-- willing to sell her soul to the devil for a fistful of dollars. Stay away from her, Sotheby's and Precision Home Inspection.

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Leslie
December 29th, 2016 Kilauea, HI

Be careful renting a vacation home in Kauai, HI. Went through Oceanfront, owned by Southebys and the rental was filthy torn, stained furniture, dirty surfaces, walls,woodwork. Tools abound, empty boxes of home remodel purchase, no closet doors,fridge barely kept items cold, dishwasher running caused shower not to work. Bathroom outlets don't work in two bathrooms, tile counters in kitchen still had coffee, food,yum in the grout and on counter. Towel hooks fall out of walls....Dirty, dirty, dirty and way outdated, old and delapitated. Totally misrepresented in listing. BE CAREFUL. Not beach accessible as they stated. Go to a hotel on the beach in Kapa'a rent a car rooms for your group, they have kitchenettes too.

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Rita Hutchins
November 7th, 2016 Sycamore, IL

Robert, the agent with Sotheby's in Sarasota, was great until it came time to pay us for expenses we incurred during the process of the sale. Our closing date was delayed several times and we had incurred travel expenses because we were coming from out of state. In order for Robert not to lose the sale, he reassured us he would cover our expenses. After months of asking for reimbursement, and many excuses, he did send a check, (short by $200) only to cancel payment on it. We could not believe that a real estate professional would make promises so as not to lose his hefty commission , and then go back on his word. We put our trust in him and we're shocked at his lack of integrity. I would stay far, far away from Robert and Sotheby's.

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Meredith J
August 26th, 2016 New Milford, CT

I live in CT and my mother came from MA to see a beautiful house which is listed under Sharon. She was a typical real estate agent, wanting to make a sale and making any excuse about imperfections within the house. My mother really liked the house but it seemed to have some significant water damage in the basement. Sharon said that an engineer had already assessed the house and found no current issue with flooding. When my mother asked if it were possible to have a copy of the engineer's report emailed to her, Sharon said she first wanted my mom to sign a contract to work exclusively with her. Although my mother wasn't contractually obligated to any other real estate agent, she had been communicating regularly with one who had showed her some houses the last time she came to CT. My mother is a moral person and felt that it wasn't right to sign the contract with someone who she had just met when the other real estate agent had been so helpful. She originally wanted to make the appointment with the previous real estate agent but she had closings that day and couldn't make it. My mother drove hours just for this appointment. Once Sharon realized my mother's hesitation about working with her exclusively she became belligerent. She yelled that she would now get no commission, we wasted her time when she could've been working in the office, and we should have told her about the other agent when making the appointment for the showing. It was quite shocking and incredibly inappropriate. We are knowledgeable people and knew that she would still of course receive a commission. She began to raise her voice, lie, and made us feel like we inconvenienced her for having her show her PRE FORCLOSURE listing. My mom really liked the house but because of Sharon's incredibly inappropriate and unprofessional behavior she and her poor buyers are missing out on a potential FULL CASH buyer. We immediately left. I feel sorry for the sellers. Please, beware if you see her name on any signs. This was by far, the worst experience we have ever had with not only a real estate agent but any professional.

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Theresa Hamrick
July 22nd, 2016

We hired Sotheby's in Sarasota FL. Worst company I ever hired to sell my home. Agent does not listen, does what he wants, not what we want. Argues, drama, tells useless stories, and leaves out important information. Does not promote home or updates. Thinks he is better than he is. Broker is just as bad.

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Donna Heligman
July 18th, 2016 Waterford, MI

We are property managers, who have bought tons of homes over the years. The agency in Sanabell, florida was the worst, bar none! They said you can cancel the Contract any time, totally lied about that. They listed our 4 bdrm, 3 bath home as 4 bdrm ZERO bath. They left an old picture of the kitchen, before it was redone. They had no picture of the living room (showed a small bedroom in it's place). I had to call many times to get Stephany to finally change it. Took 1 month to get it on the market. Told me to raise the listing price bc it would sell so fast. The final straw is after the listing period they still won't send back keys and agreement!!! Horrible, run from them. They showed the house TWICE in the whole time. Never got calls back. Sent robo listing info with nothing on it. No info on what her supposed viewings said!