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Updated: June 29, 2020

Harpswell realty firm franchises with global brand

A Harpswell real estate firm expects to reach a national, and even global, market through its franchise deal with a global brand headquartered in Hamburg, Germany.

Earlier this month, real estate professional Bruce Davis announced the rebranding of his firm, Homes & Harbors Real Estate, as Engel & Völkers Casco Bay.

Davis founded Homes & Harbors 20 years ago and decided to affiliate his business with Engel & Völkers, a global luxury real estate brand with a presence in more than 30 countries, according to a news release.

Under the franchise agreement, Davis will continue to serve as broker, managing owner and license partner overseeing his two locations in downtown Brunswick and on Harpswell’s Orr’s Island.

The two locations serve the area’s coastline from Freeport to Westport Island. 

“Engel & Völkers provides an unparalleled level of national and global brand recognition,” Davis said in the release. “This is especially important in our market, as buyers and sellers are often from out of state or another country. That level of reach and visibility coming from a brand that is reflexively associated with luxury and white glove service is an ideal fit for us.”

He added, “Engel & Völkers provides us with the tools, resources and the brand power we need to set ourselves apart and elevate real estate experiences across the board along Maine’s southern coast.”

Engel & Völkers operates a network of over 12,000 real estate professionals in more than 30 countries. 

First entry to Maine

“I thought it was a good fit for us,” Davis told Mainebiz. 

Since founding Homes & Harbors, he said, he’s sold more oceanfront real estate than any other agency in Maine. His feeder markets are generally southern New England and New York where, he said, customers are familiar with the Engel & Völkers name.

His franchise is Engel & Völkers’ first entry into Maine, he added.

Courtesy / Engel & Völkers Casco Bay
Bruce Davis

Engel & Völkers has a reputation for a “luxury” experience and a tailored approach to buying and selling, he explained.

“They bring high-quality marketing materials and have great national advertising sources,” he said. 

The affiliation is expected to offer greater exposure to the coastal properties on which he’s long focused, he said.

“It will allow me to grow the company more easily,” he continued. 

He has 12 agents; all are making the transition with him.

“We’re the same people, but we’re able to promote those properties to a larger audience,” he said.

The deal was finalized in December and went live June 1, after an update to the offices to give them a fresh look, he said.

Oceanfront focus

Davis has focused on oceanfront real estate from the start.

“When I went out on my own, I felt like there was a great niche in the marketplace for oceanfront real estate,” he said. “I did my best to capitalize on that niche.”

Homes & Harbors launched 10 days before Sept. 11, 2001. 

The market has changed over time, he explained. In his firm’s first decade, many buyers were looking for second homes. As baby boomers got older, much of the market transitioned to retirees and pre-retirees who want to make the coast of Maine their primary residence.

“The majority of the market now is primary homebuyers,” he said.

Seventy-five to 80% of his buyers come from out of state and out of the country, he added.

Davis was raised on Bailey Island, which neighbors Orr’s Island, and has family roots there going back seven generations. Having spent his life in Harpswell, on the eastern side of Casco Bay, he’s seen steady appreciation of the oceanfront residential market.

Still, property on the Harpswell and Phippsburg peninsulas, including Georgetown, are seen by buyers as a tremendous value, he said.

“Buyers aren’t competing at the same level they would for waterfront south and west of here,” he said. “The people I’m marketing to come up from the Cape or the south shore of Long Island. They look at our properties an feel like they’re a tremendous value.”

Pandemic effect

Davis has seen increased interest in Maine properties since the start of the pandemic.

“Our year-over-year numbers are up slightly,” he said. “The market did not slide as much as I would have guessed three months ago. There’s a lot more interest in high-end properties and those are folks coming out of urban centers, and perhaps jumping three or four or five years ahead of when they were going to make the transition” as retirees.

“I think a lot of people had an interest in Maine to begin with and now they’re ready to act on it.”

Prices remain strong due to low inventory, putting sellers in a good position, he added.

The firm has implemented safety protocols related to COVID-19,  including the use of protective face masks and gloves as well as virtual meetings and showings using video walk-throughs.

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July 1, 2020
Anonymous... I didn't know that. Sure lets talk :)
June 30, 2020

Engel means angel in German; it's also my last name. Does that mean I get a discount on some prime waterfront property?

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