Local Agent’s Business Booming


By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor

Talbot Sutter was raised around South Florida real estate.

The fourth generation Palm Beach County resident has had relatives involved in real estate dating back to the 1940s.

Back then, real estate was about land sales and acquisitions. Now, Sutter is in the residential real estate business.

He is the founder of broker of Sutter & Nugent Real Estate, a company he started six years ago with his best friend.

Now, they have four offices, two in Palm Beach Gardens, Lantana and West Delray with nearly 130 agents.

After going to school for finance and real estate, he said he worked for a larger firm for a few years before deciding to pursue his own goals.

It was 2012 and the market was different from how it is now.

“You had to work super hard for everything you got,” he said. “You were lucky to sell something in 6 months if you listed it and priced it right.”

But, he said they were go-getters and people liked their mentality of selling and buying real estate from their tiny office in Palm Beach Gardens.

“We built it up one deal at a time,” he said. “We took four generations of people being in real estate and taking what works and what doesn’t work in real estate.”

He said he was one of the first firms in the area that used drones to get photos of homes in 2013.

In the beginning he said the market was depressed and many listings were foreclosures and short sales.

“You had to earn anything you got,” he said. “It was a lot harder to get listings back then. People weren’t trying to sell property. It wasn’t a sellers market. It was a buyers market, but you had to convince the right buyer that it was the right time to buy.”

The buyers they did recruit in 2013 are now returning to the firm asking for help selling their property that has seen growth in value.

“It was a hard time to start a business,” he said. “We got in at the right time and it was a very lucky timing.”

He also began to build the business by word-of-mouth and not traditional recruiting methods.

“People wanted to be a part of what we are doing,” he said.

And he began to open offices in places he felt would be the next popular place to live. The West Delray office opened as neighborhoods like Seven Bridges and Dakota and soon to come Boca Bridges are popping up.

And the Lantana office is the next place he feels has potential to grow.

“It is one of the last few places that hasn’t really exploded,” he said. “You can still get a really good buy.”

Forecasting the market trends ahead, he said he isn’t worried about another housing crash.

“In 2007 there were so many bad loans,” he said. “Now, there is a lot of cash in the market and solid loads. It’s becoming a healthier market. Sellers aren’t putting their houses up for astronomical prices.”

He said home prices are not increasing crazy numbers like 18 percent, how they were before the bust.

“If you have an 18 percent rise every year for 10 years it is not healthy,” he said.

He said most of his recent buyers are from California.

“We are in an area that is very popular,” he said.

And for his firm, he is still looking to grow. But whether it is north or south Palm Beach County and when remains unforeseen.