Seasalt Properties, a residential real estate firm based in St. Pete Beach, has opened a new office in Tampa after adding a noted real estate broker and his team.
It’s part of a strategy Hendrik Bisanz, founder and CEO of Seasalt, has been working on since he started the company three years ago.
Ray Alexander, a 30-year industry veteran, joined Seasalt as managing broker and brought with him a team of 23 agents. Alexander previously was broker/owner of the Engel & Völkers franchise in south Tampa, according to his bio on the Seasalt website.
“I told them this change would be different. It’s not like you are moving from one big company to the next big company. Now you are telling all of your clients and customers that you have made a change to be with Seasalt Properties, and you’ll see, the responses will be incredibly positive,” Bisanz said. “This initial excitement built into our overall momentum and is continuing … We have $9 million in pending deals for the month of August.”
Seasalt did about $15 million in sales last year. This year, the company is on target for $60 million in sales, Bisanz said.
Luxury home sales have continued to boom during the Covid-19 pandemic, Bisanz said.
“The pandemic has been an incredible driver of demand in our area for vacation rentals as well as homes for sales. At the same time, homeowners who thought about leaving are not willing to leave now, so the market is as dynamic as it can be,” Bisanz said. “Suddenly everybody is looking for a $2 million house on the water and that’s certainly new. That was not the case before Covid.”
The Florida market, and specifically the St. Petersburg area beaches, have been undervalued and the beaches here are less crowded than other locations, Bisanz said. “You have a lot of space here.”
National players in residential home sales are not a competitive threat to Seasalt, he said.
“Those are very big companies with business models that are a bit outdated,” he said “When I hear people say real estate is a numbers game, that’s the far opposite of what I see real estate to be. Real estate is service oriented and we offer service – maybe like no one else, I’m not sure – but the best we can.”
He said Seasalt prepares the home extensively before it hits the market, and communicates heavily with homeowners at every step of the way.
“I take every opportunity I have to call the homeowner … Let them know I was there to check on the house,” Bisanz said. “It’s easy to build a good relationship if you actually talk to them frequently and make sure you have good news to share.”
Marketing, finance know-how
Bisanz is a native of Germany who now lives in Treasure Island.
He has two partners in Seasalt. One is a CPA who was Bisanz’ host father in New York in 1995-1996, when Bisanz spent a year in the United States attending high school. The other partner owned a marketing agency in Germany that does work for real estate companies on a global level. They became friends after Bisanz sold him a condo in Treasure Island four years ago.
“We have incredible know-how on the marketing side and the finance side. Then there’s me, the entrepreneur who pulls the strings together, and now we have our managing broker who in my opinion is one of the best in the field,” Bisanz said.
Seasalt’s original office at 449 Corey Ave. in St. Pete Beach is only a short distance from the water, and the new office in Tampa — at 1905 N. Market St. in Armature Works — also is waterfront property, on the Hillsborough River.
“We didn’t plan on having an office immediately in Tampa, but with all the agents coming on board excitedly, we gave them an office immediately,” Bisanz said.
The company now has agents as far north as Spring Hill and as far south as Sarasota.
He looks at the move as a stepping stone to bigger things for Seasalt.
“I believe that we can become a very serious player in the greater Tampa Bay area, including Sarasota,” Bisanz said.