Realtor Hails End To Sector's 'Private Club-Like Atmosphere'

Wednesday February 26th, 2020

A ten-time Bahamas Realty top performer has praised the firm's former chairman for driving a solution that broke up "the private club-like atmosphere" in the industry to the benefit of all.

Stuart Halbert, who has attained that honour ten times in the last 18 years, said Larry Roberts' consistent advocacy for the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) has helped transform the real estate sector and create the platform for himself and other agents/brokers to thrive.

"It is an honour to be named number one in a dynamic company like Bahamas Realty for the 10th time in 20 years, but the real honours in real estate should go to Larry Roberts (now retired) who fought for so many years to introduce the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) that revolutionised the industry as a whole," Mr Halbert said.

"Before MLS, associates and brokers would battle for exclusives, keeping information about a listing from being publicly viewed easily... It was Roberts who, in effect, knew that the future of real estate in this country would be better served by breaking up the private club-like atmosphere of a few firms. He had to battle tooth and nail with some, but today no one would turn back the clock.

"So when I receive an award, I always think it is he who helped to make the current real estate environment in The Bahamas what it is, and who helped make Bahamas Realty one of the anchors of that environment."

The term "exclusive" in today's real estate language refers to the right to market, stage and host events, but does not limit who can receive information. The MLS allows all licensed realtors and firms to post residential or commercial inventory listings as quickly as they come in to one agent or broker, enabling the industry to share information and better match buyers and sellers.

Donnie Martinborough, Bahamas Realty's chief executive, echoed Mr Halbert's sentiments about the importance of a co-operative industry where co-broking - rather than hoarding - a listing is the accepted way of doing business.

"It is just like Stuart to turn the attention on someone else," he added. "We are all so proud of his accomplishments. Part of the secret of his success is hard work, but a large part is his humility. He probably did not mention that about 70 percent of all his transactions are clients he has worked with before who have come to trust him and won't look anywhere else."

Mr Halbert, also named top exclusive listing agent in 2019, said several factors are contributing to a buoyant Bahamian real estate market.

"We are experiencing an upswing in the world's largest economy, which sits 50 miles off the shore of The Bahamas," he explained. "Locally we are enjoying competitive bank rates with more liquidity in the market.

"Against that positive backdrop, the ability to market properties effectively with drone footage and Matterport tours is the best it has ever been. Despite the effects of Hurricane Dorian that devastated two islands severely, The Bahamas remains one of the most highly desirable places to live, work and play in the world."

Mr Halbert also credited Baha Mar and The Pointe developments for revitalising high-end residential leases and sales. He added that if there is any real estate segment needing further development it is commercial, and every level - from warehousing to Class A office space.