Hamptons broker Chris Coleman — who was the No. 1 agent at Saunders & Associates last year — has moved to Compass.
Coleman will join the Montauk office along with Kellie Baranovich and Sarah Birdsall, according to an email to agents viewed by The Real Deal. “Chris was the number one agent at Saunders in 2019, and has been one of the top in the company for several years prior,” wrote John Gicking, who runs Compass’ Hamptons operations with Joe Fuer.
Reached by phone, Coleman said Compass approached him about the opportunity. “We think it’s right for us,” he said, adding that he thinks being at Compass will be the “best place to do business.”
Coleman’s team has sold $500 million worth of real estate over the past five years, and it currently has $28 million in contract, he said. Last year, the team sold $108.5 million, up from $84.6 million in 2018, according to research firm Real Trends. Saunders & Associates did not immediately comment on his departure.
A former stock broker, Coleman listed a 24-acre horse farm in Montauk owned by Mickey Drexler, which was most recently asking $7.95 million. He also listed for rent a modern Montauk compound owned by investor Michael Hirtenstin. The property, also for sale, gained notoriety after it was rented to dating app Tinder.
Compass launched its first Hamptons office in 2015, when it roiled rivals by poaching top talent. In the early days, several competitors filed lawsuits accusing the firm (and its hires) of violating non-competes.
One of the most notorious was a case involving Saunders, which sued former agent Meg Salem, for taking proprietary information to Compass. In 2018, a Long Island jury sided with Saunders, awarding the brokerage $13,300 in damages.
With more than 15,500 agents nationwide, Compass has over 2,000 in New York City. It has 200 in Westchester and 119 in the Hamptons.
But the SoftBank-backed firm has recently ramped up recruiting in the East End. This fall, it hired Cee Scott Brown and Jack Pearson, who worked at the Corcoran Group’s Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor offices. They were Corcoran’s No. 1 team in the Hamptons as recently as 2017 and did over $500 million in sales over the past five years.
It also hired the Tim Morabito team from Douglas Elliman in Westhampton and Jessica Von Hagn from Brown Harris Stevens in Sag Harbor.