Brown Harris Stevens acquires Miami’s Avatar Real Estate Services

Vivian Dimond
Vivian Dimond

Brown Harris Stevens just acquired Vivian Dimond’s Avatar Real Estate Services, The Real Deal has learned, as the New York firm continues its buying spree in South Florida.

With the purchase, Brown Harris Stevens gains 78 agents in offices in Coconut Grove and South Miami, bringing its total to five offices in South Florida, with a sixth planned for later this year. Neither a Brown Harris Stevens spokesperson nor Dimond would disclose the purchase price.

Avatar, which focuses on the luxury market, will now be called Brown Harris Stevens Avatar and will continue to be led by Dimond, who founded the firm in 2002.

“We have been approached by many different companies, but we feel it is the right fit for us,” Dimond told TRD. “We’re a very good match and we share the same philosophy in the way we do business.”

The deal has been in the works for months: in June 2016 sources told TRD that the sale was imminent. At the time, Dimond said she couldn’t discuss a possible sale.

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Now, she said the deal broadens her agents’ scope. “This gives us the opportunity to reach out beyond South Florida,” Dimond said.

Brown Harris Stevens entered the Miami market in June 2015 with the purchase of Mark Zilbert’s Zilbert International Realty, and then opened a second office in Miami Beach. The New York-based firm, which had a small presence in Palm Beach since 1999, said it was on a mission to expand in South Florida. William Lie Zeckendorf, co-chairman of Brown Harris, said at the time that Miami was a “natural referral market” to New York City and that “like Palm Beach, it’s where New Yorkers go.”

The company also acquired a luxury brokerage in Lake Worth called Manatee Cove Realty in March 2015. And in June 2016, Brown Harris Stevens bought Ocean Club Realty, a boutique brokerage based in Key Biscayne. The Brown Harris Stevens spokesperson told TRD that the company plans to open a second office in Key Biscayne later this year.

Founded in 1873, Brown Harris Stevens has offices throughout New York City and the Hamptons in addition to South Florida. In December, the firm’s office in Sag Harbor was destroyed in a massive fire.