Sotheby’s opens in Cayman

Sheena Conolly Real Estate now has a new name after being awarded franchise rights by Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, Inc. in January.

Sheena Conolly Sothebys International Realty

The Sheena Conolly Sothebys International Realty team are, from left, Bonni Tomsu, Kim West, Sheena Conolly, Heather Carrigan and Jonathan Sparrow. Photo: Justin Uzzell

Sheena Conolly Sotheby’s International Realty officially opened recently, becoming the only firm in the Cayman Islands that can market and advertise properties with the Sotheby’s International Realty network.

Founded in 1976, Sotheby’s provides an international marketing and referral program for luxury real estate listings.

Benefits of the franchise include international advertising and marketing products, global exposure on sothebysrealty.com, worldwide networking, agent recruitment and training programs, and a host of other business and development tools.

Mrs. Conolly was excited about the franchise.

‘We affiliated with this luxury network because our specialties in waterfront areas and private communities are a perfect match for Sotheby’s International Realty clientele,’ she said. ‘The affiliation will help generate more exposure for our clients’ listings and attract qualified buyers from around the world.’

Mrs. Conolly said Sotheby’s premier international network was part of the reason she decided to align with the company.

‘This gives my company a global reach I could never have being an independent,’ she said. ‘The networking potential with this particular franchise is sacred.’

The affiliation with Sotheby’s will also be good for the Cayman Islands, Mrs. Conolly said.

‘We now have the opportunity to bring a new market to all three islands,’ she said, referring to Sotheby’s global network of clientele.

Since the franchise was awarded in January, Mrs. Conolly and her staff have been busy preparing and training.

‘We’ve spent the last few months integrating our firm with Sotheby’s International Realty products and systems,’ she said.

The company will keep its same location at the West Shore Plaza, but the signage will change to reflect the Sotheby’s franchise. Other aspects of old company name such as the company logo, website and colours will also change, Mrs. Conolly said.

Though Sotheby’s International is known for luxury properties, it does not mean the company here in Cayman can only sell luxury properties.

‘As prestigious as [Sotheby’s] is, it does not eliminate me from dealing with real estate across the board,’ Mrs. Conolly said. ‘We’re interested in good real estate across the board and so is Sotheby’s.’

The affiliation also does not mean Sheena Conolly Sotheby’s International Realty will have to change the unique way it operates.

‘We don’t operate as an ordinary real estate company does,’ Mrs. Conolly explained. ‘We work in a holistic fashion.’

Rather than individuals in the company competing among themselves for listings and sales, the staff works as a team.

‘All the listings are company listings, and all the sales go into the pot,’ Mrs. Conolly said, noting that the same holds true for her listings and sales.

‘I think it’s an exciting new model for real estate,’ she said. ‘Instead of breeding resentment, it fosters cooperation. Everyone has an interest in Mr. John Block. It’s not about me, it’s about the company.’

Mrs. Conolly says her staff loves the arrangement.

‘This whole thing is about the client and service,’ she said, adding that Sotheby’s found the company’s method of operation appealing.

‘We don’t want to have a system where people don’t care about the company and are more concerned with their own interests,’ she said.

Michael R. Good, president & CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, Inc. said the company was honoured to have Sheena Conolly Real Estate as part of its global luxury network.

‘We are very proud to expand our global network to the Cayman Islands with such a fine firm,’ he said.

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