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Sotheby’s Buys Martha Turner Properties of Houston

HOUSTON – Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. has acquired Martha Turner Properties, Houston’s second largest realty brokerage.

The acquisition enables Sotheby’s International Realty to enter the Houston market, where it will operate as Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty with six offices and more than 220 associates.

Martha Turner, founder of the company, and her business partner Tom Anderson will continue to lead the Houston operations of Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty, with both taking roles as co-presidents of the company.

Martha Turner co-founded Turner Owens Real Estate in 1981 in a single office in Houston, which led to the formation of Martha Turner Properties in 1986.  In 2013, Martha Turner Properties achieved its strongest year ever with more than $2 billion in closed sales volume. According to the REAL Trends 500, Martha Turner Properties ranked as No. 8 in the nation in 2012, based on closed sales volume per agent, with an average of more than $7 million per agent.

Martha Turner Properties ranks as the second largest realty brokerage in the city, behind only Coldwell Banker United, and the average price of a home sold by Turner is $527,000, according to the Houston Business Journal.

Turner, 73, grew up in Hemphill, Texas, working at her family’s store, Fuller’s Dry Goods and Hardware. She taught elementary school geography and music before going into realty.

“It’s amazing that she went into the business as a school teacher and became a great brand,” says Evert Crawford of Crawford Realty Advisors. “There are only handful of Realtors that have this premium brand.”

With an East Texas drawl, Turner often articulated significant business plans and marketing innovations.

“Martha is brilliant. She is one of the smartest people I have ever known in the real estate business,” says author Jack Cotton, a Cape Cod, Mass. realty advisor who is regarded as one of the nation’s top experts in luxury housing.

Cotton said Turner can observe business practices in luxury automobiles or jewelry and apply them to luxury real estate with impressive business acumen.

Turner, 73, could not be reached for immediate comment following the Sotheby’s announcement. But she told me in an extensive interview in 2011 that she will never retire as long she is in satisfactory health.


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