Thomsen maintains oversight of local office
By Don Nelson
Coldwell Banker Winthrop Realty has merged with Coldwell Banker Lake Chelan Properties, a transaction that will give the Lake Chelan firm five offices in north central Washington.
Dave Thomsen, who has owned the Winthrop office since 2008, will continue as office manager of the Methow Valley branch and as senior managing broker.
Coldwell Banker Lake Chelan Properties is owned by Adam Rynd, who acquired the company in 2013 and had been expanding its presence since then. The firm’s other offices are in Brewster and Manson. Rynd also owns Sage Vacation Rentals, the largest privately owned vacation rental management firm in the state.
The merger of the Chelan and Winthrop offices was finalized at the end of 2016, when Rynd took over ownership of the Winthrop office. Thomsen said the local office will remain at its current location on Highway 20, and will retain its existing staff and brokers.
Thomsen, whose previous career was in journalism, bought property in the Methow Valley in the mid-1990s and moved here in 2002. He worked as an agent at the Coldwell Banker Winthrop Realty office before purchasing it.
Thomsen said he has known Rynd for a couple of years, and that relationship eventually led to discussions about a merger. “It was something that I was mulling over … as good for our office,” Thomsen said.
A major advantage of the new relationship, Thomsen said, is that the local office will benefit from upgraded technology that will help brokers serve their clients better. “You have to have excellent computer systems” to keep up with the changing real estate landscape, Thomsen said.
Social media connections are also increasingly important, Thomsen said. The real estate firm launched a new website this week, he said.
Rynd said the lobby of the Winthrop office will be remodeled to make it more welcoming. Otherwise, Thomsen said, “it will feel like business as usual.”
“I imagine we will probably grow,” Thomsen said. Coldwell Banker Winthrop Realty has been the leading Methow Valley agency in terms of total sales transactions the past few years, Thomsen said, with about $34 million in sales during 2016 — slightly up from 2015.
Thomsen said that even as potential clients are increasingly able to find out information about listed homes, the personal relationship with a real estate agent is important.
“The practice of real estate is still the same,” he said, when it comes to providing marketplace context that a potential buyer may not be aware of. “If you don’t live here [in the valley],” he said, “you are in a great void if you don’t have representation … the need for good information is always there.”
Rynd has been in the real estate business for about 10 years. He earned business and forestry degrees at the University of Washington, and worked in the timber and technology industries including a decade at Microsoft.
Eventually he acquired a real estate license and began selling in the Seattle area, then moved to Chelan in 2012 as manager of the office there, Rynd said. He purchased it a year later.
The Manson office was part of the company then, and Brewster has since been added. The firm now has more than 30 agents, Rynd said, and total annual sales of more than $155 million including the Winthrop office. Although he still has a real estate broker’s license, Rynd spends his time overseeing the company’s operations rather than selling, he said.
In addition to upgrading the firm’s offices and technology systems, Rynd has been an active philanthropist in the Chelan area and intends to do the same in the Methow Valley, he said. Coldwell Banker Lake Chelan has donated more than $250,000 to organizations in the region, he said, and has made investments in downtown Chelan.
Rynd’s personal charitable focus is on “kids and schools,” he said. That includes students in Chelan, Okanogan and Douglas counties where his firm does business, Rynd said.
“We want to have real, meaningful impact in specific areas and projects,” he said. “We need to find opportunities where our dollars are leveraged” by local efforts.
Rynd said that he and Thomsen formed a good rapport that led to the merger deal. The result is that Thomsen will be able to focus more on sales and less on management, he said.
Other benefits will include economies of scale in areas such as bookkeeping, and more training opportunities for staff, Rynd said.
He agreed with Thomsen that real estate agents must focus on “the value we bring” to transactions, “our ability to interpret what’s available and negotiate transactions.”
Rynd said he will periodically visit the Winthrop office. It’s possible that more agents may be added if necessary, he said. “We have the capacity to grow,” he said.
To that end, Rynd said, he hopes to continue expanding in north central Washington and add offices in other communities. “We anticipate 10 offices over the next 10 years,” he said.