Partnership of equals

When Dickson Realty purchased McCall Realty Inc.

in January, it tied a bow in its ownership of the luxury real estate market for the region.

The luxury market that's $1.5 million and above in Reno/Sparks and $2 million and up at the lake is fed by outside buyers, says Nancy Fennell, president of Dickson Realty.

Local buyers do exist for this segment, she adds,with crossover buyers who own homes in Reno and also own property at the lake.

But in a market segment that is chiefly second homes, most buyers come in from California and far-flung areas to buy a vacation cottage at the lake, in the mountains, or in the gated hillsides above Reno.

Dickson Realty held a 60 percent share of this market in the Truckee Meadows in 2004, says Fennell.McCall Realty owned 60 percent of the same market in South Lake Tahoe and Stateline at the lake.

Both realty firms also work the rest of the market affordable to midpriced homes.

Dickson's purchase of McCall was pure synergy, says Fennell.

In many ways, the two realty companies were mirror images of each other.

Dickson Realty has offices in Reno, Sparks, Truckee and Incline Village plus site offices at Montreux and Arrowcreek.McCall Realty had offices in Carson City, Incline Village, Stateline and South Lake Tahoe.

Over the years, the two realty companies competed directly in Incline Village, and sent referral business back and forth to each other in all the other areas, says Fennel.

That set the tone for the synergy.Also, both companies are successful in the luxury segment.

Both have their own mortgage companies both being joint ventures with Wells Fargo Bank.

"We heard the company might be selling," says Fennell.

And then a mutual colleague recommended that Thane McCall, president and owner of the firm, give the Dickson owners a call.

The deal was enticing.

It mirrored Dickson's established position in the market.Also, adds Fennell, there was no franchise issue attached to the sale.

It was a sweet, clear sale of one independent to another.

With things going so well already for the 240-agent Dickson Realty,why invest in an 85- agent firm that in some areas is a direct competitor? "In order to remain viable," says Fennel.

That's why Dickson rose to the bait and bought McCall.

Also, she adds, the Reno and lake markets have changed and merged in recent years.

Outsiders looking for luxury second homes come with minds open to the idea of a home on the eastern slope of the mountains, as well as at the lake.

The purchase of McCall opens up more of the lake to Dickson Realty, placing it in Stateline and South Lake Tahoe, strong McCall areas and new ones for Dickson.

Thane McCall remains with the new company as a partner, and the partnership will be run as a separate corporation.Until the end of the year, two of the McCall offices Stateline and South Lake Tahoe hold onto the McCall name, as Dickson McCall Realty.

The delayed name change will help the transition through the busy summer season, says Fennel.

It's a conservative transition approach, a strategy intended to help retain McCall agents as well as create consistent marketing of the product.


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