by SC Reporter Reese Holiday
The global influence of Keller Williams realty has now reached Sanibel.
Sarah Ashton and Christopher Kirchner, two Sanibel realtors, have partnered up and opened a new Ashton Kirchner Group office under the Keller Williams real estate company. Mark Olesh, South Florida’s regional director for Keller Williams, said the real estate company is the largest in the world and one that looks to go into business with realtors like Ashton and Kirchner.
“We look to get into business with great people,” Olesh said. “When we find people who love what Keller Williams is all about, we want to do business with them. Sarah and Chris are great people and we are super excited to be out on the island.”
According to Olesh, the Ashton Kirchner Group is joining 34 other South Florida Keller Williams offices along with 7,000 agents from Tampa to Key West and up to Cocoa Beach. Outside of Florida, they join a Keller Williams company with over 10,000 agents outside of the United States and Canada with offices on five different continents, according to the Keller Williams website.
Back on the island, the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce introduced Sanibel to their new office through a ribbon cutting ceremony on Feb.16. The office is located at 2440 Palm Ridge Rd, Unit #4.
Ashton, who has been a realtor on the island since 2009, said the Ashton Kirchner Group decided to cut the ribbons and join Keller Williams because of its national and international exposure. She said having Keller Williams on the island is a good fit for Sanibel and Captiva, as well as how her group handles business.
“My business partner Chris Kirchner and I made the decision last year to open the Sanibel & Captiva office of Keller Williams Realty as we felt that the company was a good fit for how we do business and where we wanted to see our business go,” Ashton said via email.
In terms of handlining their business, Ashton said their group treats clients more like a friend than a business transaction. She said they keep in touch with their clients long after business is done through events like sunset boat cruises out of Captiva and ice cream socials at Joey’s Custard.
“Both Chris and I have Real Estate businesses that are based upon the relationships with our clients,” Ashton said via email. “Working with us feels more like a partnership with a good friend to achieve the goal of buying or selling an island property versus just a check off transaction.”
The Ashton Kirchner Group can now use these client relationships, and their new office, to go to work on a Sanibel market that has seen a shortage of homes recently. Ashton said the 2021 market has been like 2020, only with fewer properties available as many residents have decided to stay on the island.
“We are a desired destination for a second home or a primary residence right now and there aren’t as many folks choosing to move off the island as in some years,” Ashton said via email. “This has resulted in a bit of a frenzy when a new property comes on the market, shorter time on the market and often, a higher sales price.”
But even with this shortage, Ashton said she expects a successful 2021 for the Ashton Kirchner Group. She said her office is already getting to work and that they are excited to grow with the Keller Williams family.
“While the market is challenging with the lower inventory, we are working to find properties for our buyers and in regular conversations with potential sellers,” Ashton said. “Keller Williams will become better known to Island residents and our belief is that our office will grow both with our team growing, and with other agents choosing to become part of the Keller Williams family.”