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Matilde Sorensen amazing No.104 nationally in 2016 sales

Photo: Island broker Matilde Sorensen.

The exceptional nature of Vero’s island real estate market was highlighted once again last week when island broker Matilde Sorensen just missed being named one of the top 100 real estate agents in the United States, with $105,230,196 in sales in 2016.

As it was, she came in at No. 104 in sales volume on the Real Trends 1000 list, an astonishing accomplishment in such a tiny market.

Sorensen was No. 13 in Florida in sales and all of the agents who sold more came from much larger markets – 10 from the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, one from Tampa/St. Petersburg and one from Naples/Marco Island.

Two of those markets have millions of people and even Naples/Marco has double the population of Vero’s barrier island.

Sorensen, who works out of her company’s office on Cardinal Drive with a team that includes an executive assistant, a marketing director and a licensed showing agent, says her success in 2016 came mainly in riverfront and oceanfront home sales, typically the highest-price properties on the island.

She says the success is due in large part “to discipline, a sense of humor and a passion for real estate.”

She also cites her “exceptional support staff,” and the level of service she provides to her clients.

“I am very careful and caring when I am working with someone. Even if I know they are going to buy something, I don’t just want to make a sale. I want to find them the exact right place. Selling real estate for me is a very personal service, because it is a very emotional thing. It isn’t just buying or selling a house, it is people’s lives and memories, and it is important to always remember that.”

That attitude and the encyclopedic knowledge of island real estate she has built up in more than three decades as a Vero Beach agent and broker have gained Matilde Sorensen a dedicated clientele.

John Rutenis, formerly the president of May Design and Construction, where he designed 380 Macy’s stores and shopping centers, and his wife Vida have done 10 transactions with Sorensen.

“We met her when she sold our condo in Sea Oaks 25 years ago and we have always gone back to her,” Rutenis says. “She is truly a professional who doesn’t try to oversell and who is very knowledgeable about her business.”

Sorensen handled 54 transactions sides during the year, including 33 listings and 21 sales, and estimates that 96 percent of those deals were on the island. The bulk of her sales volume – 87 percent, amounting to $91,750,000 – came from transactions involving properties worth $1 million or more.

Sales included the highest-price property that changed hands during the year, a 1.7-acre oceanfront estate at 2310 Ocean Dr. in Old Riomar, and the three highest-price properties that sold in Orchid Island Golf and Beach Club.

“She is a dealmaker,” says Sorensen’s son, Dale Sorensen Jr., who manages the family business, which was founded on the island 40 years ago by Matilde and her husband Dale Sorensen Sr.

In the years since then Dale Sorensen Real Estate has grown dramatically and become the dominant brokerage in Indian River County, with sales of $652,605,000 in 2016, up from $617 million in 2015.

Real Trends ranked the company No. 404 in the country in sales volume last year.

“I'm not sure any of us ever thought that we would have national impact from where my parents started and where we have gone from the 1980s, ’90s and 2000s,” Dale Sorensen Jr. says. “It was a truly historical year, considering that our county is not only small in comparison to other markets but also undervalued compared to the larger markets.”