Real Estate / Houses

John Daugherty Realtors Acquired by Douglas Elliman in Ground Shaking Houston Real Estate Deal

Storied Houston Real Estate Firm Becomes Part of a National Trend

BY // 12.21.19

It’s been a topsy turvy period in the Houston residential real estate market of late with national firms moving in and disrupting the long-established status quo. The latest shocker is John Daugherty Realtors is selling to New York-based Douglas Elliman.

Text messages and emails were buzzing throughout the city on Friday night as word spread that the deal had been sealed by 6 pm, an unexpected transaction that has many in the industry reeling.

Earlier this month, two of Daugherty’s top sales people, Laura Sweeney, the city’s leading residential real estate agent with $130 million in sales last year, and Lisa Kornhauser, the city’s No. 4 top selling agent, joined Compass, bolting from the firm after two decades at the local institution in the luxury property market. Compass has been on a mission of sweeping up Houston’s best talent in real estate since November of last year.

Elliman, the nation’s second largest independent residential real estate brokerage by sales volume, entered the Houston market in August in a high-profile joint venture with Houston-based real estate marketing and sales company Sudhoff Companies. It was widely known that Elliman’s plan from the beginning was to acquire local firms. But to take over such an iconic firm as John Daugherty Realtors is nonetheless a surprise.

“Like Los Angeles, Houston is experiencing a vertical living phenomenon, and because many of our clients in Colorado, California and Florida hail from Houston, we felt the time was right for a strategic move to Texas,” Howard M. Lorber, executive chairman of Douglas Elliman Realty, LLC., said in a statement at the time of the Sudhoff team up. “It was important to find a company whose integrated approach to real estate development mirrored that of Douglas Elliman, and we have found a true partner in Sudhoff Companies.”

While no one was available for comment Friday night, the acquisition comes two years after John Daugherty celebrated the 50th anniversary of his namesake firm. In many ways, John Daugherty Realtors changed luxury real estate in Houston, creating a lasting legacy.

Seizing residential real estate business from legacy agencies has become the unanticipated norm in Houston, where some have responded by consolidating or affiliating with national brands to retain their competitive edge. In advance of the trend, Martha Turner Properties sold to Sotheby’s International in 2014.

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