Last month Alain Pinel Realtors acquired San Francisco Brokerage Ritchie Hallanan Real Estate. And according to a seriously “plugged-in” tipster, Droubi (formerly BJ Droubi) was just acquired by Coldwell Banker (although we haven’t been able to confirm).

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by kathleen

    There are now only a few truly independent brokerages in town.
    I thnk there is a case to be made for the small agency.

  2. Posted by Damion

    Does that mean no more orange open house signs? I liked the orange.

  3. Posted by curmudgeon

    I thought something was up when my favorite “top producer” agent from Droubi jumped ship a few months back.

  4. Posted by Suzanne Frank

    It is true. Coldwell Banker Upper Market will be joined by the Droubi people. I know several of the agents and they will be a welcome addition to this new, unique office. We may be “more corporate” in some people’s eye’s, but it is the people who make an office.

  5. Posted by garrett

    fear not damion, Home San Francisco has some cool orange signs! we’re getting them out there, just not fast enough!! Kathleen, we couldn’t agree more. Our small, two-person independent brokerage isn’t for sale.. :) ;)

  6. Posted by Ebayj

    My agent just confirmed it this morning. Change is the only constant in life. Droubi has some great people – I hope they do well with Coldwell.

  7. Posted by D_INC

    None of the agents were told or had a clue that this was happening. There was an announcement to attend the Monday morning meeting and people thought the big announcement would be BJ Droubi was coming back to the company.
    Instead they were told that they were acquired by Coldwell. Agents in the Victorian have until the end of the month to clear out there desks and will be relocated to Market St. None of the agents except for BJ and Lamisse Droubi will remain on 24th St. The Victorian is being sold!

  8. Posted by 94114

    B.J. hasn’t worked on 24th Street for quite a while. She’s been selling real estate in Sonoma County for the last couple of years.

  9. Posted by eddy

    Interesting development. I always liked the Droubi media layout of their listings. Very well done and consistent. Hope some of the personality of the Droubi spirit remains, but I really don’t see how that could be possible with a CB acquisition. CB’s a good firm too.

  10. Posted by Casual Observer

    http://www.bjdroubi.com/news_Feb07.html

    January 15, 2007:

    “The community and the business have been good to me and Terry, but after 35 years it was time to step back and let the next generation take over the reins,” said BJ Droubi. “We wanted, however, to retain the company’s unique character and independence. To ensure the Droubi tradition will be carried on for many years to come, we opted to sell the business to my daughter Lamisse, Steve, and Paul rather than selling to a corporate entity.”

    Oops.

  11. Posted by samadams

    Yup, the top producer left with her assistant a few months back. She has at least five listings right now. BJ/CB loss is HC’s gain.

  12. Posted by Ann

    How could someone hand off a business they developed for over 30 years to unqualied new owners who imploded the business in a year. Who really is to blame here, the original owners for not developing and mentoring, or the young clueless ones? What is the real story here?
    Sad end to an era and the Droubi reputation.

  13. Posted by Pvilly

    Perhaps BJ & Co realized that we are near the top of the market and why not sell now when multiples would be the greatest. I’ve seen many astute business owners will sell their companies at the top of a cycle.

  14. Posted by Jake the Sideman

    This rumor mill is a joke. I suggest you cultivate an integrity-based life of your own and simply observe as this story unfolds. I know for a fact that all prior postings on this topic are totally devoid of substance.

  15. Posted by anon

    “How could someone hand off a business they developed for over 30 years to unqualied new owners who imploded the business in a year. Who really is to blame here, the original owners for not developing and mentoring, or the young clueless ones? What is the real story here?”
    Because they probably made a lot of money. Why does everybody here think that there is some higher cause? They built the business and sold it when they were ready to get out. If the new owners imploded the business that is their problem.

  16. Posted by pam

    Jake the sideman, how do you know for a FACT that all the comments are devoid of substance? Sounds a bit like legal jargon? Are you connected to Droubi/CB that you can take a stance like that?

  17. Posted by MysteryRealtor

    BJ has retired and sold her brokerage in Sonoma to Frank Howard Allen. Lamisse just had a baby and they probably were offered a nice chunk of change. Meanwhile, it is the agents, as usual who were F**cked Over on the deal.

  18. Posted by termite

    Greed, greed and more greed! And total disrespect for the agents who had committed their career to the company, represented the benefits of a privately owned brokerage to the consumer and were proud to represent the name in the community. This practice of handing the agents their new business cards and planting them into their new office when these companies are sold is an interesting form of slavery and brings questions to the independent status for Real Estate Agents. There is nothing independent when your license is automatically moved to new brokerage without you consent. Welcome to Big Box Real Estate.

  19. Posted by ralph

    The agents do have a choice, they can leave, and many will, sorry to say some will be stuck. One reason I heard they sold is to better serve their clients because they could not keep up with the changes in the market and technology, so they needed the help of the larger infrastructure of a big box real estate firm. They say they have high standards of integrity, depends on your definition of quality.

  20. Posted by Terry Lee

    BJ & I were divorcing and it was not amicable. When people divorce they divide their community property. Neither of us wanted to go it alone as we had both been doing it for a very long time. Some of you might not know it, but there is more to life than real estate. BJ wanted to keep it in the family and I thought that it would be better for the agents if we kept the company independent and locally owned. Paul Christopher, age 46, had been sales manager for 5 years so I felt him qualified to continue to do so. Any more questions?

  21. Posted by Damion

    Oh my, things are getting kinda ugly. If I can move away from the personal backstory for a moment — what is the true benefit of buying a brokerage when you close the office, move the agents and dissolve the name?? Especially when there’s no guarantee that the agents will stay with the new firm? I mean, CB buys Droubi, but then if all the agents go somewhere else — what have they paid for? I don’t get it.

  22. Posted by 94114

    Damion, I was wondering exactly the same thing.

  23. Posted by MysteryRealtor

    Damion, you have hit the nail on the head with your comment. The former [Droubi] agents are scattering to the wind and from what I hear, the building on 24th Street will soon be sold.
    Does anyone remember Sapunar?
    M.R.

  24. Posted by Anon

    Well, if real estate is like other businesses, then the three principals were probably contracted to stay for X number of months. Maybe the top one or two producers as well…? Who cares about the rest, if you’re CB. Maybe you’ll inherit a good agent or two. One less strong firm to compete with, and CB now has the knowledge of Droubi management. Probably not a ton of $$$ (relatively speaking, of course) in an acquisition like this, since there would be few tangible assets. But, I’m sure it would make three or four people quite comfortable.

  25. Posted by sam

    What they bought is BJ, Lamisse,her husband, and Paul for 5 years. Paul’s house is on the market on 20th St, and 24th St building is next. This story would make a good reality Tv show, question is who was the winner? I think they are all losers.

  26. Posted by anon

    I doubt Lamisse’s husband was part of the CB deal. He is the reason droubi failed.

  27. Posted by Anon

    Well it has been several weeks since the last post. Thought I might stir up the muck.
    My feeling is that BJ probably signed a Do not compete clause with the sale. Since she sold the office in Sonoma, how else was she going to get back into the business in SF?
    One of the many reasons people have hard feelings toward them is that all their marketing, advertising and plans were in place for them to start up the satellite office, never missing a beat. All the agents that had been so faithful (some for 25+years) had spend their time packing, interviewing and resettling into a new office. Offices in neighborhoods other than where they had built their client base.
    It is not oh poor bleeding heart. There is always a silver lining. People have learned what they weren’t getting all those years. People have a renewed energy for their business. About half stayed with Coldwell Banker. Their choice. They seem to be happy too. Still resentment, Oh my, yes. Deserved? I think so. The article in the Noe Valley voice left BJ smelling like a rose.

  28. Posted by thatjassemwoman

    I was one of those “unfortunates” that was told by the receptionist that no-one was answering their phone because they were all meeting in the market street office. I took a beat and realized droubi had no market st. office. Where was everyone?
    The rest is history…
    Within one week, my phone number at droubi had been given to a CB agent, and I had been listed on CB’s website as one of their agents (and still am), despite multiple requests to delete the names of droubi agents who had chosen not to stay at CB.
    Happily, I have relocated to Vanguard and couldn’t be more content.
    Terry – I miss you and hope you’re well…

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