“EWM is the number one broker in Miami for sales over $1 million. We are selling about one $1 million- plus property every 18 hours,” said the company’s president, Ron Shuffield from his office in Coral Gables.
From its modest but highly successful beginnings in 1964, the company has grown from a one office operation to 11 offices, 800 associates and staff and $2 billion in annual sales. The business that originated in Coral Gables has expanded throughout major markets in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
“I work all the time,” says Shuffield, smiling. A native of Tennessee and graduate of the University of Tennessee, Shuffield has always been interested in the business of real estate.
In 1984, Shuffield and partner Al Harper purchased EWM from the trio of women who founded the company. The company expanded under Shuffield’s direction and in 2003, it was sold to HomeServices of America, the second largest real estate company in the United States.
HomeServices is a family of affiliate companies, most of which have an average operating history of more than 54 years. It is also an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., of which Warren E. Buffet serves as the CEO. With 26 major real estate markets nationwide,
EWM is the only one the company owns in the state of Florida. EWM sells both residential and commercial real estate. The company offers a complete range of related real estate services: mortgage, title, insurance and relocation services to its customers. In addition, EWM is an affiliate of the prestigious Christie’s International Real Estate.
The business began in 1964 when realtor Anna Mae Esslinger invited Eudora (Dodie) Wooten and Arline Maxwell to join forces with her. Mrs. Esslinger became a realtor in 1955, at a time when the profession was dominated by men. Mrs. Wooten was once the Miami Herald’s local society editor and Mrs. Maxwell had been the director of food service operations for Marshall Field and Company in Chicago. According to The Register-Guard newspaper, Mrs. Wooten said that Anna Mae was the innovator, she (Dodie) was the negotiator and Arline kept the books. Their stated goal for the firm was to provide their clients with expanded, personalized real estate services. They understood that the nature of the business was person-to-person; a winning philosophy that continues to this day.
The real estate market in Miami is rebounding; a positive sign for the region’s economic future
“We are running out of inventory across all prices ranges, with the lowest inventory being in the mid-price range,” said Shuffield.
Inventory is waning here for a variety of factors that include buyers in search of a second home; investors; international buyers; those who are choosing to rent instead of buy; low interest rates; and good prices. Shuffield reports that in 2008, when the market was struggling, there was a 48- month supply of homes in inventory and a 63-month supply for condominiums. Currently there is a four to five-month supply of properties in inventory.
The founders of EWM would be proud of the company they started. Shuffield said, “We are fortunate to have found good people who are devoted to delivering high quality service. I am thankful for it every day.”