Philip A. White, Jr., Sotheby’s International Realty

Philip A. White, Jr.

Brand, People,
Global Footprint

Editors’ Note

Philip White, a 39-year global real estate veteran, oversees Sotheby’s International Realty brand’s affiliate networks and company-owned brokerages. Under his leadership, the brand announced that its affiliated brokers and sales professionals achieved a record $112 billion in global sales volume in 2018, the highest annual sales volume performance in the history of the brand. In early 2019, White became President and Chief Executive Officer of Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc., taking on the responsibility of managing the brand’s company-owned brokerage business, in addition to his role as president and chief executive officer of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. Since his appointment as CEO, he has cultivated the growth of the brand into 71 countries with nearly 1,000 offices and more than 23,000 sales associates.

Company Brief

Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC (sothebysrealty.com) was founded in 1976 as a real estate service for discerning clients of Sotheby’s auction house. Today, the company’s global footprint spans nearly 1,000 offices located in 71 countries and territories worldwide, including 44 company-owned brokerage offices in key metropolitan and resort markets. In February 2004, Realogy, its parent company, entered into a long-term strategic alliance with Sotheby’s, the operator of the auction house. The agreement provided for the licensing of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and the development of a franchise system. The franchise system is comprised of an affiliate network where each office is independently owned and operated. Sotheby’s International Realty supports its affiliates and agents with a host of operational, marketing, recruiting, educational and business development resources. Affiliates and agents also benefit from an association with the venerable Sotheby’s auction house, established in 1744.

What have been the keys to the Sotheby’s International Realty brand’s success and industry leadership?

The success of the Sotheby’s International Realty brand can be attributed to a number of key factors – a rich history, the best people in the industry, a global footprint and innovative technology. The brand’s history with the Sotheby’s auction house instills trust in the quality and legacy of the brand among both clients and agents. We work with some of the best real estate professionals and sales associates in the business and we are the number-one brand represented in this year’s “The Thousand” rankings of top agents in America for exceptional sales achievements.

Another key difference is our global footprint. The brand maintains a strong presence in 71 countries and territories around the globe, which isn’t something many real estate companies can claim. We are a leader in innovation and continue to seek out exclusive opportunities where we are first to launch new initiatives. Whether it’s marketing or technology, we lead the industry.

The brand maintains a strong presence
in 71 countries and territories
around the globe.

Will you discuss the Sotheby’s International Realty brand’s commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workforce?

As a global brand, we are incredibly focused on diversity and inclusion. We participate in several trade associations which highlight the network’s robust diversity. For example, we maintain a brand presence at AREAA, which is the Asian Real Estate Association of America, and I have co-chaired one of their big events in the past. We have a great relationship with NAHREP, which is the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. We also have a member of our team who is on their board. This year, we sponsored the event for the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP), which was held in Palm Springs.

How critical is it for Sotheby’s International Realty to be engaged in the communities it serves?

We have a strong sense of social responsibility. We work with an organization called New Story, a non-profit which aims to transform dangerous living environments into communities of safe, sustainable homes. About a year and a half ago, our network raised more than a million dollars to build homes in El Salvador and Mexico.

This work resonates with us and we want to take some of the benefits that we’ve accrued at Sotheby’s International Realty and help people find shelter and a safe home to raise their families.

What are the characteristics that make a successful real estate broker and can you tell right away if someone is going to be successful in that role?

That’s a good question. I’d like to say I know immediately. I think their background helps me determine their likelihood of success. To be a good broker, it’s advantageous to come into the business with what we call a healthy sphere of influence. It helps to have a network and to get involved with the community you are serving. If you don’t already have a good network, you have to be very good at prospecting for business which takes a lot of discipline to continuously be on the phone connecting with people.

A successful real estate broker needs to be empathetic as well. They have to understand the emotional issues that people deal with in buying or selling a house because there are emotions involved. It is not just a calculated investment transaction like selling an office building, which is based on the numbers. It is more involved than that.

What do you enjoy most about the real estate industry?

I love the real estate business and I get my energy from real estate agents. I want to see them succeed. I think that’s helped me in my career because it’s not so much about me as it is about them. I’m proud to be surrounded by these inspired individuals that come up with creative solutions every day on behalf of the brand.