‘BEST 10 YEARS OF OUR LIVES:’ Crye-Leike Coastal Realty reflects on a decade of selling paradise

Matt Algarin
As the owners of Crye-Leike Coastal Realty, Wanda Duke, left, and John Paulsen, right, say teamwork and dedication are the keys to their success as they celebrate 10 years in business.

The team at Crye-Leike Coastal Realty is proud to celebrate their 10th anniversary, although there have been ups and downs, market highs and crashes.

“We have made it through the tough times; now everything should be easy,” owner John Paulsen said with a chuckle. Paulsen owns the Destin-based franchise with Wanda Duke.

Duke and Paulsen, who have known each other since they lived in Memphis, Tenn., more than 30 years, opened Crye-Leike Coastal Realty in 2002 from “ground zero” and have built it into the full-service realty company that it is today, which also boasts a vacation rental company — Destin Getaways Vacation Rentals.

Crye-Leike can assist buyers and sellers, north and south of the bay, from Gulf Breeze to Panama City.

To this day, the Destin franchise is the only branch of Crye-Leike located in the state of Florida, Paulsen told The Log.

Looking back at the past 10 years, Duke and Paulsen said the key to their franchise’s success is teamwork, not to mention the dedicated agents that are willing to work hard and strive for total customer satisfaction with every transaction.

Duke said that exceeding the client’s expectations is something they take very seriously.

“Everyone works so well together and we are like a big family,” she said.

“There’s a lot of competition in this town and you have to be on your game,” Paulsen added. Given the competitive market and a plethora of real estate companies, hiring quality agents is key to the team at Crye-Leike, whose agents produced $127,500,000 in real estate transactions in 2011.

Agents at Crye-Leike also have access to top-notch training opportunities that give them all of the necessary tools to be successful while they sell paradise.

“We offer a lot of things that other real estate companies don’t,” Paulsen told The Log, pointing to a wide array of online tools and resources that are available free of charge. “We have a fulltime Broker, Elliot Marcus, who recruits, hires, and trains our agents.”

With an uptick in the local market, the team at Crye-Leike plans to expand upon its successes over the last decade, as the groundwork is in place to gain greater traction in the real estate market, all while growing the vacation rental side from 100 current rentals to 150 to 200.

Crye-Leike Coastal Realty is located at 4495 Legendary Drive in Destin. For more information about Duke and Paulsen, and the rest of the team visit coastalrealtyfla.com or call 850-654-7700. Duke can be reached at 850-217-6835 and Paulsen at 850-496-3637.

With 10 years at Crye-Leike behind them, Duke and Paulsen say they have no plans to look back now.

“I would say this has been the best 10 years of our lives,” Duke said. “Although we’ve had some challenges, we’ve had a lot of good times through it all.”