Intero offices open in Gardnerville, Markleeville

Two former Coldwell Banker Itildo agents have teamed up and brought a new kind of real estate company to the Eastern Sierra just in time for a potential rebound of the market.

Teddy Carlson-Brown and business partner Dennis McDuffee, both Carson Valley natives, are hosting a grand opening of their Intero Real Estate Services office in Gardnerville's Waterloo Center, 5-8 p.m. Thursday.

A second office will soon open in Markleeville as well.

"We're not just going to provide good service, but great service," Carlson-Brown said. "I feel like we're hitting the market at the right time."

McDuffee reported that home sales in Douglas County have picked up in the last two months, with 71 closings in August and 91 in September.

"We're going from single-digit numbers up to this," he said. "Numbers speak."

He also said the commercial vacancy rate, which he estimated at 30 percent, is on the decline.

"Commercial has been lagging, but things are now starting to be absorbed," he said. "We're starting to see consistent numbers."

Ready for the new market, the partners said the difference between Intero and other real estate companies is its relatively small operational size and its focus on technology.

"Most of the offices are paperless and wireless where we can do presentations right there on the big screen," McDuffee said, pointing to a 42-inch plasma TV hung in the Gardnerville office. "Ninety percent of all buyers today are on the Internet. Our buyers know more about the properties they want than the Realtors do, and our Web site gives them the tools to do virtually everything they want to do."

An Intero iPhone application, McDuffee said, allows users to browse listings and find directions within a 5-mile radius of their physical location. And instead of huge piles of paperwork, the company transports, signs, and stores documents digitally.

"We've found a niche in the market through technology that allows us to capitalize without a huge office or huge overhead," McDuffee said. "There's still that personal touch, as we have a handful of really good agents, but we're miles ahead of the competition technologically. And because we don't have huge overhead, we also offer a higher commission for our agents. We're getting away from that huge, shining, expensive office that costs a lot of money."

Founded in 2002 in California's Silicon Valley, Intero now includes more than 1,800 agents in 40 offices. The company was among the first real estate agencies in the country to distribute listings to sites like Google Base, Yahoo, Trulia and Zillow, and to embrace environmentally friendly practices through an alliance with EcoBroker International.

Intero reinvented the real estate office with a new concept called Intero Andare: a small, technologically advanced and ecologically friendly space designed for mobile agents. Intero's first Andare office opened in 2008, but the company has also been aggressive in launching Intero International to extend the brand to Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region.

The Easter Sierra Intero team includes Christy Canatsey-Malarchuk, Beth and John Cressaty, John Hamer, Joanne Snarr, Vicki Hone, David Wasick, John "JP" Pilkinton, Jill Nichel, Ashley Coleman, Phil Sullivan, Theresa Guimont and Janet Gookin.

"We have an incredible staff," Carlson-Brown said. "We have fun, but we work very hard."

The new Gardnerville office is located at 1362 Highway 395, Suite 112. Business hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The office can be reached at 783-5330.

The Markleeville office, with the same business hours, is located at 14831 Highway 89 and can be reached at (530) 694-2794.

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