Chamber Classics: Coldwell Banker Sellers has been rocking realty in Arcata since 1971

Sellers Realty opened their doors in the spring of 1971, acquiring a Coldwell Banker Franchise in 1983. They have been doing business in their current location at 985 G Street since 1984. This July, Greg Anderson handed the reins over to the new owners, Elly Roversi and Bryn Coriell. The business has been an Arcata Chamber member for over 40 years.

What are your backgrounds?

Greg: I’ve never worked for anyone else. I’ve been here since 1973.

Elly: I’ve been managing vacation rentals since I was a teenager. I’ve been a realtor for over six years at Coldwell Banker Sellers. I was homeschooled in Redwood Valley and Arcata. I managed my family’s vacation rentals starting when I was 13. I started my own vacation rental management business in 2008 and did that while also cleaning houses. I was doing that while I was remodeling my house and studying for my real estate agent license. I have never worked a regular 9 to 5 job; I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I spend all my spare time, when I’m not at work, with my horses. I’ve been riding horses for over 22 years and I recently started riding endurance, which is riding long distances. The shortest distance to be considered an endurance ride is 50 miles. I got my brokers license in April of 2018.

Bryn: Arcata High 1994, UC Santa Cruz 1998, HSU Masters 2012. I’ve been through six different careers since I’ve graduated from college. Being a local and wanting to stay here and be successful - you need to be creative. From construction to managing employees, working in higher education - it all led me to this. We live in the best place in the world and so whatever it takes to be here is worth it. I have left the area for 10 years and have traveled to almost every continent in the world and I still think this is the best place.

How is it different owning the business from being a realtor?

Bryn: It’s now about paying the bills and managing people; talking to vendors and looking at budgets and it’s more about operations. Real estate practice can be encapsulated, but business ownership - you can take it where ever you want.

How is realty different now from the 1970s/’80s?

Greg: There are too many things to even say. There weren’t computers. You hand wrote or used typewriters to do contracts. We used carbon copy paper - if you made a mistake you really made a mistake and you had to fix it on all the papers. The entire contract was a few inches long and now a listing agreement is five pages and doesn’t even include the description of a property. We would write offers on the hood of a car. 

Bryn: Another big change is the organization of the properties themselves. Now we have the MLS as an online platform. Then, it was an essentially a recipe book on a three-ring binder and once a week you would show up at a MLS meeting and they would give you the new listings.  Now it’s updated practically by the minute and available worldwide – that’s a major shift.

What does it take to be successful?

Bryn: You have to be self motivated. It’s a totally commission based job. You go from busy to really busy.

Greg & Elly: There are over 300 realtors in Humboldt County so you gotta be loyal, tenacious, persistent. 

What are the challenges of starting? 

Greg: Show up for work. 

Bryn: I think there are different parts: getting out there and making contacts, building your network, and going out to properties and understanding values and just previewing empty houses even if you don’t have clients. It’s also important to be in the office – whether learning the computer systems or just listening to what the other agents who have been here a while are doing. But if you’re doing any one of the these things too much you aren’t in balance. So making sure you’re doing all of them.  

Elly: Then there are the fun things: when you’re checking listings, trying to find the third dirt road down from the second mailbox. 

Greg: For a lot of people it’s getting yourself out and comfortable talking about inventory.

What makes Coldwell stand apart from other agencies?

Greg: We are big believers in cooperation and collaboration. We want to help our clients and will work with other agencies if it helps our clients. We concentrate on making the process honest and as open as possible to achieve our clients’ goals.

Bryn: We were recently visited by the chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker International – the COO of the franchise from New Jersey – and that felt very supportive. They were proud to see us keeping this going and have the full force of Coldwell Banker behind them.

Any influential books or movies?

Bryn: The Money Pit for when Jen and I bought our Victorian in town. 

Elly: Anything related to human psychology will help you in this job. 

Bryn: There’s a perception that being a realtor is all about the sale and commission, but it’s really about communication and understanding people’s needs and being able to communicate with all kinds of people.


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