Around the Block: Irish US real estate agent scoops International Property Award

Dermot O’Brien: Florida success

Dermot O’Brien: Florida success

Thu, Jan 30, 2014, 00:00

In what has been a torrid few years for the property industry here, it’s nice to see an Irishman scooping up accolades in the US for his endeavours in the area. Dermot O’Brien recently won the InternationalProperty Award for the best real estate agent in Florida. The prestigious London-based contest is operated by ‘International Property and Travelmagazine, and O’Brien saw off competition from throughout the US, Canada, South and Central America and the Caribbean to take five-star distinction. Given that he only entered the market 10 years ago, and Florida has recently endured a property collapse similar in scale to our own, it’s quite an achievement.

When the dotcom bubble burst in the early 2000s O’Brien’s Celtic.com business (an extensive register of Irish town and village domain names) was one of the casualties. Picking up the pieces, he and his wife decided to sell their Long Island home and move to Florida, but, frustrated with the efforts of the estate agents he applied his online skills and sold the house himself in a matter of weeks. This prompted him to set up Islands Realty (islandsrealty.com), after a lucky association with a developer of condominiums on the exclusive enclave of Singer Island close to Palm Beach. Since then O’Brien has sold close to $150 million worth of property, including $35 million last year. He says he is currently working on an app for smart TVs that will allow one entry point to view and access all downloadable files. By the looks of things this may not be the last we hear of him.