Carol C. Dorey Real Estate, Inc.

Carol C. Dorey Real Estate, Inc.

For the woman behind the eponymous firm Carol C. Dorey Real Estate, Inc., “pride of place” defines the very essence of her successful realty company, which specializes in high-value property.

Carol is quick to credit the wealth of desirable properties in Bucks County and the Lehigh Valley for making it possible to focus on the top 5 percent of the marketplace—an exclusive niche served by her Springtown office, where the average sales price in 2017 was $500,000. Listings begin at $300,000 and spiral into the heady multi-million dollar range.

Carol first succumbed to the bucolic charms of the region as a child when her parents bought a farm in Bucks County in 1943. “My dad had a business in New York, but at the farm he created one of the top 10 Ayrshire dairy cattle herds in the country,” she says. “So I’ve loved this area forever. This is where the fun was. My sister and I would help take in hay in the summers, and all winter, when it was cold, the cows kept the barn nice and warm. We were always finding something to do.”

While that may sound like career foreshadowing for the future doyen of fine farms and country estates, Carol started her professional life working in advertising and marketing in New York City. Upon moving to Pennsylvania, she became the publicity director of the trade book division at Rodale Press—an ideal job Carol was determined not to give up with the arrival of her first child in 1977. The new mother made a valiant effort, even taking the 7-day-old baby along to the office as she returned to work part-time.

Fast-forward two months and the need to resume full-time hours at Rodale took Carol’s career in a different direction. “My husband had just opened a real estate office and I was helping out there a couple days a week—and I could have the baby there with me—so that’s when I got my real estate license,” she says.

The skills Carol acquired in previous positions were put to good use. At a time when real estate ads appeared only in column form in newspapers, the agency was producing printed handcrafted brochures with color photography and typewritten copy pasted on 11×17-inch paper. “Those were the earliest brochures that I remember seeing in the area,” she says. Growing sophistication brought the addition of individual marketing brochures for every property—along with the realization that “we couldn’t do the level of marketing and advertising I wanted to do in the lower-price property range.”

Listings begin at $300,000 and spiral into the heady multi-million dollar range.

After divorcing in 1993, Carol took over the business under her name and continued an expansion into the market’s upper echelon. Today, Carol C. Dorey Real Estate boasts a team that includes 12 realtor associates and 3 salaried staff members, each of whom also has a real estate license—enabling every person in the office to legally be able to answer real estate questions on the phone, a Pennsylvania requirement.

On Wednesday mornings, the entire staff goes out to look at new listings. “Then we come back and have a lunch meeting, with everyone involved in the pricing process. The listing price is not finalized until all of the agents have put in their recommendations,” she says.

The close-knit office provides an unusually supportive environment. “We really care about one another and work together and help one another. It’s a lot of fun to be there,” Carol says. “A number of agents over the years have said, ‘I would never be in real estate if I wasn’t doing it here.’”

Professional photography is another distinguishing factor. Herb Engelsberg, an architectural photographer from Philadelphia, has been capturing images for Dorey Real Estate brochures for more than 30 years. Drone photography used for aerial property shots is performed by a different specialist, who also does videos and produces interactive floor plans.

Prior to photographs being taken, a professional stager, Jill Kratzer, creates a 20- to 30-page consultation for each new listing. “She goes room by room making recommendations—of course, taking magnets off the fridge. And she’ll suggest moving pieces of furniture to make sure rooms feel spacious and note any paint colors that should be updated,” Carol says. “That makes a tremendous difference.”

While an updated kitchen is always a plus, simple fix-ups can improve any property’s appeal. “If there’s a fascia gutter hanging down, replace it. If there are little things that look bad, buyers wonder, ‘What else is bad that I’m not seeing?’” Carol says.

This broker adds, however, that many of her firm’s buyers and sellers are discretionary. “They don’t need to do it next month or even next year,” Carol explains. “What I love for us to do is listen to what people are really wanting and help them achieve that.” For example, when people are waffling about selling, she tells them, “When you’re ready, you’ll know. Enjoy your house and stop losing sleep over it.”

Carol and John Berseth, her partner of 20 years, certainly enjoy their historic stone farmhouse, set on 110 idyllic acres, where numerous community fundraisers have been hosted over the years. “It takes me 3 minutes to get from my garage to the road, and another 2 minutes to get to the office,” she says. “I’m very spoiled by the commute.”

Carol C. Dorey Real Estate, Inc

3136 Main St. Springtown | 610.346.8800

Follow @LehighValleyMarketplace on Instagram