1723 Bartow Road
Lakeland, Florida 33801
|Office Phone||(863) 648-1528|
Dean Saunders, ALC, CCIM is Founder, Managing Director & Senior Advisor at SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler Real Estate in Lakeland, Florida.
Since 1985, Dean has specialized in Florida land and conservation easements. He served in the US Senate as Agricultural Liaison, Special Assistant, and Director of External Affairs to US Senator Lawton Chiles, then Governor Chiles (D-FL).
From 1992 to 1996 he served in the Florida House of Representatives. Combining a passion for supporting landowner property rights while also conserving natural land in Florida, Dean proposed and became one of three main sponsors of Bert J. Harris Private Property Rights Protection Act. This legislation later evolved into Florida’s conservation easements programs. The concept of state-owned conservation easements was truly revolutionary 25 years ago, but the success of this idea is recognized today as a tremendous positive impact on our state.
He comes from an eighth-generation Florida agricultural family, earned a BSA from the University of Florida in Fruit Crops, Food and Resource Economics, and is a recognized Florida land and conservation easement authority.
In 1996, Dean formed the real estate brokerage firm as Saunders Real Estate, LLC and affiliated with the Coldwell Banker Commercial brand in early 2006. This affiliation brought a national and global presence to the firm.
In 2019, Saunders Real Estate affiliated with the SVN Shared Value Network®, a globally recognized commercial real estate brand united by a shared vision of creating value with clients, colleagues, and communities. The brokerage also more fully integrated with its sister company, Saunders Ralston Dantzler Realty, a comprehensive commercial real estate brokerage, to become SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler Real Estate.
Dean receives significant recognition for exemplary sales performance and industry leadership:
• In 2020, Dean was named to the Florida Trend Florida 500 list for the second year in a row.
• In 2019, he was elected to serve as the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI) 2020 National Vice President. He currently serves as the President-Elect of RLI and will become the organization’s President in 2022.
• In 2019, he was named one of Florida Trend’s Florida 500 for his work in the real estate industry based on extensive contacts in regional business circles, hundreds of interviews, and months of research, and are considered Florida’s most distinguished industry leaders.
• In 2018, he was awarded the APEX Top National Producer Award, being recognized as the highest-producing agent in the country for land sales based on qualifying production volume.
• Dean’s brokerage has been named to The Land Report’s list of “America’s Best Brokerages” from 2010 to 2020 which is every year since the inception of the magazine’s selection of the nation’s top land firms.
• In 2019, the Tampa Bay Business Journal named SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler to its list of Largest Commercial Real Estate Brokerages in Tampa Bay.
• He has earned the #1 Sales Professional annual recognition in the Coldwell Banker Commercial affiliate network five times, most recently in 2018.
• He led the company to Coldwell Banker Commercial’s highest honor, the Commercial Elite annual award for outstanding company sales performance and customer service 14 times.
• He was recognized as the Florida REALTOR® of the Year by the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI).
• In 2003, Saunders was selected by the National Association of REALTORS®, along with Alan Greenspan, then four-term chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, as one of the exclusive nine “Notables.” As a Notable, Dean was considered by his peers to be among the influential in real estate nationally.
• He worked on one of the largest land transactions in Florida’s history brokering 382,000 acres in the Florida Panhandle for $565,000,000
Dean is a member REALTOR® of the Lakeland Association of REALTORS®, among others, including the Central Florida Commercial Association of REALTORS® and the Florida Gulf Coast Commercial Association of REALTORS®.
He is the former chair of the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC), which oversaw nearly 200,000 real estate licensees in 2001 and is past president of the Florida Chapter of REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI). Dean served as Chairman of the Legislative Committee for RLI and on the Board of Directors of RLI. He also served on the Board of Directors for Alico, Inc.
As an industry authority, Dean is published and quoted in a variety of respected journals, such as The Land Report, Florida Investor, Florida Trend, and Florida Forests. He authored the benchmark, award-winning consumer publication, “We Create Solutions: A Primer on Conservation Easements” and produces a real estate Florida land conference based upon his innovative work through the Lay of the Land Market Report. The report is the only source for verified Florida land sales and values for specific land property types.
Dean resides in Lakeland, FL with his wife, Gina, and their four children and is an avid hunter with numerous trophy mounts. Each year, the Saunders family commissions an original painting to add to The Saunders Collection: Natural Lands of Florida and Agricultural Heritage from well-known Florida wildlife artists.
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