Marcia and Albert van Zyl—whose husband-and-wife team, Team van Zyl, works under the banner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (BHHS) Florida Realty—serve buyers and investors along the Fort Lauderdale coastline. It took them a few twists of fate for the magic to happen.
Marcia Saunders was a young woman from Illinois with a background in advertising when she left home for England to pursue an MBA in global marketing at Imperial College London.
She had no way of knowing she would meet and marry a young property developer there and remain in the UK for 20 years—or that a divorce that left her with a vacation home in Fort Lauderdale would find her resettling in the Sunshine State.
Marcia van Zyl obtained her real estate license in 2011, then meeting and marrying an ambitious Florida yacht engineer named Albert van Zyl, who had an interest in property investment.
As Marcia honed her people skills and a talent for digital marketing with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty, and Albert focused on investment strategies, it didn’t take long for the two to realize they were working two ends of the same business.
“After six years as a managing broker, I was up for a new challenge,” says Marcia van Zyl. “At the same time, Albert decided he wanted to be in the trenches full time—and so in May of 2021, the van Zyl team, specializing in real estate investment strategy and marketing, came into being.”
Barbara Pronin: Your backstory has a bit of a fairy tale vibe, Marcia. But I’m sure it’s not been without some bumps.
Marcia van Zyl: Every career has its ups and downs. But if Albert and I have one thing in common, it’s a drive to be the best at what we do—and a passion for helping buyers and investors achieve their goals in the thriving Florida real estate market.
BP: What types of properties do you handle?
MvZ: Both residential and commercial properties—waterfront homes, ocean view properties, downtown—just about anywhere in the Broward County area.
BP: So, how do your individual strengths play well together?
MvZ: My expertise is in digital marketing and brand management, and I love staging and marketing open houses. Albert is an exceptional problem-solver with proven strategies in waterfront property investment. Together, that makes us the right resource for anyone with an interest in our fast-growing Florida market. I think the proof is in the fact that we successfully serve unseen customers from all areas of the country, including clients from as far away as England, where I have maintained contacts from the many years I lived there. Most of our business, in fact, comes from referral and repeat clients.
BP: Sounds like you were using marketing aids like virtual tours since before the pandemic put them in vogue.
MvZ: Absolutely. We had to become expert at videography and virtual techniques
early on because so many of our clients live outside our area and often buy properties without being able to see them up close and personal.
BP: How would you measure the success of your relatively new team?
MvZ: I think we are definitely better together. Albert recently closed on a rental property with 17 tenants, for example. Our combined skills made for a smooth transaction even in the midst of challenging times.
BP: Who handles all the administrative details?
MvZ: I do. I’ve always been the detail freak. But we get great support from Rei Mesa, our broker, and from the whole BHHS Florida Realty team.
BP: What do you see as your biggest challenges right now?
MvZ: We are coming into high season in Florida, and we pride ourselves on being effective real estate matchmakers—on finding just the right property for each client.
But right now, developing enough inventory is problematic.
BP: How do you work within those challenges?
MvZ: We love helping people achieve their real estate goals regardless of the market, and that means sellers as well as buyers, vacation or investment properties, or primary homes. We are great fans of target marketing and promotion, and that goes a long way toward helping us find the right matches.
BP: What are your plans for growing your team?
MvZ: We think our business model offers a lot of opportunity for growth, especially in the commercial space, and we look forward to that as the market demands. Also, our daughter is a successful real estate marketing director, and we have high hopes that at some point, she may become part of our team.
Barbara Pronin is a contributing editor to RISMedia.