Bay Properties reopens as independent real estate firm


After nine months of renovations, Bay Properties is back in full swing.

The coastal flood in December 2018 damaged their waterfront office in Birch Bay with over two feet of water, causing $130,000 in damage. Formerly the site of Bill’s Clam Digger Restaurant, the whole office has since been newly renovated. Bay Properties now has an entirely new interior, both upstairs and downstairs.

Office manager and co-owner Diane Dufton is thankful to their staff for adjusting during the time that the downstairs portion of the building was uninhabitable.

“They really went through a lot and supported us,” she said.

Other changes include Bay Properties splitting from the Century 21 franchise after 15 years in order to become an independent brokerage firm as of August 6.

The corporation Semiahmoo Homes, Inc. was opened in 1986 by broker Carl Dufton and his father. Starting in 1998, Bay Properties was the registered name of the firm.

In 2004, Dufton was approached by Century 21 to franchise. During the partnership, they had as many as 50 agents between their two offices in Bellingham and Blaine. The business later moved its focus to Blaine in 2008 during the recession.

“We wanted to grow our office and thought that the brand would take us to a different place, and I think it sort of did, but we realized we could do a better service to our clients by moving to an independent brokerage,” Dufton said. “We went from a national focus to hyperlocal.”

Although he’s grateful to Century 21, Dufton recognized a need to focus on local real estate. The uniqueness of the housing market not being in an urban location contributed to this.

“We think we can service our clients in a more focused way and specialize in our area,” Dufton said. “It allows us to change some facets of our business model, which makes more money for our brokers as well as ourselves.”


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