Dean Saunders, ALC, CCIM is Managing Partner & 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, where his strong passion for supporting landowner property rights and conserving the integrity of a property’s natural resources culminated in his authorship of groundbreaking conservation legislation.
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 2019, he was elected to serve as the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI) 2020 National Vice President 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.
• 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 Realtor®, 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 80,000 acres in the Florida Panhandle for $565,000,000
Dean serves on the advisory board of the Bergstrom Real Estate School at the University of Florida, where he contributes to the professionalism and education in the real estate industry. 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 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.
Legacy Ranches, Large Acreage Land
Ranchland, Recreational Land, Pastureland
Florida Land Values & Verified Sales Analysis
Creator and Publisher of the Lay of the Land Market Report of verified FL land values
Producer of the Lay of the Land Florida Land Conference
Author of We Create Solutions: A Primer on Conservation Easements
2019 Florida Trend “Florida 500” Honoree
APEX 2018 Top National Producer Award
2018 APEX Broker of The Year in the Ag Land Sales – Ranches
APEX 2018 Largest ALC-to-ALC Transaction Award
APEX 2018 Top 20 Producer by the Realtors® Land Institute
Coldwell Banker Commercial - Commercial Elite Office – Top 15 Global: 2018-2010; 2008- 2006
#3 in the Top 5 Sales Professionals – among 3,000 Commercial Banker Commercial professionals
Coldwell Banker Commercial - #1 office Florida – 2018-2011, 2008-2006
The Land Report's America’s Best Brokerages – Best Land Brokers Nationwide – 2018-2010
Realtors® Land Institute (RLI) APEX Top Twenty Producer Award – 2018, 2017
The Land Report's Timberland Deal of the Year – 2014
MerComm, Inc. Marketing Awards – Galaxy Award for 21-page pamphlet “We Create Solutions for Landowners” Conservation Easement, authored by Dean Saunders - 2002
MerComm, Inc. Marketing Awards – Mercury Award for 21-page pamphlet “We Create Solutions for Landowners” Conservation Easement, authored by Dean Saunders
Commercial Banker Commercial - #1 Sales Professional North America – 2018, 2014, 2011, 2010, 2008, 2006
Commercial Banker Commercial - Top 2% – 2016-2006
Commercial Banker Commercial - Circle of Distinction Platinum – 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006
Commercial Banker Commercial - Circle of Distinction Gold – 2013
Commercial Banker Commercial - Circle of Distinction Bronze – 2009
Commercial Banker Commercial - #1 Sales Professional in the State of Florida – 2016-2015, 2011, 2010, 2008
Commercial Banker Commercial - #1 Sales Professional by Specialty – Land – 2016, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008
Commercial Banker Commercial - #1 Sales Professional by Specialty – Sales – 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008
Commercial Banker Commercial - Top 5 Producers Regionally-South Region – 2007
FGCAR - Pinnacle Award – #1 Top Producer – National – Land – 2016, 2014, 2011, 2010, 2008, 2012, 2007, 2006
FGCAR - Pinnacle Award – Overall Top Producer – 2014
CFCAR - Hallmark Award – #1 Overall Top Producer -Land – 2016, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2007, 2006
CFCAR - Hallmark Award – #1 Overall Top Producer – Polk County – 2016, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008
CFCAR - Hallmark Award – #1 Overall Top Producer by Volume – 2016, 2011
CFCAR - Hallmark Award – Top 10 Producer Overall – Polk County – 2010
CFCAR - Hallmark Award – Top 10 Producers – Land – 2008
CFCAR - Hallmark Award – Top 10 Producer Overall – 2008
CFCAR - Hallmark Award – Most Deals – Polk County – 2006
CFCAR - Hallmark Award – Top 10 Overall in Sales – 2006
Realtors® Land Institute - Florida Land Realtor® of the Year – 2013