Central Florida Luxury Real Estate Broker

November 29, 2016

Bella Collina feud settled with real-estate broker Irma Yapor

Filed under: Uncategorized — editor @ 1:01 pm


Bella Collina settles with real estate broker amid dispute over name …

September 2016 UPDATEIrma Yapor’s use in marketing materials of the name Bella Collina, which means “pretty hill” in Italian, has led to a legal dispute with the …

A feud over a community’s name has driven developers to ban Windermere real-estate broker Irma Yapor from entering the exclusive Bella Collina country-club development in southeast Lake County.

This misunderstanding has been settled and Yapor has resumed representing buyers as an independent luxury broker.

The clash started with Yapor’s use of the name Bella Collina, which means “pretty hill” in Italian, in her marketing materials. Recently, the divide has led to a judicial order against her and her inability to access the properties she has listed for sale in the 1,900-acre development.

“You’d think they would like agents to promote their community. After all, they are the ones benefiting,” said the 54-year-old broker for Real Property International in Windermere.

In the last two years, she has sold about 14 properties there.

But partners of DCS Holdings, which owns Bella Collina, said she overstepped the laws by brandishing their trademarked Bella Collina name as though it belonged to her. Her website included not just property listings at Bella Collina but also lavish descriptions of the community and even the phone number to call for tee times and restaurant reservations. CORRECTION: Descriptions must be used to describe the communities where the listings are located. The phone number of Bella Collina was provided if anyone was interested in calling the community directly.

“The reason why we barred her entry is that, yes, she has listings in here, but this is private property,” said DCS representative Randall Greene. “She was bringing in a lot of clients, and they were buying lots, but it was in competition with us.”

For more than a decade, Yapor sold properties in the boom-bust project where investors purchased million-dollar lots at the peak of the market but soon walked away from the home sites as the market collapsed. Lots there eventually traded for about a tenth of their original sales prices.

Yapor brought buyers into Bella Collina and built her brand around the development known for rolling hillsides, lake views and a Nick Faldo golf course. The stylish-looking broker used the community’s name in her website, business cards and Facebook page. A previous developer there included her contact information on the community’s website. She also registered the name Bella Collina Realty with the state of Florida. CLARIFICATION: Irma Yapor was listed on the official Bella Collina website as the “Real Estate Specialist” under the previous ownership, and as a result, additional materials were created to promote this specific community. Irma Yapor represented other communities as well. 

“It is customary for real-estate agents to provide information about communities in the area along with listing information for both sellers and buyers interested,” Yapor said.

Orlando lawyer David L. Sigalow, who was not involved in this case, said his firm has been on both sides of trademark cases involving real-estate agents using community names.

“It’s a matter of significant controversy, especially for agents who wish to promote their expertise in a particular community,” he said.

Generally, agents should guard against implying they have a relationship with a development if they do not. In addition, he added, they should avoid using domain names that imply they are connected with a real-estate project.

A federal judge ruled six weeks ago that Yapor violated trademark law, and she has taken down most of the references to Bella Collina and awaits a decision on damages she may owe.

It’s not the first time that Bella Collina owners have hired lawyers to protect their community brand.

Earlier this year, they sued the owners of a sweeping Italian-style estate near Stokesdale, N.C., called Bella Collina Mansion. Greene said wedding planners, parties, and guests sometimes confuse the two similarly named venues. Bella Collina near Montverde is a top wedding destination for Central Florida and generates a steady stream of revenues to help keep the community’s 75,000-square-foot Tuscan-style clubhouse and grounds afloat financially. The lawsuit is still pending.

Greene said Bella Collina is simply doing what’s necessary to revive the community. Of thousands of vacant lots there, about 50 homes have been completed, 12 are under construction and five are in the permitting process. Requirements for property owners to start construction in an 18-month window are expected to boost activity, he added.

“I’ve been involved with Bella Collina since 2003. When most lots defaulted following the economy collapse of 2008 and the community became a ghost town, I got more involved in hopes to assist in its revival. When most didn’t think it would come back I always believed it would. While I was thrilled about the new developer coming in, it is unfortunate this misunderstanding even took place. However, it has been settled and we now continue to work together in one accord for the betterment of the Bella Collina community and other efforts.”

Irma G. Yapor is the Broker-Owner of Real Property International with its main office in Windermere, Florida, specializing in luxury homes, new construction, distressed properties and green real estate. With over 37 years in the Greater Orlando area and extensive experience in advertising, marketing and real estate, you will have a well-rounded and knowledgeable professional on your side. With her extensive market knowledge, she will advise you on the best investment opportunities and smart purchases in your area of interest, whether residential or commercial.

Irma is a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), Luxury Home Marketing Institute member, GREEN designee and Accredited REO Agent , just to name a few. She completed her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Central Florida and the Crummer Management Program at Rollins College: The Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business. She is involved in many community and professional organizations, and has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the 2014 BHGRE Emerald Elite Award and Real Trends 2015 Best Real Estate Agents in America.

“I enjoy providing creative and innovative methods—always looking forward to unique strategies that provide a competitive advantage to my clients and customers, seizing the latest trends. My passion for real estate and desire to develop long-lasting friendships inspire me to serve my sellers and buyers with the utmost integrity, professionalism and commitment, always keeping their best interest in mind.”

Member of the Orlando Regional Realtors Association (ORRA), the Florida Association of Realtors (FAR), the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), the Luxury Home Marketing Institute, and many others.


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