Bob Bowes
"Beginning company’s next chapter."

Bob Bowes

UPDATED, July 12: Bowes Real Estate, a business name long synonymous with Arlington, has transferred ownership to Gibson Sotheby’s International Real Estate, with offices throughout Massachusetts. 

In a July 9 email, Robert Bowes, president and owner, announced to the Chamber of Commerce and town officials “some exciting news,” the completion of “the first step in my succession plan by selling my company, in business here for 75 years under various names. He made clear that he and all of his team will stay. The name has already changed.

 “We are eagerly looking forward to beginning the company’s next chapter with such a great new partner.”

He told the Chamber, where he is on the advisory committee, that the reason for the change “is not for lack of business, or an interest in retiring, or ill health, etc. The reason: This is the first phase of a multiyear exit strategy.

“We did not offer to sell; rather, we handpicked our successor company. We met with them for well over a year and carefully orchestrated a strategic alliance that would position us to move to the next level.”

'An amazing company'

The transfer, which took effect July 9, is clear: When you go to Gibson Sotheby website, its Arlington office phone number is that of Bowes's headquarters on Mass. Ave.

In the letter, Bowes calls Gibson Sotheby “an amazing company. They are the No. 1, Massachusetts-based real estate company and the No. 4 overall in sales in the state.” He wrote that it has 23 offices and nearly 300 agents.

“We could not be more pleased with this new relationship,” he wrote. “The national and international reputation of the Sotheby’s organization and the programs, personnel, technology and training offered by Gibson SIR will be a major advantage to our sales team and all our clients.

“Day to day, life will be quite normal. Same office, same management team and same sales team. We will continue doing all the things that we have done well for so very long, except that this new alliance will allow us to add a new dimension in value to our entire operation.”

In an interview, Bowes, 73, said he started selling real estate in 1969.

He said he began talks with Gibson Sotheby in February 2019 after his accountant asked him about a succession plan. With no heirs to take over and no desire to retire, the negotiations led to the agreement reached July 9. 

Bowes Real Estate is reported as dating from 1945 because of its connection to earlier companies, including Pennell & Thompson.

Bowes Real Estate logo

Market-share leader

Known as "Arlington's Hometown Real Estate Company," Bowes Real Estate was established in 1945 in Arlington and has long been its market-share leader. Now in its 76th business year, the firm specializes in residential sales in Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, Lexington, Medford, Somerville, Watertown, Winchester and Woburn.

Part of the Real Living Real Estate franchise network, the firm took top honors in the 2019 QE Awards, which recognizes the top real estate offices in service quality and customer satisfaction by independent evaluator, Quality Service Certification Inc.

In its own announcement, Gibson Sotheby said it is expanding into the Arlington residential real estate marketplace with the acquisition of Bowes Real Estate, “giving the brokerage strengthened foothold in the suburbs west of Boston.”

The acquisition adds more than 40 sales professionals and one office to Gibson Sotheby's International Realty's unified network of associates serving the region. Representing the firm's second acquisition in 2020, the union marks the 23rd office for Gibson Sotheby's, which acquired MetroWest real estate brokerage Benoit Mizner Simon & Co. in January.

A Gibson Sotheby news release said Bowes associates will adopt the new firm's innovative and strategic marketing programs, exclusive media partnerships, a global referral network, an exclusive technology suite and access to a worldwide referral network spanning 72 countries and territories.

March 20, 2018: Chamber honors town's best in business in '18

This extended news announcement was published Saturday, July 11, 2020, and updated July 12.