SPOTLIGHT ON: Sander Koudijs
Mary Prenon | November 2019
HGAR Affiliate of the Year
When Sander Koudijs first came to the U.S. from Holland at age 11, he couldn’t speak a word of English. Today, he is a successful business partner with The Great American Title Agency in White Plains and the 2019 recipient of HGAR’s 2019 “Affiliate of Year” award.
“I was definitely surprised,” he admitted. “When they were reading the description of the winner, I had no idea it was me until they mentioned golf. Then I put two and two together!”
Koudijs was honored for all of his support to the association over the years, including sponsorships of various events and hands-on involvement with the Hudson Gateway Realtor Foundation Fundraising Committee.
“I really have to thank Bonnie Koff, our Realtor of the Year, and Donald Arace of Hudson United Mortgage for getting me involved with the foundation,” he noted. “I had been used to just writing checks, but once I saw all of the work the foundation had done, I wanted to be part of it.”
A regular at foundation check presentations, Koudijs, along with Koff, have also sponsored a cottage at The Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry. Additionally, both have devoted time visiting with the children there “I lost my sister to cancer two years ago, and it made me realize the importance of giving back and living life to the fullest,” he revealed. “I’ve also met a lot of new people and formed some great friendships.”
Koudijs, who had worked in the title business since 2008, formed The Great American Title Agency in 2013 with John Hughes and the late Jim Maloney. “Jim and I worked together in the past and John had been a mutual client,” he said. “We believed that creating our own firm would allow us to provide better customer service to our clients.”
No stranger to real estate, Koudijs became a Realtor in 1999 and worked with Century 21 Royal in Scarsdale as an associate broker. He remained there for nine years before switching to the title business. “I always tell people that I wanted my weekends back,” he quipped. “Actually, I had made a lot of connections and it was just a natural transition. Working in real estate gave me a good understanding of how to help agents with their business.”
His business management degree from Hartwick College in upstate New York also proved resourceful as he and his business partners began to grow The Great American Title Agency.
In his spare time, Koudijs loves playing golf, and fully admits that he plays whenever he gets the opportunity. He has traveled to golf courses throughout the U.S., as well as in the Caribbean, Ireland, England, Belgium and of course, his homeland of Holland. “I love being outside and also enjoy the comradery,” he added.” Plus, you can always play golf with anyone—it’s a great way to get to know people.”
Because golf was a big part of his family, Koudijs was introduced to the game at a young age. “I started playing golf with my dad when I was just 13,” he recalled. “I’ve always been interested in the game because my grandfather taught golf professionally.”
It was his father’s business that brought Koudijs to the U.S., settling first in New Canaan, CT. “It’s hard to believe I couldn’t speak any English back then, and the first few months were difficult,” he said “But kids picks things up quickly and going to English-speaking schools helped a lot.”
Later, while Koudijs attended boarding school, his family relocated to England, Saudi Arabia, and then Belgium, where he finished high school. After his father retired, the family moved back to the U.S. Today, he’s a White Plains resident, while his parents reside in Florida. “I talk to them all the time, and we often speak Dutch,” he said. “I still follow the Dutch national soccer team so whenever I’m wearing orange, you know that Holland is playing!”
Koudijs also devotes much of his free time to his children – Alex, 25, Andrew, 23, Gregory, 14 and Barbara, 12.
“I’m very fortunate to have such a great family and friends, and I’m so honored to be in the company of people like Bonnie Koff and Nick Wolff,” he said of the HGAR “Realtor of the Year” and “Edward I. Sumber Memorial Award” winner. “I work with Bonnie on the foundation and I have worked with Nick before so it’s almost like coming back full circle.”
His only regret is not coaching more people in the pronunciation of his last name. “It’s just one of those names that are constantly mispronounced,” he explained. “I just tell people to think about two cows playing dice: ‘Cow-Dice.’ And that’s how you say it!”