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Growing an Inspired Company: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties

Nov 10, 2018 by

Dan Forsman, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties

Nov18_BHHS_Georgia_Cover_300x420_300dpiHaving battled through the new-homes collapse during the recession, Atlanta-based Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties now stands as the area’s premier provider of residential real estate services. Thanks to a series of strategic moves—including tapping into the power of a world-renowned brand—CEO Dan Forsman has led the firm and its agents to a position of strength, and readied it for future growth.

At the root of it all? The firm’s culture.

“We’re a culture that embraces going to the next level and understanding your ‘why,’” says Forsman. “We’re trying to live a vibrant and inspirational life to help people make the right choice when buying or selling a home.”

Find out more about Forsman’s inspired formula for success in this exclusive interview.

Maria Patterson: Dan, would you please begin by giving us a snapshot of the current state of the company?
Dan Forsman:
The mindset of the company is very strong. We’re globally affiliated with the world-class Berkshire Hathaway name, and we’re locally positioned within HomeServices, where each CEO gets a large degree of operating autonomy. We’re a very well-integrated company, with a strong presence in the new homes and corporate relocation segments of the market, and we’re actively growing our luxury market presence. Core services is a big part of our offering for consumers. We’re trying to mirror the market and be innovative by serving the diverse needs of the various people who are buying property here. Since becoming Berkshire Hathaway, we’ve also grown our luxury business—it’s part of the persona and image of our brand. We’re an internationally known and affiliated company that operates effectively in a variety of market segments.

MP: Your firm has come a long way since the downturn…
DF:
We were one of the few companies in Atlanta that made it through the Great Recession. Going into the recession, the company was No. 6 in the market. When it was over, we were a beat-up No. 1.

After the recession, there was a lot of distrust and confusion on the consumer front. They had been burned, and RESPA came along and restructured all things mortgage, but we figured it out. Our current partnership with Prosperity Home Mortgage has seen us push capture toward 25 percent, with title capture exceeding 53 percent. Our journey to provide consumers a one-stop shopping experience is on track. Giving the consumer convenience and time is providing them with more of what they want and expect.

MP: So how many offices and agents does the firm currently have?
DF:
We have almost 1,700 agents in 26 offices.

MP: What are current market conditions like, and what challenges are you currently facing?
DF:
Atlanta has become an international city that’s attracting a lot of people who are paying higher than average price points. Within the city, the market is strong, and slightly better than last year for units; volume is up 8 percent. Prices are rising in areas with low inventory and high demand. The biggest challenge is lack of inventory for the first-time homebuyer and medium-priced segment under half a million. We’re meeting that challenge with new homes, where we have an incredibly successful division. That’s helping the company in many ways, but we can’t build new homes fast enough to offset the lack of inventory. And those costs are rising; labor and raw materials are up significantly.

MP: What is your mindset when it comes to growth?
DF:
Our approach to growth has been primarily to grow organically and create a vibrant culture of agent success and productivity, and offer the consumer diversified services, such as new homes, mortgage, title, insurance, property management, luxury, commercial, etc. We have a sales and marketing culture here, and our goals are to continue to grow and be the market leader, to serve the consumer and continue to innovate.

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MP: What makes your firm different from other large real estate firms?
DF:
I would have to tell you it’s our culture. We have a culture that embraces going to the next level and understanding your “why,” and trying to live a vibrant and inspirational life to help people make the right choice in buying or selling a home. We’re consistently messaging our people in regard to the fact that prospecting, setting appointments and building rapport are critical.

MP: How do you create this culture of inspiration, so to speak?
DF:
Our weekly video series, Real Estate Redefined, focuses on leveraging your “why.” Commission sales is a hard job, so anything we can do to help people be more productive, inspired and intentional is important. At our firm, we innovate faster, and we say yes before no. We take a couple of international trips a year, spend a week at Tom Ferry’s Summit and go to Buffini and Mike Ferry events, all of which we’re doing to stay on the leading edge of where the agent’s mindset needs to be. I’m also personally being coached. We’re constantly trying to disrupt the status quo and be inspired at both the agent and leadership level. We’re part of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices franchise system and are plugged into the “forever brand” and “forever agent” mindset.

MP: It sounds like agents feel really supported at your firm…
DF:
In a world where there’s so much out there today, we try to make the complex simple and give tools and information to agents in bite-sized chunks so they can focus on the things they need to be successful. Every agent runs their business a little bit differently. Everyone has to build a tech-enabled database, be a great prospector, have a geographic farm and commit to doing mega open houses. If you do those four things, you’ll have an awesome career. We want to support the forever agent and brand mindset.

MP: Tell us more about your video series.
DF:
We do three video series: Real Estate Redefined; Good To Know; and From The Field Friday. Real Estate Redefined is designed to be inspirational, informational and motivational for the real estate community. The Good To Know series shows how to utilize our tools in bite-sized segments. From The Field Friday showcases agents at the company who share a system, tool or strategy that’s working for their business. These videos are sent to the whole company, boosted on Facebook and other social media platforms, distributed through BombBomb, posted as a podcast and shared via other media channels. Our videos receive 25,000 to 35,000 views per episode. We utilize our in-house video production center with a green room and employ a full-time videographer.

MP: Why are these video series such an important part of your company strategy and overall culture?
DF:
We believe in constant, transparent communication with our associates and employees. It’s about making the complex simpler. We supplement our training with this real-world video content: agents from the field sharing success stories, and people you know showing you how to use the tools you have access to. And these videos help us connect with everyone. It’s not the man who makes the office; it’s the office that makes the man. If you use your office for good, people are drawn to your culture and vision.

MP: What is your overall approach to coaching and training?
DF:
We’re focused on partnering with leading coaches and trainers in the industry. We embrace them. We’ve partnered with Tom Ferry, Brian Buffini, David Knox and Mike Ferry, to name a few.

Forsman's weekly Real Estate Redefined video series provides informational and inspirational messaging to the real estate community.

Forsman’s weekly Real Estate Redefined video series provides informational and inspirational messaging to the real estate community.

We’ve also advanced a lot of our agent training online. We use Propel, a learning management system on our intranet. Propel offers hundreds of courses that agents can take; it’s all about getting productive quickly and having the right mindset. All of our new agents go through it, and it’s always there for them.

MP: What are some of your most important marketing strategies?
DF:
We host mega open houses—a term we got from Tom Ferry—twice a month. Mega open houses involve a very precise plan that includes door-knocking and inviting the neighbors ahead of time, doing a very coordinated marketing effort on Facebook to promote the listing, and putting the listing on Waze. We also run ads on Zillow, display ads on our extensive digital billboard network and implement effective follow-up campaigns. This is a great way to expose a property to buyers and find more listings in a community.

We also use Spacio, which is a paperless open house visitor registration system to follow-up with all the prospects. To give you an idea, through all of our coordinated mega open houses, we recently had more than 3,000 buyers or sellers walk through our homes on a weekend. That’s a lot of lead activity, and when they’re registered, it gives us a chance to use effective follow-up campaigns. Every Monday, our managing brokers have a sales and marketing WIG (Wildly Important Goals) call after the mega open house where agents share success stories.

Zillow videos are also really important. With the Zillow Premier Agent app, you can upload a walkthrough video of a listing. We also have a unique process for loading high-quality custom videos. If your listing has a video, Zillow prioritizes the listing first in their search results, and it’s the first thing a consumer sees. Our program doesn’t cost the agent anything, and 41 percent of our listings now have a video. That’s the highest for any brokerage in the country. When we find something that gives an agent an advantage, we try to replicate it over and over—plan, measure, execute and correct. This is common sense, but it isn’t always common practice.

We’re always testing something. Predictive analytics aren’t always that predictive, but we’re evaluating it. Artificial intelligence (AI) is moving to voice, so we did an Atlanta real estate skill for Amazon Alexa and Google Home. We don’t want to be on the bleeding edge, but we do want to be an early adopter.

MP: How do you make sure you’re staying ahead of the curve as a leader?
DF:
I surround myself with great, visionary leaders—like Tom Ferry and Gino Blefari—who keep my game up. I talk to people like Ron Peltier. On a recent trip to Argentina with my son, I met with the CEO of RE/MAX Argentina, Sebastian Sosa, who is facing a lot of the same challenges we are. One of the things you do to stay ahead is talk to amazing people and find out what they’re doing. Sharing what’s happening with our team helps us stay on the leading edge. I also love to read books. You have to keep the sword sharp.

BHHS_GA_luxury_board_p103

MP: What’s next for you and the firm…and the real estate industry at large?
DF:
Personally, I want to continue to live an inspired life. I’d like to see our company double in volume in the next three years. I think there’s a renaissance occurring with agent productivity. Technology is making the transaction less complicated for the agent and the consumer.

Whether it’s new competitors like Redfin or Knock, or the discounters or legacy brands and franchises, there’s a lot of opportunity in the space. There’s never been a time when I’ve been so excited about doing what I’m doing. I’ve never seen a time where the consumer is more anxious for that agent who isn’t just meeting, but exceeding, expectations—who has a strong understanding of market knowledge and delivers core services.

When Warren Buffett invested in the real estate space, he had a long-term vision of people continuing to buy and sell homes. With the Berkshire Hathaway brand name, we can do that. When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates. If you create a culture where people track what they do and report what they do—not in a negative way, but in a way where they embrace a business discussion and plan to go to the next level—great things can happen. Our culture pulls people in and gives them a place where they can contribute and be recognized and go to the next level.

For more information, please visit www.bhhsgeorgia.com.

Patterson_Maria_60x60Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at maria@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Growing an Inspired Company: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties appeared first on RISMedia.

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Real Estate’s Forever Brand: Gaining New Insight Into Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Aug 5, 2018 by

Gino Blefari, President & CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, on location at an exclusive Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Maui Properties listing—the Kona Peninsula Residence—at Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Editor’s Note: This is the cover story in the August issue of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine.

Aug18_BHHS_Cover_300x420_300dpiBerkshire Hathaway HomeServices President and CEO Gino Blefari recently hosted the brand’s Top 50 brokerage leaders and their guests at the company’s annual Berkshire Elite Circle conference, an exclusive leadership retreat held in June in Kona, Hawaii.

Against a backdrop of sandy beaches and tropical clime, Blefari summarized his immense respect for network members and his vision around Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ value proposition.

“Forever—as I define it—means enduring through all times, and just as the waves have endlessly crashed against the shores of Kona, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices will forever serve the lives, lifestyles and needs of our clients,” he said.

For Blefari, the concept of “forever” might be simply explained by a maritime metaphor, but its application to the brokerage network and respective franchisees is complex and all-encompassing.

When asked why he and Chris Stuart, chief operating officer at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, have dedicated such significant time to establishing Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices as the “forever real estate brand,” Blefari explains: “All of us with years of real estate experience have witnessed how for decades individual real estate agents advertise their desire to be accepted by consumers as their ‘real estate agent for life.’ Regrettably, this offering seldom materializes, becoming nothing more than an overused phrase.”

Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has said the brand will be around a century from now. “Berkshire Hathaway wants to be in businesses that are enduring,” he explained. “Real estate brokerages will be around 100 years from now and [Berkshire Hathaway] HomeServices will be around 100 years from now. It will always be a very important business.”

Executive Team (L to R): Allan Dalton, Senior Vice President of Research and Development, HSF Affiliates; Brian Peterson, CFO, HSF Affiliates; Teresa Palacios Smith, Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Strategies, HSF Affiliates; Gino Blefari, President & CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices; Rosalie Warner, Vice President of Network Services, HSF Affiliates; Chris Stuart, COO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices; Michael Jalbert, Senior Vice President of Global Sales, HSF Affiliates

Executive Team (L to R): Allan Dalton, Senior Vice President of Research and Development, HSF Affiliates; Brian Peterson, CFO, HSF Affiliates; Teresa Palacios Smith, Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Strategies, HSF Affiliates; Gino Blefari, President & CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices; Rosalie Warner, Vice President of Network Services, HSF Affiliates; Chris Stuart, COO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices; Michael Jalbert, Senior Vice President of Global Sales, HSF Affiliates

According to Blefari, the more consumers recognize and respect a real estate brand—and the brokerages that bear its name—as representing their needs forever, the more significant meaning will be placed on the concept of a “real estate agent for life.”

“Brokers and brands in general, while succeeding in creating transactional value, have fallen short in their attempts to establish lifelong value with consumers,” he says. “To create lasting, forever value within a brand or brokerage means doing a whole lot more.”

Specifically, Blefari believes brands and brokerages must persuade consumers that the company culture represents an extension of this forever concept, focused on nurturing the fundamental role of an agent as a trusted advisor who extends value, skills and advice not only before or after a transaction, but also throughout a client’s entire life.

“As seasons change, as families grow and as children leave the nest, lifestyle needs evolve,” says Blefari. “A forever real estate agent understands that the concept of home is predicated on the many changes life can bring and it doesn’t start—or end—with the transaction. That’s what we want consumers to associate with every single sales professional who carries our Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices name.”

It’s a weighty task to imbue the forever title on a fast-growing network of nearly 46,000 agents working in almost 1,400 offices nationwide (with an expanding global presence), but if anyone is up to the challenge, it’s Blefari and his team.

“Change begins with solid leadership,” he says. “And we happen to have the best leaders in the business guiding our forever brand.”

A Leader Leads Forever
To truly execute a forever vision requires immense insight, inspiration and innovation from all those responsible for turning “forever” into “for real.” At the top of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ command sits Blefari, who understands that great leadership means holding team members accountable for the particular facet of “forever” they have committed to accomplishing.

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“A forever-focused team functions much like a team of Olympic rowers,” explains Blefari. “To move steadily forward and win the race, each member must be acutely aware of the strengths and weaknesses of those around them and work to achieve a kind of synchronicity that’s almost poetic in its perfection.”

Blefari, with more than 30 years of industry experience, is no stranger to navigating waters both smooth and choppy. His success is the kind many write books about; he began as a golf course manager turned award-winning real estate agent, and later, founded Silicon Valley, Calif.-based Intero Real Estate Services, which became one of the fastest-, organically-growing companies in the history of real estate. At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, he’s a hands-on leader, fostering a culture of outstanding performance and accountability by leveraging his operational expertise and experience.

Every Thursday evening, tens of thousands receive Blefari’s “Thoughts on Leadership,” a rundown of his weekly travels and the inspiration they bring. A voracious audio book and podcast listener, Blefari has taken his leadership lessons to implement an entire method of operation that every team member at his organization follows. Framed after the best-selling book “The 4 Disciplines of Execution,” team members focus on Wildly Important Goals, or WIGs; act on their lead measures; keep a compelling scoreboard; and create a cadence of accountability. Blefari himself participates on departmental WIG calls, where members announce their WIG progress and set commitments for the upcoming week.

It’s a well-oiled machine of process, procedure, time management, accountability and execution at the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices headquarters—and it has resulted in tremendous growth. Blefari is the first to admit it’s still a work in progress, but tremendous strides have been made, especially in sales.

Top-quality brokerages join the network with a regular rhythm, network firms acquire and merge with market leaders to expand their reach, and through careful consultation, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network brokerages are increasing profitability at impressive rates.

With a sharp focus on growth, Blefari has for two years mentored a group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brokerages called the “Mavericks,” and guided these companies to achieve new levels of success.

The original Mavericks group, which is made up of nine Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network brokerages, (there are plans to expand to a second Mavericks group in 2019), saw an overall 159 percent jump in bottom line, pre-tax profit. Since the group began in December 2015—and up until December 2017—the top five best-performing Mavericks brokerages saw a 4.3 times rise in pre-tax profit, corresponding to 329 percent growth in profit; followed by 4.3 times, corresponding to 328 percent growth in profit; 3.3 times, corresponding to 230 percent growth in profit; 2.6 times, corresponding to 164 percent growth in profit; and 2.5 times, corresponding to 127 percent growth in profit, respectively.

Stuart_Pic&PQ_p33“I don’t think there are very many companies that can say in two years, ‘I’ve more than doubled or I’ve more than tripled or I’ve more than quadrupled my pre-tax profit,” says Blefari. “And keep in mind, these brokerages were all good operators to begin with, but can now say that they’ve done just that.”

Executing a Forever Vision
Growth at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices isn’t just a result of more diligently operated network brokerages; it’s also empowered by the tools and systems Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices provides. Leading the technology and marketing charge is Stuart, who understands that forever means being the most innovative and integrative brand in the industry.

“We do not need to be obsessed with disruption,” he explains. “We need to be preemptive regarding the erosion of our value and create an environment where network agents can serve their clients in a way no mobile search ever can.”

Stuart helms these initiatives with a strong tech and growth background. Previously, he was part of the executive leadership team at Intero Real Estate Services, and prior to his time at Intero, co-founded a mortgage brokerage firm that grew to become one of the largest in Northern California. He also built and oversaw Silicon Valley-based teams at Oracle, and was responsible for creating some of the very first internet-based applications in arenas ranging from commerce and customer service to knowledge management and inventory control.

Today, his extensive technology and business development pedigree is put to work, and Stuart sits in the driver’s seat of the brand’s innovation.

Under his watch, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is now working with some of the most forward-thinking companies in the world—Salesforce, Adobe and VaynerMedia—to enhance the brokerage network with unmatched technological, digital and predictive sophistication.

First, there’s a new website project underway that combines the power of an industry-leading content management system, a Fortune 500 development experience, best-in-class property search tools and responsive design to offer, as Stuart describes, “something for everyone.”

Teresa_Pic&PQ_p34“Our new website utilizes artificial intelligence to deliver content specific to a user’s interests and persona type,” he says. “An investor needs to know different information from a luxury buyer or first-time buyer, and our website will use machine learning to serve a user exactly the content he or she wants to digest.”

Concurrently, network brokers, offices, teams and agents will have the ability to create their own experience within the system—vendors and apps can be added or removed in the plug-and-play environment—while still maintaining the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand identity.

“Being a forever brand means creating an online experience that’s dynamic and valuable,” says Stuart, who is also at the forefront of a project that will create more transparency and data portability among industry tools and systems.

“We’re creating a central data hub that allows Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, our vendors and our franchisee’s vendors to retrieve data from other platforms and understand the cause-and-effect relationship between them,” he says.

It’s a philosophy Stuart staunchly abides by: Every system, tool and program must speak to one another, and be measured, then analyzed, in a data-driven approach to growth.

Even brand marketing initiatives with new ad partner VaynerMedia are meticulously examined by an expansive, experienced team to determine what’s working and what’s not, then figure out why.

VaynerMedia, founded by social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk, is widely regarded as one of the most cutting-edge marketing firms on the planet. In conjunction with the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices team, VaynerMedia executives broke down the previous campaign, Good to Know, and transformed it into Good to Ask, a non-traditional, digital-centric marketing machine that uses highly advanced SEO, SEM and targeting strategies to send poignant ads to consumers most likely to connect.

“The digital-focused approach lets our team be more flexible than we would be with traditional media like TV or print,” says Vaynerchuk. “The brand is reaching more potential customers than ever before, but more importantly, the right people with a customized message.”

The crux of the campaign is high-quality content, delivered as long-form video vignettes, sleek visuals and informational takeaways. Since the campaign launched, the brand has garnered almost 180 million impressions across social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.

This innovative tactic to real estate marketing represents only one of many ways the brand is differentiating itself as a forever name.

“Forever also means being an all-inclusive leader,” says Teresa Palacios Smith, vice president of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Strategies at HSF Affiliates. Palacios Smith joined HSF Affiliates (which owns and operates the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices franchise network) in August 2017, tasked with overseeing the franchisor’s commitment to increasing diversity among its brokerage networks.

“We understand the importance of helping our network brokerages mirror the diversity of the communities they serve,” she says. “For us, ‘diversity’ is so much more than a catchphrase; it’s woven into the inclusive fabric of who we are as a brand, as a network and as professionals helping others achieve the dream of homeownership.”

Most recently, Palacios Smith received one of the first-ever RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker Awards, bestowed to several industry leaders at the National Association of REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Expo in Washington, D.C., earlier this year. Leaders who received the award exemplify an outstanding ability to garner positive headlines, a direct result of their effectiveness in creating change.

Gary Acosta, co-founder and chief executive officer of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) says, “I have no doubt that through her influence, the network will better service every single member of their respective communities and make them feel cared for, always.”

“Teresa is transforming the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network through her dedication to diversity,” says Jim Park, the national chairman emeritus for the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA).

“In the entire real estate industry, there is no greater ambassador for diversity and the empowerment of women in business than our own Teresa Palacios Smith,” says Blefari. “I have witnessed firsthand her incomparable efforts tied to inclusivity, diversity and gender equality for our network agents and the communities they serve.”

For the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brokerage network, “community” is an ever-expanding concept, especially as the brand grows both in America and across the globe. “It’s important for us to develop a deep understanding and respect for the businesses and cultures that distinguish all countries,” says Michael Jalbert, senior vice president of Global Sales for HSF Affiliates.

“Forever in the franchise sales arena means being highly selective of the brokerages that join our network and focusing on our global growth,” he says. Since joining the team in October 2017 after previous positions driving growth at major real estate brokerage networks, Jalbert has orchestrated impressive franchise transactions for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices that are helping to bring the forever brand to new markets.

“I’m delighted, yet not the least bit surprised, that prominent real estate brokerages are drawn to our brand,” says Jalbert. “Industry leaders near and far—and the markets they serve—recognize and appreciate the universal relevance of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Specifically, they understand how our brand, unlike any other in the real estate industry, represents prudent decisions and sage advice—and these brand promises transcend geography.”

Globally, Berlin became the brand’s first international stronghold in March with the launch of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Rubina Real Estate, an award-winning brokerage and recurrent honoree for Germany in the prestigious International Property Awards. In 2017, Rubina Real Estate was named “Best Real Estate Agency” and “Best Property Consultant (Marketing)” for all of Europe.

“Most brands are hyper-vigilant regarding recruiting and retention, whereas the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices culture is based on selection and development,” explains Jalbert. “That comes into play with franchise sales, because we attract brokerages that don’t want to just grow a little; they want to grow exponentially among a network of elite professionals and a team of strategic leaders.”

Karen_Pic&PQ_p35And Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices leaders aren’t just adept at creating forward-moving initiatives; they’re also experts at coordinating all projects to foster the kind of synergy necessary for sustainable progress.

“Forever means our core services are all in alignment,” says Karen Cain, director of Program Management Office at HSF Affiliates. “You can have a transformative vision and put together a strategic plan, but real success comes from putting a system in place, setting goals, holding team members accountable and, most importantly, executing on every single initiative until it’s complete.”

The execution of the mission that Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices be real estate’s forever brand also requires excellence in research and development.

“Selecting Allan Dalton to be senior vice president of Research and Development was essentially an inevitable decision based on his experience, skills, results and scholastic approach to real estate,” says Blefari.

“I can think of no one else who, in addition to being president and co-owner of a major regional brokerage, created the national marketing system for multiple brands,” he adds. “Then, to top it off, Allan was the chief executive officer of what at the time was the largest real estate website in the world, realtor.com®. Clearly, the combination of his off- and online experience and expertise within the real estate industry is second to none.”

Dalton, an author of several real estate industry books, including “Leveraging Your Links,” an examination of the role of social media marketing, brings to his position seminal observations.

“First, as an industry, we have been so-called farming for years, but planting the wrong seeds,” explains Dalton. “Specifically, as a transaction-to-transaction industry, we have been planting only seasonal and annual seeds, and Gino wants us to begin planting perennials, as well.”

Allan_Pic&PQ_p35And, he notes: “Presently, consumers often have only one doctor, lawyer, dentist or financial planner, yet divide their loyalty amongst multiple real estate professionals. Our research and development must mitigate against this long-standing consumer practice.”

Dalton believes that as part of the vision of forever, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network sales professionals must possess the skills and knowledge to create forever loyalty with their clients.

Currently, learning is given significant weight at the brokerage network, and Rosalie Warner, vice president of Network Service, ensures Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network sales professionals are armed with the knowledge to advise clients worldwide.

“Forever means growth and profitability based on consultative service and support,” says Warner, who oversees the Business Consulting and Global Network Training teams. “We challenge network brokers by asking them, ‘What do you do better than your competitors, and what do you do that none of your competitors do?’ Often, through our classes and consultation, they gain valuable ways to build that competitive edge.”

Warner says unlike other brand initiatives that are hurtling toward the digital, her team is out in the field daily, meeting face-to-face with agents and management to provide customized training, solutions and knowledge. “As we see models change, we’re right there changing along with them,” she says.

Her team isn’t just changing the game of real estate; they’re also writing the rules on how it’s played. For instance, Warner and leaders from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices meet several times each year with a group of millennial-age top producers. Named the REthink Council, these network agents share best practices, insights, challenges and wins that are then turned into videos, white papers and content for the network to digest.

“The REthink team brings a fresh perspective and makes us ask, ‘Are we doing something the way we’ve always done it because we’ve always done it that way, or because it’s the best way to do it?’” she says.

The question ultimately speaks to why Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices can live up to its enduring status. Firmly grounded by the strength of its storied Berkshire Hathaway Inc. heritage, the brand is unafraid of change and constantly anticipating the wave before it crashes ashore.

“We’re not a brand focused on just today or tomorrow,” says Blefari. “We see the waves before us, of course, but concentrate on the entire ocean, because like our Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand, it’ll be around forever.”

Melissa Kandel is director of Global Communications, PR and Digital Media for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. For more information, please visit www.berkshirehathawayhs.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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HomeServices of America: Delivering on Its Mission for 20 Years and Counting

Jun 3, 2018 by

Ron Peltier, CEO/Chairman, HomeServices of America

Editor’s Note: This is the cover story in the June issue of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine.

HSoA_June18_Cover_300x420What started with the simple yet ambitious mission to deliver the best possible homeownership experience to consumers in markets across America has today evolved into the nation’s second-largest full-service real estate brokerage firm, HomeServices of America. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018, the Minneapolis-based company’s history is decorated with a series of momentous accomplishments, including the continuing acquisition of market-leading firms strategically located across the country, joining forces with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and the now global expansion of its franchising arm, HSF Affiliates, to name just a few. But despite the inevitable challenges that come with extraordinary growth and the complexities of an unpredictable industry, HomeServices has, remarkably, stayed true to its roots and the commitment that started it all: supremely serving homeowners.

Priority One, Then and Now: The People
Arguably, the defining factor behind HomeServices’ consistent growth and rock-solid reputation over the years has been the steadfast leadership of Chairman and CEO Ron Peltier, and his relentless focus on the firm’s No. 1 priority: people.

“Our commitment to our customers and clients is to be the premier provider of homeownership services,” says Peltier. “We spend all of our time continuously improving the delivery of those services because at the end of the day, our success or failure is based on how the customer feels.”

This core belief is what has propelled HomeServices’ growth over two decades. “The focus on our people and their expertise is our secret sauce and has accounted for our acquisition appeal and market success,” says Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Dana Strandmo. “HomeServices’ culture is about serving our consumers, the agents and the risks they take every day, and the employees who support that effort.”

Alon_Chaver_p31As HomeServices’ Chief Information Officer Alon Chaver says, “HomeServices stands for something deeply meaningful, and I think that really speaks to people. We’ve taken a strong stand on doing right by our customers. Excelling in delivering homeownership services, while being kind, ethical and compassionate, are the key ingredients to our high-quality operation.”

Excelling at serving consumers is exactly what led to HomeServices’ full-service business model, another instrumental factor in its growth and longevity over 20 years. “We’re committed to our affiliated business model of providing mortgage, title, property and casualty insurance services, and to our franchising network,” says Strandmo. “Buying a home is tough; being able to provide full service has been central to our growth.”

HomeServices’ consistent commitment to service has also positioned it as a champion for agents and consumers. “While a lot of players are focused on monetizing data and information, we keep the consumer at the forefront,” says HomeServices of America Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Mike Warmka. “Agents and consumers are the two most essential elements of the transaction.”

Leadership_Team_p31

Carrying Out the Mission
In order to effectively serve real estate consumers, HomeServices created a strategy to deliver a full suite of premier real estate services through top real estate firms in leading markets around the country—a plan that resulted in growing from four brands in 1998 to more than 40 brands and counting in 2018.

“We wanted to create a national footprint with great companies in different markets that ascribed to the same culture and philosophy that we did,” explains Peltier. “We want to be the company that other good companies look to in order to secure their legacy.”

One of the first companies to join HomeServices in 1999 was Arizona-based Long Realty, now with 15 offices, serving Southern Arizona. Founded in 1926, affiliating with a franchise brand was not an option for the firm, says Long Realty CEO, and HomeServices President of the Central Region, Rosey Koberlein.

Rosey_Koberleine_p32“We joined HomeServices because it offered a business strategy where we could remain with our own identity, and that was critically important to us,” she explains. “And in all the years we’ve been part of HomeServices, the philosophy has stayed the same; we still get to run the company in the manner that works for Arizona, and I have the structure and foundation of this wonderful parent company.”

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties joined HomeServices in 2013, after searching for a partner that would understand that success in real estate is built around a trusted relationship, no matter how large the firm—even one as expansive as New England, Westchester, and New York Properties, with nearly 55 offices spanning New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

“Ron understands that real estate is a local business,” says the company’s President and CEO and Northeast Region President Candace Adams. “Even within the same company, you can have nuances by market that require local leadership. Houses are what we sell, but in the end, it’s about relationships, and it has to be local leadership to understand that.”

The ability to retain one’s local identity and leadership while being part of something larger has resulted in a long line of companies waiting to join the HomeServices fold.

“Ron has a waiting list of companies that want to affiliate with us,” says Strandmo. “These are businesses that care about their people, their culture and the services they provide, and they come to HomeServices because they know we’ll take good care of that going forward.”

Dana_Strandmo_p32At the end of the day, it all comes down to relationships and culture. “Everyone in the industry knows Ron, and everyone knows who HomeServices is and what we stand for,” says Warmka. “It’s no secret what we stand for as a brand and what Mr. Buffett stands for. It’s about reputation and integrity and doing the right thing.”

It All Starts at the Top
Talk to anyone at HomeServices and they will tell you that the firm’s consistent success and continued growth all starts with Peltier’s empowering and unwavering role as a leader.

“I’m a strong believer in people,” says Peltier. “I take a lot from sports—nothing good happens and you’re not going to be successful if you’re the only person making a difference. I’m a key proponent of finding great people and empowering them to do what they do best. Trying to micromanage or dictate is a recipe for failure, and, frankly, good people with real talent are going to reject that.”

Gino_Blefari_p34“For me, personally having Ron overseeing all that I do is extremely valuable,” confirms HSF Affiliates CEO Gino Blefari. “Although Ron could dictate what we do at HSF Affiliates, he instead mentors and guides me. HomeServices provides us with incomparable resources, stability and guidance.”

Peltier’s leadership style has fostered an environment of open communication throughout HomeServices, making it a key part of the company’s value proposition. “There’s this beautiful sharing of information,” says Koberlein. “I know I can call any one of my peers, anyone within HomeServices or Ron directly. That level of support and collaboration is what makes us unique as a national company.”

At Home With Female Leadership
Peltier’s unique ability to place complete trust in his executive team and local leaders stems from his confidence in choosing the best person for the job. At HomeServices of America, this has led to a strong cadre of female leadership throughout the firm, with numbers that defy typical real estate industry statistics at the management level. HomeServices boasts more than 20 female presidents and CEOs of companies and core service leaders, and more than 100 women with a variety of C-suite and executive titles.

What’s important to note is that this impressive contingent of female leaders at HomeServices was not the result of a diversity initiative or HR mandate, but simply happened organically, thanks to an inclusionary atmosphere that recognizes talent and affords opportunity to those who deserve it.

Candace Adams, president and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties, Westchester Properties and New York Properties; president of the Northeast Region, HomeServices

Candace Adams, president and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties, Westchester Properties and New York Properties; president of the Northeast Region, HomeServices

“Ron believes in and supports all sorts of talent, male and female,” explains Adams. “He created an environment that allowed for significant growth, where many young people have been promoted and given opportunities. And there have been more and more women who have positioned themselves to grow their careers and have been able to do so here.”

“Ron has this wonderful ability of always challenging you to be better, and he empowers you to do that,” says Koberlein. “He expects and wants you to be self-motivated, and that makes you want to be better.”

Koberlein

Koberlein

Adams agrees. “Ron believes in and trusts his leadership team and, therefore, he empowers them to make decisions. He provides the basic structure for them to do so, but doesn’t micromanage.”

Mary Lee Blaylock, president, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, and president of the West Coast Region, HomeServices, is a self-described “organic” product of HomeServices, starting at Edina Realty when she first received her real estate license in 1993 and rising through the ranks to start HomeServices Relocation in 2004. In 2014, Peltier asked her to make yet another jump and head the California brokerage operation.

Mary Lee Blaylock, president, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties; president of the West Coast Region, HomeServices

Mary Lee Blaylock, president, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties; president of the West Coast Region, HomeServices

“I grew up amidst the opportunity to work for Ron,” says Blaylock. “He afforded me opportunity after opportunity when I didn’t even know I was looking for them.”

“You have to let people blossom,” Peltier explains. “If you don’t do that, you’re wasting all that talent. People have a choice, particularly talented people. We’re working hard at trying to create a great company and an environment where people can deploy their skills and talents to help us execute our vision.”

Blaylock agrees. “As an industry, real estate has been dominated by male leaders for many years,” she says. “What’s unique about Ron and HomeServices is that there was never a question about male or female—it was about who had the right business acumen, work ethic and personal ability to drive the company to the next level. He doesn’t care if you’re green, purple, male or female. He wants you to drive the company forward.”

Fortunately, Adams sees the landscape for female leadership in real estate broadening across the board.

“This industry is open for female leadership,” she explains. “Women are putting themselves out there to seize those opportunities more than they did in the past. I think they’re willing and able and a little more determined than they were in the past.”

A Beacon Through the Downturn
This open approach to leadership and communication at HomeServices helped guide the company through the housing crisis, as well, positioning it as an industry thought leader for the long-term.

Mike_Warmka_p34“When the housing crisis hit, we didn’t suffer really egregious losses because of the financial discipline we had in place,” says Strandmo. “There were industry leaders calling Ron, and he was sharing some of the operational policies that helped us. Those people ended up being sellers down the road because of the friendship and trust that was developed.”

What’s more, HomeServices emerged from the housing crisis even stronger than before, thanks to the many invaluable lessons learned. One of those lessons, says Warmka, is that “you always have to be looking around the corner to see what’s coming. It doesn’t take much for the industry to change, but we want to be at the center of it when it does to ensure the longevity and viability of our brokers and agents, and for the long-term benefit of society and consumers.”

A History of Highlights
While surviving then thriving post-recession is certainly a monumental chapter in HomeServices’ history, there are many more to note. From acquiring some of the leading firms in the business and affiliating with the world-renowned Berkshire Hathaway, to branching into the franchise arena with HSF Affiliates, the HomeServices highlight reel is punctuated with many awe-inspiring moments.

While it’s hard to narrow down the long list of highlights, Peltier points to a few standouts, starting with the company’s ability to experience year-over-year growth throughout its 20-year history, and, of course, joining the Berkshire Hathaway family.

“Being part of Berkshire Hathaway is one of the biggest highlights in our history,” he explains. “The fact that Warren Buffett continues to encourage the growth and evolution of our business model is, to me, the ultimate compliment. Everything he stands for—honesty, integrity, value, service—are the very values that we try to project, and I believe those are the values that consumers want when dealing in the homeownership space.”

Peltier also sees the extension of the Berkshire Hathaway brand into the real estate space as a major milestone in the HomeServices of America journey. “Almost six years ago, we saw the importance of having a global brand, so we purchased the Prudential Real Estate network and received approval to use Mr. Buffett’s brand in commerce for the first time in Berkshire Hathaway history. Our entry into franchising and the use of Berkshire Hathaway as a brand was clearly a major milestone.”

Writing the Next Chapter
As HomeServices of America prepares for the next leg of its journey, it looks toward continued growth, including international expansion through HSF Affiliates, which recently announced its first global franchisee: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Rubina Real Estate in Germany. Technology and innovation will continue to play an increasingly important role, but in a responsible, balanced way.

“We’re continuing to develop our platform so that it integrates best-in-class technology into a coherent service experience,” says Chaver. “We’re also leveraging a lot of deep learning, advanced AI and analytics to provide the right data to our consumers, agents and tech vendors so they can interoperate and cooperate better.”

As the industry becomes increasingly data-driven, HomeServices will take a leadership role in the proper usage of that data. “Right now, the most significant challenges facing the industry are issues around data and information,” explains Strandmo. “At HomeServices, we’re vigilant about adhering to procedures for handling customer information. We need to get that figured out as an industry. We need to act responsibly.”

Technology aside, what will ultimately propel HomeServices toward continued success and longevity will be an adherence to its mission and values.

“The vision and core principles continually guide me through every local approach I have,” says Blaylock. “If we really enhance and help each other from an organizational, local and individual standpoint, then there isn’t anything we can’t achieve.”

As Peltier says, “This is not a short-term play for us. There is no exit strategy. We plan on being a key player in this industry for a very long time. Our ongoing focus is to be a premier provider of homeownership services in every market we’re in. People will keep buying and selling homes, and they’re going to want it done by people who are honest and ethical. We’re up for that challenge.”

For more information, please visit www.homeservices.com.

Patterson_Maria_60x60Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at maria@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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A Commitment to Community and Professionalism: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties

Nov 18, 2017 by

Ramping Up for the Next Generation of Real Estate

For the ownership team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties, it’s all about focused growth—and maintaining a company culture that thrives on performance and professionalism. The company, which reported volume last year of over $ 1.5 billion, has grown its agent population by nearly one-fourth in the last three years alone, from 650 to more than 800. “Our approach to building the company is to focus on people who can make a full-time commitment to the industry, their customers, and our company,” says Chairman and CEO Bill Keleher. “We excel at helping this type of individual reach the next level of growth both personally and professionally.” In this exclusive interview, Keleher and company President Chris Brown discuss the team’s singular strategy: a collaborative, people-centric culture that inspires ongoing quality, performance and innovation for the next generation of real estate.

Barbara Pronin: Let’s begin with a recap of your individual career paths, and how you got on this present road together.
Bill Keleher:
I grew up in Kansas City, Mo., went to college in Virginia and then came to New Jersey for a month to visit my two best friends in Westfield. When I decided to stay longer, I got a temporary job in a clothing store where I met a couple of young men who were in the real estate business with a local firm. After getting to know them, I made a decision to try real estate, as well, and 48 years later, I’m still in New Jersey and still in the real estate business.

I began in sales in a small office in Westfield, went on to become a manager, sales trainer, regional manager and finally president of the 12-office company that I ultimately purchased. I sold that company in 1986 to Schlott REALTORS® and worked for them until I had the opportunity to purchase Prudential New Jersey Realty from Prudential Real Estate in 1991. In the ’90s, I acquired numerous other small Prudential companies in New Jersey, and in January 2001, I merged the company with Prudential Pioneer (Seymour and Nancy Litwin’s company) and Prudential Brown-Fowler (Chris Brown’s company), forming Prudential New Jersey Properties. Steve Janett joined our ownership team in November 2006 when we acquired his company, Prudential Janett Real Estate.

Chris Brown: I, on the other hand, grew up in real estate, but swore I’d never get into this hectic business because I saw my dad always running out to his next appointment. So, in 1980, I graduated with a business and forestry degree from the University of Vermont and went to work for the Aspen Ski Corporation in Colorado. Returning to New Jersey that summer, but on my way to Norway to pursue a relationship with Brit, a girl I had met there during my junior year of college, my father convinced me to get my real estate license. I actually did, and soon after, sold my first house for $ 350,000, making more in that one transaction than I had made the entire year living in Aspen. Not a bad start in 1983, and it convinced me to stay East and launch my real estate career at my dad’s company, where I sold houses for many years and took on ever-increasing responsibilities. Brit and I married in 1984, and I was appointed manager of our Summit office four years later. I held that position until the untimely death of my father in 1994, when I purchased the company from his estate. In the mid-’90s, Bill, Seymour, Nancy, Steve and I came together to form a successful mortgage joint venture, which gave us the working relationship needed to later form our current company and ownership team.

BP: When and why did you become Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, and how does the brand help support your success?
BK:
At the end of 2011, Brookfield Residential Property Services, now BGRS, acquired the Prudential Real Estate Franchise Network and subsequently sold a controlling interest in the network to HomeServices of America. In 2014, we had the opportunity to join the new brand that HomeServices had created, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. It was a natural fit for us to align with the prestigious Warren Buffett brand. It’s unique in the real estate space, one of the most widely recognized and respected brands on earth, and it gave us, among other things, a tremendous opportunity to grow our company through recruitment and acquisitions, and also expand our footprint in the luxury home market.

CB: There’s a distinct energy inherent in the Berkshire Hathaway brand, and it delivers on every level in terms of innovation and support.

BP: How would you describe your positioning in the marketplace today? What is it that sets you apart from the competition?
BK:
We are one of the leading real estate companies in the New Jersey marketplace, the largest independently owned and operated Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices affiliate in the state, and a member of the prestigious Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Circle—and its predecessor, the Prudential Real Estate Gibraltar Circle—since their inception. Our overall closed volume last year was over $ 1.5 billion. The key to that kind of success, I think, is really what sets us apart: our total commitment to the professionalism of our agents, and their total commitment to excellence.

CB: Communication is a good part of that. We see ourselves as being large enough to provide our people with everything they need to succeed, but small enough so that every voice counts. Our ownership team is never up there in an ivory tower. We’re all accessible, involved in the day-to-day, and we build relationships with each and every agent. We have a caring culture, competitive in the very best sense, and that’s a valued and motivating asset.

BP: How, specifically, have you been able to grow the company as you have?
CB:
It starts with the people we hire. Whether new or experienced, we are only interested in full-time, professional commitment—and because of our reputation as a company of achievers, many new and experienced agents seek us out. We are willing, able and happy to provide personalized training, coaching, and support, but only to those with an unwavering commitment to be the best.

BP: What is it that attracts agents to you, and why do they stay?
BK:
They are attracted, primarily, by our standing in the industry as a whole and our strong presence in the many communities we serve. They know we want and expect the best from our agents, and that we operate in ways that inspire success—and they want to be a part of that. For our part, we try to make very sure that the people we bring on are truly a good fit with our culture.

CB: And they stay with us, basically, because we deliver on our promises. People enjoy and thrive when working with successful colleagues and mentors, where success is celebrated, great training is ongoing, and support is available whenever needed.

BP: What is your approach to coaching and training?
BK:
We’ve been able to augment our own effective training systems with proven Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices strategies—and as president of the company, Chris has stepped up in the area of coaching and training. He hired a vice president of Learning and Development who is building a great curriculum. It’s very personalized and goal-oriented—for example, working with an agent who’s ready to navigate the leap from $ 5 million in production to $ 10 million.

CB: And at the branch level, every one of our managers is focused on coaching and training. They are very hands-on, with specific curricula designed for agents at every level of experience. Success is a partnership, and we respect that and encourage it. With our agents, as with our customers, we understand the value of face-to-face. We’re very much into building relationships, making “warm calls,” and maximizing the value of one’s personal sphere of influence.

BP: What’s your strategy for marketing the firm to serve the needs of prospects and clients?
BK:
We have an excellent chief marketing officer who understands our core belief in building customer relationships and doing so in a variety of ways, from social media engagement across many platforms to proprietary market reports to a full luxury marketing system, and more.

CB: Part of our visibility in the community comes from our longstanding commitment to the Sunshine Kids, a national organization devoted to helping children with cancer. We “adopted” the Sunshine Kids years ago as a Prudential franchise and we support them to this day, having raised over $ 1.5 million from our offices’ local efforts, our annual corporate golf outing and generous donations from the community. Steve Janett, our COO, spearheads our committee and is committed to reaching our annual Sunshine Kids goal by working with and supporting our office liaisons, as well as chairing our annual golf event.

BP: How do you stay ahead of the curve on technology, online marketing and social media?
BK:
We provide our agents with the cutting-edge tools they need to compete in an aggressive marketplace. We are engaged heavily in digital marketing, and we empower our agents to use our tools as touchpoints to remain top-of-mind with their spheres of influence. We have e-marketing campaigns and automated systems, and tech gurus who keep us on track—but we’re also aware of just how vividly a personal phone call stands out.

CB: It is always a mix of technology and personal touch. Our top four agents last year closed some 200 transactions and did $ 80 to $ 100 million in volume—and much of that was accomplished by reaching out and staying in touch in the most traditional ways. Others have embraced our online technologies including our CRM, our back-office business center and our brand’s resource center. We also encourage agents to work with industry thought leaders, such as Brian Buffini and Tom Ferry, who both deliver different messaging and strategies for agent growth.

BP: What’s on track for the future of the firm?
BK:
Our goal is to be sure that every buyer and seller with whom we work has the best possible customer experience, because we know that is the basis for growth. So, we continue to look for the best agents to represent our banner—and we are always open to new opportunities, including strategic acquisitions, that will help expand our statewide footprint.

CB: Changes to our industry and growing demands from today’s sophisticated consumer seem to be coming at a faster and faster pace. It’s a critical balance to achieve—embracing new technologies while honoring what made us successful in the first place: integrity, trust, experience, and an overarching commitment to excellence. Millennials are the future, and there is a sharp focus on understanding what makes them tick—I know, I have two. While having great technology plays an important part in attracting them to our company, treating them with respect and earning their trust is crucial to keeping them engaged. It’s still a people business, after all. That’s why our brand is more important than ever. In this day of new and emerging business models, the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand is a promise of the highest standard, and it compels us to constantly reinvent ourselves in order to remain relevant and valuable to today’s real estate professional and our buyers and sellers.

For more information, please visit www.bhhsnj.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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HomeServices of America, Inc. Acquires Houlihan Lawrence

Jan 17, 2017 by

HomeServices of America, Inc. has acquired Houlihan Lawrence, adding the firm’s 30 offices and 1,300 sales associates in the northern suburbs of New York City, the company announced on Tuesday. Houlihan Lawrence President and CEO Stephen Meyers and Managing Principal Chris Meyers will continue to lead the firm, which will retain its name, while Chairwoman Nancy Seaman will step down. The regional leader, which ranked No. 15 in RISMedia’s 2016 Power Broker Report for sales, closed $ 6.7 billion in sales volume last year.

“We are joining an organization known for its strength and stability,” says Stephen Meyers. “Our partnership secures the future of the firm without changing the exceptional culture that is core to our storied brand. We are thrilled with this announcement and the many benefits it brings to our clients and agents.”

“Nancy, Stephen and Chris, together with their team of sales managers and agents, have built an extraordinary organization and exemplify a level of expertise and leadership that is second-to-none in the real estate business today,” says Ron Peltier, chairman and CEO of HomeServices. “Their culture of integrity and innovation closely aligns with our corporate vision and our emphasis on customer value and results.”

“When you combine the incredible strength of our people and the remarkable history of our success with the unsurpassed financial stability of HomeServices, there is no limit to what we can accomplish,” says Chris Meyers.

“The acquisition of Houlihan Lawrence by Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeServices of America is the beginning of a new stage of growth for the local entity as well as the the entire Berkshire national network,” says John Featherston, president, CEO and publisher of RISMedia, noting HomeServices of America’s prior acquisitions of regional leaders. “HomeServices of America’s system of acquisition is well-respected, and they have done an incredible job of retaining sales associates and management. I expect the same will happen with Houlihan Lawrence.”

“This is an important transaction to HomeServices,” says Peltier, “and we are very proud to welcome Houlihan Lawrence to the HomeServices family.”

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Houlihan Lawrence serves Dutchess, Fairfield, Orange, Putnam, Ulster and Westchester counties in Connecticut and New York.

For more information, please visit HomeServices.com.

Stay tuned to RISMedia.com for more developments.

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