1000watt Blog

Writings about real estate, branding, marketing, media and technology from the principals of 1000watt.

Thoughts on Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

As you probably know by now, Brookfield and HomeServices of America have launched a new real estate brand: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

That’s right: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

A real estate brand kissed with the imprimatur of America’s most respected businessman.

This is a big deal.

Get some background at VendorAlley, Inman, or check out the BHHS site.

Here are some quick thoughts:

  • One might wonder “WTF?” at Brookfield giving away more than half their investment in U.S. real estate franchising less than a year after buying Prudential. But they paid only $110 million for Pru – a steal – and now have a very clear growth path. Looks like a savvy move to me.
  • The brand positioning will be interesting. The Berkshire Hathaway name has never, to my knowledge, been stamped on one of its operating companies. It’s tied very closely to the personage of Warren Buffet, but if I were to place it among its competitors I’d say it’s in the upper mid-market range – around the space in which Coldwell Banker sits. It’s got an unpretentious gravitas to it.
  • This new brand launches with a significant relocation operation. Brookfield, which had tons of experience in relo outside the U.S., picked up Pru’s relo operation as part of its purchase last year. This is huge for selling franchises.
  • There are many existing Prudential affiliates that are deeply invested in the Pru brand, but I think most will jump at the opportunity to associate with Berkshire Hathaway. I’ve heard from some already, and they’re enthused. A conversion process that could have taken a decade will be collapsed into months.
  • HomeServices of America, and an owner/operator of brokerages, has been very active in the Great Syndication Debate of the past couple years, coming down hard on the side of broker control and even threatening MLS defection. I don’t think this will transfer to the new franchise network however. Many of the Prudential brokerages have independent deals with the portals and it’s darn-near impossible to enforce an official listings stance with franchisees.

Many other wrinkles to explore here, but that’s it for now. A good day for real estate!

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11 Responses to “Thoughts on Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices”

  1. Gene Montemore says:

    I love it. The “upper mid-market range” is exactly our area. In Scottsdale/Paradise Valley/Phoenix, it’s going head to head with the Sotheby’s brand.

    I started to wonder last night if they would toss the BH brand into the ring, but thought that would be too bold for someone like Warren Buffet to do, but that’s exactly what’s going on. If there is a large bet that real estate is back, Warren Buffet just went all-in today.

    I’ve been with Real Living Success in Scottsdale for a year, and the office has been open for three, and although I rely on myself more than my office/franchise, I always get the “who is Real Living?” question, especially in Arizona, and frankly it’s tough to answer sometimes to prospects who don’t understand that the franchise isn’t the one on the ground marketing their home.

    But overnight, our little tiny office just got some juice, and I dig it.

  2. Dylan Darling says:

    Hello BH- good bye PRU. I’m stoked on the change! We’re one of the PRU companies that Home Services of America acquired earlier this year. Looking forward to the future and what BH brings.

  3. Joe White says:

    The Prudential Brand is a huge force here in Philadelphia. I understand they will be doing away with the name, replacing it with the new.

    I’m not sure I understand this manuver and I wonder how it will affect the company overall.

    After all real estate is won, local, one city at a time.

    • Gene Montemore says:

      Joe, you are correct. Are you with Fox & Roach? I’m in Arizona but grew up in South Jersey. F&R is everywhere in that region. Will be interesting to see how this works out.

  4. Ben Koshkin says:

    Berkshire Hathaway Home Services sounds good and probably they will provide best ever services to their clients and which will make them a perfect brand in real estate market.