HomeServices of America Announces Leadership Changes for RealtySouth

MINNEAPOLIS (January 07, 2015) – HomeServices of America, a Berkshire  Hathaway affiliate, today announced that effective immediately, Richard Grimes has assumed the role of chief executive officer of RealtySouth; Jim Dye has been promoted to senior vice president and general sales manager; and Ty Dodge, former president and CEO of RealtySouth, has been named Chairman Emeritus of the company.

RealtySouth is one of Alabama’s largest real estate companies with 16 real estate offices throughout Birmingham, Huntsville, Orange Beach, Auburn and Tuscaloosa. In 2013, RealtySouth handled nearly 7,300 transactions and nearly $1.7 billion in sales volume.

Grimes began his real estate career as a Realtor® in 1992 and in 1998 joined First Real Estate as executive vice president and co-owner. In 2002, when First Real Estate merged with RealtySouth, Grimes led the new home sales division as regional vice president, directing land development projects and builder relationship programs. In 2009, Grimes was named senior vice president of RealtySouth. Grimes’ real estate experience, his negotiation skills and ability to foster relationships has enabled him to deliver the growth and profitability instrumental to RealtySouth’s continued success.

With more than 35 years of experience in real estate brokerage sales and as senior vice president of RealtySouth since 1998, Dye has been involved in nearly every aspect of real estate and brings extensive industry knowledge and management experience. As vice president and general sales manager, Dye has responsibility for the overall growth and profitability of the brokerage division of the business and will provide guidance and direction to the company’s 16 sales offices and nearly 760 Realtors®.

Dodge began his real estate career in 1978 as a sales associate and the next 20 years, held multiple executive leadership positions with Johnson-Rast & Hays Company, Inc. He joined RealtySouth in 1998 and has served as president and CEO since 2008. Under Dodge’s leadership, the company has grown to become one of the largest real estate companies in Alabama. Dodge, a long-time resident of the area, is widely recognized for his community involvement and leadership and is active in the real estate industry on both the state and national levels. In 1971, Dodge retired from the U.S. Army as a Captain, having served in Vietnam where he received three Bronze Stars; a Purple Heart; and a Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross.

“Ty and I have worked together for many years, and I have learned a tremendous amount from him,” said Grimes. “He has built a team of immensely talented agents, sales managers and employees. I look forward to leading RealtySouth to its next stage of growth and performance, supported by Jim and our exceptional management team.”

“I am proud of everyone at RealtySouth and what we have achieved,” said Dodge. “With Richard and Jim at the helm, I’m confident that RealtySouth will continue to grow and prosper, serving consumers, our associates and staff better than ever before. Their experience and vision ensure a very bright future for the company.”

“Ty’s leadership helped guide RealtySouth to its position as one of the foremost real estate companies in the country,” said Ron Peltier, chairman and CEO of HomeServices. “On behalf of all of HomeServices, we thank him for his innumerable contributions and we wish him well as he enters this new chapter of his life. Richard is a dedicated leader with a firm grasp of the real estate industry and we look forward to continuing to work with him in the months and years to come.”


National Association of REALTORS® Selects Nancy Nagy of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group to Serve on Board of Directors

CHICAGO, IL – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group’s Chief Executive Officer Nancy Nagy has been selected to serve on the National Association of Realtors® Board of Directors in 2015. Nagy was chosen to serve as one of the 75 large real estate firm representatives.

“We are very pleased that Nancy has been selected to serve on NAR’s Board of Directors. This is an important time for real estate, and we are glad that Nancy will have the opportunity to actively participate in shaping our industry as a leader within the NAR organization,” said Ron Peltier, chairman and CEO of HomeServices of America, Inc.

“It is such an honor to have been selected as one of the Board of Directors for the National Association of REALTORS®. I feel very grateful for this opportunity. As our business is changing, it is crucial that we are part of shaping that future,” said Nancy Nagy.

The National Association of REALTORS® is America’s largest trade association and has 1 million members that include institutes, societies and councils that are involved with commercial and residential real estate.

About Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group, a full-service real estate company, has nearly 1,500 real estate professionals and staff serving customers throughout the Chicago metropolitan area and surrounding communities. Formed from the merger between two legendary Chicago real estate brokerages – Prudential Rubloff Properties and Koenig & Strey – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group inherits a solid reputation built from decades of helping people throughout the greater Chicago area buy and sell real estate. Visit KoenigRubloff.com.


Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties Introduces Local Home Value Estimates For Consumers

ATLANTA, GA (October 7, 2014) – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia properties introduced a new feature that allows consumers to enter an address to “click and see” local home value estimates on over 1200 company and agent websites.  The estimates are free and do not require registration.  The company is also introducing a new market trends report called Market Watch (based on MLS data) and a new Interactive AVM (Automated Valuation Model) report which is the same report used by lenders to estimate home values for mortgages.  Visit BHHSGeorgia.com to see a local home value.

These new and innovative solutions are provided in partnership with Reliance Network and Collateral Analytics.  Reliance Network specializes in integrated technology solutions for the real estate industry.  Collateral Analytics develops analytic products and tools to support financial institutions, retail and institutional investors and real property capital market activities.

Home values estimates have become popular on national real estate websites like Zillow.com, Trulia.com and Realtor.com.  The accuracy of these estimates is very mixed as the data is primarily based on tax records.  The home value estimates provided by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties are powered by Collateral Analytics which has been rated as one of the most accurate sources by the lending industry.  This report shows a value estimate, value range plus other data from tax records such as last sale price and date, comparable properties and local market trends.

The Market Watch report includes local MLS data for a more accurate perspective of local market trends.  If a property was sold yesterday, it would be reflected in this report as opposed to reports based on tax records which may take weeks or months to update.  The next release will add the option to draw a local area using a polygon tool.  Consumers will be able to narrow their report to micro-local areas such as a subdivision.   To view a Market Watch report, consumers can register for a free My Home Finder account.  Only member brokerages and their registered clients can get access to local MLS data.

The new Interactive AVM (Automated Valuation Model) report is the same report used by lenders to estimate home values for mortgage loans.  The I-AVM allows the agent to adjust comps and other factors for a more accurate value estimate.  This powerful tool can combine MLS data, tax records and the unique insight from the local agent.  The I-AVM is only available from your local Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties agent.

“It is clear that consumers want to see home value estimates and we are pleased to be the first brokerage in Metro Atlanta to provide these innovative new solutions,” said Dan Forsman, president & CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties.  “Real estate is local.  We have the advantage of proprietary MLS data, exclusive analytics tools and unique insight from our 1200 local experts.  These powerful new tools will bring significant advantages that benefit our clients and our agents.  And we are just getting started!  Look for more exciting announcements very soon.”

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties is also announcing their plans for additional new releases in late 2014 and early 2015.  Version 2 is expected to include multiple value estimates including a Zestimate from Zillow.com, a consumer calculator that allows consumers to adjust their values and a historical value trends chart that shows changing value estimates over time.  Version 3 is expected to display home values on a map to more easily navigate and view values in local communities.


Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Reaches 1,000th-Office Milestone in One Year

IRVINE, CA (Sept. 23, 2014) – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, part of the HSF Affiliates LLC family of real estate brokerage franchise networks, today named its 1,000th office on the one-year anniversary of its brand launch. The distinction belongs to Torrance, CA-based California Realty and its Torrance/Skypark office, which serves as the brokerage’s headquarters.

California Realty, with three offices and 160 agents, will operate as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties starting in late October. The company generated nearly a half-billion dollars in sales volume in 2013.

“Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ momentum keeps building,” said Earl Lee, CEO of HSF Affiliates. “This further demonstrates the power of the brand, and is a tribute to the quality of affiliates and agents who have brought the brand to life across America.”

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, whose namesake is the world-renowned Berkshire Hathaway Inc., received two national awards in its first year. The network was recognized as “Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year” by consumers in the 26th annual Harris Poll EquiTrend® study of the largest real estate networks. It then was tapped for a Gold Stevie Award in the Startup of the Year category of the 12th annual American Business Awards. The latter considered entrants from any U.S. industry.

“Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices achieved a tremendous first year yet no one is satisfied,” said Stephen Phillips, brand president. “Our vision is to become the most respected homeownership services brand in the U.S. and worldwide, and our work continues with even greater focus.”

To commemorate its 1,000th office in one year, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices today launched a national social media campaign, #1000in1. The network asks consumers, agents and affiliates to download this graphic, describe where they are today, and post the graphic on their social media pages.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices launched a year ago when one of its largest affiliates – San Diego-based California Properties – transitioned to the brand with 63 offices and more than 2,500 agents.

Over the next several weeks, industry leaders New England Properties based in Wallingford, CT; Florida Realty of Sunrise, FL; Winston-Salem-based Carolinas Realty and Devon, PA-based Fox & Roach, REALTORS®, among many others transitioned to the brand. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices plans to begin international expansion in 2015.

Bruce Short, broker/owner of California Properties and the network’s 1,000th office, said his team is elated to join Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “The brand gained significant traction in one short year with stellar brokerages across the country,” he said. “We’re proud to be part of this network and look forward to an exciting new era representing Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.”


HomeServices of America, Inc. Announces Settlement of Copyright-Infringement Lawsuit

Minneapolis, Minn. (September 3, 2014) – HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, announced today the settlement of a copyright-infringement lawsuit against American Home Realty Network, Inc. (d/b/a NeighborCity). Since 2013, HomeServices of America and two of its subsidiaries, Preferred Carolinas Realty, Inc., and Edina Realty, Inc., have been engaged in litigation with American Home Realty Network, Inc., in North Carolina and Minnesota. In North Carolina, Preferred Carolinas alleged that American Home Realty Network infringed Preferred Carolinas’ copyrights in real estate property listing photographs. In Minnesota, American Home Realty Network alleged violations of antitrust and unfair competition laws against HomeServices and Edina Realty.

On June 17, 2014, the parties reached a settlement that resolved all litigation between them. As part of the settlement, American Home Realty Network has agreed to no longer copy, display, or otherwise use real estate property listing photographs belonging to HomeServices’ operating subsidiaries and affiliates. The other settlement terms are confidential, without any admission of liability by any party.

“We are very pleased to have resolved these cases,” said Ron Peltier, chairman and CEO of HomeServices. “Protecting our intellectual property is a top priority for HomeServices. We will continue to vigorously protect our companies’ and affiliates’ intellectual-property rights in real estate listing content.”


A Perspective of the U.S. Residential Housing Market: August 2014

As the Existing Home Sales numbers for the month of July reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on August 21st suggest, we are seeing a continuation of the housing market recovery, with spring sales volumes finally being realized. While the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first half of 2014 saw a lag in activity, largely attributed to the harsh winter, lack of job growth and negative consumer confidence, we are experiencing a relatively continuous uptick in sales.  We anticipate a robust second half of 2014 as housing inventories — which were dangerously low at the beginning of 2014 at less than two months of inventory — are now at five months of inventory.  A healthy residential real estate market has six-to-eight months of available inventory.

 Key Influencers

A number of encouraging factors are helping to drive this more traditional buying and selling cycle. Consumer confidence, now at a six-year high, is a key influencer of the home buying and selling cycle. We are also noting a resurgence of consumers who are buying homes as their primary or even secondary residences, versus solely for investment. As well, more and more homeowners are the sellers of properties, as opposed to investors or banks dealing with distressed inventories.

 Initially, the real estate recovery was fueled primarily by private equity and investors. And while that removed large blocks of distressed properties from the market, it was not a sustainable long-term model.  The more traditional cycle we are currently seeing is not only encouraging, but an appropriate recovery tract.

 Segmented Recovery

The latest analysis of the nation’s housing industry has also put a spotlight on the various segments of the market and how each is fairing through the course of the recovery.  While the luxury market has had strong sales recorded throughout most geographic regions, the mid-market continues to work through lower-than-peak values.

 Still, prices across the nation are increasing, so in many markets negative equity is giving way to positive equity, meaning that fewer people are ‘underwater’ and enabling more people to sell their homes.  At the height of the downturn, for example, we saw approximately 15 million mortgages nationwide with negative equity out of approximately 55 million total mortgages. Today, that figure has been reduced to between six to seven million mortgages, a more manageable volume.

First-time homebuyers continue to track at around 28% of home sales versus the historical average of 40%.  A number of factors are impacting this market; among them, limited inventory, stringent credit standards, dramatic increase in student debt, the spike in FHA mortgage insurance premiums, and stiff competition from cash buyers.

Yet, while underwriting standards are more rigorous, we are seeing a positive trend as buyers are increasingly able to secure financing, particularly through the assistance of quality loan officers who understand and specialize in working through the loan process.  We also note that beginning the search for a home already mortgage pre-qualified is more important than ever been before.

The Value of Homeownership

Areas of the country that suffered the most in the downturn, particularly Las Vegas, Arizona, South Florida, have seen a resurgence in sales fueled by international buyers from a variety of destinations including China, Canada, parts of Latin America and Europe, as the United States’ residential real estate market continues to be viewed as a prudent investment.

With the uptick in consumer confidence, increasing home values and other positive economic factors, the intrinsic value of homeownership continues its resurgence.

 While a full recovery is potentially two to three years away, the trend-line is positive. Job creation and overall economic growth are necessary to continue fueling the market, which, as current activity indicates, we anticipate seeing more of in the year ahead.


Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices named “Startup of the Year” in a category considering all of U.S. Industry

IRVINE, Calif., Jun 19, 2014 — Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, part of the HSF Affiliates LLC real estate brokerage family, today announced it was recognized with a Gold Stevie Award in the Startup of the Year category of the 12th annual American Business Awards presented June 13 in Chicago.

American Business Awards are the nation’s premier business awards program. All organizations operating in the U.S. are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. The awards drew more than 3,300 nominations in a wide range of categories; 240 executives worldwide participated in the judging. Startup of the Year category judging considered entrants from across U.S. industries.

“We are pleased and honored to accept the Gold Stevie Award in the Startup of the Year category,” said Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices President Stephen Phillips, who attended the ceremonies at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park Hotel. “Our real estate brokerage network has come a long way in a short period of time.”

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has grown exponentially since it transitioned its first affiliates in September 2013. As of mid-June, the network counted more than 29,000 agents and 850 offices operating in 42 states. “Our network carries the name of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., one of the world’s most trusted and respected corporations,” said Phillips. “When you have a really great brand, strong and passionate affiliates and a lot of hard-working people on your team, wonderful things can happen.”
This is the network’s second award in 2014. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in March was named “Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year” by consumers in the 26th annual Harris Poll EquiTrend® study.

“It’s an honor for us to recognize and celebrate such an outstanding class of organizations and individuals,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards. “The judges were especially discerning this year. Winners should be proud that the judges recognized their achievements and their ability to express those achievements in a way that captured the judges’ hearts and imaginations.”

Details about The American Business Awards and the lists of Stevie winners announced are available at www.StevieAwards.com/ABA.

About Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Irvine, CA-based HSF Affiliates LLC operates Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. The company is a joint venture of which HomeServices of America, Inc., the nation’s second-largest, full-service residential brokerage firm, is a majority owner. HomeServices of America is an affiliate of world-renowned Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices received the highest numerical Equity Score among real estate brands included in the 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study. Visit www.berkshirehathawayhs.com for details.


HomeServices of America, Inc. Announces New CEO and COO for Intero Real Estate Services

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. (June 9, 2014) – HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate today announced a number of executive leadership changes within Intero Real Estate Services that will further advance the company’s growth strategies. Effective immediately, Tom Tognoli assumes the role of president and chief executive officer where he will provide strategic and operational oversight for Intero Real Estate Services and the Intero franchise network. Tognoli replaces Gino Blefari, who has assumed the role of senior vice president of HSF Affiliates, the franchise arm within the HomeServices of America enterprise. John Thompson will become chief operating officer and continue to be an integral part of Intero’s executive leadership team by overseeing Intero’s daily operations. Robert Moles will continue in his role as the Intero Real Estate Services chairman.

Tognoli, who founded Intero Real Estate Services in 2002 along with Blefari, and Thompson, is a result driven leader with 25 years of real estate industry experience. Tognoli began his career as an agent in 1989 and held numerous leadership positions within Century 21 and Coldwell Banker and upon inception of Intero became its chief operating officer.

With more than 25 years of experience in real estate brokerage sales and executive management at Coldwell Banker and Century 21 and as executive vice president of Intero for the past decade, Thompson, brings extensive business development skills, industry knowledge and exceptional leadership qualities to his new role as Intero’s chief operating officer.

“Both Tom and John have proven themselves to be dedicated and accomplished leaders with a firm grasp of the real estate industry and the experience, creativity and drive to bring Intero to new levels of success.” said Ron Peltier, chairman and CEO of HomeServices. “We look forward to their joining the HomeServices executive leadership team and working with them in the months and years to come.”

“This is a great honor and a great opportunity,” stated Tognoli. “Intero has a very bright future, and I look forward to working alongside John, Bob and our talented sales leadership team as we steer Intero to continued growth and success.”

“I am extremely confident about our future, as we are constantly investing in new ways to both enhance the client experience and attract new consumers,” said Thompson. “Being part of HomeServices of America provides us with access to resources as we further expand our ability to serve the real estate needs of our new and existing customers.”

“Tom and John are renowned for their ability to attract and retain seasoned professionals, capacity for identifying emerging leaders, and talent for helping new agents unlock their potential,” said Moles. “And together with John and Tom, we will continue to embrace the people and communities we serve as we strengthen what we’ve built over the last 11 years.”


HomeServices of America, Inc. Announces Leadership Changes

 

Minneapolis, Minn. (June 9, 2014) – HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate today announced that Gino Blefari, founder, president and chief executive officer of Intero Real Estate Services has been named senior vice president of HSF Affiliates, effective immediately and on January 1, 2015 will assume the role of chief executive officer of HSF Affiliates. Earl Lee will continue as chief executive officer of HSF Affiliates for the remainder of the year and effective January 1, 2015 will assume a senior advisory role for HSF’s domestic and global expansion strategies. Stephen Phillips, chief operating officer of HSF Affiliates and president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Bob McAdams, president of Real Living Real Estate will continue in their roles without change or interruption.

HSF Affiliates was formed in 2012 and operates the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Prudential Residential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate franchise networks. As of April 30, 2014 the combined networks include nearly 500 Franchisees/Affiliates and nearly 45,000 agents in more than 1,600 offices nationwide.

Blefari began his real estate career more than 25 years ago and has held executive leadership positions at Century 21 and NRT prior to founding Intero Real Estate Services in 2002. Under Blefari’s leadership Intero has experienced rapid year-over-year growth and is one of Silicon Valley’s largest and fastest growing residential real estate brokerage firms. HomeServices acquired Intero Real Estate Services in May 2014.

Earl has been instrumental in developing and executing the initial business growth strategies of HSF,” said Ron Peltier, chairman and CEO of HomeServices. “Gino is renowned for his vision, leadership skills and real estate experience and will be a tremendous addition to the superb senior leadership team already in place at HSF.”

“I am extremely proud of everyone at HSF and what we have accomplished,” said Lee. “Leading a team of talented employees while playing an integral role in generating visibility and momentum for the organization and its brands, have been the highlights of my career. Gino brings extensive industry knowledge and exceptional leadership qualities to the organization and coupled with our franchise/affiliate companies and their extraordinary agents, HSF is poised for continued growth and success.”

“I am thrilled to be joining the HSF Affiliates team during this pivotal and exciting time,” said Blefari. “Earl has inspired a team of immensely talented executives and employees and I look forward to working with him and the HSF team as we lead HSF to its next stage of growth and performance.

“Gino brings a wealth of experience and industry relationships to HSF Affiliates and the HomeServices executive team. We look forward to working with him in the months and years to come,” concluded Peltier.


Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Named ‘Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year’

IRVINE, CA (Mar. 19, 2014) – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, the new real estate brokerage network operated by HSF Affiliates LLC, today announced it was named “Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year” in the 26th annual Harris Poll EquiTrend® study.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices received the highest ranking in the Real Estate Agency category based on consumers’ perception of its brand familiarity, quality and purchasing consideration, among other qualifying elements. The study was based on opinions of more than 40,000 U.S. consumers surveyed online earlier this year.

“We are delighted to be recognized by consumers in the venerable Harris Poll EquiTrend® study,” said Earl Lee, CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC, which operates Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “This terrific honor by consumers is a tribute to our powerful brand – whose namesake is the world-renowned Berkshire Hathaway Inc. – and the top-quality affiliates and agents who represent it.”

Added Stephen Phillips, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices: “We are humbled by the honor, particularly since our brand was not even a year old at the time of the study. We look forward to a bright future as part of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.”  

The brand received the highest numerical Equity Score among large real estate brands included in the 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study, which measures and compares the brand health of more than 1,500 brands across 170 categories from airlines and apparel to retailers and real estate. Consumers responded with their brand perceptions, gauging their emotional connection to the brand, plus brand awareness, influence and familiarity. According to Harris, a brand is defined as a set of persuasive promises about a product, service or organization that differentiates it from others in a universally positive, contextually relevant or personally compelling way.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, which transitioned its first affiliates in September 2013, has grown exponentially with independently owned brokerages operating across America. The network is built on a foundation of quality with rigorous standards for affiliation. “Our network members clearly understand the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ brand promise and the responsibility to uphold it,” said Phillips. “We all believe it’s an honor to be part of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.”