Brokerage

Big Mid-Atlantic brokerage latest to board Warren Buffett’s franchise brand wagon

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty sees growth opportunity

More Prudential Real Estate-affiliated brokerages — including Mid-Atlantic heavyweight Prudential PenFed Realty — are making the switch to Warren Buffett’s franchise brand, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty, a subsidiary of Pentagon Federal Credit Union, has close to 900 agents working out of 40 offices in the Mid-Atlantic region and Florida Panhandle; San Antonio, Texas; and Clarksville, Tennessee.

Kevin Wiles, president of the brokerage’s Mid-Atlantic region, said he expects affiliating with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices will help PenFed Realty grow and recruit top agents. Last year the brokerage generated nearly $2 billion in sales on 6,300 closings, making it one of the 10 biggest companies in the Prudential Real Estate franchise network.

The brokerage will celebrate the rebranding on Monday with a ceremony and reception at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, and ribbon-cutting ceremonies and open house events at local brokerage offices.

Two other Prudential-affiliated brokerages owned by Pentagon Federal Credit Union rebranded last month.

About 250 agents with Wichita, Kansas-based Prudential Dinning-Beard Realtors rebranded as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty in November, under a new “doing business as” name recognizing ownership by PenFed Credit Union. Texas Prudential Properties is now doing business as PenFed Realty Texas.

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Buffett got into the real estate franchising game in 2012 when his real estate brokerage company, HomeServices of America, took a majority stake in HSF Affiliates LLC, which operates the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Prudential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate franchise networks.

The Prudential Real Estate brand is being phased out as a condition of Prudential Financial Inc.’s sale of its real estate franchising business to Brookfield Asset Management in 2011.

HomeServices of America Chairman and CEO Ron Peltier has said that while the brokerage will continue to look for opportunities to expand through acquisitions — this year it expanded its presence in California by buying Silicon Valley-based Intero Real Estate Services — the creation of a franchise brand gives brokerages in markets around the country another way to leverage the Berkshire Hathaway name.

All of the brokerages that have affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices to date have been companies making the changeover from Prudential Real Estate. But Peltier says there’s been “a tremendous amount of unsolicited interest” in the franchise network from non-Prudential affiliates who are expected to begin coming on board 2015.

The first non-Prudential affiliate to make the switch to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices — Fredericksburg, Virginia-based Realty World Select — is scheduled to roll out new branding for about 70 agents in February.

The Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices franchise network now counts 34,223 agents working out of 1,056 offices in 47 states.

Other Prudential-affiliated brokerages announcing the switch to the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand in recent weeks include: