Brokerage

BHHS sets first international sights on Asia

Brand's new head of international expansion, Peter Turtzo, ready to take BHHS global

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Takeaways:

  • Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices poised to join other big brands on the global stage in 2016. It will start in Asia.
  • Former Realogy exec Peter Turtzo will spearhead the brand’s international growth.
  • Brand will purse direct franchise agreements with overseas affiliates, not master franchise agreements common among other global franchisors.

After going from zero to nearly 39,000 agents in a blink of the eye, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is preparing to take its new brand overseas in 2016.

The 2-year-old franchise network will focus its initial international growth on Hong Kong and China’s big cities, followed by Mexico and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Then it will turn its head toward India.

Peter Turtzo

Peter Turtzo

That’s according to Peter Turtzo, who oversees the brand’s global expansion as vice president of international operations. BHHS announced his appointment this week.

Turtzo comes to BHHS from Realogy, where he spent 16 years in executive positions, most recently as vice president of global operations for Sotheby’s International Realty.

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By stepping onto the global stage, the new franchisor will join international real estate franchise brands like Re/Max, Keller Williams Realty, Century 21 Real Estate and Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

Franchisor Countries & Territories No. of agents
Re/Max Over 95 Over 100,000
Keller Williams International 10 Over 107,000
Coldwell Banker Real Estate 43 Over 87,000
Century 21 Real Estate 78 Over 100,000
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices 1 Over 34,000

Sources: Realogy, BHHS, Re/Max, Keller Williams Realty

Overseas expansion

A vast majority of BHHS’ rapid growth has come from converting Prudential Real Estate affiliates. The Prudential brand is gradually being phased out under the terms of its 2011 sale to Brookfield Asset Management.

The large brokerage HomeServices of America Inc., an affiliate of billionaire Warren Buffett’s iconic firm Berkshire Hathaway, purchased a controlling interest in the Prudential Real Estate and Real Living brands from Brookfield in 2012. HomeServices and minority partner Brookfield introduced the BHHS brand in 2013.

BHHS doesn’t have the international restrictions that Prudential had. An agreement between Prudential’s former owner, Prudential Financial, and Prudential UK restricted the brand’s operations to North America, South America, South Korea and Japan.

Without those shackles, the brand expects to expand far and wide, Turtzo said. And it will do so differently than most other brands.

Many franchisors operate overseas by selling master franchise agreements to individuals or firms who provide franchise services to brokerages within a designated region. But BHHS will enter direct franchise relationships with individual international brokerages, just as it does in the U.S.

Turtzo said he’s looking for global brokerage partners who operate successfully in key markets and align with the BHHS brand’s traits such as credibility, trust, stability and longevity.

Email Paul Hagey.