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With a purchase price rumored (but not substantiated) to be in the seven figures, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Texas has purchased a Flower Mound powerhouse agent and associates, all formerly of Keller Williams’s Preston Road office in Plano.

Russell Rhodes, one of the five top producing Keller Williams agents in the world for the last ten years, his 15 associate agents and 12 administrators, are now a part of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand.

Rhodes’ Dallas-Fort Worth based team generated $196 million in sales volume last year. 

Here is an example of how hard charging the Rhodes team is: of the 526 homes they sold last year throughout the DFW Metroplex, 322 were repeat client or past client referrals to Russell and his team.

To put this in another perspective, it would take a sweet deal to leave Keller Williams when you are pumping out that kind of sales volume. Which the Rhodes team apparently got. Keller Williams is known as having one of the most generous splits — that is, sharing of the commission with the broker — in the business. Every agent starts on a 70/30 split: 70% for the agent, 30% for Keller Williams. But by the time your 30% to KW reaches a certain level (about $23K in Dallas), you are “capped” and you get to keep 100% of your commission for the remainder of your fiscal year. With $196 million in sales, the Rhodes team met their cap way back during covered wagon days. Thus Rhodes left a 100% commission structure with Keller Williams to join Berkshire Hathaway Home Services PenFed.

Please note, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed is NOT the same group that bought out Allie Beth Allman & Associates last year. It is like a cousin. The BHHS PenFed Realty is a franchise of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, part of the HSF Affiliates LLC family of real estate brokerage franchise networks, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pentagon Federal Credit Union, the third largest credit union in the US. (USAA is a competitor.) Previously an affiliate of the Prudential Real Estate network, the company changed its affiliation to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in November, 2014.” 

PenFed + Berkshire Hathaway Home Services merged financial services (PenFed) and the suite of online tools, agent support services and highly regarded brand that Berkshire Hathaway had in the bag.  The company has grown its annual sales volume to $3.8 billion with 1,700 sales agent and 50+ offices, providing complete real estate services nationwide.

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“We’ve been watching the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand and are impressed by its business principles and core values, which are closely aligned with our own,” Rhodes told me. “For me this is a double win, aligning with a company that is so strong in relocation. The $20 billion PenFed Credit Union based in Washington is growing, and will continue to grow through the real estate agent network. PenFed Realty’s growth has been phenomenal, and we want to be a part of it.”

Still, why leave that generous split with KW? Relocation expertise + juicy client perks = more clients than ever. (more…)

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Out on a morning walk, I saw a sign for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Hawai’i and decided to give them a call. I wanted to get the insight into what Allie Beth Allman’s crew have gotten themselves into. A few days later, I met local president Tracy Bradley at that first-seen home’s open house. The short answer is that others in Dallas real estate should be a bit worried by the Berkshire firepower and savvy.

The Honolulu real estate playing field was at one time dominated by local brokerages that over time were acquired by national brands like RE/MAX, Prudential and such. Often what was gained in national presence was lost at the local level with layers of mainland management out of touch with the islands. Also, like many conglomerates, technology tools were not the best. Bradley told me of one of her agents who had been screaming for years for a way to embed a video into an email – no link, no Dropbox. Spoiler alert: now she can film a property on her phone and embed the impromptu tour into an email to her client from her phone.

1,820 oceanfront square feet. A snip at $4.69m

1,820 oceanfront square feet. A snip at $4.69m

One of Berkshire’s first real estate acquisitions was Prudential. Apparently, franchisees had the option of opting out and that’s what Hawai’ian offices did. With no presence in high-priced Honolulu, Berkshire approached Bradley and a select group of agents to be their start-up in Hawai’i. Little did I know how timely my meeting would be.

(more…)

Crow house on Preston RoadHuge news in the Dallas high end broker industry.

Something’s been up with news about Allie Beth Allman & Associates for a couple of weeks! I got word last week that Allie Beth’s affiliation with Christie’s Great Estates had been severed. While I was researching that for accuracy—Duke Jimerson told me at an event Thursday night he knew nothing about it— Steve Brown was hot on the trail. He reports that Warren Buffett’s HomeServices of America, Inc. a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, has snapped up the $1.5 billion in sales company:

One of Dallas’ top residential sales firms has been purchased by investor Warren Buffett’s growing real estate empire.

Allie Beth Allman & Associates—a 12-year-old local real estate sales company that specializes in high end home sales—has been acquired by HomeServices of America Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate.

Allie Beth Allman is one of North Texas’ top residential firms, and sold about 2,100 houses last year valued at $1.5 billion.

“Allie Beth Allman & Associates is a strong company with an exceptional reputation in a growth market,” Ron Peltier, HomeServices’ chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “This transaction aligns with our vision of acquiring distinguished companies in leading markets that share our core values.”

Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

Allie Beth Allman has more that 300 agents and sells homes in markets including North Dallas, the Park CitiesTurtle Creek, Uptown and Lakewood.

She’s personally handled marketing for some of the largest estates in North Texas, including businessman Tom Hicks’ $100 million estate in North Dallas.

The acquisition is Buffet’s HomeServices entry into real estate in Texas.

The company—the second largest U.S. property sales firm—has about 26,500 real estate agents operating in 480 offices in 27 states which operate under a variety of brand names, including Prudential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate.

In 2015, the company expects to handle more than $77 billion in residential real estate sales and more than 220,000 transactions.

“We are joining an organization known for its strength and stability; one that is consistent with our high standards of service, integrity and community involvement, making this a win/win for our clients and our agents,” Allman said.

Some of Allie Beth Allman's recent home listings include Dallas businessman Tom Hicks' 25-acre North Dallas estate.

The Crespi Estate is not the only uber high end mansion Allman has listed. The $46 million Crow estate on Preston Road was also marketed by Allie Beth, but was taken off the market last week for, says Allie Beth, a holiday break.
Stay tuned for more…

BHHS_2_0_01We keep telling you that North Texas is damn hot, and the brokers want in. Even Warren Buffet. His new real estate foray, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, part of the HSF Affiliates LLC family of real estate brokerage franchise networks, is now a presence in Dallas. The company announced yesterday that Prudential Texas Properties has joined their network, operating as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Texas.

PenFed Realty Texas Broker Rick Wylie said the transition ushers in a new era of growth at the brokerage, which has served the DFW area since 1989 and was a perennial top 50 company with Prudential Real Estate.

“We are so proud of our new name and what it stands for,” Wylie said. “Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ namesake is Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a corporation respected around the world. PenFed is one of America’s strongest and safest credit unions serving millions of Americans. Factor in our skilled and passionate agents, and you’ve got world-class real estate representation.”

There’s so much power in that Omaha, Nebraska, guy’s name. Buffett’s brand-new real estate franchise brand also has the strongest brand equity of all real estate brands, at least according to a consumer survey by Harris Poll.

The poll was conducted in January, and surveyed more than 41,000 Americans older than the age of 15. (Editor’s note: that’s a pretty young age to own a home!) The 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend ranks brands by how strongly consumers connect with them. The survey gauged consumers’ emotional connection to brands, their awareness and familiarity of them, and the influence they may have on them.

Rick Wylie, President of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Texas

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