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.
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.