Berkshire Hathaway moves into local real estate market

Chelsea Teiss and her mother, Laraine, change out signs at one of their listings Thursday in Haile Plantation as their business transitions from Prudential Realty to Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Trend Realty.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 4:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 4:28 p.m.

The Berkshire Hathaway name holds considerable cachet in the business world as the holding company for billionaire investor Warren Buffett's empire built from shrewd acquisitions.

The name started popping up on local yard signs Thursday as the local Prudential Trend Realty affiliate officially became Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Trend Realty.

HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, acquired the Prudential and Real Living franchises in 2012 from Brookfield Asset Management, with the brands operating under the newly formed HSF Affiliates umbrella.

Before being invited into the new Berkshire Hathaway brand, former Prudential affiliates received legal, financial and operational reviews and the owners underwent background checks.

“It is critical to protect the brand,” said Earl Lee, CEO of HSF Affiliates.

Lee was in Gainesville Thursday for the launch during a breakfast at the Haile Plantation Golf & Country Club.

Trend Realty was founded in 1973 and has about 50 agents with offices in Gainesville and High Springs. The brokerage was affiliated with ERA until 2010 when it became a Prudential franchise.

Trend President Thomas McIntosh noted that Buffett has had the ability to calm financial markets when he put his stamp of approval on an industry through his investment decisions.

“I take a lot of pride that this guy believes in what we're doing,” he said.

McIntosh said the new brand comes with new tools and technology, including more online advertising channels that should help capture more of the 90 percent of buyers who use the Internet for information about real estate.

Lee said the Prudential real estate brand will eventually go away as affiliate agreements expire. Trend Realty could have remained with Prudential into 2020.

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