International Brand Enters Real Estate Marketplace

OCEAN CITY – A major change within the local real estate industry has taken place, as the internationally recognized Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is now operating in the marketplace.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (BHHS) PenFed Realty Team Leader/Sales Manager Jay Wise explained in 2011 Prudential Carruthers Realtors was sold to Pentagon Federal (PenFed) Credit Union, which is the third largest credit union in the country based in Alexandria, Va.

PenFed Credit Union is one of the strongest and safest financial institutions with more than $19 billion in assets, serving 1.3 million members with a longstanding mission to provide superior financial services.

PenFed Credit Union is comprised of member-owners and is headed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Each director attends training and provides focus on areas of importance to the credit union. Board members meet monthly to discuss recommendations from management and implement changes to policy.

Wise furthered, in the meantime BHHS, owned by Warren Buffett, bought the Prudential affiliates’ real estate arm.

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“They were looking to transition some of the existing Prudential franchises into the Berkshire Hathaway brand, and that has been occurring for about a year now. We are coming in as they start their second year as the Berkshire Hathaway real estate brand,” Wise said.

Berkshire Hathaway is a worldwide holding company based in Omaha, Neb. Berkshire Hathaway is the No. 1 company in Barron’s 2013 ranking of the world’s 100 most respected companies. It ranks eighth in Fortune magazine’s 50 Most Admired Companies survey and is 18th in Harris Interactive’s reputation study of the 60 Most Visible Companies.

“The leverage of the brand, especially as it relates to the local real estate market where we have a majority of second home purchasers and investors and builders, it really is a brand that they can relate to,” Wise said. “Going forward it is going to be a tremendous impact for the local real estate market having the Berkshire Hathaway brand, no matter where you’re from. It is not a local brand. It is not a mom-and-pop shop. It is not a regional brand … it is worldwide recognition.”

BHHS PenFed Reality offices are locally located in Ocean City, West Ocean City, Ocean Pines and Salisbury.

“Tom Carruthers, president of Real Estate Operations BHHS PenFed Reality, has a strong connection to what was his company, so it is really run like a family business but with the strength of international branding with the support of the third largest credit union in the country,” Wise said.

Wise furthered, as a private company the business model is based on giving the best mortgage rates to customers without having to tap into federal government funds, such as Frannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

“They can do fantastic loan programs for members,” he said. “They expect that their agents are dealing with their members, so to give their members the best service, PenFed Credit Union gives the agents the best service. They want the agents to be happy to keep their member base happy.”

According to Wise, it was a “no brainer” to join BHHS.

“We jumped at it, and it is a huge services benefit to our agents. It is top advertising. It is international advertising, some of the largest periodicals, along with all the television and media advertising that Berkshire Hathaway provides. Also, technology and tools they provide for the agents … it all helps sell the house,” Wise said.

Wise spent over 10 years working with local law enforcement but transitioned into real estate full-time in 2002 and was a top sales agent until elevating to management in 2009.