Captains of Industry

When Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices was announced to the world, the executive leadership recognized the brand needed a presence in New York City. Candace Adams, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties, knew the timing had to be right and the brand would need a local leader. New York is a city with significant residential brokerage competition, and there are complexities here that do not exist in other markets. And although there will always be a few miracles when enough people are thrown into the cauldron of chance, Adams was determined to successfully accomplish this venture.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is part of the second largest real estate company in the United States (HomeServices of America) and with over 42,000 agents across the country, it already has strong roots in the industry. Adams has reason to be confident. “We have an amazing foundation already built,” she confirms. “Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is not new to real estate and the brand is not new to consumers.”

Back in January, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices reported that Ellie Johnson, a Manhattan real estate veteran who spent 11 years at Sotheby’s International Realty managing the firm’s Upper East Side office, would become New York Properties’ president. (Johnson and New York Properties are part of Candace Adams’ Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties.) The firm also announced that it would continue its longstanding relationship with Doyle Auctioneers and Appraisers, a beneficial partnership dedicated to providing excellent service. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ New York Properties offices, located on the 37th floor of 590 Madison Avenue, are now officially open, and will host Doyle Appraisal Days, enhancing brand exposure.

“Before we opened our offices here in New York City,” says Johnson, “there was such a pent-up demand from our sister companies and our affiliates to send their clients to New York City. So for me it has been a blessing: We have had over 50 referrals since we opened the office, including referrals from Doyle.”

According to Kathleen M. Doyle, the chairman and CEO of Doyle Auctioneers, both Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and Doyle Auctioneers are research-based organizations. Both companies focus on helping their clients understand the markets for real estate and personal property, including why a certain asset may shift in prices—which artist or neighborhood is in high demand.

“The innovation, the resources we have for the research and development is significant,” adds Adams. “We focus on the shifting market, and we have to make sure we put that in front of our agents and provide them with the support and tools they need.” Today, there is more price transparency for assets like fine art and real estate. So an important role for both firms is interpreting those values. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Doyle both have the information—and expertise—to explain why an asset may seem expensive or inexpensive. That’s a point of pride, as is offering great service. “We make sure that the client is at the center of our world,” says Adams. “They may be in an emotional state when they are buying or selling a property,” offers Johnson. “You have to be really careful to understand the human being in the process.”

As is natural in business, both Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Doyle have plans to grow. “Over the course of the year,” Johnson informs, “our goal is to expand into other markets.” In the near future: Rockland County, Brooklyn, other boroughs. Perhaps even the Hamptons. But the major goal is global expansion. That, Johnson explains, begins with a presence in New York City, which Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices cemented in January. (Currently, the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices national website is translatable to 12 languages.) The next phase will lay the brick and mortar in key, identified markets all over the world.