Vail Valley real estate firm takes on Berkshire Hathaway brand
November 27, 2013
VAIL — Changing a real estate company's name and brand is a complicated job. Just creating new signs and business cards is a lot of work. Throw in Web design, changing letterhead and the myriad of other big and little jobs involved and you end up with a capital-P Project. Then try doing that job across the country.
Michael Slevin on Tuesday helped unveil a new brand for his family's Vail Valley real estate company — the second-biggest in the valley — which until Monday was called Prudential Colorado Properties. As of Tuesday, the company has a new name, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Colorado Properties. Slevin, the company's 85 valley brokers and officials from the parent company spent Tuesday in Vail Village and elsewhere, putting out new signs and celebrating the completion of a big, big job.
Slevin said that roughly 1,000 yard signs needed to be changed out. But, he said, the job has been worth the effort, particularly since the change came just a few weeks before the start of ski season. Rolling out the new brand in October will give both brokers and clients a chance to get to know it before winter crowds arrive.
"Berkshire Hathaway Home Services have been invaluable — they made it seamless," Slevin said. People from the national office have been in the valley to train local brokers in the new company's technology and policies. But, Slevin said, a lot of the Berkshire Hathaway people are Prudential people who made the transition when the company changed its affiliation.
Resort real estate
Slevin's company, long associated with the Prudential brand, is the first resort real estate company to take on the Berkshire Hathaway brand, a point of pride Tuesday for both Slevin and Kevin Ostler, communications manager for the national brand.
Having the Vail Valley in place in the Berkshire Hathaway brand puts it among franchises in California, Kansas City and Florida as the first to join the national group, Ostler said.
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"We have a world-class resort destination now," Ostler said.
Conversely, Slevin said having access to Berkshire Hathaway Home Services affiliates in other markets nationwide can help local brokers get in touch with clients in those areas. And, he added, "It's never too early to align with Berkshire Hathaway."
Slevin added that the local company also has access to the latest technology and training through the national company.
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services is actually an evolution for the Prudential Brand, but the story's a little complex, Ostler said. Here's the story in brief:
In 2011, the Prudential real estate brand was acquired by Brookfield, a Canadian real estate company. That firm soon joined with Home Services of America, the country's second-largest real estate group, and an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway, the company controlled by renowned investor Warren Buffet.
Ostler said that Prudential agencies around the country can stick with the old name until their franchise agreements expire — 2026 in some cases. But, he said, the transition is going faster than company officials expected. Most of the franchises could make the switch by 2015, Ostler said.
While Berkshire Hathaway is among the best-known brand names in the country, it's still a newcomer to the real estate business. Ostler said he expects the brand name to quickly establish itself on the national real estate scene.
"The company's really coming to life around the company," he said.