What’s the Value of Your Real Estate Brand?

Were you as surprised as we were to learn that according to NAR’s latest profile of buyers and sellers, just 3% picked an agent because he or she was associated with a particular shop or franchise. Does that seem unusually low to you? It makes you wonder, just how much is your brand worth?

Recently a new real estate brand just entered the California market! Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices launched this month in San Diego and the San Fernando Valley.

Berkshire Hathaway is no ordinary brand – it is one of the world’s most admired companies run by Warren Buffet himself!
Already more than two dozen brokerages affiliated with the Prudential Real Estate brand have agreed to transition to Berkshire Hathaway, including the three that will “go live” this month: Prudential California Realty, Prudential Connecticut Realty and Prudential Florida Realty.

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So what does Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices bring to an already crowded realty landscape? And what does the brand change from Prudential to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices mean for those agents?

We asked a few of our readers these questions and here are a few of their reactions:

“Prudential was a struggling brand in my area. I think the association to Warren Buffet will help them.”

“Warren Buffet is known for taking undervalued companies and turning them around. If he is investing in the real estate market that’s great news!”

“I think those agents are going to have to invest time in explaining who Berkshire Hathaway is. Only sellers of high-end homes are likely to make the connection between Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffet.”

These agents also agreed with NAR in that most buyers and sellers don’t pick an agent because they were associated with a particular broker. However, they did question the 3% number as being on the low side.

The National Assn. of Realtors counts 32 national and regional franchise brands in operation across the land. Only slightly more than half the nation’s realty agents work under a franchise banner. The rest — 41%, according to NAR’s latest membership profile — choose to remain independent.

There are good reasons to join a franchise, for both the brokers whose names are on the door as well as the agents who hang their shingles on the wall. Banners such as Century 21, Re/Max and others give a business instant recognition. Branding is a way to define who you are, according to the experts, and allows real estate brokers to say, “We are different from the rest of the pack.”
A brand like ERA or Keller Williams also gives brokers a certain edge in recruiting. New agents and industry veterans alike often decide to work under a national trademark to receive the training, leads and other benefits the nationals have to offer.

But even independent brokers have a brand, and their agents do too. They communicate their lineage, trust, expertise and other qualifications through their signs, business cards and marketing materials.

What can you do to improve your brand or trust in your brand? What are your thoughts?

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