One of the top five brokerages nationwide — with the La Jolla location coming in as the No. 1 office in the U.S. — Prudential California has built a reputation on its name over several decades. What a heavyweight like Berkshire Hathaway can bring to such a trusted name is more exposure — and an exclusivity that can’t be rivaled. David Cabot, CEO of the former Prudential California explained that when Warren Buffet, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, decided to dip into the real-estate industry, he took the opportunity to put a household name on a product for the first time.
“In the last year and a half, Warren Buffett made a decision to become more involved in the real-estate business and he decided to lend his name — the Berkshire Hathaway name — to that,” Cabot said. “This is the first time that name has been used in this industry, and it’s a really remarkable event. We’re fortunate that we are the first company in the nation to take on that new brand name.”
Prudential California had been operating under Berkshire Hathaway-affiliate HomeServices of America for a little over a year, and the changeover to the new name was a process of “months and months and months,” Cabot said. What would prompt an already well-known brand to make such a switch is the prestige that comes with it and the limitless prospects for the future, he said.
“Berkshire Hathaway is the No. 1 most recognized and respected company in the world,” Cabot said. “It has been known for decades as a stable company and whatever they buy will continue to operated forever. This represents a dramatic shift in how this business is operated. They don’t do something for five or 10 years. It says something, especially in our markets, that we’re here for the next 100 years.”
Prudential California’s high earning potential and the fact that La Jolla holds the No. 1 spot in the chain may have had something to do with Prudential California being honored as the first of seven Prudential franchises to make the switch to BHHS, Cabot said.
“After a number of conversations, it came down to the thought that what better place than Southern California to roll out this new name,” he said. “And really, the real estate in Southern California is not about real estate — it’s about the agents. We have some of the most talented professionals in the business working in La Jolla, and we’re able to build up business and dominate the market, quite honestly, by virtue of the people working here.”
Nicki Marcellino, branch manager for the La Jolla office, said the change to the new name is an honor and a reflection of how she always does business.
“My mantra is always to go from great to extraordinary,” she said. “We’re the No. 1 in the country and San Diego, and I feel we’re a pretty great group of people. What this signifies is more of that challenge to go from great to extraordinary. We’re always looking for ways to elevate the client’s experience more.”
Marti Gellens, who, along with her mother, operates a satellite office on Prospect Street, said agents had been eagerly anticipating the roll out of the new brand. Her store was the first to receive BHHS’ new signage.
“It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been planning and gearing up for it for a while,” she said. “It’s good for us and for our clients. Clients are finding [the changeover] truly interesting. If it was a name they didn’t recognize or trust, it might be an issue, but none of them have any concern about this change.”
In fact, the only ones who might take issue with the change, Cabot said, are competitors.
“We’ve been so anxious and excited for this change, and our competitors have also been anxious and excited,” he said. “It’s been interesting to see their reaction. Prudential has always been the target of aggressive recruiting [of agents to other companies], but how do you say something bad about Berkshire Hathaway? We’ll continue to see attempted recruiting, but it’s going to be more difficult [for competitors].”
Judging from the level of excitement from those now employed by BHHS, that just may prove to be true.
“It’s so exciting. I’m so proud to say [I’m] working for Berkshire Hathaway,” Marcellino said. “It truly gives me goose bumps.”
For more information on the new Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, visit www.bhhscalifornia.com.