Category Archives: HomeServices of America

HomeServices of America Appoints Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

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Gino Blefari, CEO of HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, has appointed Teresa Palacios Smith as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for HomeServices and its subsidiaries, including its family of brokerage, mortgage, insurance, settlement-services, and relocation companies, and HSF Affiliates, which operates the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Real Living franchise networks.

In her role, Palacios Smith will lead HomeServices’ employee- and agent-diversity programs, cultivate a culture of equity and inclusion, and champion the company’s goal of increasing minority homeownership.

“There’s no place like home. Our home is a place that we associate with acceptance, family, love, safety, and belonging,” said Palacios Smith. “HomeServices exemplifies this and I’m honored to lead the diversity and inclusion efforts of a company that values its people, promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion, and cherishes homeownership and fair housing for all.”

Palacios Smith began her career as a successful real estate agent and served on Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties’ management team. In 2017, she joined HSF Affiliates as its Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion for the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Real Living franchise networks.

During her more than 20 years in the real estate industry, Palacios Smith has been a national speaker and trainer who has focused on emerging markets, unconscious bias, and real estate trends in diverse market segments. She is serves on the boards of many of the country’s top housing organizations that focus on supporting people from traditionally underserved communities and is recognized for her dedication to expanding and celebrating leadership opportunities in real estate for women. She is a past president of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), one of the largest associations of minority real estate professionals in the country, and a cofounder of the NAHREP’s Atlanta chapter. In 2019, she received the Diversity Leader Award from the National Association of Women in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem. In May 2018, she was honored by RISMedia with the Newsmaker award and was inducted, along with HomeServices’ executive chair Ron Peltier, into RISMedia’s Hall of Fame.

© 2020 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Veteran Realtor Cathy Jackson Returns to Intero

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Berkshire Hathaway’s real estate brand Intero has announced the return of Cathy Jackson as Vice President of Talent Development. In addition to her duties to help progress the education, knowledge and professionalism of Intero’s agent community, Jackson will also assist with the management of Intero’s Los Gatos office.

Intero is a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America Inc., serving Northern California with 18 offices throughout the greater Silicon Valley. The Intero Franchise network is comprised of 55 affiliates located in Alabama, California, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas. The company is headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley.

A respected real estate veteran, Jackson’s career has seen her as a top producer, mentor and cherished teammate wherever she has practiced real estate. Most recently, Cathy was with Compass and prior to that, she was with Sereno Group.

“I am thrilled to be coming back to Intero to take on this exciting new role,” said Cathy Jackson, Vice President of Talent Development. “It will be fulfilling to leverage my real estate knowledge and training experience to help some of the best agents in the business take their careers to another level.”

In addition to Jackson’s new role, she will also assist in the day-to-day operations and management of Intero’s Los Gatos office. She will be a valuable asset to the office with her vast knowledge of the industry, as well as her infectious spirit and desire to build a great culture. If that was not enough on her plate, Jackson will also be continuing her real estate sales business with her son Jamie.

“Cathy is a career real estate professional, with a deep understanding of the business,” said Brian Crane, Chief Executive Officer of Intero. “We are excited to have Cathy and her team join us. Her abundant energy and infectious enthusiasm are what sets her apart as a REALTOR® and leader. As one of the first agents hired at Intero in 2002, we’re excited to see Cathy return home.”

“I am overjoyed to be welcoming Cathy back to the Intero family,” said John Thompson, President of Intero. “I have known Cathy for years and have admired what she has done for the real estate industry as a whole. Having her back on the team continues to strengthen the Intero brand, as Cathy is someone who lives the core values of Intero, and manages every person and situation with professional expertise and personal concern.”

“I’m very excited to have Cathy back at Intero,” said Gino Blefari, CEO of HomeServices of America. “Her return marks an incredible, next chapter of the Intero story. I’m looking forward to working closely with her and the Intero team to achieve ongoing growth, perpetual innovation and long-term prosperity.”

© 2020 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Intero Promotes Renee Kunz and Adds Chris Moles

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Intero has promoted Renee Kunz to Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. In addition, the company is also excited to introduce Chris Moles as Managing Officer of the Silver Creek office, located in San Jose, California.

Intero, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America Inc., serves Northern California with 18 offices throughout the greater Silicon Valley. The Intero Franchise network is comprised of 55 affiliates located in Alabama, California, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas. The company is headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley.

Renee Kunz is a seasoned real estate professional that has been with Intero since the foundation in 2002 running Intero’s Hollister office. This office under Kunz’s leadership has maintained #1 market share for many years and was recognized as the best real estate office by Best of San Benito County in 2019. She is a third-generation REALTOR® and was inspired by her mother, Marilyn Ferreira, a real estate icon in San Benito County, who has been practicing real estate for almost 50 years.

In this new role, Kunz will be leading the charge with all of Intero’s strategic partners. The current partners include Prosperity Mortgage and Orange Coast Title. This role will continue to evolve as Intero adds additional ancillary services in the future.

“I am so excited about this new opportunity with Intero,” said Renee Kunz, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. “Having been a licensed broker for more than 30 years and using my knowledge gained from leadership roles from the past and with Intero, I feel I can bring a unique perspective to help elevate our strategic partnerships to new heights.”

“Renee is smart, creative and most of all, she’s a team player,” said Brian Crane, Chief Executive Officer of Intero. “She has consistently demonstrated her ability to collaborate with our existing strategic partners to help grow our capture rates. I look forward to her helping assist our leadership team to deepen our relationships with existing, as well as future partners.”

A real estate industry veteran, Chris Moles has been with Intero for more than 10 years in the role of General Counsel. His counterpart, Heather Wang, will remain at the Cupertino Headquarters in her current role as Corporate Counsel.

Moles brings a wealth of knowledge, skills and pedigree to this new role. In addition to his extensive real estate legal background, Moles has the industry in his blood. His father, Bob Moles, had an illustrious regional and national real estate career and was a co-owner of Intero and his late uncle, Kevin Moles, was one of the founding members of Intero, opening the first Intero office in Morgan Hill, California.

“I was seeking a more active role on the sales side of the real estate business,” said Chris Moles, Intero Managing Officer. “I am so excited by this new opportunity and can’t wait to jump in with both feet to help our Silver Creek agents become the best in the business.”

“Chris has been a huge asset to Intero and Intero agents over the years as our General Counsel,” said Brian Crane, Chief Executive Officer of Intero. “Chris is the ideal person to help our REALTORS® in Silver Creek grow and build successful careers.”

© 2020 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Intero Introduces a Designer-Curated Home Preparation Service with No Upfront Costs

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Berkshire Hathaway’s real estate brand, Intero, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc. has introduced PINNACLE, a premium designer-curated home preparation service with zero out-of-pocket cost to sellers until their home closes escrow.

Available for clients working with an Intero agent, PINNACLE provides vast, customized home-preparation options, including, but not limited to, cosmetic updates, general repairs, professional staging services, window treatments, landscaping, decluttering and moving and packing services.

Sellers who opt into Intero’s PINNACLE program will interface with their own project coordinator. These project coordinators do the work of assessing what needs to be done, and coordinate the job from start to finish with local contractors. The program also stands out for providing tailored relocation services to seniors who need additional support when moving.

“We’re proud to bring the PINNACLE program to the market,” said Brian Crane, Chief Executive Officer of Intero. “The PINNACLE program gives Intero agents and clients a progressive and effective tool to enhance the condition of the home prior to going to the market, without the upfront out-of-pocket expense. This PINNACLE program is a true differentiator in the marketplace for Intero and will add to Intero’s ability to help seller clients achieve the best results.”

The PINNACLE program is available today for any seller with a signed listing agreement with an Intero sales associate.

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Intero Launches Intero Capital Markets

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Intero, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., is proud to announce that top Intero agent, Efi Luzon, will launch and manage a new division for the company called Intero Capital Markets.

Luzon brings more than 30 years of real estate experience to this new division, which is slated to invest more than $1 Billion in various Bay Area commercial opportunities over the remainder of 2019.

In addition to the investments, there will be a viable referral channel for agents that leverage their network to bring sellers with large commercial opportunities. Commercial projects that are up for consideration include large commercial holdings such as office buildings, shopping malls, apartment complexes, hotels, ground leases, mobile home parks and mixed-use parcels.

Running Intero Capital Markets is a natural progression for Luzon, who has experienced the highest level of success within the commercial real estate world. He has participated in some of the most prolific commercial transactions, not only in the Bay Area, but in the country. He has the top-three transactions, based on sales price, in the history of Intero and has more than $6 billion in sales volume over his prestigious career.

“I am very excited to get Intero Capital Markets up and running,” said Efi Luzon, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Intero Capital Markets. “We are going to experience a level of success unprecedented in the commercial real estate space and I’m proud to be driving this incredible division.”

Luzon started with Intero in 2004 and has had a stellar career with the firm. In that 15-year timeframe, Luzon has had several billion dollars in real estate sales and in 2017, he was recognized by RealTrends and The Wall Street Journal as the number one agent in California and number two agent nationally, with more than $800 million in sales. In 2015, Luzon earned the most coveted award from Intero with his induction into the Hall of Fame.

“All of us at Intero are tremendously proud and excited by what Efi is building,” said Brian Crane, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Intero – A Berkshire Hathaway Affiliate. “We know this will be an extremely successful venture for both Efi and Intero.”

“Having worked with Efi for a while now, I know his skill and determination will be a powerful combination for this new division,” said Scott Chase, Vice President and Managing Officer of Intero Los Altos. “We are not only excited for Efi, but we are excited what this new division will provide for Intero and our agents.”

© 2019 David Mazor


isclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Opens Office in Paris

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI), in coordination with its affiliate, has received its insurance license in France, established a new office in Paris, and appointed François-Xavier d’Huart as Country Manager.

“We are pleased to continue our strategic expansion in Europe, with our new office in France and François-Xavier leading our efforts to bring BHSI’s underwriting and claims acumen, financial strength, and long-term focus to the French market,” said Chris Colahan, President, BHSI in Europe and the UK. “François-Xavier brings extensive experience to BHSI, and I am so pleased to have him at the helm as we build our product line and team in Paris.”

Beginning immediately, BHSI is underwriting property, casualty, and executive & professional lines in France. The company expects to launch several other products in France in the months ahead.

François-Xavier comes to BHSI with 15 years of industry experience. He was most recently Head of Client and Broker Management for France at AXA XL (previously XL Catlin). Before that he was Chief Executive Officer, Office Lyonnais d’Assurances and Interassur, at SATEC, and Head of Marine Cargo & Hull for Asia at AXA Asia.

François-Xavier holds a master’s degree in Engineering from SUPELEC and a master’s degree in Economics and Management from the IFP School. He received his actuarial degree from Centre d’Etudes Actuarielles.

BHSI’s Paris office is located at 88 & 92 Avenue Charles de Gaulle, 92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine.

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Intero Selected for Membership in Leading Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio International

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Intero, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire’s HomeServices of America, Inc., has been awarded exclusive affiliate status for Silicon Valley in Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and its luxury program, Luxury Portfolio International®.

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® is a global real estate community comprised of 565 of the best-known local and regional real estate firms, with 4,300 offices and 130,000 sales associates in over 70 countries. Collectively, these firms represent 1.1 million transactions annually.

Intero’s dominant #1 market share in Santa Clara County will be further enhanced by our exclusive affiliation with Leading RE. In addition to the business collaboration benefits, Leading RE will also extend and enhance Intero’s reach in the luxury market through Luxury Portfolio International.

Affiliates of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® are widely recognized as the premier providers of quality residential real estate and relocation services. Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® is the largest network of residential real estate firms, and network affiliates are widely recognized as the premier providers of quality residential real estate and relocation services. Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® also excels in the upper-end market with its Luxury Portfolio International® marketing program.

Leading RE exists to make its members better by connecting them to opportunities and people around the globe, supporting them with an industry-leading international referral network, award-winning professional development programs and events, professional marketing resources and more.

Luxury Portfolio International® is the luxury face of Leading RE, with a unified collection of the world’s most respected experts in luxury real estate. Luxury Portfolio marketed over 50,000 of the world’s most remarkable homes last year and attracted over three million high-net-worth visitors by presenting a gallery of the finest luxury properties and brokerages worldwide.

Luxury Portfolio members offer extensive global reach for high-end properties through the award-winning website, LuxuryPortfolio.com; the Luxury Portfolio International magazine; targeted advertising reaching an affluent audience worldwide and professional marketing materials.

“We are delighted to have Intero as part of our distinguished network of premier brokerages. The company has an impeccable reputation in the Bay Area, and we are committed to helping the firm achieve even greater success,” said Paul Boomsma, president and CEO of Leading RE. “As a member of Leading RE and Luxury Portfolio, Intero aligns with other market-leading firms and expands its local expertise to deliver powerful marketing worldwide.”

“We are thrilled to be part of the Leading RE and Luxury Portfolio family,” said Brian Crane, Chief Executive Officer of Intero. “Real estate brokerage is a local business; aligning ourselves with the premier luxury real estate network in the world helps Intero agents to provide the best tools and results for our clients in the luxury market throughout Silicon Valley.”

© 2019 David Mazor


Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Intero Names New CEO

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Intero, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., today announced that Brian Crane has been promoted to the role of chief executive officer and John Thompson has been named president of company.

One of the original founders of the company, Crane is a real estate veteran whose decisive leadership and collaborative approach have been integral to the year-over-year growth for which Intero is best known.

Over the course of his 17-year career at Intero, Crane has held a number of positions and most recently served as Senior Vice President of Strategic Relationships and manager of the Los Gatos office.

Also, effective immediately, John Thompson will take on the role of president and report to Brian. A founding member and former owner of the company, John has led Intero’s strategic planning and growth initiatives, as well as managed its day-to-day operations. Most recently, John was Chief Culture Officer and before that he managed the Los Altos office.

“I am humbled and honored by this promotion,” said Crane. “I look forward to leading Intero to new levels of growth and performance with the best and brightest professionals in the business – our outstanding agents, experienced leadership team and talented employees.”

“Brian and I have worked together since we founded the company,” said Thompson. “He has a deep understanding of the real estate business and I couldn’t be more excited to be playing a key role in this transition.”

“Brian and John make a great team,” said Gino Blefari, CEO of HomeServices. “I am confident that their extensive experience, fresh perspective and exceptional leadership qualities will help guide Intero into the future and position the agents for even greater success.”

“Brian and John are the right leaders to ensure that Intero is well-positioned for future growth,” added Ron Peltier, HomeServices’ executive chairman. “On behalf of HomeServices, we look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

HomeServices of America is US’s #1 Largest Real Estate Company

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Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeServices of America keeps reaching new milestones in its growth, and today has announced that it is the US’s largest residential real estate company based on transaction sides, according to the REAL Trends 500 report.

In 2018, the company’s sales associates closed 346,629 residential transactions reflecting a 5.6% increase over 2017. The REAL Trends ranking is based on 2018 closed transaction sides for the country’s top-500 brokerages.

“2018 was a year of incredible growth and strategic expansion and we couldn’t be more proud that we have achieved this No. 1 industry ranking,” said Ron Peltier, executive chairman of HomeServices. “This milestone is a testament to the commitment and hard work of thousands of employees and tens of thousands of talented agents and sales managers across HomeServices who deliver an exceptional real estate experience to their buyers and sellers.”

“This is a turning point in our history and we congratulate our incredible employees and agents who work tirelessly to help their clients achieve the American dream of home ownership,” added Gino Blefari, CEO of HomeServices. “This achievement is a culmination of years of hard work and while we are celebrating this moment, we are not resting on our laurels. HomeServices is dedicated to continued growth both organically and through strategic acquisitions and we are committed to modernizing the home-transaction experience for buyers and sellers and the process by which our agents serve them.”

Headquartered in Minneapolis, HomeServices has nearly 44,000 real estate professionals operating in nearly 900 offices across 30 states and the District of Columbia. In 2018, the company’s sales associates facilitated nearly $136 billion in residential real estate sales, nearly 347,000 home-sale transactions, and nearly 323,000 mortgage, insurance, title, and escrow transactions.

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Intero Expanding in the Carmel and Monterey County Markets

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Intero is expanding its operations in California’s Carmel and Monterey County markets.

The company has announced the hiring of J.R. Rouse as the Vice President and Managing Officer of the Monterey Peninsula operation.

Intero is a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America.

J.R., a 20-year real estate veteran, moved to California in 1989, and spent the next ten years in Silicon Valley at iconic technology brands Silicon Graphics and Cybersource. He started his real estate career on the Monterey Peninsula in 2000 when he moved to Pacific Grove. Six years later, he opened his own real estate brokerage, J.R. Rouse Real Estate, and was quickly honored by the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce as Entrepreneur of the Year. He managed his firm until he joined Sotheby’s International Realty in January of 2014.

During his successful career, J.R. has taken on many leadership roles at various local and state real estate organizations. He served on the Monterey County Board of Realtors in a variety of positions including Director (2002), Secretary/Treasurer (2003), President Elect (2004), and President (2005). During 2007 and 2008, J.R. served as a director of MLSListings Inc., and from 2008 to 2011, he served on the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee for the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.), acting as the vice-chair in his final year.

“I am so excited about being with a company that has alignment with my own personal and professional philosophies,” said J.R. Rouse, Intero Vice President and Managing Officer. “We will combine my professional connections and business drive with Intero’s marketing and operational support and we will build something very special on the Monterey Peninsula.”

The first step in the strategic plan to make Intero the number one brokerage on the Monterey Peninsula was to increase the size and location of the Carmel operation. This is in the works and soon Intero Carmel will move from its current petite location on Lincoln between 5th and 6th to its large and open office at 3 NE Ocean Avenue and San Carlos.

“We are beyond thrilled to have J.R. join our leadership team running our Monterey Peninsula operation,” said Tom Tognoli, Intero President & Chief Executive Officer. “He brings a level of enthusiasm and passion that is unprecedented in our industry.”

Joining J.R. in his move to Intero is Jan Pratt. Jan has been J.R.’s Assistant and Broker Associate for more than 13 years and is an integral part of his past success.

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.