Longmont brokers opt out of takeover
Last Updated: 16:49 December 27, 2013
The office in Longmont is the exception. That one, at 275 S. Main St., will close Tuesday, Dec. 31.
Don Rulle, president and managing broker of the Longmont office, said Berkshire Hathaway's commitment to commercial real estate sales was not strong enough to meet the needs of his office, which he said is about 80 percent oriented toward commercial sales.
"That was the message given to us repeatedly, that they were going to focus on residential," Rulle said. "As time went on, that story stayed the same. The ownership of our office just couldn't stand and wait for them. We're not getting any younger."
Ten of the 22 agents in the Longmont office - seven who specialize in commercial properties and three whose specialty is residential sales - officially will join Re/Max Traditions' office at 2204 18th Ave. on Wednesday, Jan. 1. The transfers will include Rulle as well as three members of a family that has been a prominent part of the Longmont real estate scene for decades: Ed Kanemoto, his son Keith Kanemoto and Ed's cousin Ken Kanemoto. The 10 will join 52 agents already on staff at Re/Max Traditions, allowing that brokerage to form a commercial division.
What of the others? "A couple went independent, which seems to be the trend in the industry," Rulle said, "and a couple joined other brokerages. But Re/Max has global reach, and it's the prominent residential brokerage in town, by a long ways."
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has a link to commercial real estate on its website, but the section is sparsely populated so far.
"I'm not certain what their timeline was," Rulle said. "It certainly was not in the foreseeable future."
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices "will roll out a commercial component, but it's probably a year out," said Tom Tyrrell, president and managing broker of the Boulder office, adding that he understood the Longmont brokers' action because "they didn't want to wait around to see what would happen."
The wheels of transition began rolling in December 2011 when Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc. bought Prudential's Irvine, California-based real estate business, which includes the Prudential Rocky Mountain Realtors offices. Ten months later, Brookfield sold about 60 percent of it to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK), the Omaha, Nebraska-based multinational conglomerate holding company headed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
Plans were announced recently to rebrand the Prudential real estate brokerages, including the Front Range subsidiary, which has offices in Boulder, Longmont, Loveland, Greeley, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. The five offices join Berkshire Hathaway affiliates that have launched in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Washington.
Tyrrell and co-owners Chris Jungman and Chip Wise will introduce the new brand and "Cabernet & Cream"-colored signage at a rollout event Jan. 16 at the Boulder office, 4710 Table Mesa Drive, Suite A.
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