In a remarkable year, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwood Realty Services finished strong with a focus on growth and community.
In 2020, the agency merged with Fairlawn-based Stouffer Realty to become Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stouffer Realty. The firm is now the area’s largest residential real estate brokerage with more than 2,100 agents and over 60 offices serving 22 counties in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, says Kevin Leonard, president and chief operating officer.
“By joining these two great companies not only have we grown the number of communities we can serve in northeastern Ohio, but doubled in sales volume, office locations and agents,” Leonard says. “We have done in excess of $650 million in sales and served over 3,600 clients and look forward to continued growth in 2021.”
The acquisition extended Northwood’s footprint into Akron and the surrounding area with eight additional offices, says Marlin Palich, general manager and principal broker. The agency ranks among the top five in the MLS Now.
Along with Pennsylvania-based Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty, the company closed 2020 with more than 20,000 transactions and some $4 billion in sales. Together, they are ranked 21st in the industry based on REALTrends data, according to Palich.
The acquisition of Kovack Realty in early 2020 added more than 50 agents to the agency’s roster and expanded its footprint with offices in Medina and Wadsworth, Palich says. With that and a strong demand for homes, Northwood Realty anticipated a prosperous first quarter with record closed sales and increased hiring and retention.
That prediction became uncertain in March when the company braced for a pause because of COVID, Palich says. Northwood shifted, however, adopting new technologies, including Zoom meetings and virtual tours, and abiding state and federal safety regulations and guidance.
“Despite the challenges, real estate remained strong throughout the year with Northwood experiencing a banner year,” Palich says. “The company saw an uptick in sales volume and closed units with no sign of slowing down going into 2021.”
The company didn’t lay off any employees and was able to recruit and train new agents, Leonard adds. “While many are looking to downsize offices and locations, we are analyzing how we can expand both the number of offices and the size, as to better serve our agents and clients,” he says.
Agents were afforded access to advanced technology, including the Call Connect program, which allows agents to differentiate between a robocall and a customer.
“In 2020, we had just under 40,000 calls and texts from people clicking the button on our website asking to be connected to an agent,” Leonard says. “That is a significant increase from 22,000 calls in 2019.”
This year, he believes northeastern Ohio will continue to see a surge in interest because of the ongoing increases in remote work.
“But more than ever, the agents renewed and doubled their commitment to their community,” Palich adds.
In addition to the company’s annual community events and emphasis on volunteerism, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stouffer Realty donated 2,253 meals to the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley and held a COVID-safe Easter egg hunt. In December, agents from the Strongsville and Brecksville offices hosted a drive-thru event for Toys for Tots and Meals on Wheels. And in July, the Poland office donated 200 teddy bears to Akron Children’s Hospital.
“When the people of the Mahoning Valley need help, our agents are always willing to answer the call,” Palich says. “People, not houses, are the very heart of our business and our agents are members of the same communities where they work.”