Growth Report 2019

With Merger, Berkshire Northwood Is No. 1

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – In August 2018, Everest Holding Co., parent of Northwood Realty Services, acquired Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty. Merging these companies, which now operate as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwood Realty Services in Ohio, created the region’s top residential real estate brokerage in terms of sales volume.

The combined company, headquartered in Pittsburgh, now includes over 1,800 real estate agents, 200 employees and over 50 offices across Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

While the company naturally grew with the merger, its combined sales volume also increased. In 2017, Northwood Realty generated $1.3 billion in sales. In 2018, the combined brokerage generated over $3 billion – a 130% increase. The company now ranks in the top 10 among Berkshire Hathaway brokerages nationally.

“As expected with any acquisition of this size, we had a few challenges,” says Tom Hosack, president and CEO. “However, our sales and listings have continued to increase. Because we ended 2018 on a high note, we anticipate an even more successful 2019.”

Like most industries, technology is transforming the real estate business, Hosack says. To stay ahead of the trend, the company invests in tools that improve business operations, its agents’ success and the customer experience. Last year, the company provided a personalized real estate search app to all of its agents free of charge. Additionally, the company invested in website technology, lead generation and tracking systems and transaction management software.

In 2019, the company anticipates investing in more technology and platforms to help sales associates respond to clients and customers more efficiently, Hosack says. Recruiting new agents also is a primary goal in 2019.

“The real estate market in Ohio is highly competitive,” says Jim Saxon, president and chief operating officer of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty. “We plan to overcome this challenge by providing the highest quality tools and support that smaller brokerages cannot offer. Communicating the value of what we offer and how it will increase an agent’s business will be important as we compete against other brokerages.”

Moreover, the company makes an effort to recognize sales associates throughout the year, Saxon says. Their accomplishments are celebrated at a companywide awards ceremony, as well as at the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices annual convention.

The commitment to philanthropy and community involvement is also strong, Hosack says. Through the Northwood Charitable Foundation, the company, agents and employees raised more than $100,000 in 2018. These funds benefit housing-relating charities and family members in need.

The company hopes to increase its charitable efforts and donations by 10% in 2019, Hosack says.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.