By Maria Patterson
RISMEDIA, Dec. 12, 2007-Jim Brooks and Tracy Drown came together with their respective spouses and sales associates to form an agent team in February of 2005. Their goal? To fuse their kindred business philosophies and market prowess in order to increase profitability for all.
“Having a team helps offset the cost of running a business,” explains Drown. “And the synergy of having everyone under one roof benefits all of us. Agents who haven’t done well on their own are succeeding from bringing everyone together as a team.”
Serving the greater Las Vegas area as an agent team working within Prudential Americana, the Brooks and Drown team attributes many factors to its success in the marketplace, such as sharing the business strategies of top producers and serving as professional consultants to their clients, guiding them through successful real estate transactions. An essential part of the home-buying process is offering their clients a simple way to protect their investment with home warranties from Madison, Wisconsin-based HSA Home Warranty.
Prudential Americana President George Bruns is a 30-year real estate industry veteran. Having worked with HSA for 20 of those years at a previous brokerage, HSA was a natural choice for Bruns and Prudential Americana’s 1,200 agents. “We’re extremely happy to have HSA as part of the Prudential Americana team,” he explains. “We recently reached an agreement to have HSA as one of our endorsed suppliers of warranties.”
While for Drown the concept of home warranties was virtually unheard of in her native Alaska, Brooks knew differently. “A home warranty is a standard practice in Las Vegas,” says Brooks. “Ninety-seven percent of all transactions close with a home warranty. The standard contract brokers use in Nevada is templated to include the home warranty company you’re working with.”
According to Drown, Las Vegas residents are, generally speaking, more conscious of protecting their investment. “Homeowners’ associations help people realize that their property values are protected if they keep up the exteriors and interiors of their homes. People are educated to understand that during the first 12 months after you move into a home, things start deteriorating.”
According to Brooks, most of the homes on the market in Las Vegas, therefore, already have a home warranty in place. Buyers usually request that the seller invest in a new warranty upon purchase of the home, however.
“Home warranties are placed on the vast majority of home purchases here,” agrees Bruns. “The current emphasis for me with HSA is to secure more warranties on listings because our market has become more of a buyer’s market. It makes sense to put a warranty on the listing because buyers will ultimately request it anyway.”
As Drown explains, “It’s part of the seller’s closing costs to provide a home warranty for the first year. It helps the buyer feel comfortable.”
According to the team, HSA Home Warranty is their provider of choice due not only to the reliable coverage provided by the company’s home warranties, but because of the company’s high caliber of sales and customer-service support. “We know that we always have someone available to jump in on a call with a client-someone who has dealt with the situation or issues the client is going through,” explains Brooks.
What makes HSA’s service stand apart, adds Brooks and Drown, is the care taken to customize the service provided for each team member and their respective clients. HSA makes the extra effort to target their service and communication accordingly-there is no “one-size-fits-all” attitude toward customer service.
“We feel very comfortable with HSA,” says Drown. “We have a personal relationship with our rep plus first-hand experience of how they handle claims. Even though every claim that comes in can’t be approved, our HSA rep will educate our clients about what’s covered and what’s not, and exactly why a certain claim can’t be approved. With other companies, there’s no personal connection at all-they just decline you.”
For Bruns, the reason behind choosing HSA is a simple yet significant one: “They always do what they say they’re going to do.”
The Brooks and Drown Team also views HSA home warranties as a vehicle for building better, longer-lasting relationships with clients.
“If the warranty is structured right, it provides a good opportunity for the sales agent to have a reason to follow up with the homeowner on an annual basis to inform them that it’s time to renew their warranty,” says Brooks. “Plus, if you have a close relationship with your home warranty provider, like we do with HSA, you’ll get a phone call when something goes wrong with a client’s property. It’s just another way to stay in touch and keep your face in front of the client.”