From motivating today’s buyers to training agents for success, Christy Budnick and Linda Sherrer of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty have worked together to create a well-oiled real estate machine.
Executive Vice President
Founder and CEO
HomeServices Florida Network Realty
Barbara Pronin: Linda, why don’t we start with a brief recap of your background and your vision for the firm?
Linda Sherrer: Buying my first home as a young Navy wife many years ago was a great learning experience for me and set me on the path to pursuing a career in real estate. In 1988, Prudential offered me the opportunity to open one of their first franchise companies. That’s when Florida Network Realty was born, and my vision was to grow it into a significant full-service company serving the northeast region of the state. When Prudential left the real estate sector, we chose to affiliate with one of the premier brands on the planet—Berkshire Hathaway. In January 2014, we became known as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty.
BP: Christy, you left a successful career in the banking and mortgage industries to become Linda’s right-hand person. How is it working out?
Christy Budnick: I began my career as a loan officer and after a few years, I found I loved the sales and leadership training side of the business. In late 2001, Linda and I discussed the idea of going into business together. She challenged me to turn around one of her branch offices that needed some special attention, so in January 2002, I joined the company. Within a year, the branch became profitable, and I enjoyed the challenge and found I loved the business.
BP: How would you describe the company’s current positioning in the market?
LS: We’ve always been the luxury leader in our market, but we are grateful to service clients in every price point. The Berkshire Hathaway brand and the respect and dignity it stands for resonates with our clients. Our closed volume at this point is up 23 percent year-over-year, beating the MLS average by nearly 10 percent.
BP: What is motivating today’s buyers and sellers?
CB: There is a lot of pent-up demand in our area across all price points. Jobs are back on track, credit has been repaired in most cases, and REOs and short sales are greatly diminishing. We seem to be in the “sweet spot” of the market right now, with prices increasing but still affordable. Corporate relocation accounts for just over 20 percent of our business, and we are representing several group moves with more on the horizon.
BP: How does your training program encourage agent success?
CB: Linda and I regularly spend time in each of our offices and take a personal interest in our 300-plus agents and their support teams. We provide excellent, focused classroom and online training and put a lot of emphasis on broker coaching. Our non-competing broker managers are charged with ensuring that our agents have the latest and most comprehensive market intelligence, and our sales meetings resemble strategy sessions, so our agents are well-armed with tangible ideas to better serve clients and increase business. Our agents lead the market in per-agent productivity, which is a direct result of our rigorous selection process combined with in-depth coaching and training.
BP: How is your technology evolving to meet today’s changing needs?
LS: We have every technology tool a productive agent could ever want, including optimized, mobile-responsive websites, CRM, and enhanced listing placement on realtor.com®, Trulia and Zillow. We have a full bevvy of social media tools and ecard/enewsletter offerings, a lead-generating text rider program, dotloop transaction management and many other marketing tools. We are careful to emphasize that this is still very much a personal business, so our training focuses on how to use the tools to support the building of relationships.
BP: What are your plans for continuing to grow the company?
LS: Growth is a continuing journey, so we will always be open to expansion opportunities that fit into our company culture, in addition to cultivating agents who are able and committed to do the best possible job for their clients. The secret to our success, if there is one, has been to anticipate change, treat people with care and respect, and reinvent our business strategies to make the most of every opportunity.
For more information, please visit www.floridanetworkrealty.com.