Having been involved in the St. Louis real estate scene for nearly half her life, Maryann Vitale, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties, feels that it’s better than ever to be involved in the business.
“Our market has continued to improve over the past year,” says Vitale. “Average sale prices are up 3 percent across the board, and the increase in new-home starts has been a big factor in our increase in closed units. Our company sales were up 16 percent this year, and we hit our one-billion-dollar goal. Besides the market gains, though, we attribute this success to our hard-working agents; I’m honored to work with every single one of them.”
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties has aggressive plans for growth within the firm in 2016.
“During the last quarter of 2015, we started really focusing on strategic planning, and I feel that executing this plan will be vital to our success in the coming years,” Vitale says. “Streamlining our internal processes, sharpening the quality of the customer experience, and bringing aboard top talent are key to our main goal of increasing our marketshare to 10 percent by 2020.”
The firm also plans to focus on its recruiting efforts to reach 750 agents with a Productivity per Person (PPP) of 10, and make certain it is the place every real estate agent wants to work.
Vitale feels there are a number of things that set the firm apart from others in the area, beginning with its culture and the fact that a majority of its listings sell for more than 98 percent of their listing price.
“I know everyone likes to boast about their culture, but I really do believe we have the very best. It’s something you can’t really pin to the wall. It’s something that is living and breathing and you just have to experience it,” she says. “It really comes down to the whole family feel and the empathy we have. We know our agents work day and night, we know real estate isn’t easy, and they have a million other commitments outside of that. We are here to make it easier for them to keep the proper balance.”
Diversity is also of chief importance to the firm, something Vitale feels is lacking in other firms within the region.
“We recognize that St. Louis is multi-cultural, and everyone wants to work where they fit as a part of the whole,” Vitale says. “We have stepped up our recruiting and marketing to reflect these goals. No matter where you’re from or what your experience is, we recognize top talent and potential.”
For those joining in 2016, the firm is planning to open a pre-license school and a success center, and develop two other educational programs. The firm also recently established a local REthink Council with a focus on how best to connect and bring value to the generations to come.
“We are always looking to improve the quality of training and tools we provide our agents, as their success is our success,” Vitale says. “The biggest challenge for us is bringing in the next generation of talent. We have the best agents, but what will we do when they retire? While that is a long way off, we have to not only plan for tomorrow, but also for five to six years down the road. Our efforts will focus on being seen as the place multiple generations think of in St. Louis as synonymous with innovative real estate.”
Vitals: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties
Years in business: 14
Size: 9 offices, 545 agents
2015 sales volume: $911,457,515
2015 transactions: 4,885
Region served: St. Louis
For more information, visit www.bhhsselectstl.com.