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Vitals: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty
Years in Business: 22
Size: 29 offices, 1,340 agents
Regions Served: Southern Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, Reading, Lancaster, York and surrounding communities) and the Baltimore metropolitan area
2018 Sales Volume: $3,101,464,275
2018 Transactions: 14,138

After leaving active duty as a Naval Officer and completing his graduate program at the University of Pennsylvania, Rod Messick had several offers to join Fortune 500 companies in management development programs. Instead, he took an opportunity to go to Lancaster, Pa., to work in a startup national bank whose focus was mortgage banking.

Messick began as a mortgage loan officer and went on to work on an M&A project before joining what would become Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty in 2004. Today, he serves as CEO of the full-service real estate firm.

Once you left the Navy, you had several opportunities, and eventually chose real estate as your career. What is it about this industry that you enjoy?
Rod Messick: What I love about our industry is that it’s a true meritocracy. It’ll give back what you put into it. My partners and I love to see people grow personally and professionally, which is why we believe so strongly in the value of a true full-service brokerage where agents get the support and care they need to develop.

What most sets your firm apart in the marketplace?
RM: Dedication to training, professional development, full-time office leadership and an integrated home-services model.

How is your market faring in 2019, and what factors are playing a part?
RM: Our market is up slightly in units year-over-year, and up over 10 percent in total volume. This is primarily a factor of strong buyer demand, limited inventory at two times the median sales price and below, and lower-than-expected interest rates.

Are you planning to grow your firm in the next year?
RM: Yes, we’re actively seeking great companies with congruent cultures for both in-market and geographic expansion on the non-organic growth front. Additionally, we invest heavily in organic growth both through efforts to attract new and experienced agents to the company and through coaching, marketing and systems implementation to help our existing agents grow their businesses. We recently opened a new office in Harford County, Md., to expand our service area, and will continue to look for opportunities to open startup offices where appropriate.

What are the biggest challenges you’re currently facing?
RM: Limited inventory with strong buyer demand, in addition to it not being economically feasible to build new homes at the median sales price in most of our markets. The material, labor and regulatory costs are too high to deliver units at scale that are “affordable.” Wage growth and price support from appreciation need to continue in order to create balance.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities for increasing business right now?
RM: Attracting great agents, both new and experienced, who value the support, training, mentoring and career development that are at the very core of our company’s values. We help people achieve their dreams, and this isn’t just limited to homebuyers and sellers, but our agents and employees, as well. We also have opportunities to grow our mortgage, title, insurance and property management business lines. This will be done organically by deepening our relationships with our agents and creating greater confidence in our integrated services model and through non-organic efforts that include acquisition activity and partnership opportunities.

What do you look for in someone new coming into the company?
RM: For new agents, it’s a dedication to a career in real estate. We want people who see themselves as career professionals and are willing to put in the time and effort to learn the business. As for experienced agents, it’s all about the cultural fit and whether or not we believe we can help them be more successful and efficient.

Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.