Vitals: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties
Years in business: 35
Size: 21 offices, 1,550 agents
Regions served: Greater Metropolitan Atlanta market and North Georgia
2020 sales volume : $4.5 billion
2020 transactions: 11 ,600
As President & CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties, Dan Forsman has become a known force in the Metro Atlanta real estate realm.
But real estate was not the career path he initially imagined. Forsman was a CPA and worked in the accounting field, but fell in love with real estate. He enjoys solving problems and helping people throughout the entire real estate process.
Please characterize the challenge you faced when the pandemic began.
Dan Forsman: The last day of our brand convention in Nashville on March 13, 2020, everything began to shut down, so we went from a wide-open spring market to sending everyone home. I had to adopt “you’re essential, not expendable” as my mantra for my REALTORS® and employees. Within two weeks, everyone was home. Accounting never stopped processing commissions, agents never quit doing deals, and lawyers never stopped doing closings. But I needed to figure out how to push 10 years into the future in two weeks. And we did that.
What is your outlook for 2021? What sort of strategy do you feel will work in your market based on what you learned in 2020?
DF: At the end of 2020, I got COVID and had to quarantine for 14 days. Through that time, the fourth quarter, our sales were through the roof. We have a vaccine, and combined with generation-low interest rates, and 20 million households that could still refinance, I think it will be a gangbuster year. It will be a year where unit sales will be up 5 – 7% and average sales prices will be up over 7%. We’re coming out of the gate wide-open.
What makes your firm unique when compared to others in your marketplace?
DF: No. 1, we’re Berkshire Hathaway, and we’re built to last. We are in this cycle of continuous improvement. We have a different discipline, mindset and a commitment to excellence because we do have one of the most admired brands in the world.
What’s the best piece of advice you can offer an agent as they look at the year ahead?
DF: I coined the term, “fierce presence,” and I believe you need to bring this fierce presence to all the components of your life in the world in which we live. That means you’re aggressive wherever you are at and trying to be forever bold. You need to have your day planned and lean into the power of habit. You need to continually improve your skill set and always be learning.
What sort of employee makes a good fit for your firm?
DF: Someone who wants to help people, someone who has success, someone who has discipline, someone who is a competitor—maybe a high school athlete or someone accomplished in their drama club. We want someone who has accomplished exceptionalism somewhere.
How do you maintain a proper work/life balance?
DF: When COVID hit, and we went home, I didn’t think I would work eight hours a day, and it turns out I was working 15 hours a day. This past year, because of the pandemic, I worked more than I ever have, and only in the fourth quarter did I take any time off. You need to find a way to have the discipline so that you are really sharp when you are on. For me, I have my hobbies, but if you don’t schedule those vacations, they won’t happen. You need to be disciplined.
Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.