Merger Creates the Region ‘s New Top Real Estate Broker
Real Estate merger will be the number one real estate broker in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio
Everest Holding Company, parent company of Northwood Realty Services, announced today that it is acquiring Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty, and all the company’s related entities. Northwood and The Preferred Realty will merge to create a new family of companies that will operate as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty, effective mid-August 2018.
The merger will create the number one residential real estate broker in the region in volume, sales, and active listings, based on West-Penn Multi-List year-to-date data for 2018. It will include more than 1,800 agents, employ more than 200 and have more than 50 offices across 22 counties in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. Combined, the brokerages generated $85 million in Gross Commissioned Income (GCI) in 2017, which would place the new company in the top 10 ten among all Berkshire HomeServices brokerages.
Tom Hosack, current president and CEO of Northwood Realty Services will continue to serve as co-president and CEO. James Saxon, current president, The Preferred Realty, will serve as co-president and COO of the new company. Wendy West of Northwood will remain chairwoman of the Board of Directors. Ronald Croushore, CEO, and owner, The Preferred Realty, will remain active in the company as Vice Chairman of the Board.
Leadership at both companies expressed confidence in the merger, and enthusiasm for the benefits it will provide to the companies, their agents, and clients in the region. Both noted that the current timing was ideal, because of the overall growth of the region, greater competition, industry trends, and more affordable homeownership.
The merger timing was also right to further leverage Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ brand equity, which has increased in the market since it was introduced in 2013. In fact, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices was just named “Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year” and “Most Trusted Real Estate Brand” for 2018 in the 30th annual Harris Poll EquiTrend national study. J.D. Power’s 2017 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study also recognized it for “Highest Overall Satisfaction for Repeat Home Sellers Among National Full Service Real Estate Firms” The transaction means that visibility for this trusted brand will more than double across the region.
“We are both family-run companies that care deeply about the success of our agents and our employees,” Hosack continued. “We don’t view our agents just as income-producers, but as a family of individuals who are passionate about helping consumers with their real estate needs. Our new family of companies will be grounded in this shared philosophy.”
Croushore added, “For over 56 years our company maintained a prestigious name, as Merrill Lynch, as Prudential and now Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty. We have provided quality and professional real estate services to the Southwestern Pennsylvania region. This merger means that we can continue to grow and ensure the security of the company for the future. I’m personally excited to stay involved as we begin a new chapter that will enable our people to thrive in their real estate careers for generations to come.”
“Combining to create a new family of companies means we can build on our best practices, processes, and products to lead in the market and compete in unprecedented ways,” said Saxon. “The real estate market is more competitive than ever, and industry and business models are changing fast. More nontraditional companies are getting involved in real estate. As our company is doubling in size and blending our expertise, we are effectively positioned to provide agents with the best technology, tools, education, and experience to help them succeed.”
Everest Holding Company is the parent of Northwood Realty Services, a family-owned company that celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2016; West Penn Financial Service Center, Inc. (Pennsylvania), People First Financial (Ohio) mortgage companies; Everest Insurance, LLC, and Everest Settlement. Northwood Realty also expanded its services with the addition of a commercial division in 2017.
The Preferred Realty family includes Preferred Insurance, Preferred Settlement Services, RE Educators, Preferred Property Management Company, Referral Associates of PA, and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty. The new family of companies will also continue to operate the Northwood Charitable Foundation, which was established in 2006 to focus on affordable homeownership initiatives. It will also continue to support causes that have been adopted by The Preferred Realty agents, such as The Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Sunshine Kids, and the Susan G. Komen® organization.