By Alain Pinel
General Manager of Intero Prestigio international
Intero Real Estate Services, Inc.

As you “heard” me say a couple of times in this column, real estate companies were not born equal. Some were born with a silver spoon. Some got a plastic spoon. So is life for all business ventures.

Even if all companies were alike on the starting line, they sure would not grow at the same speed or in the same direction. Some flourish and some falter. The difference? Basically 2 magic words: vision & means. A mix of both gives you the reason for being there in the first place, and then the power to stay there, survive challenges and sustain a growth momentum.

With this in mind, it is particularly comforting to know that our very dear company, Intero, was recently acquired by Home Services of America Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. Yes, Berkshire Hathaway. You know the name. You know the man behind the name: Warren Buffett. Both the man & the brand are synonymous of trust & success.

If you don’t mind, I am going to break my rules and indulge in self-satisfaction for a little while. You see, I, as most everyone working there, like Intero. We are proud of our firm. For good reasons. For one, it was celebrated as the fastest growing real estate company in the country. In just a few short years after it came about (2002), it became a leader in the Silicon Valley, arguably the most competitive market in the country.

Perhaps more significantly, Intero’s growth, in terms of volume of sales and revenues, grew organically, each & every year, uninterrupted. Someone noticed. The expert.

Generally speaking, real estate companies do not think of selling while planning to open shop or on their date of birth. They are fiercely independent. Then, like all of us, they grow up. They see the future differently. They sometimes choose another path for growth, in the interest of their associates, their managers, their staff…And mostly in the interest of their customers and clients.

When Berkshire Hathaway Home Services rings your bell, you open the door. You listen. Nobody in the real estate business (or any business for that matter) knows more than they do. No other firm inspires the same respect. Last year, the brand was voted the best real estate firm in the country by people best qualified to judge: buyers & sellers.

Warren Buffett, judging by the many books I read about him, has a simple, sane & safe business way to look at potential acquisitions. He wants to buy success and growth potential (Hard to find in the real estate field full of land mines these days). Then, he wants to meet and get to know the owners, those who are running the show. The meeting of the minds is based on trust, mutual respect…. And the numbers of course.

The reason for all that is quite simple: he wants the people who built the success story to stay on the jobs, the same jobs; to keep on running the firm. He does not want to do it or does not care to put new people at the helm. Why make waves; why make a change if all goes well? It’s a win-win.

My favorite Warren Buffett‘s quote about keeping the same leadership team in place says it all: “If my job was to manage a golf team, and if Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer were willing to play for me, neither would get a lot of directives from me about how to swing.” Makes sense, don’t you think?

So here we are, a proud affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway. We were strong; we are stronger. We are moving forward. In a way, it is life as usual for all of us, except that we are now playing on a bigger field, with the best ownership, the best players and the best resources, financial means, tools & services. All that for the most important reason of all: to satisfy, more than ever, the needs & ambition of our clients, in the Silicon Valley and worldwide.