In a charming Charleston Single House near the Gaillard Center—in a part of town that’s hot with new development—is the downtown office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Carolina Sun Real Estate. The building harkens to the city’s past, but the work being done inside portends the future, particularly of real estate.
Berkshire Hathaway’s global real estate connections burnish any listing with an international glow. Homes for sale show up not only in Charleston but on 70 websites in 37 countries on five continents.
Principals Sean Leighton and Ken Skidmore say many of their clients hail from across the nation and the world, attracted to Charleston and one of the world’s most respected companies. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, the real estate arm of Warren Buffett’s multinational conglomerate, was founded to give consumers greater power by putting more information in their hands.
How? The team offers clients tools previously unavailable to buyers and sellers. Among them is a mobile app that, says Skidmore: “allows our clients to view properties around them or make individual queries. It’s agent-specific, so a client can ask their agent about a property right through the app, via IM or phone call, no dialer required.”
Once the deal is struck, Leighton and Skidmore say their expertise about the closing process is invaluable. By placing all the information about a transaction on Berkshire’s exclusive mobile platform—which shows listings in “real time” as well as a client’s chosen lawyer, inspector, etc.—agents and clients enjoy faster response times and up-to-date information. “Our agents no longer have to spend their days looking up contact information; they can focus on their customers’ needs,” says Skidmore.
Berkshire Hathaway believes its personal touch is as important as its relationships with high-end marketing partners, who advertise homes on exclusive sites not available to other agents. It’s an agent’s job to give newcomers and investors the inside scoop on Charleston and be sensitive to their interests.
Leighton says it’s a simple formula: “Helping real estate clients is easy when you work for the world’s most admired company…in the country’s No. 1 city…selling the American dream!”
Barry Waldman is principal of Big Fly Communications, a public relations and marketing firm for small businesses and nonprofits.