Prudential Floberg Realtors, one of Billings’ oldest and largest real-estate firms, is getting a new name that’s associated with billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
Prudential Floberg Realtors, which traces its roots back to 1959, will become Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Floberg Real Estate starting July 1.
Marilyn Floberg, whose husband, Don, founded the company, said some people questioned the idea when the company decided to associate with Prudential in 1990.
“There were other franchises in town, and a lot of people asked why we wanted to do that because we were already at the top of the market,” she said.
“At the time, we explained that (joining Prudential) would better prepare us for the future,” because of how quickly real estate was changing, Floberg said. “It was a good move.”
As part of the transition, management polled Prudential Floberg’s agents, and nearly 100 percent supported the move to Berkshire Hathaway, Floberg said.
The Buffett-owned Berkshire Hathaway bought Prudential two years ago, and Floberg is the first Montana firm to make the switch, managing partner Linda Parker said.
“It’s a very well-respected company, well-known. Not everybody has heard of Berkshire Hathaway, but they have heard of Warren Buffett,” Parker said.
Jase Norsworthy said he and other Prudential Floberg agents have received training and a checklist of tasks that should be accomplished in order to smooth the transition. Real estate signs, business cards and email signatures must all be altered to reflect the new name, Norsworthy said.
The highly recognizable blue Prudential signs in town will be replaced by Berkshire Hathaway’s maroon-and-white signs.
Earl Lee, president and chief executive of Prudential Real Estate Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, is expected to make an appearance in Billings at a kickoff event July 1.
Floberg Companies was founded as a one-man office by Don Floberg in 1959 and became affiliated with Prudential three decades later, in 1990. Don and Marilyn Floberg remain partners in the business. Mike Oliver is the fourth partner.
Parker said the firm’s 60 agents are excited about the change, which will give them access to more market statistics for clients and greater national exposure. Besides the name change, daily operations and management should remain the same.
Floberg’s main office is on Poly Drive in Billings.
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought Prudential in 2012 from Brookfield Asset Management, a Toronto-based capital firm that specializes in turning around struggling companies. Analysts said the vote of confidence from Buffett, known as the “Oracle of Omaha,” was a good sign for the recovering national real estate industry.
In Billings, Parker said the market is heating up just in time for the switch to Berskhire Hathaway.
“The weather has shaped up, and we’re very busy,” she said.