A real estate brokerage with the name of billionaire investor Warren Buffett's investment firm tied to it unveiled its first property in Orange County on Wednesday — a nearly $20 million home in Newport Coast.
Prudential California Realty will become Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties in October.
"It's quite a dramatic event that we have going on today," said David Cabot, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. He spoke at a gathering of real estate agents and media at the home.
Cabot, dressed in a dark suit and polished shoes that nearly matched the burgundy-colored property sign, congratulated his team for the work they had already accomplished.
"And with this new name behind us, we're only going to get better," he said.
Prudential California Realty, which has 12 offices in Orange County, is the first brokerage to operate under the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices name.
Prudential Connecticut Realty also launched as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England on Wednesday afternoon, said Kevin Ostler, communications and public relations director with HSF Affiliates LLC, the Irvine company that operates the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Prudential and Real Living brokerages as a franchiser.
"All around the country, these companies are coming alive under a new brand," he said.
Executives discussed the reliability and trust that come with the use of a brand strongly associated with Buffett. In particular, they said, home buyers in Orange County will appreciate the value of Buffett's name because many of them are involved in investments.
Buffett, one of the nation's richest men, is the chairman and CEO of Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a holding company.
The new real estate label symbolizes "an identity that is the envy of the world," said Scott McDonald, vice president and regional manager for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California.
Such branding will open doors for sales that the affiliated agents might not have been able to pursue before.
In a business based on "marketing, marketing, marketing," listing agent John McMonigle said, "I think we underestimate how strong and powerful that brand will be moving forward."
McMonigle, an agent well known for representing high-end Orange County properties, and his team represent the Newport Coast home, which is referred to as "Villa Pietra" because of the authentic Italian stone from which it is made.
Attendees "oohed" and "aahed" as they explored the home, walking up and down the polished-marble staircases of what one spokeswoman called "a house that represents the brand."
They gawked at the indoor pool surrounded by plush lounges, poked their heads inside the private gym next to the private sauna and marveled at the garage capable of fitting up to 10 vehicles. A turntable was built into the ground by the garage door to allow for an easy entrance and exit.
A few people who perused the roughly 13,500-square-foot home also posed for pictures by the dance pole installed in an entertainment lounge that also includes an in-home theater and poker table.
And those were just the amenities in the basement.
Upstairs, in the master bedroom suite, a chandelier hung in the his and her closets. Christian Louboutin shoes lined the closet shelves. Chaise lounges faced a view of Catalina Island.
"Where you see gold, that's gold," said Troya Montgomery, another listing agent for the property. "This is truly exquisite grand palatial style."
Some offers have been made on the $19.8million home, which has been for sale since May, she said.