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Price isn't Villa Pietra's only distinction

Nearly $20-million Newport Coast property is first in OC offered by Warren Buffett's investment firm, a new brand for Berkshire Hathaway.

September 26, 2013|By Emily Foxhall
  • From left, Scott McDonald, VP of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, David Cabot, CEO, and John McGonigle, listing agent, cut the ribbon at a ceremony Wednesday at Villa Pietra.
From left, Scott McDonald, VP of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices… (Don Leach / )

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.

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"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.

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