Real Estate

Friday, Jun 07 2013 05:49 PM

Deal expected to help Realtors, their customers

BY JOHN COX Californian staff writer jcox@bakersfield.com

More than a dozen Bakersfield Realtors are moving to a new office under a consolidation expected to increase collaboration in the local home market.

Bakersfield's Prudential Tobias Realtors has acquired the local office of Arroyo Grande-based Century 21 Hometown Realty, both companies confirmed Friday.

Terms were not disclosed, but Prudential Tobias owner Scott Tobias said that over the next three years his business will pay Hometown a share of sales made by the 13 or so agents who chose to make the move.

Hometown's Bakersfield staff, estimated at between 15 and 30 Realtors before the acquisition, have combined for about $30 million in sales over the last 12 months, Tobias said, compared with roughly $85 million by his own staff of 38.

"It doesn't require a whole lot of extra overhead for us," Tobias said, "so it's just basically good for our business because it expands the production."

Hometown Realty CEO Jack Hardy, whose business counts 450 agents in 20 offices between Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties, said he had been approached by "a number" of local agencies interested in absorbing his Bakersfield crew.

"The office is doing fine, but we made a strategic decision" to let go of Hometown's only Central Valley office, Hardy said. He added that Tobias' business culture was "virtually identical" to Hometown's.

Jeanne Radsick, one of the agents who made the transition to Tobias' team, said she was "delighted" to join a bigger staff, and that she and her colleagues received a "very, very warm" reception. Radsick predicted benefits for customers and agents alike as the larger team of agents shares tips about properties about to go on the market.

"When you're now working with a larger group of people then you have more opportunity to hear that kind of stuff," she said.

Bakersfield Association Realtors CEO Linda Jay said the deal places Prudential Tobias among about the top 10 local agencies, and that it "creates just a new synergy and a new strength for them as an office."

Darrell Sparks, CEO/Team Leader at Keller Williams Realty in Bakersfield, noted that such consolidations have been common in recent years. While they can limit competition, he said, Prudential Tobias' larger presence could aid its customers.

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