Why Warren Buffet Won’t Be Buying One Of The Houses Listed Through His New NYC Office

Will the might of Warren Buffet allow his first NYC real estate office succeed where so many others have failed?

By Jeff Vasishta January 12, 2017

Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices just opened its first office in New York City. Just don’t expect Buffet to live in one of the homes he has for sale in the Big Apple. The notoriously frugal billionaire decries the idea of owning a large property portfolio. He prefers shares to stairs, stocks to locks.

Buffet’s canny predictions about the stock market via his Berkshire Hathaway (BH) company has made him one of the world’s richest men. The real estate company that bears the same name is now expanding nationwide. However, Buffet still lives in the modest Omaha, Nebraska home he purchased in 1958 for $31,500. Now valued at around $700,000, the property has no security gate or lavish grounds.

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When asked why he hadn’t traded up for a more plush residence as befits his billionaire status, the unequivocal investor, who owns no NYC property, told the BBC in 2011, “How would I improve my life by having ten houses around the globe? If I wanted to become a superintendent of housing, I could have as a profession, but I don’t want to manage 10 houses and I don’t want somebody else doing it for me and I don’t know why the hell I’d be happier. I’m warm in the winter, I’m cool in the summer, it’s convenient for me,’ he said in the interview.”I couldn’t imagine having a better house.”

Buffet must be hoping that many of his potential real estate clients for his NYC on office on the 37th floor of 590 Madison Avenue don’t follow his advice and, instead, choose his company to purchase second homes in the Big Apple. Persuading the well-heeled to part with their cash on behalf of Buffet is Ellie Johnson, the longtime former Senior V.P. and manager of the Upper East Side sales office at Sotheby’s International Realty. Johnson told The Real Deal that the brokerage currently has five brokers and will continue to recruit, focusing first on the residential market before expanding to commercial.

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Clearly, the draw for the Berkshire Hathaway office is the Buffet name. In New York, failed real estate companies like Foxtons and Caldwell Banker line the streets like roadkill. Johnson says B.H. already has exclusive listings. However, the listings have not yet been disclosed and neither have the firm’s directives.

“We might be new in New York City, but the brand is globally known and well established across the country,” said Johnson. “When you mention Berkshire Hathaway, the first thing people think of is Warren Buffett.”

Although the Buffet name carries a lot of sway, New York is its own animal. Firms such as Corcoran are best known in the Big Apple, but not nationally. They, along with Douglas Elliman and others, have a firm foothold in Manhattan and Brooklyn’s highly competitive arena.

“I welcome competition and I thrive in it,” Johnson said. “There’s enough for all of us. I don’t need to take somebody’s business. We all bring something to the table.”

May the battle commence.

Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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