Sheila Finley brought three-week-old Emily to the Berkshire Hathaway kick off event held at the Museum of Flight last week. It seems fitting that the new brand should coincide with a new baby. Finley works in realty services at the company.

Berkshire Hathaway Acquires Prudential NW Realty

By Tim Robinson

It was nearly 35 years in the making but Mike Gain, formerly of Cayce and Gain Realty in West Seattle, knew it would eventually turn out well, becoming Berkshire Hathaway Home Services last week.

Persistence is a virtue it is said and Gain stayed in the game. In fact, he started his realty company during one of the area's worst economic downturns in 1979-80, survived a similar trend in 1993 and again but more severe from 2007-2012.

That hundreds of his realty agents hung in there through those times is testament to Gain's never-give-up style. Now, 35 years after it began, Gain has aligned the company with some pretty good friends, one in particular.

Warren Buffet, he of Omaha investment fame, bought Prudential Insurance giant's realty arm last year saying it made more sense to buy a going concern than it would be to start his own realty company. Mike Gain had a going concern.

In 1993 John Wunder had converted his Elliot Bay Realty into a Prudential affiliate only to be acquired by Mike and Roger Cayce a few years later. Mike and Roger grew the brand through some tough years, developing realty agent talent (yes,Virginia there are some amazing, smart people in realty). Enter Warren Buffet's group in 2012.

It took another year but Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Home Services division is in process of changing out all the Prudential signage and keeping the leadership and talent Gain created.

You can now look for the cabernet and cream realty signs hanging in front of their listings.

Expect the marketing about customer satisfaction, a full service realty brokerage and association with a proven investment winner like Berkshire Hathaway but understand Gain did not get there by treating clients poorly.

His business philosophy extends to many agents we've met over the years. You would do well to contact Gini Johnson or Craig Roberts. Lori Alden Pense and Stu Engstrom are leaders. Stuart Steadman, Barb Joseph, Carle Trotter and Scott Lansing are proven agents.

We endorse Ken Arkills, Susie Horan, Charlotte Carper and Don Bereiter. You'll like Stephen Ames, Bob Almeda, or David Katt.

The list includes Barb Geraghty, a treasure at 90 and still working. From West Seattle to Federal Way you could work with Tracy Harris, Al Lynch or George Butterfield. Agents take annual education clock hours to maintain their skills. Agents like Connie Sprickman, Judi Hodge and Hee Jung Lee.

Shari Kruse has many sales awards for excellence. Just like Larry Prokop and Jackie Alexander. Bunny Caswell, Pat Roragen and Stan Smith know the realty ropes as well as anyone. David Bryan Smith, Chris Hanley and Tom Brunner and Kathy Gendron round out our list of local, high quality people that Mike Gain will tell you are the reason he does what he does. There are others, of course in Kent, Renton, Lynnwood and Bellevue.

The real issue is trust, not just a name on a yard sign. Mike Gain loves the power of Berkshire Hathaway but it all started with his own integrity, grit and honesty in the community. Warren Buffet should be proud.

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