CEO Christy Budnick prioritizes collaboration at BHHS
As the leader of a massive franchise network, Budnick emphasizes teamwork. "Collaboration really allows us to understand the challenges and potential impacts."
- Budnick has served as CEO since 2021 at a global franchise network with more than 50,000 agents and an eye on continued expansion.
- Through the "expected correction," BHHS plans to keep growing and “welcome more like-minded companies” domestically and abroad.
- The company has a goal to recruit more minority-owned companies as it looks toward the future.
Editor's note: Each year, the Swanepoel Power 200 recognizes the most powerful and influential leaders in residential real estate. In this series of SP 200 Inside Look interviews, we're diving deeper and learning about these top leaders' aspirations and accomplishments, and the opportunities they see in the year ahead.
At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and HSF Affiliates, Christy Budnick is helping build a "brand for everyone."
Budnick offers that vision as CEO of a global franchise network that encompasses more than 50,000 affiliated agents who do over $170 billion in annual sales across 12 countries. Her leadership at BHHS earned her a place in the top 20 on the SP 200 ranking of the most powerful leaders in real estate this year.
Budnick — like her boss, HomeServices of America President and CEO Gino Blefari — expresses humility about her position and emphasizes the teamwork involved in the company's achievements. "I am surrounded by some of the leading minds and visionaries within our industry. I tend to lean on them every day," Budnick said.
A shifting market will not deter growth
As Budnick strategizes for 2023, she sees the real estate marketplace in transition, buffeted by inflation, mortgage rates and geopolitical issues. "It's no longer really a seller's market," she said. "Buyers have much more of an ability to negotiate and make the market much more balanced.
"Frankly, we expected a correction. And that's exactly what's happening. I would say that there was definitely some surprise in terms of the Fed moving the rates as quickly and frequently as they did," Budnick said.
Despite the headwinds, the strategy at BHHS is to keep growing and expanding to "welcome more like-minded companies both domestically and abroad to our global brands."
"It really does create synergy, very much so across the network. And it also provides for a spirit across the world. And that's one of the things that we hear from franchisees as they join our network is that they appreciate the level of collaboration within our network," Budnick said.
Collaborative leadership fosters opportunities
Prior to her appointment as CEO in 2021, Budnick led Florida Network Realty at HomeServices, a company that her mother founded. She started as branch manager at the Beaches office, rising through the ranks and getting to know the business inside and out.
When Blefari tapped Budnick to take the reins as CEO, she recalled asking what exactly the job would entail. He said it was similar to her role at the Florida Realty Network but the scope was much larger in size. "I thought OK, I can do that," she said.
Budnick describes her leadership style as collaborative, a trait she learned from her mother, Florida real estate executive Linda Sherrer. "I only see opportunities when it comes to collaboration."
"And so one of the things that I fully recognize is when we come together to create strategy or problem solve, collaboration really allows all of us to understand the challenges and potential impacts that decisions could have," she said.
Budnick also heeds lessons of others in the industry who act as "a great think tank."
"When you can get outside of your brand and hear from others in the industry, on how they're running their companies, and some of the challenges they face and how they work to resolve them, there is absolutely value in that," she said.
Delivering what agents need to succeed
Among her more immediate goals is to deliver the tools, technology, coaching and programs that BHHS franchises and their agents need to keep their competitive edge in 2023. "The bottom line is that our job is to help our franchise network execute their goals and grow their business," she said.
Her priorities include launching an updated CRM, which has been introduced to about 20 companies and will continue to roll out this year.
"Real estate is one of the most emotional and largest financial decisions that a person will make in their lifetime. And the job of today's agent is really to help guide their clients to achieve the best value for their house or to find their dream home," she said.
At BHHS and parent company HSoA, Budnick said she takes pride in the number of women who are C-suite leaders in an industry that historically has been run by men. She credits Blefari for "proactively making those advances," which outpace many other real estate companies.
BHHS is focused now on recruiting more minority-owned companies as it looks toward the future, Budnick said. "We know that generational wealth is tied to real estate," Budnick said. "We want to make sure that our brand is for everyone."