Wearing Many Hats

Turning around two family businesses, North Dakota broker Daryl Braham has received national attention for his visionary leadership and innovations.

July 1, 2011

Daryl Braham, CRB, GRI

Broker-Owner, Prudential Premier Real Estate
CEO, Heritage Homes, www.heritagefargo.com
Fargo, N.D.
A brief history:  Broker of record for LRES Realty since 1998; LRES Realty became Prudential Premier  Real Estate in 2004; Braham, along with his business partner,  bought both businesses in 2005.
2010 gross sales: $45 million on 318 transaction sides for Prudential Premier;  $16 million on 54 transaction sides for Heritage Homes
2009 gross sales: $34 million on 198 transaction sides for Prudential Premier;  $12 million on 42 transaction sides for Heritage Homes
Number of offices: 2
Number of sales associates/employees: 35 sales associates and 26 employees


I’m from the small town of Winnepegosis, Manitoba, and I was a wholesale sales rep for Sony mobile devices in Canada in the mid-1990s. I had to make a decision with my wife about staying in Canada or moving to Fargo, N.D., and working with my in-laws there. They owned a real estate business and homebuilding company. I got my real estate license in 1998, and along with my business partner, bought Heritage Homes and LRES Realty. The company didn't have the greatest reputation at the time — the focus was definitely not on the customers and clients we served. We were resolved to improve the way the business was being run. 


I wear two hats, but they’re complementary. I always need to remember that employees of Heritage Homes think very differently than the independent contractors selling homes with the brokerage. Agents don’t care as much about company goals. They care about their own goals. At Heritage Homes, we make certain books such as Jon Gordon’s The Energy Bus required reading, and we have group discussions. We can’t require that agents read them, but we recommend that they do. For employees we have a no-gossip rule. At the brokerage, we try to foster that same philosophy through our culture. My personal mission is to positively impact people’s lives. It’s not really about building or selling homes.


Heritage Homes was one of seven national finalists for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Dream Big Small Business of the Year award. We represented the Midwest region and were recognized for our innovative business practices, including our focus on women buyers, and for our success at driving economic growth in our area.


We’re aware of the statistic that women buyers make more than 90 percent of decisions pertaining to new home construction. Two years ago we became our area’s only licensed woman-centric homebuilder. This is a special program run by Woman-Centric Matters!, a design research company in Omaha. It shows that we recognize and pay attention to what women want in homes.


We’ve been able to do well in recent years because our area never had the huge price gains or declines that much of the country experienced. Fargo was never a top priority for real estate investors. We’ve also made recruiting a big priority and have more than doubled our number of associates since 2009. We have one of the only brokerages in our area with a dedicated, noncompetitive managing broker, which has helped us grow.


I’m currently serving as president of the North Dakota Association of Realtors®. My focus is to do what I’m passionate about and delegate other tasks. I can't do it all. Calendar control is one of the challenges I need help with; otherwise I’d be booking too many meetings for myself. With the association, I’m always thinking about how to provide benefits to members. I’m very in touch with members’ concerns, and that helps me stay focused on what people are concerned about at my businesses.


We participated in ABC-TV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” in 2006, 2008, and again in 2010. It changed our lives and the lives of the families we helped. We’ve also done a local build for another ­organization. These projects create a conduit of goodwill for us.


With great culture comes great people. With great people comes great results.

What’s Your Story?

Do you have a brokerage success story to share? Send an e-mail to wcole@realtors.org.

Wendy Cole

Wendy Cole is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.