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Steven James and Brad Loe

Steven James and Brad Loe

Two Douglas Elliman vets are jumping ship to work at Berkshire Hathaway’s behemoth brokerage HomeServices of America.

Steven James, Elliman’s New York City president and CEO, as well as the longtime sales director of the firm’s Madison Avenue office, and Brad Loe, an executive sales manager, will join HomeServices as executive directors of brokerage development, the company announced Tuesday.

In their new roles, they will be a step removed from day-to-day brokerage activities, and will advise HomeServices’ corporate leadership. They’ll divide their time between HomeServices’ corporate headquarters in Minneapolis and offices in Westchester County.

James, who has been in the industry for 40 years and at Elliman since 1990, said there’s been a flurry of recruitment activity targeting managers in the city in recent months (“everybody is calling every manager in New York City,” he noted). He had reportedly considered leaving Elliman in 2018 before reversing course, and said the position at HomeServices was an offer he’d been “looking for and didn’t realize.”

“I think it was the right time,” said James, who became the New York City CEO in 2005. “I’ve been at Elliman for 30 years and, you know, I gave it my all, especially during the pandemic, but sometimes one needs a change.”

Loe, who’s been in the business for nearly two decades, joined Elliman in 2015 and described the job at HomeServices as one he couldn’t pass up.

“You only get so many opportunities like this in one’s career,” he said.

Last year, HomeServices — a subsidiary of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway — was ranked the third most active brokerage in the country with a total sales volume of $150 billion, according to Real Trends.

“Steven and Brad have each had exceptionally successful careers and understand the needs and preferences of agents, buyers and sellers,” Gino Blefari, president and CEO of HomeServices of America, said in a statement. “This perspective will be invaluable as HomeServices works to reimagine the homebuying and selling experience.” Both James and Loe will report directly to Blefari.

A spokesperson for Elliman could not be reached for comment.

In an email sent early Tuesday and viewed by The Real Deal, Elliman executive chairman Howard Lorber informed the brokerage’s agents of James’ departure and said Scott Durkin, president and COO, would lead the New York City business until a new regional CEO was hired.