A Conversation With Regina CoiaPresident of realty operations, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty
Regina Coia, 53, joined Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Realty as president of realty operations on Sept. 1.
She was most recently president of Coldwell Banker Preferred, in the greater Philadelphia market.
Coia has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from Villanova University.
She and her husband, Bob, have been married for 22 years and have a daughter, Ashley Grace, who recently graduated from New York University. They live in Lower Gwynedd, but plan on relocating to the Lancaster area.
Q: What differences do you see between the greater Philadelphia market you're coming from and the midstate market?
A: We both have urban, suburban and rural housing options. Philadelphia ends up spreading out with a massive amount of suburban communities, much more than Central Pennsylvania. It’s not until you’re about an hour and a half outside the city that you touch any rural areas. Central Pennsylvania has significantly greater options for rural living.
Average sale prices are lower in Central Pennsylvania, but there are a few exceptions. For example, we were looking at Manheim Township, and it seems that the prices are similar to the Philadelphia suburbs. I was actually surprised that some of the areas outside of Lancaster have higher tax rates than in our suburbs.
Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Realty is highly ranked both regionally and nationally. What do you see as the key to this success?
One of the greatest assets that drew me to them is the integrity, talent and professionalism of the leadership team. I noticed immediately that the owners and the senior leadership team are incredibly passionate about their work, about their company, but most importantly, about the Homesale agents and employees. They truly are a family. I had my most successful years in business in a familial environment, and I believe that was the cornerstone of our success. It’s not just a family: they’re smart, savvy business people. They’re constantly pushing for a better experience for their agents and their clients.
What are the most interesting changes you've seen in your 30-plus years in real estate?
When I started in 1986, we had no cell phones, no voicemail, no computers and no faxes. We had MLS books that came out biweekly. We had public records on microfiche. Everything is available in an instant today. There are entire industries that have been created to support agents and brokers. Online marketing has replaced the majority of print advertising; as more and more millennials and Gen-Xers are buying houses, they’re looking online. Agreements of sale were one page with one term item addendum when I started. Today contracts are like tomes.
The commission structure paid to the agents has shifted dramatically, causing broker/owners to think creatively about preserving profit. Adding new business lines to our portfolios has been the primary method to retain more to offset that commission structure. Agent teams have rapidly accelerated over the past decade. Agent branding has risen dramatically as well. Yard signs and ads back in my day had only company information on them. Now agent names and pictures are dominant everywhere.
How would you describe your decorating style in your own home?
We love to entertain, so we like spaces that support that: open and airy. We like to decorate in a style that’s warm and inviting. Mediterranean is probably the best descriptor for our style. We love to cook; our kitchen is the hub of the house, the energy of the house. We just like people to feel comfortable here.