May 21, 2007

Realty Plus in Dassel changes to Prudential Plus

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Realty Plus of Dassel became Prudential Plus April 15.

Kelly Babekuhl of Dassel and Joe Schulte of Hutchinson, real estate brokers and associates, are excited about the change.

“Real Estate is just rocketing to the technology side of the business,” Schulte said.

More than 75 percent of the telephone calls they received since the changeover were generated by the Internet, he added.

The agency was good before. “It’s even better,” Babekuhl said.

Prudential Plus is one of three offices, Dassel, Hutchinson, and Lester Prairie. Those three offices were part of five in Realty Plus. Two of the offices are closed now.

The three Prudential Plus offices are part of the Prudential Financial network, which has been in business for 132 years.

Their technological capabilities have greatly expanded. Prudential Real Estate network partners with Yahoo, for example, Babekuhl said.

It helps them market, especially to Generation X. At the same time, the blue and white Prudential logo is widely recognized by all ages. Schulte told a story about his 92-year-old neighbor in Hutchinson, who pointed out how being a member of the Prudential network was an advantage.

The Prudential Plus office in Hutchinson is the same as its financial office.

“Everything works hand-in-hand,” Babekuhl said.

The Dassel Prudential Plus office will be able to compete with the big companies. “We have everything they have,” Schulte said.

They will have access to Online Sellers Advantage for marketing clout. It’s like an open house with a million potential buyers. Prudential also offers better training, and the company’s core values mesh with hers, Babekuhl said.

Prudential Plus has relocation referrals. A person in Topeka wanted to relocate in the Dassel area, and they were contacted, Schulte said.

The timing of the change was perfect also, Babekuhl said. People were becoming uncomfortable with the real estate market in 2007. Prudential Plus allowed them to start offering more to people, she added.

Prudential’s real estate network is innovative. It tests new ideas and finds out what works in advance, so Schulte and Babekuhl don’t have to put their clientele at risk. They get feedback from 2,000 brokers.

“It translates to better service to clients,” Schulte said.

The office has been in Dassel since 1992, Schulte said. Babekuhl came on board in January 2000.

They both have children in the Dassel Cokato Schools. Babekuhl has three children, adult Aaron; Evan, 15; and Ben, 13. Schulte has five children, adults, Cole and Nick; Mike, 16; Caite, 14; and Riley, 12.

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