Edina Realty is the 9th largest employer in the city of Edina, Minnesota. It is owned by Berkshire-Hathaway, the company famous for being led by CEO and Chairman Warren Buffett. But neither of these facts are the reason that the name Edina Realty should ring a bell. To better understand the impact of the company’s new “Emma Initiative” it helps to understand something about the city of Edina.
The realty company sells some of the highest value real estate in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Attached to those properties are some of the highest property taxes in the United States, giving Edina the reputation of being a self-serving community. Beyond that, the people who live in the community have gained a reputation of being somewhat snobbish, with the name of the city being an acronym for:
This reputation has other parts to it, including being a virtually all-white community with relatively affluent residents. According to the 2010 census the percentage of people declaring themselves to be white or Caucasian was 99.3%. Some of the more well-known names are:
- Michele Tafoya – NBS sports broadcaster
- John Denver – the late singer and songwriter
- David Bloom – current news anchor at NBC
- Ric Flair – professional wrestler
- Laura Rizzotto – singer and songwriter
The schools of Edina are ranked among the nation’s best, and the high school has won more high school state championships than any other school. This is not in any single sport, but runs the total number of athletic competitions it competes in. One of the biggest reasons people want to move to Edina is for the area schools.
Another reputation pinned on the city is that the people are “cake eaters” meaning they are so wealthy they can have their cake and eat it too (or alternatively, they are so rich they can eat their own money). There are more than a fair number of doctors, lawyers, and other professional people living in the city. It is actually attached to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-Saint Paul, and is considered to be the most elite area of the area, bar none.
According to residents, the city is somewhat divided into two separate areas split by Highway 100. On the west side is where the super expensive residential properties can be found, while on the east side are the commercial properties, including the famous Galleria. As an example of how much it costs to live there, if you are someone who wants to become a new member of one of Edina’s two country clubs, the admission price is a minimum of $55,000. The average annual income for the city is $120,000. But this is largely irrelevant as Edina is locally known as an old money place to live. A local survey taken in 2015 oddly reported that almost 7 in 10 residents supported higher taxes.
A trend that started around 2015 is that the old money homeowners began demolishing their old homes and built brand new homes, attaching a 21st century adjusted for inflation price tag to go along with the new renovations. While publicly Mayor James Hovland is sad to see the trend, it is clear that the residents of Edina want to keep the history and privacy of the community for future generations. The U. S. Census lists the average price of an Edina home at just under $465,000 but the new constructions are raising that number into the millions.
The question that remains is whether Edina deserves the reputation of being a community of white elitists whose children are following in their parent’s footsteps. The composition of the city is almost exclusively professional people who command large salaries, so success runs through the city’s streets. These people obviously prefer the cold and snow of Minnesota to the warm climates of Southern California or Florida.
So as we come full circle, the connection between Edina Realty and the city of Edina is that all roads to living in Edina pass through Edina Realty. The real estate company did more than $9 billion in business conducting only 32,000 real estate transactions. That’s an average of $280,000 per transaction and a lot of motivation for their team of 2500 agents to earn their commission. The community population clearly isn’t your average wealthy American, and it is likely Edina Realty very carefully screens potential buyers.
Edina Realty has incorporated a white label version of the Imprev listing service, creating a branded content for their listings. It is internally being called “a dynamic virtual assistant” for its teams of agents. Adding this technology to the toolkit for agents is an indicator it wants to be ready to market the new homes that are going up for sale, and being tech savvy enough to ensure potential buyers will fit the current community profile.
Edina Realty will have a connection with Imprev to help agents generate marketing materials that will more effectively market their properties. The company line is that the Emma Initiative will help agents enforce best practices in their profession. At the same time, the company said there will be more additions to the initiative that will be announced at a later time. Stay tuned.