Executive Spotlight: Andy Perenick, broker/owner of Berkshire Dream Home
PITTSFIELD — Andy Perenick's father and brother served as police officers, and he originally followed them into that line of work. But, his father-in-law, former Berkshire Realtor Al Gelinas, thought Perenick would be good at selling real estate.
Perenick eventually took that advice and changed careers. After working with his father-in-law and his father-in law's brother, local Realtor Jim "Chico" Gelinas, at Re/Max Integrity in Pittsfield, Perenick formed his own brokerage, Berkshire Dream Home in Dalton, six years ago this month.
We talked with Perenick recently about his past and present professions, why he switched careers, why he started his own brokerage and the transition he has made in his career this year.
Q: Why did you go into law enforcement?
A: My dad is from North Adams. He was in the state police and served many years in B Troop in Lee. ... My older brother, Dan, was also a police officer, in my hometown [Winchester]. It's pretty much something I had wanted to do since I was a little kid. I ended up working in Hampton, N.H., for a number of years, then came down to Winchester for a number of years.
Q: Did you visit the Berkshires while you were growing up?
A: My mother is from Hinsdale. My sister and two brothers were born at [the former] St. Luke's [hospital in Pittsfield] and were partially raised in Pittsfield before my father went to work for Gov. [John] Volpe and moved the whole family to Winchester. But, I used to come out here once a month or so to visit my grandmother in North Adams and my grandmother in Hinsdale. ...
Then I met Al Gelinas' oldest daughter [Sarah] up at St. Anselm's [College], where we both went to school. She was wearing a Wahconah Regional High School sweatshirt while serving me eggs one Saturday morning in the cafeteria. Now, we've been married 20 years, with 17- and 14-year-old boys.
Q: Why did you switch to real estate?
A: Al was the type of guy who was a bigger-than-life personality. He looked at me one day and said, "You don't know it yet, but you're going to be in real estate someday. You've got the personality for it." At the time, I was riding my motorcycle and working with my brother in the same town. It was really kind of cool at the time, so, I said, "Ah, no I won't."
Then I had my first son, Jack, Life changes for a lot of people when they start to settle down and build a family. I started realizing how much more affordable and how much more value there was in the Berkshires. ... Al just kind of kept talking up the real estate, so, finally, we decided to combine it into one big quality-of-life move back in 2004.
Q: What was the transition from law enforcement to real estate like?
A: It really wasn't that hard compared to what I used to do. ... There was a learning curve of about six months to two years where I learned how to work with buyers and sellers and all that stuff, but it was a different type of stress ... waking up in the middle of the night or just before going to bed and saying, "Did I get the paperwork signed?" ... It's a lot different than going into a house with your gun and searching for somebody.
Q: Did you regret giving up the badge?
A: Al had a massive stroke about a year and half after I left the Police Department and came out here to work full time. ... After Al had his stroke, and the market tanked about nine months after he had had his stroke, and I went from having a quote safe paycheck to a 100 percent commission, there were some butterflies in the stomach. But, a good friend of mine said this is where a good salesperson builds a career in a down market.
So, you've got a choice. You can go strap on a gun and work police somewhere at one of these part-time police departments and work overtime and details, or you could really focus on driving your flag into the ground for when the market comes back, and that's what I did. With Al's help, and some other mentors, I really dug in deep and got into building my real estate business in a very down market. The 2007 plus markets are really where I cut my teeth, if you will.
Q: Why did you form your own brokerage six years ago?
A: Al, after he had his stroke, decided to sell his company to a woman who owned five ReMaxes out of Connecticut. This was her first franchise in Massachusetts. She had an older husband who had health issues, and she tried to sell the business when I was the general manager.
I had a choice of either buying that franchise or getting involved with another company. I talked to my father-in-law, and he gave me a lot of advice. I might have made a different decision if I was in the Boston area than here, [but] it came down to the relationship that we built our business on.
I said, "You know what? I can form a local independent company, and we can always join a franchise down the road."
The Berkshire Dream Home name is something my father-in-law thought of. ... I thought it would be OK to use the name.
Q: How have you done on your own?
A: Within Berkshire Dream Home there's the Perenick team, which is a few agents and myself. We helped over 150 families buy houses last year and we were, by far, the highest-selling team in all of Berkshire County [according to the Multiple Listing Service].
In 2020, I basically dissolved the Perenick team. ... I'm no longer selling this year. I'm going to be focused on training and mentoring the other agents in my office so that they can reach their goals. It's a big transition that I've made.
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