The Times West Virginian

March 16, 2014

Service focus at ERA Signature Properties

By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The new owners of ERA Signature Properties are ready to provide excellent customer service to clients from start to finish.

On Jan. 1, Realtors and owners Brian and Mikaelah Seifrit officially took over the business that Jo-Helen and Ed Williams led for many years.

ERA Signature Properties has offices in the Country Club Plaza in Fairmont, at Charles Pointe in Bridgeport, and in the WesMon Plaza in Westover. Brian serves as the operations manager, and Mikaelah is the president of sales and marketing.

Brian, who served the country in the U.S. Coast Guard, explained that he has worked for ERA Signature Properties for several years.

He and Mikaelah have rental units and have enjoyed buying and renovating those properties. As they started looking for more rental properties, it was just a natural fit for Brian to obtain his real estate license. He began doing real estate work part time and saw great success in his first year, while also employed in the restaurant industry.

He was the operations manager for a local restaurant, which closed down its division in Fairmont and terminated his employment in the process. At that point, Brian decided to go full time with real estate, and Jo-Helen also started discussing the possibility of slowing down with the business.

Brian said he and Mikaelah were honored that Jo-Helen thought of them to fill the role of the new owners of ERA Signature Properties. After initially talking about the logistics, they started moving forward quickly in September to line up the details.

Jo-Helen is not retiring and remains very involved in the company. She is staying on board for at least five years as broker of records.

“This is an opportunity for us as a family to create a legacy for our family, too,” Mikaelah said. “It’s kind of like we’re building on the foundation that they (Jo-Helen and Ed) laid. They laid a foundation, and now we get to build on that and take a new generation approach to it.”

She said this is a great way for her and Brian to be able to work together and spend time together. Previously, Brian and Mikaelah, who was the corporate sales trainer and interior designer for Star Furniture Company/Ashley HomeStore in West Virginia, were pulled in different directions because of their jobs.

Now, they can put all of their energy into pursuing a common goal. Plus, their careers in the real estate industry allow them flexibility in scheduling as they homeschool their two children, 9-year-old Bo and 5-year-old Joel.

Their involvement with ERA Signature Properties also integrates them into the community as business owners and entrepreneurs, and it’s fulfilling to be able to work with other people, Mikaelah said.

“The real estate industry in itself is a really rewarding career,” Brian said.

Mikaelah said the opportunities that Jo-Helen has given her and Brian have been a real blessing.

Looking back, there are some interesting connections between the two families.

Jo-Helen’s father, the late Jo Pitrolo, who founded Pitrolo and Williams Real Estate more than 40 years ago, sold Mikaelah’s parents their first home. Also, Jo-Helen sold Brian and Mikaelah their first house, later sold that house for them, and then sold them their second home.

With that continual relationship, their purchase of the business just made sense. Brian said it’s been great having Jo-Helen just a phone call away to answer any questions as he and Mikaelah stepped in as owners, and the transition has been smooth.

Brian explained that ERA Signature Properties represents both sellers and buyers of residential and commercial properties, and also has worked with some residential rentals. The business is involved in buying and selling of foreclosures, and is a relocation specialist through different departments. In addition, the company does a lot of referring out of state.

The owners and their agents have worked with clients from Rock Cave to Salem to Bruceton Mills, and all across North Central West Virginia and beyond.

Since becoming the new owners, Brian and Mikaelah have seen positive responses and good results in the area. They also started a new marketing campaign.

“We have a strong desire to win as an agency, and we want our clients to have the most exposure and the best image possible for their properties, and we want our buyers to feel like they got the best customer service from start to finish,” Mikaelah said. “There’s no difference to us between a $50,000 house versus a $600,000 house. The client gets the same attention.”

She said they also believe in treating others as they would like to be treated, and want to work together with sister and brother agents in the community to create a positive reputation for all Realtors.

The couple is on the leadership team of their church, Faith Church International in Fairmont, and their faith is a big part of who they are.

“Our faith in Jesus Christ and our personal relationship with God is a very important aspect of who we are personally and professionally, and is the foundation upon which our entire lives are built,” Mikaelah said.

Brian said being able to help people with one of the biggest purchases that they’ll ever make in their lifetime is very gratifying.

“It’s a relational industry,” Mikaelah added. “You build lifetime relationships with some of these people, and they become friends, not just clients.”

So far, Brian and Mikaelah are really enjoying their experiences as the new owners of ERA Signature Properties.

“One of the aspects that I really like is the ability to interact with the agents that were here and the staff that was here in a different way and kind of lead, and let them really just kind of see through into my character and my heart where I want this company to go and the success that I want for them,” Brian said.

The company has 15 staff members. Mikaelah said the business would be nothing without its agents, and she thanked all of the employees.

“It’s so essential to have a good team, and we have been so incredibly blessed to have such loyal people that have stuck with us and stood by us through this transition and are being so supportive of us,” she said. “We are truly so grateful for them.”

ERA Signature Properties is looking to grow and to hire new agents, particularly in its Morgantown market.

For more information, visit www.wvsignatureproperties.com.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.