A Piece of the Rock

The Regos Reflect on Real Estate Reality s
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The worst piece of advice that ‘Buddy’ Rego ever received was, “Do one thing only, and do it well.” Thankfully, he did not listen to that advice. The result is three generations of one family serving more than three generations of home buyers and sellers, and that is something to be proud of. As Rego Sotheby’s International Realty celebrates their 75th anniversary, we take a moment to reflect on the company’s start, growth, and the community it serves.

“I counter this by believing that you can do far more things well if you have the capacity and initiative to do them,” Buddy explains in reference to the poor advice above. “Overall, I would not change a thing. I had the best tutorage working my way up through the business. I have enjoyed watching the real estate industry across the island develop, especially now where there is a heightened sense of professionalism and maturation of the practice of real estate, and now our company having three generations of leadership in the fold.”

The Rego family arrived from the Azores in 1915, and worked in the farming industry. In his teenage years, Benjamin ‘Benny’ Rego Sr began working with Morris (M.A.) Gibbons. In 1949 he went out on his own and founded the Rego Agency. The agency opened its doors with four employees and agents, spanning residential rentals, sales, and property auctions.

What made the business so successful, according to Benny’s son, Benjamin “Buddy” Rego Jr, was his father’s strong work ethic, and entrepreneurial drive. When reflecting on his father’s tenacity, he shares, “He created opportunities for people to own real estate who otherwise thought it impossible.”

The firm was the developer, listing, and selling agent behind numerous condominium complexes and residential communities island wide; most notably pulling the 100-acre site of Southampton Princess together to sell to American billionaire Daniel K. Ludwig in 1959, who went on to build the original Southampton Princess Hotel in 1972.

Evidence shows that the enterprising vein runs in the family. Buddy recalls his father asking him if he ever planned to return to Bermuda. “I said I would if there was an opportunity to be self-employed, and if he would sell the company to me.”

In 1983, after working as a Currency and Precious Metals Trading Manager in Hong Kong, Buddy returned to the island after purchasing Rego Limited from his father. As the new President of the 10-person company, Buddy expanded the business.

“It was an exciting time as a young person in Bermuda to make a difference in the competitive real estate industry,” Buddy reminisces, adding further, “In more recent decades, we’ve advanced through providing valuations, commercial real estate and diversification of people and services.”

In 2006, Rego Realtors was invited by Sotheby’s International Realty to join its global network. This made the newly named Rego Sotheby’s International Realty one of the brand’s earliest founding members outside the United States.

“Our prominent heritage of 75 years in Bermuda’s real estate market is a major contributor in our present performance and future outlook.”  Penny MacIntyre, Partner added, “The depth and transactional track record of our residential, commercial and hotel/tourism sales and rentals activities, coupled with our experienced agents are equally attracting repeat, and new clients, and the foundation for our next generation of top agents.”

Adaptability has been the key to their longevity in the real estate industry. “It’s impossible to predict what will happen five years from now with how quickly the industry moves,” Buddy acknowledges. “Our challenge, and our responsibility, is to keep on the forefront of whatever change is upon us, with an emphasis on technology and best practices.”

Moving forward, the third generation of Rego joined the company as an agent in 2017, in the person of Ben Rego, Buddy’s son. After working at a Boston affiliate office, Ben offers international experience and a competitive edge. Confident that he would return to the island ready to grab the baton, Ben says, “After learning from top agents here and in Boston, I now see with a much wider lens – to encourage and support our talented agents as they build their book of business for years to come.”

The different management styles of the three Rego men is what sets them apart from each other, but a solid work ethic and enterprising spirit pulls them together. Emphasizing that adaptability is a part of their mantra, Buddy mentions, “Our ability to retain and attract people is not because we only do things the old-fashioned way. Evolution is an integral part of being a successful business in a collaborative arena.”

When asked about his aspirations for the future of real estate, Ben replies, “To continue to be a place where both local and international investors have confidence in the future direction of this spectacular island, and that the industry continues to be a pillar of innovation and technology to best serve our clients’ needs.” Noble goals.

Business and charitable collaborations have been ingrained through the company’s history into today. They actively volunteer on several committees, and its team members serve on various Boards of developments, businesses, and charities.

The company’s all Bermudian/Spouse of Bermudian team is focused on giving back. 100% of the company’s charitable giving is spent in Bermuda. They are proud of one of their most rewarding programs, their coveted annual summer internship program, which invites serious students to experience Bermuda’s real estate market firsthand.

Also, many have received their start in real estate within the company, and are now running their own businesses. “We have a number of veteran employees and agents who have shown their commitment to us because, I believe, they appreciate the sense of community and the sense of family we’ve established here,” Buddy shares.

As they consider the future, I asked what legacy they would want to leave behind. Buddy responds, “I hope that looking back, that we have upheld our strong family tradition of a hard work ethic and that we have added to the fabric of Bermuda society in our own way by helping generations of Bermudians achieve their goals of homeownership, which is often the biggest dream anyone can ever have.”


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