Fifty years ago, two 30-something veterans came together to build their dream. At an office building in Fairfax, Virginia, P. Wesley “Wes” Foster Jr. and Henry “Hank” Long opened Long & Foster Real Estate. A flip of a coin positioned Long’s moniker first in the company’s brand name and gave Foster the role of president.
Foster led the residential side of the real estate business, while Long managed the company’s commercial services. A single employee joined the two at the company’s outset, and that first year in business, they sold about $3 million in volume—a significant amount at that time, which is now surpassed in an individual luxury home sale. In the five decades since Long & Foster’s founding, the single real estate office outside the Nation’s Capital has become the country’s No. 1 independent real estate brand by sales volume, according to the REAL Trends 500.
“It’s one of my proudest achievements that, together, we have positively affected the lives of so many in the past 50 years and that we’ve done so with honesty and integrity,” said Foster, chairman emeritus of The Long & Foster Companies, parent company of Long & Foster Real Estate. “I’ve always believed that if you put your people first, then success will follow, and our agent-first approach has been the foundation of our business and the reason we’re celebrating 50 years of real estate excellence in 2018.”
Today, Long & Foster operates over 220 offices across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, from North Carolina to New Jersey. More than 11,000 agents are part of Long & Foster Real Estate and its various brands, including Fonville Morisey in North Carolina and Virginia Properties in Richmond, and over 1,800 real estate and financial services employees work with Long & Foster. The brokerage also has expanded beyond traditional real estate services in the past 50 years.
In the early 1970s, founders Foster and Long opened Long & Foster Insurance, pioneering the concept of a one-stop shop where consumers could both purchase a new home and get it insured. The 1980s brought the debut of Long & Foster’s mortgage (now Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC) and settlement services companies (Long & Foster Settlement Services). Foster, who purchased Long’s half of the business in the late 1970s, also built booming property management, vacation rentals and corporate real estate services divisions.
Long & Foster’s innovative growth continued through the years and remains as strong as ever today. In 2015, Long & Foster became a part owner in Moxi Works, a real estate technology startup in Seattle, Washington. In 2016, Long & Foster acquired Urban Pace, a new home sales and marketing firm. It has also acquired dozens of brokerages of all sizes—from boutique real estate firms to former franchise companies. In 2017 alone, Long & Foster acquired Evers & Co., Monticello Properties, Jefferson Properties and McGrath Real Estate, and that was in addition to being acquired itself.
Berkshire Hathaway affiliate HomeServices of America acquired The Long & Foster Companies in September 2017. Foster recognized that becoming part of HomeServices was the best way to protect what Long & Foster had achieved over the past 50 years, while also ensuring the organization continued to grow for the next 50 years and beyond.
“What Wes Foster achieved at Long & Foster and in the real estate industry is truly remarkable and is largely credit to his people-first approach,” said Jeffrey S. Detwiler, president and CEO of The Long & Foster Companies, parent company of Long & Foster Real Estate. “Wes builds relationships by being there for his clients and agents—he listens, he cares, he’s responsive and he always has a positive attitude. His agent- and client-centric philosophy has played a huge role in Long & Foster reaching this milestone, and it will continue to guide our company as we look toward the next 50 years.”
Learn how you can celebrate Long & Foster’s 50th anniversary here.