Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices snaps up Long & Foster

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HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, announced that it acquired The Long & Foster Companies, Inc., the largest private residential real estate company in the United States by sales volume.

The acquisition includes Long & Foster’s family of companies, including Long & Foster Real Estate and its affiliated business lines in mortgage, settlement services, insurance, and property management. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Long & Foster operates in Delaware and the Delaware Valley. Fox & Roach, another HomeServices company, also operates in the region and has a large chunk of the market. Long & Foster is also a mainstay in Coastal Delaware.

Long & Foster has aggressively wooed residential real estate teams in northern Delaware in working toward the goal of eventually taking the No. 1 spot from locally based Patterson-Schwartz.

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How the Fox & Roach and Long & Foster real estate operations would operate under common ownership was not discussed in the announcement.

Both have strong corporate cultures and public relations efforts that often prominently feature their top executives.

A spokesperson for HomeServices stated that “this transaction will not impact the organization of the HomeServices Fox & Roach offices. It is business as usual.”

Despite their size, companies like Fox & Roach and Long & Foster face a changing environment that requires investments in technology and other areas.

The region also saw a merger of several multiple listing services in both the Long & Foster and Fox & Roach regions as potential buyers increasingly use online sources in their home searches.

Berkshire Hathaway is the investment vehicle of Warren Buffett. Its holdings include the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, Benjamin Moore Paints, Helzberg Jewelers, numerous newspapers and Geico Insurance. HomeServices has been buying up large real

Aided by Berkshire’s vast financial resources, HomeServices has been buying up large real estate firms like Fox and Roach and Long & Foster as it builds a national company in a fractionated industry.

Headquartered in Chantilly, VA, Long & Foster Real Estate is the largest independent residential real estate brand by volume and the second largest independent brand by units according to the 2017REAL Trends 500report.

The company has approximately 11,000 agents in over 230 offices serving buyers and sellers in markets across the Mid-Atlantic and beyond, including Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.

Long & Foster’s settlement services companies closed over 20,000 title and escrow transactions, and Long & Foster Insurance issued approximately 8,300 property and casualty insurance policies.

Wes Foster will remain with the company as Chairman Emeritus. Jeff Detwiler, Long & Foster’s current president and chief operating officer, will assume the role of chief executive officer and, together with the existing team of enterprise and business line leaders, will oversee growth initiatives and continue to manage day-to-day operations.

The acquisition expands HomeServices’ presence in the Mid-Atlantic region to Washington D.C. and Baltimore and extends its national footprint to Virginia and West Virginia. Adding the Long & Foster brand positions HomeServices to be the nation’s largest home ownership services provider, a release stated.

With the transaction, HomeServices now has more than 41,000 real estate agents operating in 30 states and the District of Columbia. In 2017, the company expects its sales associates to facilitate over $123 billion in residential real estate sales, nearly 340,000 home sale transactions, and nearly 200,000 mortgage, insurance, title, and escrow transactions.

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