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Long & Foster turns 50. Coin flip decided whose name came first

Wes Foster is chairman emeritus of the Long & Foster Cos. (Courtesy Long & Foster)

WASHINGTON — Chantilly, Virginia-based Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., a two-man operation when it was founded in 1968, marks its 50th anniversary this year.

Long & Foster was founded by two 30-somethings, P. Wesley “Wes” Foster Jr. and Henry “Hank” Long, with its first location at a 600-square-foot office in Fairfax, Virginia grew to be the No. 1 independent real estate brand by sales volume in the nation over the last five decades.

A flip of a coin positioned Long’s name first in the company’s brand name.

In its first year in business, Long & Foster had about $3 million in sales volume — a significant amount at the time (and a healthy single sale in today’s market).

It now operates more than 200 offices across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast from North Carolina to New Jersey and has more than 11,000 agents.

Long & Foster had $29 billion in sales volume in 2016, and its mortgage business, Prosperity Mortgage, originated $3.3 billion in home loans in 2016.

Wes Foster became sole owner in 1979, when Hank Long sold his share to start a commercial real estate business.

Long & Foster grew through a hefty list of acquisitions over the years, including Evers & Co., Monticello Properties, Jefferson Properties, and McGrath Real Estate in 2017 alone.

In late-2017, HomeServices of America acquired Long & Foster, a Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway company, for an undisclosed sum, though it continues to operate independently.

“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, now chairman emeritus of the Long & Foster Cos., parent 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,” Foster said.

Long & Foster’s previous chief operating officer Jeff Detwiler now serves as chief executive.

“Wes builds relationships by being there for his clients and agents. He listens, he cares and he is responsive and he always has a positive attitude,” Detwiler said in a statement.

The HomeServices acquisition made it the biggest homeownership services provider in the country, based on transactions, with more than 41,000 real estate agents in 30 states and the District, with an estimated $123 billion in real estate sales in 2017.


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