Berkshire's HomeServices of America acquires Long & Foster

HomeServices of America, an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway, has acquired The Long & Foster Cos., the largest U.S. private residential real estate firm in terms of sales volume.

The acquisition greatly expands Minneapolis-based HomeServices’ footprint in the Baltimore and Washington markets, and the move will make it the largest home-seller based on transactions, according to the firm’s announcement Thursday.

The financial terms were not disclosed.

Long & Foster, a 49-year-old company based in Chantilly, Va., has more than 2,000 agents and more than 35 offices in the Baltimore and Western Maryland areas. It has about 11,000 agents in more than 230 offices in the greater Mid-Atlantic region.

The firm had nearly $29 billion in sales volume and more than 81,000 home sales last year. HomeServices’ purchase includes Long & Foster’s mortgage, settlement services, insurance and property management arms.

With the acquisition, HomeServices expects its 41,000 associates to facilitate more than $123 billion in residential real estate sales, nearly 340,000 home sales and nearly 200,000 mortgage, insurance, title and escrow transactions this year.

Berkshire Hathaway, the company headed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, began rebranding its national network of real estate franchises in 2013.

HomeServices of America — a Berkshire subsidiary — created the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand when it assumed control of Prudential Real Estate as part of a joint venture. The new branding, with a purple-colored signs, was rolled out in Baltimore in 2014.

Following the acquisition, Long & Foster’s executives will continue to manage day-to-day operations and growth initiatives, HomeServices said.

Co-founder Wes Foster will remain as chairman emeritus, and Jeff Detwiler, Long & Foster’s president and chief operating officer, will become chief executive officer.

“Finding the right partner to maintain the legacy, culture, and integrity of Long & Foster was of utmost importance to me,” Foster said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more pleased that we are joining an organization known for its impeccable reputation and commitment to protecting brands.”

Detwiler promised that the Long & Foster brand and high level of service won’t change.

“HomeServices is an outstanding organization that shares our commitment to delivering exceptional customer service,” he said in a statement. “This is a clear win for our clients, agents, and employees.”

Ron Peltier, HomeServices’ chairman and CEO, said HomeServices was proud to be acquiring a company with a strong history.

“Wes, together with his executive team, regional leaders, sales managers, and agents, has built an extraordinary organization that exemplifies an exceptional level of expertise, vision, and leadership,” Peltier said in a statement. “We are honored to be part of Long & Foster’s future and are committed to its continued growth and success.”

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

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