The Long & Foster Agent Succession Program allows established Long & Foster agents to acquire the businesses of colleagues who are retiring from real estate. The exclusive program vets candidates, conducts training and provides a structure for retiring agents to receive financial benefits as their businesses continue under new leadership. About 30 agents have started the program since it launched in late 2017.
“We’re providing the framework and consultation to help them navigate this relatively complex transaction, using best practices we have compiled over the last half-century,” says Larry “Boomer” Foster, president of Long & Foster Real Estate. “Our goal is to give many of our longtime sales associates a chance at a more secure retirement, while also ensuring our clients can continue to receive the high level of service to which they’re accustomed with a Long & Foster agent.”
According to Foster, the company is uniquely positioned in the industry to create such a program because of its size, structure and resources. The Long & Foster agent pool is nearly 11,000 strong, and instead of independently-owned franchise offices acting as small businesses, it’s a centralized brokerage firm serving seven states and Washington, D.C., in 220-plus locations. Since its acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway affiliate HomeServices of America in 2017, the company has remained an independent brand, with greater access to capital than before.
“All their sweat equity, all the money and capital they put into their business, all the relationships they’ve formed are all just up for grabs to the industry,” Foster says. “We’re giving our agents the ability to monetize the value of their business.”
The Agent Succession Program matches a retiring agent with another sales associate who has the same work style, personality and business philosophy, explains Rich Fino, director of Professional Development at Long & Foster. Participants choose whether the transition happens quickly or over time through team-building. Consultants help the outgoing agent value his or her business by examining the three most recent years’ transactions. Qualifications for those wishing to acquire another agent’s business include:
- Long & Foster agent with a strong business history and an impeccable reputation
- Cash flow statements and other proof of financial stability, at least three years’ worth
- Personal compatibility with the outgoing agent
Similar models already exist in other industries, such as financial advising and insurance sales, says Gary Scott, president of Long & Foster Real Estate. A difference is real estate clients may contact their agents much less frequently than someone who seeks advice in other situations affecting their financial life.
“The key to our plan is the selling agent and buying agent must work together for a period of time in order for the upside to occur,” Scott says. “The selling agent has to introduce the buying agent into their sphere of influence, which could be thousands of people, and create trust over time.”
Fino says agents not affiliated with Long & Foster may wish to join the company to take advantage of the professional consulting and coaching offered for a below-market rate to those who are accepted into the program.
For more information, please visit LongandFoster.com.
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