Long & Foster adds to ranks with local acquisition

From left: Lisa Kunz, Brian Haug and Joan Dorsey. (Long & Foster)

Having endured some local losses earlier this year, a national real estate brand is continuing to rebuild its Richmond roster with the addition of a Midlothian brokerage led by two company veterans.

Long & Foster announced Tuesday it has acquired Jefferson Properties, a 6-year-old real estate firm run by former Long & Foster agents Joan Dorsey and Lisa Kunz.

Terms of the acquisition, which closed Tuesday, were not disclosed.

The deal adds Jefferson’s nearly 30 agents to Long & Foster’s Bellgrade office, bringing that location’s agent count to almost 90.

Joining them will be Dorsey and Kunz, who will serve as the office’s branch manager and business development director, respectively. Previous branch manager Donna Procise will continue in that role at Long & Foster’s Westham office.

The acquisition brings new leadership into Long & Foster’s local ranks, noted Brian Haug, senior vice president and regional manager.

Haug worked with Dorsey and Kunz when they all started with Long & Foster in a previous Midlothian office and he targeted Jefferson as a possible acquisition after his appointment in June to lead the Richmond market.

“I’ve known them for a long time, so when I came back to Richmond from D.C., I was meeting with a lot of different top talented people in the marketplace,” Haug said.

Haug’s appointment in June followed the well-documented departures of four executives and managers from Long & Foster’s local offices, including his predecessor, Scott Shaheen, who has since started his own brokerage with that group. The departures led to a lawsuit that has since been settled.

Haug said the return of Dorsey and Kunz into the Long & Foster fold will be a breath of fresh air for the company moving forward.

“I was seeking some fresh thoughts and new leadership in our company, and I value people who have gone out on their own and risked something and created something,” he said. “They’ve had some great success, and having their mindsets coming back to us is just an amazing thing.”

A sign at Long & Foster’s sales office on Strawberry Street. (Jonathan Spiers)

For Dorsey and Kunz, who started Jefferson in September 2011 after leaving Long & Foster for another company, the acquisition brings their careers full circle.

“It was appealing to us in sitting back and looking at what we could do to serve our agents on a greater scale,” Dorsey said. “Long & Foster is the biggest company in Richmond, so why wouldn’t you take note of that?”

Added Kunz: “We value our agents, they’re an integral part of the company, and I expect that to carry over to Long & Foster. A lot of the agents that are in the office we’re moving into we had working relationship with from years ago, so it’s going to be a great coming-together.”

While they wouldn’t say how much Jefferson brought in in annual revenue, the brokerage has seen enough growth in recent years to land on Richmond BizSense’s RVA 25 list of the area’s fastest-growing companies each of the past two years, landing at No. 8 last year and 15 this year – the latter reflecting 87 percent annual revenue growth from 2014 to 2016.

Haug said such achievements added to the company’s appeal to the national brokerage.

“It takes a certain sense of entrepreneurship and outside-the-box thinking to go out there and start your own brand and company,” he said. “They are very fun-loving, professional, and I think their entrepreneur spirit will help our agents. They’re a great team themselves; they’ll just be able to do that on a bigger scale and give back to more agents.”

The acquisition adds to other deals Long & Foster has been making in Richmond and elsewhere in the state in recent months. In August, it picked up local home rehab company Cobblestone Development Group, featured earlier this year in HGTV’s “Richmond Rehabbers” pilot. And last week, it acquired the residential real estate division of the Monticello Properties franchise in Palmyra, near Charlottesville.

The company also has been on the other side of the M&A process recently. Last month, it was acquired by HomeServices of America, an affiliate of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway.

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