Jeff Detwiler | CEO, Long & Foster
About This Episode
Jeff Detwiler, CEO of Long & Foster, returns to the Go With John show to share upcoming growth plans of the Long & Foster companies. Jeff and John also discuss what’s trending in the real estate market and where the market is headed.
Speaker 1 [00:00:02] Hey, we just wrapped up our conversation with Jeff Detwiler and a lot of fun talking to him about his future vision of the long and foster companies and some great stuff coming down the pike. I know you’ll enjoy it. He’s a great guy. Great information. And let’s go to our conversation with Jeff. All right, so here we are, Jeff. Welcome back. We’re at the Long and Foster Studios at McLean, Virginia. Thanks for coming in again.
Speaker 2 [00:00:35] Hey, my pleasure. I had such good time last time I was I wanted to come back and get a get another one.
Speaker 1 [00:00:40] Yeah, let’s go. Yeah, I’m excited. So so today we’re going to talk about last time it was all really about you write in your story. And I encourage folks if they want to learn more about you, to go back and listen to that episode. Today, we’re going to talk business, right? We’re going to talk about your vision for the future of the long and foster organization. So so maybe give us some cliff notes and then we can kind of get into the conversation.
Speaker 2 [00:01:07] So there’s a number of things probably for things that we can touch on. No one is just the industry in general right now. We all know very robust and things like this. But at this point in time, I’m just very concerned with the with the advent of more and more of these discount brokerages. And I think that what characterizes a discount brokerage is little or no supervision, limited training. And I think what it does is it brings down the quality of guidance and consultation around a real estate transaction. When we get more and more of these type of firms and agents in the market. Right. And and so that’s very concerning. And it just behooves me as to why the white people don’t demand an even higher caliber competency and capability from from their real estate agent. Right. This is a very expensive transaction. As we know. It’s one of the most expensive assets anybody’s ever going to acquire. Why wouldn’t you say I need somebody more like a wealth manager advising me on my real estate transaction than a used car salesman who’s just trying to turn some numbers? And so that’s one thing. Number two is I want to talk about where the industry says that the industry needs to go to improve the customer experience. And they talk a lot about mortgage title insurance. All kinds of national firms are talking about that. Well, as you well know, John, that is we’ve been doing that for two decades here in Boston, and we do it better than anybody else. And so we’ve got a real advantage that we’re already there. The third thing I want to talk about is where where this one stop shopping really goes. And what we’re calling it at Long and Foster is the all inclusive experience. And I want to talk about it’s it’s much broader than just mortgage title insurance. And I think it delivers a far better customer experience. And then fourthly, what we want to do is create an ecosystem for a home buyer to live in, in which the agent and the company continues to serve them as an owner of a property, the most expensive asset that they very well may have, right?
Speaker 1 [00:03:24] Absolutely. Those are that’s this can be a great conversation. So let’s jump right in to number one. So the so the the discount brokerages, so I can speak personally, having done hundreds and hundreds of real estate transactions, that you really do get what you pay for. And I know when I’ve got a good agent on the other side of a transaction who’s representing their buyer and or their seller, whichever side they they may be on. And I also know when I’ve got an agent on the other side who’s just, I say, stepping in front of a commission check right there, just literally sometimes not even going through the motions to get a transaction done. So let’s talk a little bit about that. What your your your view on on the discount brokerages and your thoughts there?
Speaker 2 [00:04:14] Well, I think that the the discount brokerage firms, it’s all about delivering a brokerage environment for no money, not really investing in it. And so if you’re not going to invest in the brokerage environment, what are you doing? You’re just basically putting agents on the street. Yeah. You’re not training them. Right. So their level of competency can be very questionable. You don’t hold them accountable for that. Number two is there’s no supervision. You know that that’s very important thing. Within Long and Foster, we have hundreds of managers that are there to help agents with any kind of challenging issues in a transaction. And we overlook everything that we do. And supervision is really important, not just in our business, in any business. So these discount brokers don’t have enough money to invest in training for their agents. They don’t invest in supervision. And I think the quality of service and expertize that a discount agent is. Buiding a consumer is just not acceptable and and you know that as well as anybody.
Speaker 1 [00:05:29] Yeah, how many? Not to interrupt you, but I sometimes feel bad for the client of some of the agents that are on the other side of a transaction, because I know they’re not getting representation they need. And I see things all the time that that are that are really should have been obvious people. An agent will help somebody buy a piece of land, for example, where you can’t build a house. But the agent never knew that you had to do some research to find out if it was a building block, things like that.
Speaker 2 [00:06:02] So and I’m sure there’s so many of them. And it’s like, you know, the number of times I’ve heard from Long and foster agents about their angst and struggle with a lesser than competent discount agent on the other side. What does that long foster agent do? Well, they they pick up the ball and they run with it. And so they have twice as hard. They do.
Speaker 1 [00:06:25] Now, that’s great, right, for getting, you know, transactional things done, but you can’t represent the other client. That would be difficult, right. Because you have to represent your client. So, yeah.
Speaker 2 [00:06:34] So I just think that it is what happens is sometimes probably the consumer doesn’t see through that. Right. As the more competent agent kind of steps up and goes beyond what they’re required to do to make sure that the transaction gets to closing and things like that. So I just feel like there’s a point in time. You know, the market right now, there’s more and more agents in the market every day. People are coming into this business because it looks like it’s so easy because houses are selling fast and things like that. There’s nothing easy about it. As you and I were just talking earlier, it it is every bit as complex buying a house as ever before. It’s not getting any easier. And you need somebody who’s really competent, a professional. And that’s my my wishes were that this industry would go in the direction of more along the lines of a wealth manager or something like that, somebody that steps up and works with the consumer on an ongoing basis to understand their real estate, to do their purchase, but to coordinate all the other things that have to happen and not go the the direction of the used car salesman where there’s a a different set of people in that showroom every weekend just trying to give it a shot and sell some cars. That’s just not a good experience for the consumer. And what’s interesting, the facts are there will be lots of contingent liabilities down the road when the market gets really frothy like this and a lot of transactions. You know, there’s all kinds of things that happen in the contract, like, you know. Right. The contingencies are reduced and yes. And home inspections can’t kind of run their thorough course and things like that. And what happens is that there will be more liabilities down the road because some transactions consumers will be unhappy with the transaction because corners have been cut. Absolutely.
Speaker 1 [00:08:36] So I think I think one of the biggest things that needs to happen, I think as as as a whole is the consumer needs to be educated. I think really I think the there are seasoned homebuyers out there and sellers that understand the value of a great agent and they understand that you get what you pay for. But it’s so easy to say all these things are so easy to say. You get what you pay for the machine behind you get what you pay for is really complicated. So a discount brokerage is executing your transaction at a lower cost. The house, the brokerage company is making less money and the agent is making less money. But you may be, as the consumer may be losing money as well because you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Exactly. And it’s and it’s hard, I think, for the consumer to understand all of the money that Long and Foster puts in to the training programs here. And it’s really amazing what you guys do. So it’s it’s it’s going to be a challenge. So how do you educate the consumer about the vashi?
Speaker 2 [00:09:46] That’s a really good that’s a really good question. I’m not sure I have a good answer for that right now. Know, we we as an industry, I think have to make the consumer understand how challenging this really is, how complicated acquiring a house. There’s a lot more than finding a house, negotiating the right price and signing some contracts. As you know, there’s way more involved in it than that. But we don’t talk about those details enough and we need to. And I think that. Don’t you think that probably first time home buyers are the ones that nobody’s in for? Warming them of the complexity of buying a home, they’re stepping into it and they’re just saying, well, if I can pay ten dollars instead of 14 dollars, I’m going to pay the lesser money and I’ll buy my house. And they don’t understand what they’re foregoing by going to that discount broker. So I think a lot of first time homebuyers are not being adequately represented by these discount brokers.
Speaker 1 [00:10:45] I agree wholeheartedly on that. And in fact, we’re going to do a whole episode about that really very soon. But but I also think first time homebuyers hire a one of their peers as their realtor. Yeah, right. And first time homebuyers who are choosing to appear as their realtor may not have the most seasoned realtor and may not. Right. So very good point. And same thing with new agents that are new to the business. They know very little. They don’t have the experience, don’t have the calluses. Right. So they like working with new with first time homebuyers because they’re not going to ask the tough questions. Right. So there’s a whole dynamic
Speaker 2 [00:11:25] level of that. Yeah, that’s a great point.
Speaker 1 [00:11:27] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So we’ll have to we’ll have to we’ll address that on another episode. So so for Long and Foster, what are you doing with your organization to train the agents and have them. We’ve been talking about I think going back to West Foster when he would come in to the offices and talk to us years and years and years ago, he was talking about, you want to be your clients trusted advisor. So that’s that’s part of the corporate culture here, right, at Long and Foster?
Speaker 2 [00:11:56] Absolutely. It always has been. I think that, you know what? We we have a pretty extensive training department. We’ve got hundreds of online courses where agents can go and they we can look at this library of courses and we can see how often those books are checked out, if you will. And it’s being used quite a bit. And we spend a lot of time training our managers to train our agents. And I think that a lot of the the better managers will find agents within the office. And I think that you guys do that here in McLean all the time is you find an agent who has an expertize and that agent spends time with other agents advising them. Right. I think another big thing, you know, our model that we’ve been deploying for a long time are other businesses also. So, for instance, you know, Long and Foster has title companies that are part of the long and foster family of companies. Well, we have our attorneys in the title business spend time and and teach courses and talk about pertinent and hot topics of the time in the in the branches. And these discount brokers are not doing that. Right. And what if they don’t even have branches?
Speaker 1 [00:13:14] Right. You know, there’s
Speaker 2 [00:13:15] real real estate firms that are trying to position it as being the really cool, progressive thing to not have an office. Right. I personally believe that is just a way to make an excuse for not having an office because I can’t afford an office.
Speaker 1 [00:13:30] Right. Or I don’t want to spend the money on. Well, that’s
Speaker 2 [00:13:32] it. I don’t I can’t afford it or I don’t want to afford it, because if I’m charging less, I have to spend less. Right. How about if I don’t pay any leases? How about if I don’t pay any managers? How about if I don’t if I eliminate all these costs that long and foster investing in a heavy way? What that does is that discount firm has to characterize that as cool and new and progressive. When I think and you and I would agree when we talk about the complexity and the expertize of seasoned realtor and you’ve got to have that, but that just doesn’t come overnight. Right. It takes hundreds of transactions, you know, or dozens, if not hundreds. And it also takes lots of time to be a real expert in this arena.
Speaker 1 [00:14:22] Well, you know, one of the things I want to just hit on two things from my personal experience. One is, you know, we’re sitting right next door right now in our recording studio here for where we used to have our weekly meetings before covid hit. And, you know, I came to as many as I could, you know, probably hit 50 percent. But every single meeting that I came to, I walked out of this room with some knowledge that I didn’t have before I went to the meeting, these weekly meetings, and we’re still doing them on Zoom and they’re still happening. But but it’s not in the room. Right. But after the meetings, people would kind of break out and talk about various different things. But you learn something from all the other agents that are going through their struggles. People stand up and talk about problems they’re having so we can learn so the rest of us maybe can avoid that down the road. So not having that kind of a culture in your real estate company, I think is just destructive from day one. If you can’t share experiences, then that’s that’s a problem, right? You know, the second thing that I’ve always been amazed with Long and Foster is, you know, our colleague, Barry Redler. I chat with him several times a year. And every time I get together with Barry, he wants to tell me about all these tools that you guys have for the agents. And, you know, I have my systems. I’m a seasoned agent. You know, I’m not I’m not really grabbing on to the tools that you guys have, but you have so many tools that are available to agents and there’s no way that any agent can use all your tools. Right. But every agent works differently. Every agent thinks differently. Every agent has different sets of clients. There’s different cultures. There’s different all. There’s so many different ways you have to work. But to have all these tools available to you or to the agents is really invaluable. And to have the managers that can help you find the tools that I what I say tools. I’m talking about digital marketing. What you just give some high level. What kind of tools do we have over there? We’ve got digital marketing tools, administrative
Speaker 2 [00:16:28] tools, lead generation tools. I think transaction I’ll call I think the the one of the most important ones we have now is our Moxey works platform.
Speaker 1 [00:16:39] That’s amazing. Yeah, that’s amazing. Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 2 [00:16:41] So that’s everything from number one. It’s got a best in class present system and ability to present customers in a in a great way, particularly, you know, potential sellers. Yeah. Does a great job with that. I think that it also has a CRM system and it has engage, which helps you kind of move through the transaction, connect with your sphere. Yes. And things like that. So that’s a that’s a great tool.
Speaker 1 [00:17:09] Yeah. And let me and, you know, I got to tell you, Moxey I and Barry and I’ve talked about this at length. I used to write my own pipeline management system and access database way back in the day before we had CRM. Yeah. And, you know, every transaction has a series of steps, right? We call it the pipeline. And you have to bring your you know, when you meet a brand new client, you have to qualify them. You have to figure out what do they want, what’s their budget. And you would in Moxey, you can put them in a stage. Right, which you can create. It’s customizable and you can have them in a qualified qualification stage. Once you have that buyer qualified, you can move on to the next stage, which may be have them in your car showing them houses. Right. So you start to get 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 clients, all at different phases of the transaction. Moxey can help the realtor keep their workload organized, but it’s also great for the buyer because a client or seller, because most people want to be part of a process. Right. Most customers, consumers want to know that the professional that they’ve hired to help them achieve a goal has a process that they are going
Speaker 2 [00:18:26] to work them through.
Speaker 1 [00:18:27] Yeah, right. And that’s what Moxey is all about. So I’m glad you brought that up.
Speaker 2 [00:18:30] Well, I think that, you know, I explained Moxey when we first identified Moxey and brought it to Long and Foster. I characterize it as a sales discipline. Right. And that’s the process that you’re talking about. And you have a process. And all successful agents, I believe, have a process. I think that the biggest difference, you know, I was from outside the industry, but the biggest difference I saw between successful agents and agents that wanted to be successful is that the successful agents had a sales process, they had a sales discipline, and they did it the same way all the time. Exactly. And it satisfied what their customers needed. And the agents that wanted to be successful didn’t know what they were going to do after lunch that day. And that is the single biggest difference that I saw between successful and agents that wanted to be successful.
Speaker 1 [00:19:21] So so wrapping up this kind of this first. Yeah. So so what are your what are your kind of final thoughts on topic one?
Speaker 2 [00:19:30] Yeah, well, I would just share, you know, kind of a way to segue to the next one is when you talk about the the meetings, the branch meetings that we have here in McLean and all over the footprint, you know, I get the benefit to go visit everywhere and participate in some of these. But they’re all similar in the sense that agents are interacting and almost masterminding for that hour long event each week with each other. But another thing that happens is we always have somebody from the mortgage company that comes and speaks or we have one of the attorneys from the settlement services company, or we have somebody from the insurance agency that comes in and they’re talking about in the same way they’re sharing and dealing with questions that agents have about hot topics. And I don’t know that other brokerages have that same advantage to do that.
Speaker 1 [00:20:19] Right. Yeah, good. Wonderful. All right, we’re going to take a break, and when we come back, we are going to talk about we’re
Speaker 2 [00:20:26] going to talk about the the idea of of additional core services being involved with the real estate transaction and coordinated really
Speaker 1 [00:20:37] well. Fantastic. Back in three minutes. Excellent. I’m John Jorgenson. And if you want to learn more about buying a home or selling your existing home, contact us through the show. We work with an incredible network of professionals who can help you get through the process smoothly. Again, that’s go with John Dotcom. Welcome back. We’re still at the Long and Foster Studios, McLean, Virginia, we are with Jeff Detwiler, CEO of Long and Foster Companies. And thanks, Jeff, again for coming in. I’m really enjoying our chat today. Well, John,
Speaker 2 [00:21:21] I always enjoy spending time with you, so thanks for having
Speaker 1 [00:21:23] me. Excellent. So now we’re going to talk about and I think this is really important, I guess we’re going to talk about the the the concept that some of these new shiny companies are coming up with about an all inclusive experience. So tell me your thoughts on that.
Speaker 2 [00:21:38] Yeah. So as we’ve talked about, what I find really almost ironic is the fact that these new companies that have shown up on the on the stage in real estate have talked about how progressive and that they’re the new cool company. But what they’re really talking about when they’re being asked to what does the future hold in store for you, they start talking about the concept of introducing the major core services, which we refer to as mortgage title and insurance, and that this is their future to be able to introduce these other necessary products and services to the real estate transaction at the brokerage and that that’s what they’re aspiring for in the future. Right. And I think that it is so it’s so ironic that Long and Foster, you know, the company that’s been here for over 50 years, we’ve been we’ve introduced those products and services two decades ago. And I would say over the past decade, we are better at delivering a coordinated effort between realtor, loan officer, settlement services company and insurance agent. And we do a great job. Nobody can do it as well as we can. And there are reasons for that. But that, you know, our competition is talking about that’s what the future holds in store and that’s our history being able to do that. So. Right. I, I it makes me feel good when I think about so many of my competitors talking about what they need to do to deliver a superior customer experience is what we do at Long and Foster. And so I just I know that we need to continue to do more of that. They refer to it as one stop shopping. Right. I think that NAR uses that moniker of one stop shopping when they refer to it. And a lot of our competition talks about one stop shopping. I think it kind of cheapens one stop shopping, I think kind of cheapens the experience that we’re trying to deliver here at Long and Foster. We refer to it as the all inclusive experience. Right. And that’s something that I’d like to talk a little bit more about here, if we can.
Speaker 1 [00:24:04] Yeah, absolutely. You know, one of the things that comes to my mind when I hear you talk about these the competitors who are going to be doing this, they’re going to have to go through one heck of a learning curve, you know, because when you do something for 20 years, there is no substitute for experience and finding all the little ways to make all these things work together. And so so they’re in for a long road ahead of them. So I guess let’s talk about the you know, and I think I would also add that, you know, one stop shopping or the all inclusive experience doesn’t mean you have to use absolutely not all those services, but they’re available there free. So if you have a great insurance agent that you love and you’re going to work with long and foster agent, that doesn’t necessarily mean that somebody is going to push you to work with long and foster insurance. If you’ve got it covered, then then you’re good. But if you need insurance, then here we are.
Speaker 2 [00:25:01] Yeah, absolutely. And and I think that’s the you know, I make when people say, what’s the all inclusive experience, I usually try to draw a parallel to an all inclusive vacation. Right. You know, it’s not right for everybody, but it’s right for a lot of people. A lot of people don’t know how to go about making all the arrangements. A lot of people don’t want to go through making all of those different arrangements. Yeah, you pick where you want to go, but then you have to make travel arrangements and you have to take lodging arrangements and logistics and excursions and food and all these things. And not if I had just a place to go to have that somebody who I know and trust to walk me through that, then I think that there’s a lot of people that want that. And and that’s the idea of the all inclusive experience as it’s here. If you want it right, you don’t have to have it to your point. You know, you can kind of mix and match pieces. If you have somebody that’s in a field that you really like working with, you can work with them. You know, our. Our vision is to continue is to expand the the products and services that I long and foster agent can offer to their customer and to that they can coordinate on behalf of their customer, give the customer even more choices. So, for instance, as you know, we stood up a moving and storage company.
Speaker 1 [00:26:25] Yes, I bought a trailer tailored move, tailor made. So let’s just run down the affiliates. Taylor moved here. Move Prosperity Mortgage. Yes, long and foster insurance. Right.
Speaker 2 [00:26:36] And gas. And we have sage title in Maryland. We have long and foster settlement services. We’ve got a couple of different brands in the in the title arena. OK, yeah. And those are the companies that we have right now. You know, we also have some smaller companies like we have a vacation rental business right where we rent out, you know, kind of week long vacation rentals, very hot business last year and this year, you know, for because of the pandemic’s things like that, we do over a hundred thousand nights a year. You know, we have a property management business for our investors who want their properties. And so we have a lot of other businesses. But the the really prime ones that fit into this all inclusive transaction right now are mortgage title insurance, moving and storage. And then we’re also going to move in to some other things that have to happen every time we want to align ourselves much more closely with a particular home inspection company that can deliver some unique offering and features for us. I think that another thing that has to happen is, you know, everybody has to turn their utilities off and turn your utilities on. That’s that’s a real nuisance, having moved and done that. Right. What happens if I had a company that could do that for you and take care of it? Right. What about cable and Internet? You know, that ends up being a hassle as much as anything.
Speaker 1 [00:28:03] You said a mouthful right there. Yeah.
Speaker 2 [00:28:05] Yeah. And so we want to be able to do that also. And there’s a litany of other things that we want to do, things that have to happen that almost always happen in the transaction. And if we can add that to our list of products and services that an agent can choose to offer and coordinate on behalf of their customer, they can deliver a customer experience that no other brokerage company, no other competing agent from another brokerage company can offer that customer. And that’s a unique that’s one more unique thing that the long and foster agent can deliver and coordinate. And the consumer wants it.
Speaker 1 [00:28:42] Yeah, absolutely. And all these things cost money. They do. Right. And all these things bring value to the to the transbay.
Speaker 2 [00:28:50] Do you know, an interesting thing is that some of there are brands that are out trying to there’s a lot of brands, brokerages across the country that are talking about the first stages of delivering mortgage title insurance. What they’re doing is they’re trying to they’re trying to connect themselves and establish some relationships with other companies to be able to do that. At Long and Foser. What we’ve done is we’ve we’ve brought these companies into the long and phosphor companies umbrella. So they’re actually companies that we own. And we just think that it’s imperative that that is a differentiating factor from a lot of the competition that’s trying to deliver this feature is that they’re never going to be able to deliver the same sense of urgency, the same quality of service as we can when we own all these companies, because we set all of the priorities, we set the sense of urgency. We can establish priorities. And a long and foster agent and and a long and foster customer is the number one priority. And you can’t say that when you go to another mortgage company right now, that’s not prosperity. Or if you go to another insurance agency that’s not long and foster insurance.
Speaker 1 [00:30:11] Right? That’s true. And I think I think all this fits in. You know, when you talk about being the, you know, your future vision for long and Foster being somebody who’s trusted advisor, you know, having all these parts and pieces under your control are very important. You can’t control a company you don’t own. Right.
Speaker 2 [00:30:30] And I know that, you know, I’ve sat and talked to a lot of. Successful realtors, a lot of realtors at long and also yourself and many others also and you know, one of the interesting things when I talk to them about the all inclusive experience, a lot of the successful agents tell me, well, I do that today. I do coordinate that for for my customer. And I ask them, well, when you’re first sitting down with your customer, do you tell them when you’re first trying to establish your relationship with that customer that you’re going to do all of these things in addition to what the customer may think the traditional real estate transaction is? And usually it’s answered? Well, no, I don’t. I do it, but I don’t really talk about it up front. And I said, I think that that’s huge value. And that would that would provide huge confidence to the customer to to recognize all the stuff that has to happen. Right. To make a transaction, really work through the entire process and that you, the agent, are going to bring them that expertize and confidence to be able to walk through that.
Speaker 1 [00:31:40] Yeah. You know, so, you know, I would say in response to that, I think the the the the real estate transaction is very complex, very it’s and we were talking about that before we did this morning. And it’s it’s when you sit down with with a buyer at a listing presentation, you you run out of time always you always run out of time. And it’s and it’s, you know, the complexities of a of a real estate transaction when you get into all the parts and pieces, the mortgage, the insurance, the the moving, the just the transaction itself and the utilities. And then you go beyond that like like we were discussing earlier with all the complexities of the house itself, you know, it’s it’s incomprehensively complex.
Speaker 2 [00:32:28] Well, it is. And think about I think your listeners should think about the idea that, you know, a realtor does. This goes through a transaction, right. Many, many times a month, right. Lots of times a year. But as a consumer. Right. I go through a transaction then I might not go through. I think the average time between transactions has extended to like every ten years. Right. I’ve forgotten everything I learned in my first transaction 10 years later when I get to the next level. Plus, all the rules have changed. Well, that’s a really good point. You know, of course, changing all the time.
Speaker 1 [00:33:01] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Speaker 2 [00:33:02] So I just think that we lose sight of the fact that how how naive most consumers are to everything that has to happen. And I just don’t believe that, you know, the consumer says, well, I think I’m going to go buy a house. So what I’m going to do is I need to get pre-approved. Then I need to get financing. Then I need to I need to get my realtor and I need to negotiate the price and all the components of the real estate transaction and understand all the complexities of a contract and things to look for. Then I need to get a home inspection and then I need to make sure I have clear title and then I need homeowner’s insurance. Then I got to turn off my utilities, turn my you know, on the consumer does not think that I know. What do they think? They think like I want to go buy a house and move into it. Yeah. And that’s what I want. And I don’t I don’t know about the 12 other things, the 12 other transactions that have to happen simultaneously. Right. And I think that’s what the long and foster agent can bring, that a lot of other agents can’t and and don’t.
Speaker 1 [00:34:04] And and it’s only getting more complex all the time. Right. It’s not getting easier. It’s getting harder. It’s getting harder. Exactly. Yeah. And this goes back to the question from the from the first segment is how do you educate the consumer? How do you how do you help the consumer better understand how complex this is and what you’re getting yourself into it.
Speaker 2 [00:34:23] And once again, we are we are wrestling with that question now at Long and Foser in trying to determine the ways that we go about doing that. And so we will I think we will be marketing and advertising more about the complexity of a real estate transaction and that your long and foster realtor is the person that can coordinate all of this complex. A trusted advisor. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
Speaker 1 [00:34:50] So in wrapping up this segment, so do you have final thoughts on on your topic, too?
Speaker 2 [00:34:56] Well, I just think that, you know, I’m going to just emphasize the fact that I’m really proud of our company for seeing the future far earlier than anybody else and moving in this direction of introducing additional products and services that our agents can offer to their customers in order to deliver a superior customer experience. And and where we need to further that, we’ve got a lead to a lot of our competition, but we need to continue to push this forward. And I think that the long and phosphor agents need to continue to endorse and offer that. And it’s once again, you know, you can pick what pieces you want to use and things like that, but. It’s really about simplifying what is a really complex and a really frustrating kind of experience, it’s scary. It’s a lot there’s a lot of money at stake when you’re a consumer. Yeah, and it’s not like buying a pair of socks.
Speaker 1 [00:35:49] Yeah, no, it’s not. And you know what? I’ll add, you just brought a thought to my mind is that, you know, in a transaction, if everything goes well, you’re just really managing a transaction. You’re a transaction manager. The challenge and the good agent shine when you hit that bump in the road, when you get that rough home inspection or you get an appraisal that’s not right or there’s some problem with somebody moving out of a house, you go to a settlement and you’re go to your walkthrough. And the seller hasn’t moved out yet. I mean, things you’re dealing with humans and things. You don’t know what’s going to happen,
Speaker 2 [00:36:25] wouldn’t you think? More often than not, something happens that is unexpected? Absolutely. Because there is no such thing as a commodity transaction. Right. It’s not like once again, I said a pair of socks. I you know, there’s a million pairs of socks that are identical. There’s not a single real estate transaction that’s identical to another one. That’s correct. Every one of them are like people. They’re unique and something something’s going to happen.
Speaker 1 [00:36:50] Yeah, well, that’s that’s as realtors. That’s what we
Speaker 2 [00:36:53] love. Well, you guys are your solvers. Exactly.
Speaker 1 [00:36:55] Exactly. All right. We’re going to take another quick break. And when we come back, we’re going to talk about
Speaker 2 [00:37:00] we’re going to talk about beyond the all inclusive transaction and the idea of creating an environment where a homeowner can live in between the transactions.
Speaker 1 [00:37:12] Nice. I’m excited about this. All right. We’ll be right back with Jeff Detwiler, CEO, Long and Foster Companies. John Jorgenson here, if you want to become a real estate agent, contact us through that, go with John Show at Go with John Dotcom and we will put you in touch with a professional over at Long and Foster who can walk you through the process again. Let’s go with John Dotcom. All right, so we’re back with Jeff Detwiler, CEO of Long and Foster Companies, and Jeff, now we’re going to talk. I’m really excited to talk about this this next segment, because what you guys are working on and what your vision is for this kind of next chapter of long and foster and homeownership is amazing. So tell us I’m not I don’t steal your thunder. So tell us what you’re thinking.
Speaker 2 [00:38:13] Yeah. So we talked about the all inclusive transaction and for a long incarcerations to be able to deliver and really coordinate this what ends up being a far superior customer experience, because they walk the customer through this transaction and all the products and services and and what the next chapter is that we think is really exciting is, is to create a business model and I’ll call it an ecosystem. Right. For homeowners to live in from the time they settle and clothes on their new home to till forever. Right. Right. Until they decide to sell that house and move to another house or as long as they’re in that house. And so what might that look for or look like? So I’ll ask you, because you do a lot of new home sales, right? Right. If I’m a buyer of a of a new home, one of your new homes, when I close on that home, you’re providing me a lot of information and materials about about that property. Can you just just share with me?
Speaker 1 [00:39:23] So you’ve got you’ve got well. So first of all, you get a new home orientation, right. And we show you how to use all the components in the home. But then you have all the owner’s manuals of the home and the recommended service intervals and things like. So you have an owner’s manual for the house. Yeah. Which is which is an owner’s manual for the refrigerator, the dishwasher, the HVAC windows, roof. Right. All the parts and pieces of the house have information.
Speaker 2 [00:39:52] And I think information provides kind of comfort and confidence. And but if you contrast that if I buy an existing home. Yeah. Nine times out of 10 there, there are no manuals. There is no information because the person I’m buying it from may never have received any information from the person they bought it from.
Speaker 1 [00:40:13] Exactly.
Speaker 2 [00:40:14] So you, you know, every every used car we buy has an owner’s manual in it. Right. Right. That that’s the one thing that sits in the glove box that travels from owner to owner of that car. And so what we’re in visioning is the ability to create, for lack of a better description at the time of your purchase, when you close with Long and Foster, we would provide you a homeowners manual. And that homeowners manual for that existing home would give you a perspective to all the mechanicals in the house, the AJC, add water heater and that type of stuff. It would give you a look at all of your appliances and things like that, inventory like that and a variety of other things that could be provided and that you as a homeowner would would leave our transaction with that. And you could use that as you need to buy new appliances or get things fixed or find a vendor and things like that. And what we really want to expand on that is we really want to provide what I call property management for the owner occupied property. Right. It’s not not everybody wants it. Right. When the first house that I bought, I didn’t have an extra cent pay anybody for anything. Right.
Speaker 1 [00:41:40] So you don’t have to be a plumber.
Speaker 2 [00:41:41] Exactly. Exactly. But when you did need a professional plumber, it was a very stressful situation because you had to figure out where to go and so on, so forth. So what we envision is to be able to provide this digital homeowners manual that provides a lot of information about the property to the buyer and that they have an application that has all this information and that a realtor can continue to stay connected to their previous clients through this application and long and foster, the company can stay connected. And we want to start building out a business model that has companies like we do in the all inclusive transaction, but to help maintain the property as we go forward. Right. So if there’s a lot of money spent after by the buyer after the home is purchased, right. Appliances, new appliances are purchased and things like that, maybe Vaisse unit is replaced or in air conditioning itself, something like that. But this would one help you on? The other thing is, you know, we want to stay in touch with our previous clients, help our agents stay in touch with them in taking care of the property. So if I bought a house, I might get I might get connected with by my agent or my app that says, you know, the refrigerator that’s in your house is also is a monogram model, so and so. And it’s got an average life of 14 years and it’s 16 years old. And right now, you know, John Jorgenson is going to give you a coupon for 10 percent off on that particular product and you can replace it if you buy it now. So that’s the kind of idea of what we want to create so that. Homeowners start to become customers, not just people that are going to buy and sell homes, right. Our customers of long and Prosper. We want homeowners to become part of long and Foster and that they have an application that allows them to manage their property in an easier, more efficient way. And if we can provide them access to vendors and various services that they may want that have gone through a diligence process by us long and Foster, and they’ve had to pass a certain set of requirements, we think that that will be valuable for the consumer and just continue to improve the experience that they have with our realtors and with the firm.
Speaker 1 [00:44:16] You know, and I think, you know, from my perspective, I have a different view on that. I think you touched on a lot of things. Every time we chat, you trigger a lot of thoughts. My wife is out today buying a refrigerator for the house we’re living in right now because it’s 15 years old and we can just hear it’s on its last legs. So let’s get it replaced before it goes. So that’s a great example.
Speaker 2 [00:44:40] And you spend five hundred dollars on the food that’s in it when it goes out.
Speaker 1 [00:44:43] Well, exactly. That’s just throw away and I say let’s let’s replace it on our terms. Let’s not replace it. Let’s not have to deal with it on a Friday when we may be going away for the weekend. Exactly right. So, so but it also, you know, another piece of that is I think there are a lot of folks I think you talk to any seasoned real estate professional and they go in to take a listing. And the first thing they discover is the homeowner hasn’t done anything to the house for a decade. Right. Right, right. So, you know, part of maintaining your property value and having a great return on investment is maintaining it while you have it. And that’s another going into educating the consumer. Right. And having the homeowner understand that, hey, we have to take care of this asset. And ironically, we’ve just had a huge increase in construction costs. You know, and there are projects that I’ve had on deck that I haven’t done that are now going to cost me four times as much because I didn’t do them last year. So, you know, it’s it’s a it’s a maintaining a house is a big deal.
Speaker 2 [00:45:47] Well, you know, I think it’s interesting, as I do believe that some consumers just think my my house is always going to go up in value. Right. Just because it does. But if you don’t take care of it, if you don’t maintain it, that there’s no guarantee that your house is going to go up in value, maybe your lot value goes up, but the house is worth less if you don’t take care of. Absolutely. And I think that a lot of us don’t know what we have to do. But if you think about if you draw the parallels to the automotive industry and, you know, the automotive, the home, the the owner’s manual in a car. Right. We need an owner’s manual for our house. We need to get service plans and to understand at least go into it using your quote with eyes wide open that say, OK, I know what I should be doing to take care of this asset. I may choose not to for whatever reason, but at least I know what I should do. And I don’t think we get that kind of guidance when we buy a house and you know, it. It is one once again, probably the most expensive asset many of us will ever have in our lives. And if we take care of anything, we need to be taking care of our house. Right. I wanted to just mention another thing that I think is an exciting opportunity in this kind of ecosystem. And I wanted to ask you, because you’re in addition to existing homes, you’re in the new home space, right? Doesn’t almost every new home come with some basic level of smart technology?
Speaker 1 [00:47:17] Now, I would say it’s optional. So it all depends on the builder. Right. Some builders include a lot of that. Other builders don’t. And I think it can get very complex. Oh, yeah. In itself. But but I would say at a minimum, I think most of our buyers would put in, you know, a smart thermostat, you know, some some smart switches, some smart lights and things like that. Some maybe it may be a doorbell camera, things like that.
Speaker 2 [00:47:44] Yeah, well, when I think about that, I think this is going to be a huge trend in our industry. I think it already is, but I think it’s going to be even bigger each each year. And so think about all these existing homes that are selling that have no smart technology whatsoever. Right. And the vast majority of new homes are coming with some basic level. And you can only imagine it’s like a new car, right? The technology is going to be greater and greater in it. And it’s going to it’s going to create a larger gap between the desire to have an existing home. Right. And the desire to have a new home and that that will manifest itself in price. And so I just think that there is a huge need to modify our existing homes. Right. And that’s one of the business. Says that Long and Foster wants to have and his plan planning on putting within our portfolio of companies to help our our consumers through our agents, identify the the various levels of smart application if there is such word of their house. And it’s very doable at the base level. And I think that it is something that just adds to the convenience. And if a long and foster agent can help you do it, kind of a perfect time to do it as right before you move in, right after you buy a house, before you move in.
Speaker 1 [00:49:06] And that would be easy to do. So I’ve done it both ways. And basic is better than complex, I’m sure.
Speaker 2 [00:49:13] But complex is too
Speaker 1 [00:49:15] much of a stock to get. You could get so many wi fi switches in your house that you need the iPad app and it could get. Yeah, it can. It is cool though.
Speaker 2 [00:49:25] Well, it is cool. There’s a lot of convenience and I think there’s security features in it that are really big. I think about I just think about the ability, you know, to have some of those moisture detectors. Yes. Key spots around your house. Yeah. Nobody thinks a lot of people don’t think about that, but what a mess. I went on a week’s vacation or a business trip for four days right after I left, water started leaking out of something. And it’s a mess by the time I get back. And so, you know, you can have a moisture detector that notifies you on your phone. Absolutely. Absolutely. I think smart locks are easy and provide convenience for people, you know, the camera at your door to see what’s happening, who’s dropping what off and who’s taking your package, who’s the porch pirate that’s taking your back? Exactly. All of those things are pretty basic and aren’t overly complicated. But I think that people want that type of. Yes. In their house, that the thermostat, certainly some lights and a lot of that manifests itself in security issues. Yes, like. Yeah, yeah.
Speaker 1 [00:50:31] Yeah. So, yeah, that’s, that’s yeah. That’s that’s a good that’s a good point. And certainly if you have a package, it might be a value add for a seller to add it to their house before they put it on the right.
Speaker 2 [00:50:41] Yeah. What I, what we envision and who knows when this is, but we really see that the whole industry is going to migrate to this place and there will be a record of every house. Right. Every property, just like there’s a record of every automobile like Carfax. Exactly. Right, exactly. And that was, you know, everybody that’s kind of a standard now, right? Yeah, but that one, I will if I sell my house to you, I will trade. You know, I will give you the history of the house and the record of the house. That’s part of my transaction that I give to you. And you pick that up and then when you sell the house, you give it to somebody else. And the idea is, is to keep that updated. As you’re an owner of the home, I can only imagine that that would be more appealing to me, a buyer, if I had a good record and history. Absolutely. Then if I had no idea.
Speaker 1 [00:51:43] And there’s no question about it.
Speaker 2 [00:51:44] And so you can only imagine we’re going to get there. Yeah, the question is when, when and long and Foster wants to be in the lead of getting to that place instead of following others. Sure. Yeah. Lead, follow or get out of the way. There we go.
Speaker 1 [00:51:58] Right. So fantastic. So any closing thoughts on. So so just to kind of recap, the vision is every house will have a record that long and Foster has anything to do with selling or buying, right. Yeah. In conjunction with a home inspection company. Create the record, create the data. It lives digitally online. The homeowner can access it. That’s your vision. Right.
Speaker 2 [00:52:24] And I think an important aspect of it is to have a have a model of a of a family of companies that is in tune to that. So that, you know, our idea is to align with a home inspection company that if they do the home inspection, they’re going to populate this homeowner’s manual for you. Right, right. Right, right. And so you’re going to get that. And then the idea is, let’s say we have an HVAC company in the future. Well, when the HVAC company installs the new HVAC mechanicals, they then populate the we want to make the population of the of the of the file and the record as easy as possible for the consumer.
Speaker 1 [00:53:05] Right. Right. Right. Yeah. And, you know, just another thought, you you may even want to have periodic inspections of the House as an option. I actually have a house that I built seven years ago, and I’m going to have the home inspector back who did the original inspection for me just to do another inspection. It’s been seven years, right? What if there’s a little leak in the roof somewhere? Right. That that that developed over time? It can
Speaker 2 [00:53:30] happen. I think that is brilliant and we that we were actually talking about that last week and the idea was what a what a great thing if we if our agents could offer to some of their customers. Yeah. You know, a a health check on your house. Exactly. And you bring in the inspection company that has a streamline inspection. It doesn’t have to be as in depth as maybe a purchase inspection would be. Sure. But, you know, mechanicals Roof Appliances Foundation. Yeah, right. You lawter that. Keep the water, keep that water is not good. Water is good in your pipes. It’s not good outside. But but to be able to do that, I think that would be a phenomenal value for a realtor to be able to offer their clients. And you get a home inspection kind of a thing.
Speaker 1 [00:54:19] Well, and you could get prospective home sellers calling Long and Foster for an inspection. But to test drive the program, the exact kinds of wind wins there, there’s
Speaker 2 [00:54:29] lots of ways to you know, we would probably complicate the conversation with things like that. Yeah, but so there’s all kinds of avenues that we can see this thing going. And I think that at the end of the day, this type of a model will also be able to deliver a preferred price than what any body could get if they went out on their own and tried to find all these individual providers that the bundled services, it’s like insurance, you know, bundle your homeowners and your auto and things like that. You can get a better deal than if you buy it separately. I think we envision that kind of a concept of bundling these services for your home and that you can get a fair price versus if you when out trying to get it yourself. Yeah.
Speaker 1 [00:55:17] Know makes perfect sense. All right, Jeff, that was fantastic. Thanks again for coming in today. So, yeah. Any closing thoughts as we kind of wrap up the conversation today?
Speaker 2 [00:55:27] You know, I always have lots of thoughts. I think I’m going to keep it brief. I just really excited about what we’re doing at Long and Foster. We’re spending a lot of time working on these new concepts and bringing them to life. And they’re just right around the corner for us. And I just I’m excited to deliver a superior customer experience for the consumer and to continue to figure out how to better support our agents as they’re delivering this better experience to our customer.
Speaker 1 [00:55:59] Fantastic. Very well said, Jeff. Jeff Detwiler, CEO, Long and Foster Companies. Thanks again for coming back. Thank you, John. Hey, Jeff, thanks again for coming in today. And in closing, I just want to thank everybody for listening. We are so excited about all the information that we’re bringing to folks out there, not only about real estate and home building and business, but we’re covering a lot of topics on this show and we hope to continue to do this for many, many years to come. We’re having a lot of fun and we hope you are having as much fun listening as we are recording these conversations. Go out and build something extraordinary.