Patrick Bain | Long and Foster Companies, President of Property Services Group
About This Episode
Go With John as he chats with Patrick Bain! Patrick serves as the President of the Property Services Group, Long and Foster Companies; and discusses the roles and responsibilities of each division and how they uniquely work together. He also shares the story behind his success and the importance of human interaction in the workplace. Don’t miss this exciting new episode!
Long and Foster Website
[00:00:05] Speaker 1 Welcome to another episode of the Go with John show, today we are here with Patrick Bain. He’s with a long and foster companies and Patrick. Welcome to the show.
[00:00:14] Speaker 2 Thank you, John. Thanks for having me.
[00:00:15] Speaker 1 Absolutely. So you have a lot of titles and normally I make an introduction, but it’s pretty tough with you to tell us, what do you do? How do you sum it up?
[00:00:25] Speaker 2 So I would sum it up like this. We we have this sort of group of businesses inside of long and foster called the Property Services Group, and inside of that is a handful of businesses that all have some commonality and they are property management business. Our insurance business, home inspection and the Leasing Services or Rental Services Center.
[00:00:48] Speaker 1 Mm-Hmm. That’s a lot of responsibility.
[00:00:50] Speaker 2 It’s a lot of businesses, for sure. But there is. There’s this sort of bandwidth that comes with having them all together. Right? Particularly in the vendor space and how that impacts our customers and customer experience and our agents. So it works. But for sure, sometimes capacity is an issue.
[00:01:13] Speaker 1 Sure. So, so, so do you have you obviously have department heads or do you have vice presidents in each one of these columns or do verticals?
[00:01:21] Speaker 2 So the inspection business is it’s called Insight Home Inspection. It’s a business we’re starting from scratch and that we start doing our first home inspections in the real estate channel on November 1st. Wow, congratulations. So that’s that’s spinning up pretty quickly. And we hired a guy who is going to run that business, and he reports to me his name’s J.B. Haller. He came from another inspection partner that we had for about a decade, U.S. Inspect. So he comes with a great background, great experience, and we think this is a great value for our agents and buyers and sellers.
[00:01:55] Speaker 1 OK, so the home inspection and then you’ve got the insurance.
[00:01:59] Speaker 2 We have the insurance business, which is the business that I came to run to long and foster in 2010. OK, and that is a great business for us. 60000 policies, 40000 unique customers that we manage every single day with our agents and most of those customers, I would say 95 percent of them are. They have been long and foster customers. They either bought a house for us or bought a second house through us, and that’s a pretty amazing business as well.
[00:02:29] Speaker 1 Great. And then so you have somebody heading that up as well? We do. OK. And then you have property management.
[00:02:36] Speaker 2 Property management is the thing that I’ve been working the hardest at and the most on for the last four years. I took that business on in 2018 to turn it around. We’re the largest single family home property manager in the mid-Atlantic, and in 2018, Jeff Detweiler, our CEO, asked me if I would get involved in that business and see if we could point it in a different direction with a new strategy, and we’ve spent the last four years literally tearing it apart.
[00:03:06] Speaker 1 Amazing. That is a tough business. Yeah. And and I have some experience in that business. I’ve done some property management in my days and it’s a no win situation.
[00:03:17] Speaker 2 It is not for the faint at heart. No, no. I’ll tell you a quick story with Jeff, and I first started talking about this at the end of 2017. I look at it sort of from the outside, and I think if you have Jeff on this show, he’ll probably recount the same story to you. Yep. As we talk through it, I said, Jeff, how hard could this be? He’s like, What do you mean? I said, Well, there’s a property owner, there’s a tenant and a house and a house and some vendors to do maintenance. This does not seem like a very difficult business. Holy cow, is it hard? And we’ve discovered how hard it is just because if you think about property management, you know, we’re managing someone’s investment. And, you know, it’s basically in a very simple way find a tenant, lease the tenant, keep a tenant so that the property owner continues to get sort of this revenue revenue right? But what I think when you dig into the details of the property management space, everyone is at odds. Mm-Hmm. Yeah, the owner is trying to get a certain return to the very careful about what they spend the tenant, it’s their home, whether they’re renting or owning to them, it’s their home. That’s where they live. They have a certain expectation. Those expectations are always misaligned, so it’s full of conflict. As a property manager, role is in the middle. Right? And we’re dependent upon this sort of third party, which is a vendor to take care of all the things that that need to happen inside of a house. And it’s incredibly hard to manage all those relationships and keep everyone happy at the same time. Yeah.
[00:05:03] Speaker 1 And I think the vendor is the key for sure. The vendors, the key, yes, and reasonable tenants and reasonable owners. But it’s it’s, you know, I can give you an example. So I had a I had a situation once where I had a tenant that there was a squeaky door on a refrigerator that an appliance repairman couldn’t fix. And the owner says, So what? The door squeaks. And the tenant says, Well, this really bothers me. I shouldn’t have to live like this. And you know, it’s one of those situations where contractually it’s working. The door works. It’s right, you know, and and the owner says, Well, I’m not going to buy a new refrigerator, and I don’t want to put any more money into this. We’ve already done a service call. They said, that’s just it is what it is and you’re stuck in the Middle District,
[00:05:47] Speaker 2 in the middle because the tenant still living with the squeaky door. Yeah. You know, here’s the thing it’s just people. Right, right? And you know, everybody wants what they want and you have to balance that almost daily, sometimes hourly. And then I think, you know, occasionally. Occasionally, the fourth sort of entrant into this little transaction every day is one of our agents, right, who is advocating for the owner or advocating for the tenant. So they have a they have a very loud and material voice as well, right?
[00:06:23] Speaker 1 I’m sure you’ve had a call from Lillian a handful. Sure. And that’s you’re
[00:06:30] Speaker 2 always got these four constituents that you’re trying to sort of navigate their happiness and satisfaction every day. Yeah, it’s anyway. Long story short. Hard business. But I’ll tell you. Exciting. Yeah. And we have some really exciting things that I can share with you, with what we’re doing with our property management business because it’s I think as we go into sort of the end of 2021 and into 2022, it’s going to take on an and completely different look and feel.
[00:06:59] Speaker 1 Well, so tell us about that.
[00:07:01] Speaker 2 So at the end of the year, we’re going to rebrand our property management business and sort of decouple it from the long and foster brand. And our new brand will be home services, property management, OK? And we’re sort of retooling and reshaping for for lack of a better word, the entire business where it’s going to be really focused on our agents and their customers and really sort of laser focused on investors and creating investors because in the property management space and in the rental space, generally everyone thinks it’s sort of a difficult thing to own investment property. And the reality is it’s not that hard, right? And at long and foster, we have all these tools that we can bring to a transaction. We have access to all the inventory through our agents, right? And we have financing options through prosperity. We have tidal, we have insurance. We can ensure these properties ensure the tenants. We have all these things, this sort of turnkey solution that’s tailor made for an investor. And I would say to investors, totally different than quote a landlord, right? Right. Right. Because an investor approaches their investment, looking for a return and to build wealth and a landlord is sort of very transactional, right? A different audience
[00:08:17] Speaker 1 and more emotional too. I think, yeah, I think investors, it’s an investment, a landlord. This is their home that they probably lived in at one time when their emotional about it, right?
[00:08:26] Speaker 2 Yeah. And our property management business over the years has been built through either acquisitions or during the variety of downturns that we’ve gone through in the real estate sector. It’s, you know, people that found themselves. I have to relocate, but I can’t really sell my house because I owe more than it’s worth because of the market conditions or its locations. I might as well quote rent it right. So we classify that sort of as like this accidental landlord they’re renting. They’re not sure why they’re renting the house. They just have to because they live somewhere else. And but they’re not really an investor. They’re sort of thrown into the circumstance because of the market. And we’re sort of really called down the portfolio with sort of this landlord or accidental landlords. And we’re going to reshape the company to be really focused on investors and bring tools to investors and create investors because we think there’s a lot of opportunity to educate.
[00:09:22] Speaker 1 Right. So how do you do that? So how are you going to how are you going to transition to to investor focused property management?
[00:09:30] Speaker 2 It’s a process for sure. We have, I think, a pretty good percentage of our 10000 real estate agents that focus on investors. And when you look at the marketplace, property management is full of, it’s a very fragmented market. It’s mostly small property management companies that manage 100 properties, right? Right, right. We have a sort of a scaled solution, and we think the tools that can support our agents and their business with investors and that comes with new website, new branding, new positioning, a lot of marketing and advertising to just sort of reemerge in this property management space. And you know, that’s pretty exciting to be part of. Right?
[00:10:12] Speaker 1 Sounds like a lot of fun sounds like a lot of work.
[00:10:15] Speaker 2 It’s been a journey, for sure.
[00:10:17] Speaker 1 Yes. But it should be an improvement over the old kind of way of looking at property management. I think the world is changing. We were talking before we turned on the mix about how different the world is today with technology and and it makes sense to just hit the pause button and refocus on what works using technology to your Advantage technology.
[00:10:38] Speaker 2 We got a state of the art platform with, I think, turnkey solutions that really speak to investors. And I think the biggest advantage we have is this huge network of our 10000 real estate agents and a big advantage over other property management companies because we have access to all the inventory, right? Absolutely. And for our agents, you know, our agents are looking for ways to grow. Their business and everything we do at Long and Foster has to be sort of geared towards how can we help you grow your business? And I think focusing on investors is a way to actually create transactions, create listings, create sales. And you know, that’s a pretty powerful value proposition for our agents because let’s face it, it’s very competitive space.
[00:11:28] Speaker 1 It is. So how are you? How are you managing with this situation with COVID and the and the and the challenges in the workforce? How are you handling, you know, recruiting people? How is your team? Are you retaining a large part of your team for the new venture? Are you going out and starting with new people, which are which
[00:11:49] Speaker 2 we have share? So since 2018, we have turned over the entire team that was there. When I took over in January of 2018, that was about 150 people. Wow. Most of those folks came along and foster as part of an acquisition. Mm-Hmm. And we’re doing things the way we were doing them, and it wasn’t a great customer experience and we just spent the first two years, you know, 18, 19, just tearing the business apart, looking at the customer experience. I spent days and nights with my team, talking to customers, talking to owners, talking to agents about what what should this look like and what should our team be focused on? So we made a bunch of moves around centralizing the things that we could scale, getting closer to our agents, closer to our property owners. And you know, as we, I think, COVID to answer your question, COVID has been probably one of the largest challenges in the property management business of all the businesses that sort of report to me, property management, it’s probably been the most impacted by COVID because you had states of emergencies in almost every state that we do business in. Owners were not allowed to evict. Mm hmm. Owners were not allowed to increase rents.
[00:13:18] Speaker 1 There were tenants didn’t have to pay.
[00:13:20] Speaker 2 Tenants didn’t have to pay rent. Similarly, in the in the mortgage business, you could go get forbearance and, you know, get 90 120 days without paying a mortgage. It was very similar in the rental space. Tenants didn’t have to pay and you couldn’t do anything to them. That puts a property owner in a really tough spot. Does as you’re managing their investment. And you know, there’s everybody sort of felt handcuffed from the beginning of COVID in March of 2020, all the way up until now, things are starting to loosen up. But you know, there’s a big voice in Washington to continue with sort of allowing tenants to continue to not pay rent.
[00:14:02] Speaker 1 It’s crazy. It’s a crazy time.
[00:14:04] Speaker 2 It is a really trying time. Yes. As you as you try it again, navigate where everyone’s head is. You know, the owners are like, What am I supposed to do? Yeah, I have, you know, a tenant in my property who is in paying rent. Yeah, I can’t get them out of the property because I’m restricted really by law, right? And everybody’s kind of stuck, right? Yeah. We went through two over two years with no rent increases across the entire portfolio.
[00:14:33] Speaker 1 Yeah, yeah. Which is, I think, probably par for the course
[00:14:36] Speaker 2 everywhere, everywhere. Yeah. And you know, when you look at the space, generally everyone, the rents are going up skyrocketing 20 percent, 30 percent. And if you’re a property owner renting your property and you’re watching the world move and you have to stand still. That’s a tough pill. Frustrating, very fresh. It is, but I think we’re coming towards the end. Yeah, I agree with you. And you know, we’re back to growing again. We’re adding 30, 50, 70 new accounts every single month. Nice. And that’s a great trajectory. We’re really, I think, bullish on property management and real estate as we go into 2022.
[00:15:17] Speaker 1 So how do you handle the vendor piece? Because you so tell me the states where you are managing properties
[00:15:24] Speaker 2 in every state that long and fosters in, except West Virginia? So Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, Washington, D.C.. Right. So all all seven states except West Virginia.
[00:15:38] Speaker 1 Gotcha. So how do you how do you manage the vendors? Because that’s really a tough piece from my perspective. So I used to own a water damaged company in the 90s. And you know, we we would service Maryland, Virginia, D.C. just this one little market, never mind all the other states you’re in. And, you know, to get from Bethesda, Maryland, to Alexandria, Virginia in traffic back in the 90s could take you three hours, four hours, right? So how do you how do you manage the vendors in the service areas where where you have to cover repairs and maintenance?
[00:16:09] Speaker 2 One of the first things that we centralized was the sort of maintenance function because it did exist in the field. So it existed in our property management operation in Raleigh. It existed in, you know, in Bethesda, it existed in all these pockets where you had maintenance coordinators who would field, you know, calls from tenants and dispatch vendors locally. They all had their own private sort of network of people that they dealt with. There’s an argument to be made that that’s closer to the market. There’s also an argument to be made that you can’t scale that right, right? So we centralized maintenance in our headquarters office in Chantilly, and now we have a team of 20 maintenance coordinators who spend all their days and nights managing our network of vendors across our entire footprint and scaling it so we tend to gravitate towards more national players. Mm-Hmm. But also, we have, you know, the local maintenance providers and service contractors where we need them and we can measure that and we can scale that and we can get economies of scale out of that by having it centralized. And that takes us into a lot of other areas because the what I mentioned earlier about property services is the very same vendors we use in property management are many of the same vendors we use in the insurance space when there’s a claim or the home warranty space and there’s a commonality when you put all these businesses together, it’s a scale solution and you can aggregate volume and you can deliver competitive pricing to our owners who are ultimately paying for it, right?
[00:17:54] Speaker 1 And you can demand service and you demand service, right, because you’re a
[00:17:57] Speaker 2 big fish and you’re buying capacity.
[00:17:59] Speaker 1 Exactly. Yeah, fantastic. All right. Listen, we’re going to take a quick break and then we’re going to be right back with more conversation with Patrick Bain. All right, so welcome back to our next segment, where we’re here with Patrick Bain. Thanks again, Patrick, for coming in.
[00:18:20] Speaker 2 It’s great being here.
[00:18:21] Speaker 1 So, so Patrick, let’s talk about the home inspection field. So, you know, I’ve been in real estate for a long time. It’s a really interesting field and a difficult field, and I’m just a little bit on my perspective. And then you tell me how you guys are going to try to handle some of these things. But you know, I’ve had listings where I’ve sold the listing and then they have a home inspection contingency. The home inspector comes in and totally obliterates the home, right? All the windows are bad. You know, the floors are bad this, and they write up a report where it just sounds like the whole house is falling apart. And then the buyer, I call it a hit job is what I what I call it when we get a report like that and then the buyer wants a ridiculous amount of money because the home is in horrible disrepair and the seller won’t agree. We end up going on the market. We sell the home a second time. A new home inspector comes in and says, This is an amazing home. There’s nothing wrong with it. Right? So to me, part of the home inspection conversation in the world of real estate is you got to have a reputable home inspector who’s going to come in and do a real inspection. And how do you avoid and I don’t know if this is even the right question for you. But when you get these unscrupulous buyers who actually come with the home inspector who’s going to bring you a hit job and you’ve got to come in behind something like that, you know, what are your thoughts on that whole topic?
[00:19:47] Speaker 2 So here, here’s my thought. This is another business line in the real estate sort of sector of the real estate channel that is really fragmented. Most home inspectors are sort of single operators. Home inspections come in all forms in all shapes and sizes. I’m sure you’ve seen them all. I have they they vary from a single page eight and a half by 11 with 55 check marks all the way to a full color, high rise, 300 page report, right? And everything in between. Yeah. So we see that as an opportunity and we approach that with I think the key word is balance, right? And, you know, having a home inspection capability inside of long and foster ought to be a business enabler, right? It ought to be a tool that is both reliable and consistent and maintains the balance between. Evaluating a property and its condition. But also, I think with a keen eye towards there’s a buyer and seller here, right? When you look at it, real estate agents job, their job is to bring buyers and sellers together. Right? And that’s where we see the opportunity. It’s around this balance equation of keeping a deal together, using a home inspection to sort of save it for the big stuff and not call out things that are normal, right? Normal wear and tear like nail pops or, you know, a corner that’s out of square or an electrical outlet. It’s, you know, been wired backwards. Those are all quote things or issues or deficiencies. But you know, if I mean every every single home inspector could go into one single property and come out with their own take and their own, the things that they focus on, I think, are our values that we bring to it is balance. And and I think what we’re driving towards is regardless of what home inspector does an inspection for insight home inspections, the report will always be the same. Mm-Hmm. It’ll always focus on balance. It will always focus on. Keeping the agent and the buyer and seller in a place where everybody’s driving towards the same goal, and that’s the closing, right? And I think that’s a delicate balance, but I think it’s achievable through the way that we do it through the platform and the technology that we deploy and that, you know, when you get to the end of it. What does what does said buyer do with the home inspection? I think that’s where we differentiate so right? I think that I hope that answers your question.
[00:22:46] Speaker 1 Yeah, so so I think, you know, from from my perspective, it’s always, you know, and I’ve dealt with many, many, many home inspections. It always feels like somewhat of a conflict of interest, no matter no matter how the home inspector got to the job, right? So if the listing agent has a home inspector that they’ve worked with for a long time and there’s no buyer’s agent and the listing agent refers to a home inspector to this unrepresented buyer, the the home inspector doesn’t want to create a report that’s going to cost him future referrals from this listing agent, right? And the same thing for, you know, for a buyer’s agent. So if a buyer’s agent is bringing in a home inspector, the home inspector needs to prepare. I think they should prepare an honest report, but they’re not necessarily potentially going to go out of their way to go overboard because they don’t want to lose the future referrals. So I’ve always felt like the home inspection field in the real estate industry is really challenging, depending on how the home inspector got to the house. So, so do you have any thoughts or systems that you guys are going to employ to try to be sort of like the appraisers, right? Are you going to have an arm’s length approach to getting inspectors in or are the agents going to be able to, you know, say, Hey, I like this particular inspector and I want them on my job.
[00:24:18] Speaker 2 I think that what we’ve built allows for some flexibility because we do have agents who are partial to the way and inspections done, the way the reports delivered, the things that are focused on. I would tell you that as we’ve recruited home inspectors, we’ve had a lot of agents who’ve said, you know, can you get my guy or my girl and have them come, come work for us and some of that we’ve done? Hmm. But I would also tell you back to the balance question, right? For us, it’s about balance and expectations and making sure that our agents or any agent that’s representing buyer or seller knows that we’re coming to it objective. Mm-Hmm. And we’re coming to it to make sure we’re here to facilitate transactions, not blow them up and not be sort of biased, right? We’re the we’re objective. And I think when you see what’s delivered to both buyer and agent it, it comes with a level of consistency that probably doesn’t exist in the marketplace because our platforms built that way. There’s there’s not a lot of wiggle room for an inspector to go off on a flier because the platform really won’t let them. It’s geared towards this sort of objective, balanced, consistent approach.
[00:25:42] Speaker 1 That’s amazing, and I can’t wait to see it. I’m actually really excited about that. You know, one of the things you know, a lot of home inspectors come from a trade, right? It’s an ex roofer, an ex plumber. And, you know, so I can sometimes look at a home inspection report and say, this guy was clearly a roofer.
[00:25:59] Speaker 2 He was roof physically because he spent his write up is very focused on that.
[00:26:03] Speaker 1 Exactly right. Or the electrician, right? The electrician has got the electrical. The electrical part of the report is highly detailed and has all this stuff. And then when you get to the plumbing, not so much, you know? So I mean, it’s exciting that you guys have have a system that you’re rolling out.
[00:26:19] Speaker 2 So we’ve built our platform from scratch. We’ve taken the sort of what I think are the best, the best platforms that are out there and there’s a half a dozen or more of sort of commercial platforms that the inspection industry uses. Mm-Hmm. We’ve evaluated all of them and said we’re going to take the best of the best and build our own, which we did, and we took the inspection report and we we sort of bifurcated it into two different parts, which is also unique in the marketplace. So the inspection report is called Inspection Insights, and that is sort of the sort of objective, consistent balance evaluation of the property. And it will list out with a list out things in a very logical way. It’s either safety, it’s needs to be addressed or it’s completely deficient or broken or inoperable, and we’re going to save it for the big stuff. And those will be as they always are negotiated between buyer and seller in terms of how they’re remediated. Right? Also with our inspection insights comes a tool where a buyer can get in an estimate on what it will take to fix those deficiencies within minutes.
[00:27:37] Speaker 1 From your from your
[00:27:38] Speaker 2 vendors, yeah, just from just from the report, they can say, what is what are these three deficiencies cost to repair will spit back? I think a pretty competitive estimate, right? And then we can go from there. So that’s sort of the first part inspection insights. Our report will be delivered in one hour.
[00:27:56] Speaker 1 So but let’s just back up a second because what you just said is amazing because as a real estate professional, there’s usually a timeline on the home inspection contingency. You have X number of days to get the report, then you have negotiation, which is just sometimes two days, sometimes one day, right? And sometimes as real estate professionals, we’re trying to figure out, OK, we’ve got this home inspection report now. How much is it really going to cost to fix all this stuff? And we start calling the contractors we know. And they usually don’t want to jump up and down to give us an estimate because they know that estimate is just going to be used as a negotiating tool, and they’ll probably never, ever get to work out of it, right? Right. So so that in itself is amazing that you’re going to be able to write from the report, get the buyer or the seller right, because the seller sometimes get home inspection reports on their homes before they put them on the market to get the cost
[00:28:49] Speaker 2 baseline estimate of Hey, this is what this is, what it’s going to cost to take care of these handful.
[00:28:55] Speaker 1 It’s amazing. That’s an amazing tool.
[00:28:57] Speaker 2 I think that that’s that’s sort of state of the art and a couple of things. Our report will be delivered within one hour for every long and foster agent, which I think no one can deliver that service. Level two estimates will be automated and instantaneous, like within minutes. That’s amazing. And I think that those two things alone, plus the standard format ought to be business enablers for all of our agents. Mm-Hmm. So the second part of our inspection will be delivered at closing, and that’s a different report called Home Insights, and that is derived from the same data that we collect at the home inspection. Home insights will be the homeowners manual to that home. It is completely customized to that property and it goes through every single system roof electric driveway exterior, and it gives the homeowner the new homeowner after they’ve moved in a manual on how to maintain this property. And every one of those is customized to that property, and it will live with that homeowner for as long as they live there when they have a problem with their icemaker. Mm-Hmm. This is the ice maker you have. This is the model Syria. No, it’s warranty information. Here’s how you maintain it. Here’s what to do if it breaks down. All of those things will be in this home insights report that’s delivered at closing.
[00:30:25] Speaker 1 That’s it. So you’re going to capture all these model numbers and things like that when you do do the report, and that’s going to help your vendors out. And I’m sure you’ve already thought of this because I’m hearing about this today for the first time, but you have to if the ice maker breaks now, your vendor can probably give you a preliminary estimate before they ever go out to the house. Exactly. Or even bring the part with them. Exactly if they if they have which, I mean,
[00:30:47] Speaker 2 all these things are about really three key things price, speed, quality. Everybody wants things fast. Yeah, and particularly when something breaks down, you being an educated consumer about the systems and appliances that are in your home gives you a leg up. When you know when you have to have something repaired or maintained further down the road in our vision is to be able to tee up a sort of maintenance on demand solution with our vendor network that keeps that relationship with that homeowner and long and foster and our agent over the longer period of time instead of it really ending at the closing table. Hmm. And that’s a pretty strong value prop for our agents. It is. We extend the life of a customer that’s attached to the brand and attached to our agents over a longer period of time. Right. Because we all know as much as agents want to keep in contact with prior customers, the data says, most don’t.
[00:31:46] Speaker 1 It’s hard, it’s hard. It’s hard from from my perspective. And that’s one of the things I really actually dislike the most about this industry is we get so busy with with new challenges and new opportunities that it’s hard to you because you have to deal with the person that’s right in front of you who need you today.
[00:32:03] Speaker 2 You know, I mean, imagine a world where long and foster as a company was maintaining that contact and relationship. And maybe it’s not in the real estate channel. Maybe it’s in the maintenance world or in this maintenance On-Demand world where the brand and agent’s name and photo are always in front of this customer and don’t have to do anything. And when that when that buyer is ready to buy a second home or, you know, is a move up buyer, the brand and that agent’s been in front of them for this entire. Higher time. Yeah, we think that’s a pretty competitive advantage to be to have every homeowner as a customer instead of all of us competing for the same five million listings every year.
[00:32:47] Speaker 1 Right now, that makes a lot of sense. Fantastic. So anything else you want to say about the the home inspection industry or the home inspection company?
[00:32:58] Speaker 2 Think from an agent standpoint, the hardest thing is how fast can I schedule an inspection? How fast can I get an inspection done? Can I get it where it’s a quality, great customer experience at a competitive price? And I believe that insight home inspections has absolutely delivered on that promise.
[00:33:18] Speaker 1 Fantastic. All right. We’re going to take another quick break and come back for one more segment. We’re here today with Patrick Bane of long and foster companies. So welcome back, we are chatting with Patrick Bain with long and foster companies, you wear many, many hats. So let’s let’s talk just quickly about tell us. So we’ve talked about property management, right? You’ve told us about the new home inspection company. What’s the name of the company? Insight home inspection inside home inspections launch
[00:33:50] Speaker 2 web site is insight inspections.
[00:33:53] Speaker 1 Com Beautiful? That makes perfect sense. We like that. And let’s talk a little bit about insurance. So what’s the name? Is long and foster insurance?
[00:34:01] Speaker 2 Long foster insurance. OK? We are, I think, the largest personal lines insurance agency in the mid-Atlantic. Mm-Hmm. So in our footprint, we really I think what’s different about our insurance businesses, we’re completely focused on real estate transactions and we have a very tight, tightly knit, very refined relationship with prosperity, our mortgage company. Mm-Hmm. Because, you know, insurance is part of the mortgage and, you know, many, many opportunities that come to us. We actually lower mortgage payments because we save people money on their homeowner’s insurance and get them the best coverage. So that’s a great sort of lever that we use every day with our agents in a transaction where you know, they’re getting mortgage and title and insurance. And in one place, it’s more convenient. There’s a ton of price advantage. And from an insurance business standpoint, I think we do it better than anyone else in in the real estate space. Mm-Hmm.
[00:35:05] Speaker 1 So, so the all services under one hat, I think, is pretty valuable, especially to a buyer who doesn’t have relationships with anybody. I think that’s a value add that’s unmatched.
[00:35:15] Speaker 2 I think so, too. And you know, if you think about, you know, anybody, whether it’s a first time homebuyer or, you know, somebody that’s moving up or moving down in in the property that they want to live in, they all have to go to the market for all these services and you got to talk to all these different people. And if you know, if they went to secure all that on their own, it’s a lot of time. It is. Yeah, it’s a lot of it’s a lot of things to keep track of. And you know, if you think about West Foster’s vision when you started building this company, it was to have all these things available because they were seen as business enablers. They were seen as tools that agents could use to build their business by having all of these tools. No, not everybody does that. But for the agents to do, I would tell you that they grow their business every year. And you know, our mortgage title insurance, home inspection, we now have a moving and storage company,
[00:36:08] Speaker 1 tailor made Taylor
[00:36:10] Speaker 2 move, tailored move. All these things are here for a reason, right? They’re here because absolutely buyers and sellers need these services and you know, our agents need them as well. So you put all those things together and it’s a great customer experience, and I think that’s what differentiates our company from what everybody else in the market is trying to build. I mean, if you look at our competitors, whether it’s Compas or Redfin or whomever everybody sees and talks about what how their business is evolving and everybody wants to get in what they want to build a mortgage company and they want a title capability and they want insurance and they want all these other services to round out their real estate business. And we’ve been doing that for 50 years.
[00:36:56] Speaker 1 Right, right. Yeah, it’s amazing. It really is. And you know, when you stop and think about it, it really is valuable to the consumer.
[00:37:06] Speaker 2 It absolutely is. And consumers want it. They want the convenience. I mean, if you look at the home buyer today, you know, regardless of how you characterize it, Gen X Gen Y Millennials, whatever we live in a culture of time is incredibly valuable. Everybody works more today than they did a year ago. COVID notwithstanding, and time is very valuable. And when you look at what long and foster brings to a real estate transaction, you know, for me also as a consumer, it’s timesaver, right? And you know, the more time you save, I think the better the experiences. Absolutely. If you have quality service providers, which I know, we do agree.
[00:37:53] Speaker 1 So let’s talk about you. OK, so so it’s interesting to me. You know, I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life. I’ve I’ve run small companies, you know, max employees, maybe 15 or 20 was was my largest company. And the challenges that just land on my desk every day from working in a small company are sometimes monumental. How do you deal with all of the things that must be landing on your desk? First, I know you’ve got to have good people working by your side.
[00:38:28] Speaker 2 I do. I think that’s the key. Art is having a phenomenal team of people around you that are all pulling in the same direction to get to the destination and the best. You know, I’ve been in the real estate space for going on 30 years. I work at Howard Hanna in Pittsburgh for close to 10 years, doing many of the same things. And I think the best thing about Long and Foster is we approach all these opportunities with that sort of entrepreneurial drive and spirit and excitement. And that’s the best part of my job is I get to work on all the new stuff and all the things that that we’re trying to deliver, both for our agents and for buyers and sellers. And you know, I have an amazing team. I have a person that’s been with me this entire time. Her name is Karen Radford. She runs our entire field operation for insurance and property management. She’s got, you know, close to hundred and fifty people reporting into her wow, who are close to our agents and close to our customers. And she has a huge job and is the biggest thing that Karen brings to our company is she’s very closely connected to as many of our 10000 agents as she can be, so she’s really close to the transactions. J.B. Haller runs are in our new inspection company. He’s been in the inspection business for over a decade and he’s incredibly smart, understands the business, understands our agents and is just a phenomenal player and will do great things at long and foster. And I’m Melissa Ryan is our sort of vice president of ops and also our general counsel who brings. She keeps us out of trouble. Yeah. And and manages the risk of all of these businesses every day so that all the hard stuff doesn’t always wind up on my desk. Yeah, have having that great team, I think has been life-changing for me because I like to be in the weeds and I like the details. But you know, when you have, you know, four or five businesses that are all sort of connected but also running independently, yeah, it’s it can be unwieldy.
[00:40:54] Speaker 1 That’s quite a
[00:40:54] Speaker 2 machine. So having the team is actually awesome.
[00:40:57] Speaker 1 Yeah, yeah, good. So what are what are what advice would you have or what things have you learned along the way? So you’re you’re you’re clearly very successful, guy. What got you here? Do you think?
[00:41:14] Speaker 2 I characterize it like this, I don’t I never think I’m the smartest guy in the room, but I’m pretty sure nobody’s willing to outwork me. So I just get after it and prioritize and make sure I surround myself with, you know, great people, great leaders. And, you know, when I look at the people that surround me outside of my team, it’s our leadership team and our senior leadership team. Our CEO Jeff Detweiler is incredibly supportive, a great friend and also a great boss, and he pushes on the things that are important and keeps us all focused on the prize. And the prize is maintaining our position in the market and supporting our agents every day in the best way that we know how and our management team across every business that we’re in is. It’s humbling at times, but it’s also I’m proud every day to come to work and. I’ve been afforded many of the great opportunities here to be involved in building long and foster and continuing to build long and foster companies into the player that it is in the market.
[00:42:26] Speaker 1 Mm-Hmm. So when did you know in your life did you wake up one day and say, Oh, I want to be the president of a property management company? Or did it just evolve? I’m.
[00:42:40] Speaker 2 Well, I think if I look at my career I’ve had, I’ve really had three jobs in, you know, I started working right out of college. I was in the leasing and asset based finance business with AT&T and AT&T Capital Unit for about a decade. And again, that’s sort of where I kind of got this fuel around working on really cool projects or working on new initiatives and. I found myself in the insurance business by accident in 2002 because. Howard Hanna Company had this insurance business, and they wanted someone to run it, and I wasn’t really sure that I wanted to do that. I’d own my own insurance agency for about six years from scratch, sold it and was looking for what was next, right? And I wound up in the real estate space, running an insurance agency and building it to. When I left in 2010, it was the number one insurance agency in the country in the real estate sector. Wow. And that was a great moment. But I always had my eye being in real estate on long and foster like for years and years, I would go to all these Realty Alliance meetings and all and other trade groups, and I would always be with someone from long and foster in some form or fashion. And I was like, Boy, that would probably be a heck of a company to be part of. And lo and behold, in 2010, that opportunity came up and I came here in 2010 to run the insurance business, and that was the first time I’d ever sort of been in the C-suite or, you know, had a president title, right? And I don’t know, it just seemed to naturally fit for me. And we we re-engineered that business as well. It was a turnaround project because it was not sort of optimized. And it just led to other things. And I think that’s how it happens for everybody to sort of go in and do what you do best. And what I do best is fix stuff and that’s what I’m good at and it’s worked out. That’s pretty cool.
[00:44:58] Speaker 1 Yeah, that’s pretty cool. So any advice for youngsters that are out there getting started is a different world now. Sure. I used to be great at giving advice 10 years ago. So now think a whole generation gap is sitting in? But so just to kind of wrap up our conversation today? Any words of wisdom for any entrepreneurs that are out there listening that maybe want to grow their business, or maybe they want to grow their career on on? What do you think they need to do today to to achieve success?
[00:45:29] Speaker 2 So, I mean, the worst vice is advice. My dad taught me that when I was a kid that I don’t give advice until somebody asks you for it.
[00:45:42] Speaker 1 Good thing I did that, huh?
[00:45:43] Speaker 2 But so thank you for asking. I think you know when and I have I have I have a daughter that’s 22, about to enter the workforce. And you know, my son is 19 and he’s going to go in probably to a trade. I think my advice to young folks today are have a profound respect for what integrity and hard work mean, because that can set you apart from every one of your peers. I think we live in a world that is highly automated with a lot of technology and a lot of visibility, and it’s easy to get lost in everything that we see today with social media and the internet and where opportunities are at the end of the day. What scares me a little bit about this younger generation is they all spend so much time on phones and devices and to operate in the world, you have to be able to talk to people. And that’s a skill that’s getting deteriorated over time, as we all depend so much on email and texting and all the things that take away the human element in the business world. And, you know, being able to talk to people like you and I are talking today is a skill that people have to master to navigate being in the leadership role or just getting, you know, started in your career. And I think that element of personal relationships and personal interaction and being able to talk intelligently and make a business case and make an argument and defend an argument is, you know, they used to teach all that in a liberal arts education. And that’s also been watered down because of technology. And I think, you know. It’s just people and Wall Street, Main Street. It’s just people, and you got to be able to talk to people to be successful. You can’t do it and you can’t do it behind a computer screen because computers don’t live in houses and computers. You know, computers are facilitators. They’re enablers. Technology is an enabler. It’s not designed to be in place of what humans bring to both customer experiences and, you know, living in this world. Mm-Hmm. So I think, you know, as young people start to think about, you know, what is what is my future, what is my career track, I think they need to strongly consider honing their verbal skills and honing their writing skills and making an impact in the world that doesn’t have to be texting and emailing.
[00:48:38] Speaker 1 Put the phone down, put
[00:48:40] Speaker 2 the phone down. Yeah, yeah, I’m sure my drive my kids crazy because no one’s allowed to have a phone at a dinner table. Mm-Hmm. Which I think is a lost art today that families sit and have dinner together, right? And if I see a phone, whether we’re out to dinner at a restaurant or having dinner at home, we sort of have this rule of no phones because you go out to eat with your family and you look at the table next to you and they have three kids and all of their heads are down looking at their phones and the parents are looking at their phones. I’m like, Wow.
[00:49:20] Speaker 1 Yeah. Which doesn’t
[00:49:22] Speaker 2 mean doesn’t. Don’t people talk to each other? I’ll tell you a funny story of my daughter, who is sixteen, had a she’s a very, very good volleyball player and had a team bonding event at our house a couple of years ago, and they were all down in the basement, you know, 10, 12, 16 year olds. And I said to my wife, I don’t hear anything. So I went down the basement and you know, the TV’s on and to a person, all of them were had their heads down on their phones. They’re talking to each other through texting, but on their phones. So I I said, I’m going to make a deal with you guys. And I grabbed up all their phones and I said, I’m going to force you to talk to one another. Mm-Hmm. And I took all the phones and I went upstairs and it was still quiet. And I said, Just give it a minute. And probably within six or eight minutes, it was like these kids sort of rediscovered how to interact one on one, right? But if somebody doesn’t do that, I think. I mean. All of us can surrender to the device if we allow it. So but. That was pretty foundational moment for at least one of my kids who has recognized the value of having personal relationships that aren’t just based on a device,
[00:50:50] Speaker 1 that is great advice. Patrick Bayne, thank you so much for sharing your stories and your time with us today. We appreciate you coming in.
[00:50:58] Speaker 2 I’ve enjoyed it. I hope we can do it again. We will. Thanks, Patrick. All right, thank you.