Donna Evers, the founder of the local real estate brokerage Evers & Co., said Thursday it was a good time for her to sell the company she founded in 1985.
Long & Foster announced this week it acquired Evers & Co. in a deal in which the terms were not disclosed. Evers & Co. will maintain its offices in Washington, D.C., Bethesda and Chevy Chase and will take on the Long & Foster name in the fall.
“One should make these kind of changes when you’re on top and everything is great and you want to continue working,” Evers said in a phone interview with Bethesda Beat. “We look forward to being a small group in a resource rich company.”
Evers & Co. has nearly 100 agents and employees who will join the Long & Foster team.
Evers said joining Long & Foster will enable her company to access marketing resources such as international and national advertising that her company couldn’t pay for on its own.
She plans to stay on and continue to manage the company’s offices as it switches to Long & Foster. Over her 40-year career, she said, she has seen the industry change so much, she could fill a book with all of the details about its evolution.
The internet has led to the creation of digital companies such as Zillow that feature millions of listings and offer a range of home-selling and buying services. Prospective buyers now can see dozens of pictures of homes online before they visit any of them. Once they find one they like, many documents related to a home purchase can be signed online, as well.
Despite this, Evers said the knowledge and service offered by local real estate professionals will always be in demand.
“Agents who learn their craft very well, care for clients and give them excellent service have always been popular,” Evers said. “As much as they automate the business, they can never take away the personal touch.”
Evers & Co. was one of the few remaining independent brokers not affiliated with a major company or franchise business operating in the local area. Other firms such as Wydler Brothers and McEnearney Associates Inc. continue to be independent.
Evers said technological developments and a globalizing real estate business make it tougher for independent firms to compete with the large companies—especially for marketing reach.
“So much stuff is difficult for small agencies that big agencies can reproduce readily,” Evers said.
She added that the D.C. area is now joining places such as New York City and Miami as a sought-after place for international real estate investors and it’s important for brokers to try to reach those potential buyers.
Hans Wydler, co-owner of Wydler Brothers, said Thursday that his firm can’t outspend the larger brokerages, but it can provide a local touch that he believes will help independent firms like his grow and remain in the industry. Wydler has offices in Chevy Chase; McLean, Virginia; and Washington, D.C.
“Real estate is the ultimate local purchase,” Wydler said. “You have to have on-the-ground expertise—that doesn’t scale. You have to be in the community to be effective.”
He congratulated Evers on her success and described her as a “lion” of the local real estate industry.
Evers said she doesn’t plan to slow down as she joins the Long & Foster organization.
“I like to work eight days a week,” she said.