Getting to here… My story
The pivotal moment came in 2008 when the national economy stumbled and real estate activity in northern Virginia came to an abrupt halt. We were in shock. My client’s jobs were in jeopardy, mortgages were almost all FHA loans, and the stock market had lost almost 40%.
With almost twenty years of hands-on experience, I decided right then to totally change my business by writing a helpful real estate blog… to show how I was different, informative, and competitive.
Getting feedback from past clients, I uncovered that I had delivered the deeper insights and first-hand community knowledge they were looking for.
I had deep knowledge and experience in Vienna of many aspects including new homes, construction, renovations, costs and financing that I had been publishing in a newsletter for ten years. These topics were the foundation for my new content marketing style because I knew these topics better than anyone in our market.
Clients were also readers who liked researching, who appreciated my focus and first-hand experieince.
Fueled with renewed enthusiasm to share almost 20 years of stories online, I’m still writing in 2018.
Realtor & Lifestyle Director
We research everything these days, and I knew that my articles (blog posts) needed to be informative and helpful. The web was (still is) full of real estate home-search-sites with little, high-value local content.
In essence, I know a ton about local real estate and sharing that hard-earned knowledge is interesting reading for real estate sellers, buyers, and HGTV junkies. That was an edge that most agents haven’t even experienced…
So, I certainly wasn’t going to follow the tired “search for homes” format for a few reasons:
- If I was moving here then I would want to know what living here was like every day, the sense of community.
- My clients were already researching listings online, and what they wanted from me were specifics on costs, the negotiation process, and global guidance.
- I wanted to create something original to reflect my experience, values, observations, and sense of humor.
- To differentiate me from the other 13,000 agents in the D.C. metro real estate market.
- And I wanted to meet new clients who see my value-add just from reading my blog.
Results came quickly from buyers who were relocating to northern Virginia from California, Texas, North Carolina, and London.
And unintended results came from local homebuyers who wanted my help, and local owners planning to sell their homes to move into larger homes.
Money Magazine called to ask me about Vienna, resulting in the Town of Vienna ranking #3 in Best Place to Live issue.
Verisign called to discuss how I used my website for personal branding and then asked if I was interested in being in a commercial.
I moved here from Boston in 1990 after working downtown for a Fortune 100 company. It was just before the “.com boom“, and I worked on and helped develop a content-rich intranet site for the customer service people at Putnam. It gave me insight into the future value of email and immediate online information. Everything was applicable to real estate in technology-driven Northern Virginia.
I’m married to a Fairfax County Public School teacher, we have two teenagers and a dog named Skipper.
Virginia Real Estate License in 1991 (0225 021708) working in the suburban Washington DC metro area. I’m a Listing Agent when clients are selling a home, and a Buyer’s Agent when a client is purchasing a home.
- TTR Sotheby’s International Realty 2015 +
- Washingtonian Magazine Top Agents 2017
- Northern Virginia Magazine Top Real Estate Agents 2017
- RE/MAX agent from 1994 to 2014
- RE/MAX International Hall of Fame Member
- Northern Virginia Association of Realtors Million Dollar Club
- NVAR Life Member Top Producers Club
- National Association of Realtors Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) since 1995
- Town & Country Realtors from 1991 to 1994, Vienna Office
Other Interesting Experience:
- Putnam Investments on High Street in Boston
- Feron’s Tennis Shop on Newbury Street in Boston (yes, I play tennis too)
- Boston University, B.A. in History
- The Gunnery School, Washington CT
- Native Rhode Islander, enjoy sailing and spending time in Narragansett
- Dunes Club Member
- Vienna Arts Society – Advisory Board Member
- Coached Vienna Boys U13 lacrosse team
- Volunteer in North East Vienna Citizens Association
- Past PTA Volunteer at Wolftrap Elementary School in Vienna
- Vienna Woods Swim and Tennis Member
- 5+ gallon blood donor (they keep track at Inova, you should donate too!)
- Quoted in Money Magazine’s article “Best Places to Live” ranking Vienna VA #3
- Profiled by Verisign Inc. in their small business success story video project
- WordPress, StudioPress and Content Marketing Consultant
- Can be seen on the W&OD Trail walking Skipper, our six-year-old Cairn Terrier or sitting at a table in Caffè Amouri enjoying a mocha latte.
A donation is made to the Tree Vienna Fund after each sale to provide additional funding to the Vienna Parks and Recreation Department to buy new trees to plant around town.
Here’s how I can help you
I have written articles on this site for eight years and covered a ton of topics. Go ahead and search the site and read the blog (see Local Stories at the top). It is broken down for seller or buyers, but there are many tips like buying tear-downs, mortgage financing, offers and negotiations, painting and staging.
New and Custom Homes
Navigating the teardown and new home experience is complex. And it isn’t just topics like setbacks and lot coverage, but the finished quality, workmanship, and value. I talk with builders about upcoming projects so often my clients are first to know. I have helped clients buy new homes from the “better builders” in Vienna, McLean, Oakton, Falls Church, Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties.
Yes, I go far beyond the Vienna real estate market.
Staging, Marketing, and Listing
It often takes thirty days to get a home ready to sell, and that project requires teamwork.
Meeting with clients at their house helps establish a timeline of what needs to get done, helping everyone get on the same page. It is a team effort, and having a marketing strategy and plan to follow is key.
I have a list of modern colors that sell, and know there is a lot of hard work ahead to help your house have the “wow or it factor” that appeal to today’s buyers are secretly searching for.
And I have assembled a team of painters, home stagers, professional photographers and specialists to help you achieve the best market value.
The digital marketing strategy targets where buyers are looking, can be marketed to, and motivate them to call their agent to put together an offer.
Going beyond Apps
Home search apps are tools, but often train buyers into a really narrow focus. For example, over the years I have met clients who are on the verge of insanity waiting for an app to “ding” with a new listing.
This troubling reward training may cause anxiety, panic, and a feeling of powerlessness. I talk to clients about this… it’s classic FOMO.
Besides providing stability, I look at homes every day and often help clients find ideal homes that online looked terrible or had a typo which put it outside the search area. This happens a lot more than you would expect.
And then there is analysis and offers. Having negotiated hundreds of real estate transactions, I help you craft a winning offer.
Talk with Me
I enjoy talking on the phone, as long as I’m not driving or talking with a client. Try me at 703-304-6827
If you have read this far, thank you!
You can contact me right now for more information. Promise to get back to you in a reasonable time!
Main Office Address:
Doug Francis, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
6723 Whittier Avenue
McLean, VA 22101