With his recent change of brokerage and duties, Ray Ferguson’s three decades in Richmond residential real estate have, in a way, come full circle.
Formerly an agent for Joyner Fine Properties and most recently completing a four-year stint as regional leader for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty (BHHS), Ferguson joined another brokerage: Shaheen, Ruth, Martin & Fonville Real Estate.
The move reunites him with some of the directors of the local firm whom he has known for decades. Ferguson and SRMF co-founder Scott Shaheen worked together at Joyner nearly 30 years ago, after both followed in their parents’ footsteps in the business, as did director Mahood Fonville, who has known Shaheen since they were teenagers.
“We all ran businesses, and all of our fathers guided the (Richmond) real estate industry to where it is now,” said Ferguson, who is transitioning from leadership to sales as an associate broker at SRMF.
“They’re all deceased now,” Ferguson said of his parents, “so it’s like the next generation.”
Ferguson is the son of William “Bill” Ferguson, who owned the local firm of Ferguson & Associates Realtors in the 1980s during a 45-year career in local real estate. Fonville’s father, Pace Fonville, was part of Bowers, Nelms & Fonville, which was sold in 1998 to Long & Foster Real Estate, now part of Berkshire Hathaway affiliate HomeServices of America.
Mahood then moved to Long & Foster, as did Shaheen of Joyner, which his father, Arthur Shaheen, helped form. The young Shaheen and Fonville would work together at Long & Foster for nearly two decades, until leaving with Martin and Ruth to form SRMF six years ago.
“Mahood and I have worked together forever, and Ray has been in and out of that working relationship,” Shaheen said. “The story goes back a long time. We are very excited to have him as part of our company and help him get back to sales and back up and running.”
Having focused more on managing with BHHS until his position was recently eliminated, Ferguson is returning to home sales, which he said had been his forte. He said he’s been busy since he joined SRMF in November putting together a mailing list and contacting ahead of time some of the higher value houses he plans to list in the coming weeks.
“I thought, let me sell again. Let me get back to what I’m good at,” Ferguson said. “That’s what I did for 30 years.”
In doing so, he is taking a path similar to that of Shaheen, who said he had not sold a home in more than a decade when he left Long & Foster as regional vice president.
“When it came to the time that his position was being eliminated, we started chatting a bit and I said, ‘You know, I hadn’t sold a house in 12 years when I opened Shaheen, Ruth, Martin & Fonville, because I’d been the regional one.” Shaheen said. “I said, ‘I jumped in again, Ray, and it’s been a phenomenal business,’ and I said, ‘You can get back into this very easily.’
“He will go back to sales, and I think he will do very well, because ‘once a salesman, always a salesman,’” he said.
At BHHS, Ferguson said his responsibilities were being taken over by Dan Lesher, a senior vice president in his Fredericksburg office to whom Ferguson reported and who oversees the Central Virginia region. A call to BHHS was deferred to a company spokeswoman, who confirmed Ferguson’s past employment but said the company does not comment on personnel matters. Claire Forcier-Rowe, whom Ferguson hired in 2020, remains managing broker for BHHS’ Richmond offices.
Ferguson said she was offered other roles at BHHS, but said she left without ill feelings after deciding she wanted to return to sales full-time.
“I could have stayed at Berkshire Hathaway. They are a great company,” she said.
At SRMF, Ferguson joins a team of 187 agents. Shaheen said the company achieved $875 million in sales and 1,575 closings for the year to December. He said the brokerage house’s median home sales price was $535,000.
For Ferguson, he said he joined the right team for the final stretch of his career.
“It’s like coming home,” Ferguson said. “It will probably be the last chapter of my career. I will reach a limit of 40 to 45 years, and then, I will not finish, but I will be in the background, so to speak.