Because finding a house online is the easy part...

Doug Francis, Accredited Buyer Representative

A hands-on, professional strategy

Clients typically show me two home search Apps with 24/7 alerts for new listings.

That's smart, but in reality, it's the strategy used by every other buyer they have or will competed against.

It's been a few months but the wait is over, one of your real estate Apps just sent you an alert matching your ideal home, and there will be an Open House on Saturday afternoon.

You've been preparing for this event for two years so you know what to do. Get an updated pre-approval letter, check your credit score again, check the weather, and plan a couple of drive-bys to check out the place from the street.

On Saturday after you picked out a "smart-casual" look, you pull up 15 minutes after 1:00 and see cars and people. Lots of people.

I have heard a similar story for years, and not just from first-time buyers, but move-up and retiring buyers. The stress can ruin any weekend plans.

So, where do you go from here?

Having a fresh perspective is important for getting different results. The time and effort you've spent getting ready for the biggest financial decision you'll make should not come down to your smart-casual outfit at the Open House.

Doug Francis

I grew up in Providence, Rhode Island and still visit Narragansett in the summers spending time with nieces and nephews at the beach. After graduating from Boston University with a B.A. in History, I lived in the South End and worked at Putnam Investments in downtown Boston.

I moved to Oakton, VA in 1990 and became a real estate agent in 1991. Starting out with a small Vienna real estate firm, I then spent twenty busy years at a RE/MAX office near Fairfax Hospital before moving over to the McLean office of TTR Sotheby's in 2015.

I'm married, have two successful young adults, spend time volunteering with community organizations in Vienna, watch the Caps, and play tennis when the weather is warm. We live in the Town of Vienna on a beautiful street in house we expanded and remodeled.

My first story

My first week in the business, our sales manager insisted that we attend a presentation on mortgage programs and financing. Having spent the past few years in Boston working at an investment company, I knew that finances were a mystery to people. So, I bought the instructor's book and became a student.

It's one of the tasks in the process, but mortgage financing still remains a critically important topic especially when we first meet and review transaction expenses and costs. With many loans these days being done with distant lenders, having confidence when an offer is accepted remains paramount to a client's success.

Most mortgage lenders will provide you with a worksheet and we will compare their estimated costs to one using a specific house you have told me is of interest.


We were relocating from the west coast while simultaneously selling our home there. Doug was extremely responsive via text, email, and phone, and did a great job of curating the homes we saw based on our wants/needs/preferences/tastes. Additionally, he had already been to most of the homes we saw so our tours were insightful and helpful. He provided great advice about what to look for in both new construction and pre-owned homes, including issues specific to this area (northern Virginia). He was also very knowledgeable about all of the smaller communities within the area and the pros/cons of each.
Knowledgeable, accessible, and thorough -- these traits make Doug Francis a great asset to have when purchasing a home in today's market. We had great confidence in Doug's advice and integrity. What impressed us most of all was Doug's vast knowledge of construction and home building. While showing a house, he would point out specifics regarding the quality of the build, educating us on what to look for as well as shortcomings or concerns. During our final walk-through, Doug checked everything from the inspection report that had been flagged and asked to be corrected. He was very thorough and, in fact, noticed a water main pipe that was still leaking. Prior to closing, he went back to the house the morning of our signing to confirm that it had been taken care of.

Jared and Jenn ~ Google Review

Carolyn and Tom ~ Google Review

Why hire a "buyer agent"?

In the 1990s, new home construction in Fairfax County invloved Pulte, Centex and Toll Brothers communities. These days, large tracks of land are rare, and independent builders have been replacing 1950s homes with new homes.

These builders are actively searching for properties and novice buyers rarely compete. This is important, there is a wide range in quality and long term value as first-time builders have flooded the market. My specialized construction knowledge will help you along the way to explain, add perspective, help with design choices, and add value to the finished home.
TTR Sotheby's International Realty has over 500 agents across the DC Metro area from Annapolis, to DC, to Middleburg. These market specialists are constantly taking new listing that may fit your profile or give you an option you haven't considered yet. And, after 25 years in the business locally, my network of agents at other firms, experience with new home builders, and personal network is extremely valuable.

My goal is to expand your options and potential opportunities.
Almost every transaction involves a dozen or more participants. These include lenders or bankers, processors, home inspectors, pool inspectors, termite inspectors, contractors, painters, and attorneys. My resources, for example, help Clients relocating to the area meet contract deadlines, DocuSign paperwork and address issues with my boots-on-the-ground perspective.

When something is beyond my knowledge, I know it is important to give clients specific people who are the right professionals to talk with about an issue. Like electrical wiring, plumbing, easements, or financing.
Insight into my market adds clarity when comparing housing options, and can be an eye opener when that ideal house (seen online) is toured in person. Our professional relationship will make househunting trips more efficient, but also help clarify if a home checks all the boxes before you book a flight to see it in person.

I have talked clients out of buying homes that have the potential for poor long term values.

New homes, design, construction

Tapping into our Network

A deep bench of resources

Local market insight

How do you make an offer?

Beyond just looking at homes on your favorite App,already having a clear understanding of the next steps when putting together an offer is essential. In a competitive market like Northern Virginia, even experienced buyers will see the value of understanding the offer process, timelines, contingencies, and a winning negotiating strategy.

Know your transaction costs

I have always started off my initial meeting reviewing an estimate worksheet of typical costs based on a range clients give me. This is always a constructive discussion about specific expenses that further explains the process.

Let's walk through costs for a recent sale and see what is typical and worth discussing.

Virginia is a Caveat Emptor state...

Buyers need to know that Virginia is a Caveat Emptor or "buyer beware" state. Therefore, it is up to the buyer to investigate and be satisfied with the property they are going to buy. Online tax records may show a partial picture and you shouldn't rely on them to disclose everything.

Let's review the top disclosure you will see on Northern Virginia properties.

New Homes

Large new home communities are uncommon in Fairfax County these days. Most new homes in the area are built on lots where an old house was torn down, and a small local builder is building a semi-custom home. Most of these are new and highly personalized, but aren't designed from scratch with an architect. That's mostly to do with timeframe and costs.

Let me share insight to help you stay on schedule and help the builder finish your home in your ideal timeframe.

My Expertise

  • Deep dive into every home you like
  • Private showings on your schedule
  • Financing options and expenses
  • How to make an offer
  • Contingencies and Inspections
  • Negotiations
  • Transaction managment and deadlines
  • Personal attention and follow through

In-Depth Review & Consultation

Getting to the heart of your next home

Getting to know what you are looking for is a first steps we will take at our first meeting. These first meetings, typically in my office, will help me narrow down what you want and don't want. I like to review typical costs you can expect, review your financing and suggest options, answer your questions about the process, communting, or whatever. Nothing is new... one client wanted to know if a "Trader Joe's" was nearby!
Transaction Management

Buying your home can seem like an overwhelmingly complex process especially when we first meet. Especially specializing in working with busy professionals, I understand meeting offer or contract deadlines are a top priority to protect your Contract and your Deposit. With a dozen people typically involved in a home sale, making sure all parties are staying on track will ensure your success on Settlement Day.
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HDR Photography

Your home is a high-value asset and a cherished place of belonging. We believe the marketing of your home should convey its true worth.

Using beautifully framed, professional photography is the foundation of property marketing and essential for visually communicating the story of your home. We are committed to the top-of-the line professional photography, using HDR cameras that ensure perfect lighting and detail.

Custom Floor Plans

Your home will receive a custom floor plan mapped by a professional. Floor plans will be included in marketing materials and made readily available to prospective buyers.

Floor plans may seem obvious, but having these measurements can be a tool that a buyer will use to make an offer on your home.

Touring a house

As I mentioned, Virginia is a Caveat Emptor state and home buyers have the responsibility to find answers to questions they may have on any property. Visiting and touring a property with me will be an in depth look at existing appliances, roof, siding, HVAC systems, visible foundation walls, drainage and sump pumps, and the lot or plat.

Clients ask me about utility easements, adjacent properties, cut through traffic, school boundaries, septic fields and wells. With this information, we can investigate questions to find experts and answers.

3D Interactive Tour

3D tours offer the unique ability to walk through your home from the comfort of theirs.

Think of this as a virtual tour personalized to each potential buyer. Viewers not only explore your home online--they choose how to move through the rooms. The experience is active rather than passive.
With advanced analytics tools, we see market trends that impact your offer strategy. These include comparable sales of properties nearby like an appraiser uses, or an inventory analysis to identify current activity and average days on market.

Advanced Analytics

Online Marketing

Home buyers are often giving me the names of new sites and Apps they are using to find a home. Back when I started in the business, every home for sale and Open House was advertised on Sunday in the Washington Post.

The Post was low-tech, but people shopped for homes often for months before they contacted me.
Kind of like they do today using Zillow or Redfin.

Today's Apps can mislead buyers into believing they know everything about a house. I will help with the hard part taking the next steps like making offers, understanding inspections, and having the confidence to know you are making a smart decision.

TTR Sotheby's International Realty


Recognized worldwide, the prestige of the Sotheby's brand is unparalleled. The acclaimed Sotheby's auction house, established in 1744 in London for collectors of art and other fine possessions, expanded to New York City in 1955
Along with 1,095 Sotheby's offices in 81 countries worldwide, TTR Sotheby's International Realty offers clients direct access to the global real estate marketplace and an unparalleled platform for transitioning to and from the Washington Metropolitan Area.

My Commitment

"To positively impact and improve the lives of my clients."

From our first meeting, my commitment is to make recommendations and provide solutions that will help your home reach it's highest potential in the marketplace.

Having also helped buyers move here from across the country, I give my seller clients insight into how to appeal to buyers searching here in the Metropolitan DC area, but also those planning to move here from California, New York, Minnesota or London who could be considering booking a flight this weekend to see your home.

Being available to meet with you and discuss options is essential, as is listening to your questions or concerns. The focus is on your house, and always keeping you in the loop.
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Virtual Staging is used in this Case Study to show these empty bedrooms now have a clear purpose and warmth. Today's consumer often makes decisions based on online photos. These photos are done by a designer in Texas who has crafted these photos for me since 2020.
In this Case Study, the owner was able to move out of the 1950's house and allow the hadwood floors to refinished and walls to be repaired and painted. The kitchen was not updated and the home was priced accordingly to attract a willing buyer. The driveway was resurfaced and deck repainted.
First impressions are essential. In this Case Study, the builder's exterior Williamsburg blue color did not compliment the architecture. An inexpensive change was to paint the shutters traditional black helping the front have a more luxurious look and it photographed better. Inside, dated colors were updated with a contrasting Benjamin Moore color.

Poplar Lane

Saint Andrews

John Marshall NE

California Relocation Case Study

Case Study

Case Study

Sotheby's International Realty Stats

My Community Involvement

North East Vienna Citizens Association
For 15 years, I've helped NEVCA do neighborhood things like petition to get flashing crosswalks on Beulah Road, get speed bumps, plant trees, and make donations to community causes. As the Vice Presidendent of NEVCA, I have been the moderator of the Meet the Candidates Forum for the Vienna Town Council. The Town of Vienna media department films and posts the Forum for residents to see.

Vienna Arts Society
As a member of the Advisary Board, I meet with VAS leadership annually to provide insight into ideas, plans and goals. One project we are especially proud of was the 2019 Bench Project and Auction. Artist members painted benches which were placed around town for the summer and sold at auction in November 2019.

In early 2020, COVID-19 shut down all activites and revenue sources for the Vienna Arts Society. Fortunately, the funds raised in the Bench Auction gave the 50 year old Vienna Arts Society a lifeline.

Recent Awards

Get in touch with me.
Thanks for reading this far.

As a full time agent for 30 years I have spent my career helping clients make smart choices buying a home, the largest puchase in their lives.

From small condos to luxury homes, these transactions involved a global perspective to ensure that each step was being completed. Even if you are just starting to plan a move, let's talk about your ideas and goals.

Most of my clients have been searching on Zillow for months and going to weekend Open Houses. And with that strategy, they are frustrated after wasting time, energy, and a lost sense of privacy.

Starting with helping my clients focus on the process, they are able to relaunch their plans with confidence and a professional plan.

I will help you target smart steps to take, and add some research to your plan.