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2009-11-25 16:51:22

The Evolution Of The Virtual Culture


I just returned from the NAR National Convention in San Diego, California. This convention had a feel of celebration. I believe that’s because every one of the 19,000 attendees is a survivor of the past three years of the worst economic and Real Estate crisis this country has seen in 80 years.
For me the experience was one of confirmation of what I believe to be the future of the Real Estate Industry. Two years ago I conceived of a brand new business model. The business model is a National Internet Based Real Estate Brokerage, where the Realtors® work out of their home offices, and as a result the Broker has no Brick and Mortar expense. In return the Realtor® keeps 100% of his or her commission and just pays the Broker a small association fee each month, thereby creating a profit for the Broker, rather than an expense.
Two years ago, when we first rolled out our business model in Washington D.C. at the Mid Year NAR Convention, the word “Virtual” was absolute poison. Brokers and Realtors® would come to our booth and literally run when they heard the word VIRTUAL. What a change just two years has made!
This year at the NAR National Convention in San Diego, the word VIRTUAL was the most exciting idea being discussed.  We literally had hundreds of Brokers come by our booth to learn how we created a VIRTUAL environment for the Realtors® and Brokers so successfully. I suspect in the coming year we will see hundreds of Brokerages recreating themselves under a VIRTUAL banner.
Even the Realtors® this year jumped all over the VIRTUAL business model. We had literally thousands of Realtors® come by the booth because they have realized that they can now command 100% of their commissions, and that is now the accepted standard.
Furthermore, what we heard from every Realtor® is the reason they don’t go to an office, and the reason they don’t care about an office environment is boiled down to one word:  DISTRACTION!!!!
The top producers think that when they go into an office environment, they become distracted from being productive. We heard this comment universally from almost every Realtor®.  Realtors® insight into their most fruitful working conditions has been an unanticipated end result of this business model.
So, after this year’s convention I feel that my original business model was not only accepted by both the Brokers and Realtors®, but that I was no longer this strange Broker that lived out there in some mysterious VIRTUAL never-land.
The VIRTUAL CULTURE is not only the future of the industry, but a huge favor to all the Brokers who are struggling to keep their doors open, now that even brand new Realtors® expect to keep 100% of their commissions.
I’m not this crazy man after all. This new business model has legs, and it will continue to expand and grow. It will, in the process, make the Brokers of our industry financially healthy once again. It will also allow the Realtors® to truly be independent contractors who are allowed to keep all of what they have earned.
The VIRTUAL CULTURE is a WIN WIN WIN for the Broker, the Realtor® and the Consumer.
 James A. Crumbaugh III is CEO of Allison James Estates and Homes and may be reached at

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