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2010-10-05 17:06:28

The Titanic Has a Hole in the Bottom

The Real Estate Brokerage Titanic is sinking and it’s sinking remarkably fast, and for most of the Brokerages in this country, they continue to dance as if there is no immediately emergency facing them.
The crew ( the Realtors® ) know that the there is a big hole in the bottom and that the Titanic is starting to list, but for some reason the Brokerages are still consuming their cocktails and ignoring the warning signs as their drinks slip off the table and crash to the floor.
We in the Virtual Culture are continually amazed that the Realtors® all get it, it’s the Brokers who don’t.
I find it hard to name a single Top Producer who would rather pay a Brokerage $20,000 or more a year for the privilege of saying - I work for so and so Brokerage. The Realtors® know that the Brokerages aren’t delivering a value package any longer. Those days have sailed. The Realtors® want 100% of the commission that they earned. They see no reason, nor is there a reason to give the Broker a sizable portion of their commission.
I had one CEO tell me that it’s all about community and all their Realtors® will pay a small fortune to belong to their Brokerages. I don’t buy it. I don’t think Jim Jones cool aid was that potent. Pay $20,000 or more per year to be part of a community of low producers?  I don’t think so!
Then there is the Broker who had a wonderful location for walk-ins in the old days, before buyers started finding the homes they wanted to see via the Internet - prior to even finding a Realtor®. The comment I heard was - we get a ton of walk-ins. However, one of the top producers told me they get maybe 1 walk-in per month. This Broker is on the lower floors of the Titanic with water up to his knees and he thinks that the problem is that the bathtub overflowed.
It just amazes me that these brokerages don’t see what’s happening. I read an article last week that discussed how thousands of brokerages will fail this year. And they should if they can’t figure out that the boat is listing, severely, and that it’s an indication that the Titanic is sinking.
The solution is simple, but the actual change for many is probably too much and too late to save them. The solution is that you as a brokerage must now give the Realtor ® 100%. The Realtors® have learned that there is a better way and they are seizing it in record numbers.
I suspect that when this market does turn around, the exodus from the Titanic will be staggering. I suspect it will come so fast and be so devastating that these brokerages will wake up one morning with no Realtors® - in very short period of time - and say to themselves - “WHAT HAPPENED?”
At that point there will be no lifeboats left, and we will be studying their demise for decades to come - wondering how such smart people couldn’t see the future when it was staring them in the face.

James A. Crumbaugh III is CEO of Allison James Estates and Homes a National Internet Based Real Estate Brokerage. You may contact Mr. Crumbaugh at

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