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2010-11-30 16:39:09

Another Year in the Virtual Culture

Now that we are wrapping up three full years since we opened our doors at Allison James Estates and Homes®, it is time to reflect where we have been, where we are, and where we are headed.

In just the last day before Thankgiving this year, we saw what we expect will be a typical day next year. We received a call from a ReMax® Brokerage in San Diego with three offices and 110 Realtors® inquiring about affliating with Allison James Estates and Homes®. On the same day, we received a call from another franchise in Iowa with 15 Realtors® requesting information about affliating with Allison James Estates and Homes®. We also, on the same day, received a call from an independent Brokerage in Masschusettes with 45 Realtors® and an independent Brokerage in Dallas with 27 Realtors®.

This week we also officially opened in Washington D.C. and two weeks ago we opened in Chicago. By the time you read this article we should be open in Las Vegas, and Orlando and Atlanta are close to coming on board.

In January 2008, we essentially had no Realtors®, yet over the last three years we have had over 600 Realtors® join Allison James Estates and Homes®. As with the National Association of Realtors®, we have lost many to the economy, but our loss to other companies is less than 1%. In fact, some Realtors® who joined us and then went back to the company they left, after receiving their first commission check, came right back and joined Allison James Estates and Homes® again!

For a small start-up company, we have received a tremendous amount of national press. This year I was invited to the Gathering of Eagles in Dallas to be the speaker at a very exclusive group called the Billionaires Club. They asked me to speak about our business model. The Gathering of Eagles includes the top 250 CEO’s in our industry in the country.

Since my Billionaires speech, I have had the opportunity to spend personal one-on-one time in meetings with Mark Willis, the CEO of Keller Williams®; Alex Perrillo, the CEO of Realogy® (Realogy® owns Coldwell Banker®, Century 21®, ERA®, Better Homes and Gardens®, Sotheby’s® and a host of smaller companies); and with Earl Lee, the CEO of Prudential®. I have had the opportunity to speak in private with Sherry Chris, the President of Better Homes and Gardens®, and I have had the privilege of having a one-on-one meeting with Mike Lancaster, the President of First American Title®. Even our national relationship with Bank of America® came directly out of my Billionaires speech.

To say that our business model has got the attention of our industry is an understatement. The major franchises are scared to death of our business model and where it will leave them over the next 10 years. This next year we will do over a billion dollars in sales volume. That is unheard of in such a young company.

ReMax® in their first year had 21 Realtors® and Allison James Estates and Homes® had 87 Realtors®. In the second year, ReMax® had 42 Realtors® and Allison James Estates and Homes® had 177 Realtors®. In the third year, ReMax® had 88 Realtors® and we will end up the year with around 370 Realtors®. In the fourth year ReMax® had 164 Realtors® and we will be very disappointed if we don’t double again next year, bringing our total to 750 Realtors®.

I believe Allison James Estates and Homes® has found a formula that works in today’s environment. Our Realtors® make 100%, our Brokers are all profitable, because they have no expenses after they reach 30 Realtors®, and, because we consolidate all day-to-day operations out of a single corporate center, we keep our overhead low, thereby also making a profit. The formula is a win-win-win for everyone.

On top of that, we truly believe in, and operate Allison James Estates and Homes® for the benefit of, the Realtors®. My personal belief is that the Realtor® is our customer and we must do whatever it takes to keep the Realtor® happy.

All in all it’s been a challenging three years and an exciting three years. We have made our fair share of mistakes - that’s for sure. There was no book on how to build a National Internet Based Real Esate Brokerage. But hopefully we have done more things right than wrong and have proven ourselves to our customers - the Realtors®.

We want to thank all our tremendous Brokers and all our wonderful Realtors® for everything they have done to help us succeed in these trying economic times. And we would be negligent not to thank our fantastic in-house staff, who we rely on to keep everything flowing smoothly.

So here’s a toast to you!  May the next year bring you all your dreams and good health.


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

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