By Accident, Virtually Green
“When I conceived of the virtual business model for Allison James Estates & Homes in May of 2007, I knew we had the formula to provide a win-win-win situation for the broker, REALTOR and consumer, but I never dreamed that we would also provide a ‘win’ for the environment as well,” explained James A Crumbaugh III, CEO. “We’re proud to stake the claim that we’re the fastest-growing virtual real estate company in the country, and now it seems, by becoming a TRUE VIRTUAL real estate company, we have, quite by accident, also become the greenest real estate company in the country.”
Because Allison James Estates & Homes has no brick and mortar offices nationwide, their State Broker Affiliates and REALTOR Associates work directly out of their home offices, saving on both energy consumption and carbon emissions. “You won’t find our REALTOR Associates driving to and from the office two or three times a day, producing pollutants,” Crumbaugh said. Their team members can also work more productively since they don’t have to spend long hours commuting to the brick and mortar environment. “Goodness knows,” Crumbaugh comments, “with gas at an all time high of $3 to $4 a gallon, our REALTOR Associates are delighted to keep that money in their pockets.”
Also, with no brick and mortar real estate offices to supply with electricity for lights, heat, air-conditioning, electronics, etc., the company’s carbon footprint nationally is substantially minimized, compared to a traditional real estate company.
Allison James Estates & Homes supplies its team members with state-of-the-art custom web page technology. They’ve also developed energy-efficient procedures in every aspect of their day-to-day operation. In every aspect, they’ve replaced the old “brick and mortar” practices (read “energy consuming”) with high tech, user-friendly equivalents, which are easier on the environment.
REALTOR Associates download their required forms through their custom web site provided by the company. This saves the REALTOR Associate a trip to the local Board of REALTORS and once again saves fuel consumption, and the resulting pollutants.
They require their national team members to scan all transaction documents and e-mail them to their corporate offices in Florida, where they securely store the documents electronically for a minimum of five years. “It’s a real plus.” Crumbaugh noted. “All of our members have online access to any of their documents 24/7 from their home offices.” Rather than having thousands upon thousands of transactions documented on paper, they file all of the items electronically, saving a small forest or two in the process.
“Yet,” Crumbaugh explained, “we haven’t lost the personal touch. That’s very important.” The company’s entire recruiting, application, interviewing and activation process is accomplished online (and via teleconference) by their friendly and knowledgeable staff. This means the REALTOR Associate doesn’t need to drive to meet the Broker. Also, since the entire hiring process is accomplished virtually, they save thousands of pieces of paper that a typical brick and mortar environment would require.
In addition, thanks to Webinar technology, meetings among team members can be held online and face-to-face, from coast to coast. This saves thousands in travel expenses and fuel consumption, while preserving the many benefits of in-person communication.
“Probably the one thing I’m most proud of,” Crumbaugh noted, “is our growing capability to use electronic signatures.” They recently invested in this cutting-edge technology since the U.S. government ruled that electronic signatures were legally valid and binding in all 50 states. Crumbaugh is currently working with real estate Boards and State Commissions to enable all of their required documents to be electronically signed.
There are still a number of real estate Boards and State Commissions that are stuck in the past, according to Crumbaugh. They are still requiring a PAPER document with a WET signature to be submitted. Allison James Estates & Homes is leading the industry in a national movement to establish a VIRTUAL business model, where electronic signatures will be accepted in every state of the union. This is another small step in establishing the company as a green–friendly trustee of the environment.
“The senior management of Allison james Estates & Homes didn’t set out to become a GREEN company,” Crumbaugh said, “but because we have chosen to develop and invest in systems to grow into a major National Virtual real estate Company, in the process we are leading the industry in becoming the GREEN REAL ESTATE COMPANY.”
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