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2010-06-08 17:08:53


There has been a lot of discussion of late about the Broker and even the Realtor remaining relevant in today’s world.
I wrote an article last week that was half in jest about the demise of our industry. I refer to it as my “Star Trek” article. I have never in my life had such a response to an article! The last time I looked, over 20,000 Realtors and Brokers had read the article and over 200 had commented on it. I even had 50 Realtors and Brokers email personally to comment on it.
Half of the comments called me an idiot and hoped I would die a slow and painful death, and the other half of the comments said that I was “spot on”. Either way, it got me to thinking about all the conferences I have attended or discussions I have either had with other Brokers and the discussions on the subject of relevance.
I will start with the premise of what is relevant to today’s Realtor. In the good old days, the Broker was very revelent to the Realtor. The Broker provided the office space and in that office space, the Broker provided the phone system (remember when it was expensive to make a long distance call?), the copier, the fax machine, the computers and even the training.
Now most Realtors have better equipment in their home offices today than Broker’s have in their offices and most training is out sourced in today’s world. Look at all the trainers that now command the bulk of the training for Realtors either during seminars, webinars or at the local board meetings. These trainers are excellent for the most part.
I even had a very prominent leader in our industry tell me last year that now the boards offer what the Brokerages use to offer, making the brokerage even less relevant.
Then recently at a panel discussion about how to reinvent the Real Estate brokerage and make the brokerage relevant again, I heard the following exchange:
One Broker was sharing with the audience that they’re giving away too much Real estate (office space) to the Realtors. In this case the brokerage was giving up 80 square feet per Realtor. The discussion was that they were going to cut that space almost in half and give the Realtor 49 square feet. That is a space of 7 feet by 7 feet. Most home office’s that I have seen are larger than 7’ X 7’.
So if the Realtor has the equipment at home that the Broker used to supply and now the Broker is making their office less desirable than the Realtors home office, how does that help the Broker to stay relevant?
This same panel also made a statement that fewer and fewer Realtors are even using the office. So if that’s the case, why would the Brokerage even spend the money on a 7’ by 7’ space that the Realtor isn’t going to use?
I believe that what is now important to a Realtor is 1) Freedom, 2) 100% of their commissions and 3) Support, in that order. The Realtor no longer relies on the Broker for technology or office equipment.  
We can all argue about how many Realtors value the office environment, but the point is less and less Realtors are finding they need an office environment to function efficiently. Plus the 100% “Genie” is out of the bottle!
The world is changing and technology waits for no one. Where and when this will all shake out, will be interesting to watch.
James A. Crumbaugh III is CEO of Allison James Estates and Homes and may be reached at  jcrumbaugh@allisonjames.netGroup on RealTown.Check out the Allison James Estates and Homes

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