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The Evolution of the Virtual Culture

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Commentary by James A. Crumbaugh III

internet_11_20RISMEDIA, November 20, 2009—I recently returned from the NAR National Convention in San Diego, California, a convention that 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—Internet-based real estate. The business model, like ours, 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 Midyear 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. Brokers wanted to learn how to create a virtual environment for the Realtors and brokers 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 encountered thousands of Realtors who 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

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