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RISMEDIA, May 27, 2009-I have been thinking about this article for some time now, and I feel that I’m uniquely qualified to speak to the virtual culture.

The virtual culture has produced some rather surprising findings. In fact, I never would have expected the results that we have found after 16 months of running one of the only true Internet-based real estate brokerages in the country.

To me, the most surprising element of the virtual culture is the level of happiness and contentment among the Realtors. In fact, the longer they are in the virtual culture, the happier they seem to become. Recently, as I was leaving a Florida Realtors meeting, I overheard a Realtor tell the broker that he has never been happier, which is in-line with the emails we receive at the corporate office on a daily basis.

The question I’m sure everyone has is this: why are the Realtors so happy? I have been in the real estate management end of the industry for almost 30 years and in that time I have never seen any office or company even come close to the happiness I’m seeing in the virtual culture.

Here are some of the reasons I have heard:
-Management leaves us alone to do our business.
-Management does not dictate what lender, title company, etc, that we have to -use.
-Management is there when we need them, rather than management acting like a dictator.
-Management takes good care of our backend business, contracts, paperwork, etc.
-There is no office gossip or backbiting in the virtual culture.
-Management allows us to run our business the way we see fit, i.e. commission rate, transaction fees, etc.
-We love being able to work out of our home.
-We enjoy not having to attend sales meetings, or do floor time, or drive to the office.
-We love the Bank of America relationship.
-We love getting to keep 100% of our commission.

Another surprising fact that has come with the virtual culture is the level of experience of the Realtors. The average length of time in the industry continues to creep up with the average at this time being a little over 8 years in the business.

We also have found the average age of the Realtors in the virtual culture creeping down with the average age now under 45 years old.

In addition, the typical Realtor in the virtual culture takes his or her career very seriously. We have found them to be honest, ethical and concerned with compliance as well as being an unusually responsible lot. The virtual culture seems to attract those who are particularly conscientious. The Realtors in the virtual culture have no desire to mess up their career by cutting corners or doing anything that could cost them their license and they make up the very elite-of-the-elite of top producing Realtors in the country, or are sound, career-earning professionals.

All in all, I have found the virtual culture to be the happiest culture, attracting the best of the best independent-minded Realtors, who actually believe in the golden rule. It truly has been a most pleasant surprise.

James A. Crumbaugh III is CEO of Allison James Estates & Homes.

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