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RISMEDIA, February 26, 2010—I recently read an article about what Realtors want. Obviously what Realtors want and what Realtors expect has truly changed over the years and in the last few years, due to technology, it has caused a seismic change.

Just 10 years ago, before the Internet really took off and before every Realtor had a home office equipped with a computer, copier, scanner and all the other toys Realtors relied heavily on, the broker provided a very valuable service to the Realtor. Back then, Realtors needed a broker that had the state-of-the-art equipment, so the Realtor could produce marketing materials. They needed the fax machines so they could send contracts back and forth to their clients. They needed the color copiers to produce professional looking CMAs. All these tools that almost all Realtors now have were extremely important to the Realtor.

Ten years ago in the bigger the offices, the odds are that the support and equipment was better. The big brokers spent a bundle on newspaper advertising. (I used to spend $33,000 a month on newspaper advertising myself!)

How times have changed. Now 87% of all home buyers do their research online and they know what properties they want to look at long before they ever speak to a Realtor. Newspaper advertising is so useless in today’s environment as more prospective buyers turn to the Internet to search for properties. The companies used to be the only ones who had websites- now there isn’t a professional Realtor that doesn’t have a website.

As I was writing this article, a vice president of a huge national real estate brokerage called me to discuss the virtual culture and he shared with me that even the brands are losing their value proposition for the Realtors because the local boards are offering more and more of what the major brands and large offices used to offer the Realtor. All of these issues taken together have caused a paradigm shift in our industry.

As a result of all these changes, what does a Realtor want and expect from a real estate broker in today’s environment? The experienced Realtor wants to be left alone by the broker to run their business as their business. Since the experienced Realtor now has a home office, a website, and generates almost 100% of their business from their own efforts, they no longer want to sit in a broker’s office and explain their production or lack thereof.

Today’s Realtor knows that they can go with any number of real estate brokerages and keep 100% of their commission, and since they no longer count on the broker, they understandably are justified in their belief that they should be able to keep 100% of their commissions since they generated 100% of their business.

Today’s Realtor still, however, wants to know that there is a company and a broker that has their back. They still want a broker to manage the storage and maintenance of their files and contracts for the statutory period of time.

I consider myself a fairly unique real estate brokerage owner not just because I’ve been in the business for 39 years, but because I was a top producer once. A real “prima donna”. As a result, I understand what top producers want from a broker. I then went on to become a well-respected and top recruiter as a manager for large companies, before I built my first large real estate brokerage.

Now as the owner of a national virtual culture real estate brokerage, I think I have a very good understanding of what today’s Realtor expects and wants from a real estate broker.

James A. Crumbaugh III is CEO of Allison James Estates and Homes can be reached at