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When I entered the real estate industry, I saw a gap widening between the commission split a traditional brokerage charged their agent on each sale and the value that agent received compared to what that agent could now get on their own in this new technology-driven era. I recognized that there was a real value to affiliating with a large brokerage, but I did not and do not believe that value is worth 30 percent or even 20 percent of the agent’s commission. I believed there needed to be a transition from broker-centric companies to companies that gave the power back to each entrepreneurial real estate agent.

At the time, I saw an emerging commission model that had potential. It offered the industry’s best splits but gave agents very little or nothing in return. I saw an opportunity to marry the best of both worlds and bridge the gap between the high-service, high-fee brokerages and the low-service, low-fee brokerages.

My goal when creating Fathom was to build a brand that provided all of the technology, tools, training and support that an agent would otherwise get from a large traditional brokerage, but at a small, flat fee per transaction. In other words, we strive to provide Fathom agents with the greatest value in the industry.

The term that has been given to companies like Fathom with this commission model is “100-percent commission.” Meaning, the agent keeps 100 percent of their commission minus a flat transaction fee. This model, when managed properly, allows agents to provide the highest level of full service to their clients without sacrificing anything that will help them be successful. However, this model is flawed. Without a fully integrated technology platform, this model saves agents money but at the detriment to the brokerage. It hurts a brokerage’s ability to reach any substantial level of profitability due to the high costs associated with opening offices, hiring employees and paying for expensive third-party technology.

While most real estate companies build their operation and workflow around how a third-party technology operates, we were able to rethink how to best operate a brokerage by stripping out the operational inefficiencies, then build a technology platform that would support that new way of running the business. Our technology company, IntelliAgent, operates as a Software as a Service (SaaS) supporting Fathom Realty and allowing it to operate as a Platform as a Service (PaaS). This allows us to operate in the cloud, essentially eliminating the high costs associated with brick-and-mortar offices.

With Fathom’s commission model, real estate agents are able to build a more profitable business by keeping the highest percentage of their commission possible without sacrificing support, technology or training. More importantly, agents are able to take that increase in income and reinvest it into their marketing, further increasing their income.

As a Marine Corps Veteran, I am driven to win, and I surround myself with leaders who share that same passion and discipline. We value people from all walks of life and embrace their ideas. With the right people and the right passion, we really do have a business model that will redefine the industry.

Joshua Harley is the founder and CEO of Fathom Realty. For more information, visit