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James Dwiggins

When you’re vetting organizations to form a joint venture partnership with, what would you define as a ‘dealbreaker?’
James Dwiggins: We have to partner with a company that shares our culture. Everything we have done as a real estate brokerage has always been about the customer and making sure their needs come first and they get the experience they’re looking for. If you’re going to do this, you need to spend the time talking about when things don’t go right and how you handle that. There are lots of options out there, but one of the things that makes a successful joint venture is when the leadership teams align to achieve the same goals. We define our organization by our culture of service, and we can’t replicate that customer experience unless we partner with a company that shares those same core values.

How have you been able to maintain your company culture amid a change in working arrangements and other pandemic-related disruptions?
JD: We pivoted very quickly—within days—and said “we’re going to lead the charge on information”; we focused really hard on the truth and making sure we kept our members safe. We’ve always put our members’ needs first and our financial needs second. We shifted from hosting Town Halls with our members to small regional meetings to discuss concerns and health and safety issues. We talked about a health and safety policy that our offices would follow to make sure we were reducing liability with our agents in the field and also with consumers. In this remote environment, we are going above and beyond to make a human connection at a distance, and we doubled down on this human connection.

What advice do you have for organizations getting started in the joint venture space?
JD: Before you consider a joint venture partnership, you need to fully understand your own organization’s culture. Find partners with a similar mentality, and you’ll be able to execute a shared vision. If you don’t have a good feel for your own organization’s culture, you’re not going to be able to align with the right joint venture partner. We’re very selective about who we bring into the company. We’ve turned more people away than we have taken in solely because we are looking for a partner who shares the same values of putting the customer first.

How can an agent benefit from a joint venture partnership?
JD: The agent can benefit because a joint venture partnership gives you more resources to serve your clients and enables you to deliver a repeatable client experience. When you have access to a direct lender, your clients get more products, more attentive service and a better overall personal experience.

Do you expect more broker-lender joint venture partnerships to be formed in the coming months?
JD: Absolutely! Following one of the busiest years in housing history, with record low mortgage rates and limited homes for sale, real estate professionals will need a competitive edge to attract new business. Joint venture partnerships benefit the broker and the lender by leveraging each entity’s strengths to stand out in a crowded market. In my case, I am very excited to see where my joint venture, NextMortgage, ends up in the next few years. We have the right people involved, the right vision, and we are adding more great people to the mix. It’s taking what we’re doing well on the residential side and adding it to what our lender partner, CMG Financial, does well on the mortgage side.

To see the full interview, visit

Chris George is the CEO of CMG Financial. For more information, please visit