Jan. 24, 2010

eXp Realty and Being a Green Real Estate Firm

Reposted from Glenn Sanford

In my last post, The Relevance and Future Demise of Bricks and Mortar I didn’t talk about being Green, Carbon Footprints or many of the other buzz words currently circulating however that doesn’t mean that those terms and ideals have slipped through the cracks.  There are real reductions in things like Carbon Footprints by working in a Virtual Real Estate environment.

I’ll list a few of those benefits along with their financial equivalent where appropriate are below:

  • Carbon Footprint
    • Less Driving to and from an Office
      • Assuming an Office is an average of 5 miles from one’s home there is likely a savings of 10 miles per trip to the office.  Assuming having to run into the office once per day that is a savings of over 200 miles per month on your automobile.  Using the tax deductibility of 55 cents/mile as the loaded cost of driving that means that as an agent you will save an average of $110/month.  This overall deduction is based on the price of gas, oil, maintenance and depreciation related to driving however even if the true costs are 1/2 of that that is still $55/month savings or a net increase of $660 – $1320 / year to the real estate agent and staff members.  It also means fewer Carbon emissions.
      • Assume as well that a well connected agent has a decent laptop in the field as well as a Smartphone like the iPhone then there is additional efficiencies of being able to work where you are rather then being conditioned to drive back to the office for everything.
    • Eliminate the Carbon Footprint of the Office
      • Check out: http://www.thegreenoffice.com/carboncalculator/calculator/
        • I don’t know exactly how to read the final report however a 50 person office with 5000 square feet of office space and a 10,000 square foot parking lot on average creates a Carbon Footprint of 3,175.8 Global Acres, and produces by itself 282.6 tons of CO2.  In addition redundant physical costs of heating, cooling, and maintaining such a structure has a national average cost of $7065/year or at least that is the number that I pulled out of the calculator which seem on reflection not inaccurate.
  • Paperless
    • In real estate we still haven’t been able to get totally away from Paper but we are certainly making progress
      • Many offices still make multiple copies of a contract
        • One of the Agent Physical File
        • One for the Broker Physical File
        • One for the Escrow Officer
        • One for the Lender
        • Two for the Clients
          • One for the Buyer
          • One for the Seller
      • By creating a shared electronic box.net we are able to reduce the number of copies considerably
        • One file electronically uploaded (via a scanner or an efax)
        • Shared with Broker
        • Shared with Agent(s)
        • Shared with Client(s)
        • Shared with Lender
        • Shared with Escrow Officer
      • Assuming they can download in pdf format and keep an electronic copy paper is kept to a minimum
    • Ecosign / Docusign
      • As early adopters using Ecosign or Docusign can eliminate printing all together.  This is still more of an ideal but these services are coming.
  • Corporate Travel
    • We’ve talked a bit about Home Office however how do we get around some of the big ticket travel
      • Immersive Persistent Virtual Offices & Conference Centers
        • To understand the potential visit http://www.secondlife.com/
        • Though SecondLife.com is more of a Video Game then a business productivity tool (so far), the fact is that SecondLife has opened up the eyes of a lot of major corporations about the potential of working in Virtual 3D space in a similar way that we interact in real space.  Through the use of similar technology we are able to reduce the need for Corporate Travel dramatically.  We are able as a group to more effectively collaborate and develop systems and plans where systems like GotoMeeting, WebEx are left far behind in terms of true collaboration and ultimate engagement.
        • We believe that this new environment which wasn’t available to the masses of real estate agents even two years ago will radically change the culture of Work and Collaboration.
    • The reduction this year in Corporate Travel has already been significant.  We have reduced our big ticket travel by 50% through the adoption of Virtual Office strategies and we expect to drive them down even further as a % of overall expenses without giving up many of the benefits of physical travel.
    • The significant time and money savings is huge as well.  By not having to travel to the airport, parking, picking up a rental car, getting a hotel room / conference room is huge.  These translate into net real savings for eXp Realty and an increase in the financial splits to agents and staff.

As you can see there are very compelling reasons for going Green, however how one goes Green may have greater financial impact then simply going Green.  We think we have adopted strategies which will change the way brokers, agents and consumers think about Virtual Real Estate Companies.

As always do feel free to write info@exprealty.com or please also feel free to call me, Loren Castillo @ 503-998-4868

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