Portland, Oregon

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Jan. 24, 2010

The Relevance and Future Demise of Bricks and Mortar

Reposted from Glenn Sanford

On November 17th, I’ll be presenting at the first ever Virtual REBarCamp, “The Real Estate Office of the Future” and there will be a number of ideas that I will be going over some of which I’ll be blogging about here and on Facebook and on ActiveRain while some content I’ll be reserving for the REBarCamp.  I’m really looking forward to this REBC especially because I think we are really in a major shift that really wouldn’t have taken place if the real estate markets had continued to plug along at a reasonable pace.  However as our Washington State Broker, Dale Kreiser has mentioned a couple of time, “This is the Perfect Storm.”

I titled this Blog Post, The Relevance and Future Demise of Bricks and Mortar and I believe that Bricks and Mortar in real estate especially is going to come under serious attack.  The primary reason as I’ll layout below is that it isn’t relevant anymore or its really becoming less relevant.  The second reason is one of money.  I do not by the way consider money the primary motivator for the demise however financial reasons will force the adoption of other methods of agent aggregation.

First why WAS Bricks and Mortar relevant?

The primarly reason was that was where the information on homes was kept.  Back since the Industrial Revolution and Automobiles and modern travel, the information on who’s home was for sale and how one could access it was controlled by brokers.  At the time, this was a very efficient model given other ways to gather information.  Everyone in town probably knew who the broker’s were and based on who they liked best they would give a broker a listing and that broker would shake the trees through his / her network of prospective purchasers and hopefully find a buyer.  I haven’t read the history of brokerages in general however if a broker or brokers had the listings that made it easier for buyers to access the listings and so they would travel from broker to broker to find a property.

Obviously the better brokers would need to have sub-brokers or agents to help them stay on top of all the listings.  Now the agents would obviously need to come to the office because that is where all the information on the listings existed.

As time went smaller brokers affiliated and shared information among themselves to compete with the bigger brokers and so the MLS came into existence.  The MLS really was printed pages circulated between brokers with an agreement to compensate each other if one of the member offices sold a property.

Eventually the MLS’s became more important then the brokers.  Now it was less about the brokers and more about being able to share information between the different firms because of the MLS, however in order for a consumer to access the MLS info they still needed to go into an office.  That is also where they kept, “The Book”.

The Book was really the MLS printout which was produced once or twice a month and was the bible of real estate.  The Book was protected like it was the Holy Grail and it really was because it insured that consumers needed to come into the office to meet with an agent to go and see property.  Seller’s had it a little better since it was their properties being listed the agents would come to them and really had no serious need to go to the office other then to complain to the broker or drink some coffee with their agent.

Now the 1990’s rolls around and things started to change.  By the late 1990’s there were public facing websites with some of the information that consumers could find in “The Book”.  Consumers started to use the web to search for properties however generally speaking information was a bit spotty.  There were no really good search sites and the Internet though recognized for its future importance was still a bit of a novelty for most.

Fast forward to the mid 2000’s.  Everything that was in The Book is now on The Web…  Consumers have quit stopping by real estate offices in the volume that they used to, they are now contacting agents on the web to ask questions.  They are finding great websites to search with better information then they could ever find in a real estate office.  Agents are now getting consumers leads to their Blackberry’s and iPhones.  The need to go into the office is losing its appeal and for many agents its more of a time waster.  Consumers are now coming up with their list of properties they want to look at and in many circumstances know a lot more about the homes they are interested, the zoning, the schools, the neighbors and the neighborhoods then the agents they are contacting.  By the way, I’m not saying the agents aren’t competent at all, what I am saying however is the web based agent has to cover a larger geography then the traditional old school agent and is really becoming more of a facilitator then the holder of the information or “The Book”.

Now if we look at the original reason why agents needed to work in a broker’s office the primary reason was because that was were the listings were and that is where consumers were conditioned to go to get access to the listings.

Today broker’s have a big challenge on their hands because they are forced to provide value to agents who really don’t get a lot of value from the brokerage bricks and mortar themselves.  Brokers are forced to cut sweet heart deals to agents for fear of losing the revenue associated with that agent but this is a major slippery slope because ultimately any deal cut for one agent makes it to all other agents who are working in that firm or prospective agents looking to join.  Now the broker is forced to do more with less and the agents know they can get more for less.  As much as a broker will attempt to differentiate based on their personal interaction with the agents, and that will work for a while, eventually agents will defect to where they can again get more for less and since the biggest commodity that the brokerage used to have and that was the listings and the customers walking through the doors on a regular basis went away because of the web, their relevance to the agent community at large is one of branding and not substance.

So where does that leave us.  The first major challenge is for agents and brokerages to recognize that the value is no longer in the listings.  Even though listings are important for branding and ultimately as a product to market and sell, they don’t mean a lot because of the MLS and the Internet.  The second major challenge is that consumers don’t say let’s go find ourselves a real estate office to find out what is for sale, so walk in traffic is at an all time low and going lower.  The market recently driven by the First Time Home Buyer tax credit will likely slow down again once the Government determines that it has done as much as it can to help stimulate the market and once again agents will be scrambling to take as much home from the transactions that generate and the traditional brokerages will be struggling with their overheads.

To put in perspective the cost of Bricks and Mortar runs between $2000 on the low side of the equation upward of $7,000 – $10,000 / year per agent.  If you don’t think broker/owners aren’t scared of what is going on in the economy, there is a reason why they are recruiting as aggressively as they are.

One more piece of puzzle relative to “Relevance”.

There has been value in the gathering of agents into an office whether daily or weekly, however the value has been one of Social Value.  This is really the nail in the coffin of Traditional Firms.  There is a major attempt by brokerages as a last ditch effort to stay relevant by talking about the value of an office, the value of being able to meet with the broker, the Sales Manager etc… and I agree these are valuable, however remember the late 1990’s when everyone recognized the future importance of the Internet.  Well we are all recognizing the importance of “Social Media” and in my opinion even more importantly, the importance of Immersive Social Web or what we are referring to internally as Web 3.0.

This really is the Shift that will ultimately change the landscape of real estate brokerages.  Whether it be the more superficial Twitter, Facebook, Flikr, Box.net, Google Wave, Orkut or any other number of quasi communication / marketing platforms, or what I consider the Virtual Office of the Future which duplicates the residual value of Bricks and Mortar in Virtual space, the landscape of work and how we do it is being forever changed.

The fact that I can blog on this site and in a matter of a few minutes to a few hours or days have 100’s if not 1000’s of prospective eyeballs read it and interact with me over this is nothing short of amazing and being able to do it from my Home Office which is quickly becoming command central for a multi-state real estate company is the future of our future as agents, brokers and owners.

The question is one of relevancy.  Is Bricks and Mortar relevant when an Immersive Web exists where you can interact from your home office in much the same way as you would in a physical Bricks and Mortar office?  Not everyone will engage in the immersive web today, but rest assured those in the late teenage years or early 20’s, those agents who will be moving into the workforce over the next 5, 10 and 15 years.  Those agents will naturally gravitate to an immersive experience.  That immersive experience will displace bricks and mortar.  Broker/Owners of traditional firms you are frogs in a pot of water that is getting warming and warmer all the time…  The problem is the frog dies before it knows its time to jump out.  Try as you might by the time you recognize that you need to change you are too weak to jump out of the pot.

Interested in more information on eXp Realty and where we think the future is headed, please feel free to email info@exprealty.com or call me, Loren Castillo @ 503-998-4868.

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Jan. 22, 2010

The Future of Real Estate: eXp Realty and the Virtual Office

Leading the Way with the Most Powerful Online Marketing, Green Business Practices, and Virtual Technology

eXp Realty is a National Real Estate Brokerage with an innovative business environment for collaborating, supporting agents with their listings and transactions, and an ecosystem for social interaction in and outside of the organization.

eXp Realty launched in the fall of 2009 as a leader in real estate technology and agent compensation, melting away the traditional brick and mortar business model and moving toward a true virtual community, with the goal of keeping agents in contact with the best agents,  ideas and technology from around the world.

  • Mission: Our Mission at eXp Realty is to lead the Web 3.0 Real Estate Revolution and the Resulting Industry Paradigm Shift.
  • eXp Culture is: Virtual, Viral, Transparent, Green, Collaborative, Supportive, Professional, Dynamic, & Paradigm Shifting - with an Emphasis on Relationship Building and Personal Service!
  • We Provide: Multiple Income Streams, Collaborative and Persistent Education, A Paperless Cutting Edge Technology Platform, Committee Style Leadership

Contributing to the success of eXp Realty is an aggressive and favorable growth incentive for all affiliates, a large network of high-trafficked real estate websites in major metro markets across the country and a streamlined education and mentor platform to ensure agent success within the system. eXp Realty now represents clients in Washington, Oregon, and Arizona, with additional expansion happening almost daily. We expect to have California, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Nevada up in the next few months, with more to follow.

Agent Benefits

  • eXpand your Learning Potentials inside of eXp Virtual
    • 3-D Persistent Offices and Educational Platform
      • Work with other Agents and Staff, 1-on-1 or in Groups
  • eXplosive Lead Generation Programs
    • At both the Agent and Company Levels
  • eXploit our Top Web Positions in Major Metros around the Country
    • Integrated Web Solutions/SEO Team has the most Top Ranked Real Estate Websites in Major Metros around North America
  • eXpress yourself via our Collaborative Blogging Platform
    • Leap Frog the Competition and put your Services and Properties at the Top of Everyones Search
  • eXpand with us and create eXponetial wealth!
    • Revenue Share to agents and brokers who help us grow both Locally and Nationally

    Commission Splits and Tuition

  • 80/20 Split on All Transactions
    • Additional Referral Fee to be Paid on Company Generated Lead
  • $50/month Technology Fee
    • Tech Fee Includes:
      • RealFuture CRM Client Management Platform
      • Personal In-bound Fax Line
      • Google Apps (Email, Calendar and Online Docs)
      • Box.net Online File Management
      • Web Conferencing System
      • WordPress Blog Hosting
      • Online Collaborative Blogging Platform
      • On-demand Tech Coaching
  • $25 Transaction Broker Review Fee
  • $420/year Tuition to eXp University
    • Taken out of 1st Sale Closing or 3rd Rental Transaction
    • Tuition Includes:
      • Enrollment into unlimited Classes for Training and Education
      • Access to eXp Virtual Offices a 3D Collaborative Work Environment
      • Access to eXp Faculty and Staff from all over the world
      • Top Agents, Investment and RE Gurus, Web and Social Media Facilitators available 24/7 and on Demand
  • Company Generated Leads are Split at 52%
    • Blogging Bonuses are available to make an extra 8%, maximum 60/40 Split potential
      • Each blog post is worth 2/10ths of a percentage point towards the next company lead transaction, 8% bonus Split cap
      • No Dollar Amount Limit on Blog Bonus

Revenue Share

"I would rather earn 1% off a 100 people's efforts than 100% of my own efforts."   Rockefeller, John D.

We are proud to offer the Industry's Best Residual Recruiting Revenue Share Plan. Every licensed Agent with eXp Realty is automatically enrolled in the eXp Revenue Share program and able to collect Residual Income by helping the company grow. Your potential to grow your own real estate business without having to invest in the infrastructure or take years to develop will never be more accessible. Become your own Team Leader and increase your revenue streams.

eXpansion Share: Sponsor (You) must be in good standing with the company as well as with the State where your license is held and hung with the company.

eXponential Share: Sponsor (You) must be in good standing with the company as well as with the State where your license is held and hung with the Company. Each level of eXponential Shares are received based on You having sponsored a minimum number of first level recruits who are also similarly in good standing with the Company and State where their license is held and hung with the Company. In any given month that you qualify for a particular eXponential bonus share level you will also receive any lower number share levels as well in the eXponential Share program.

Revenue Share Chart:

eXp Revenue Share Levels eXpansion Rev Share % Min. # of Active Personal Recruits for eXponential Share eXponential Rev Share % Total eXp Revenue Share % (potential)
1 1-4 3.5% 3.5%
2 0.2% 5-9 3.8% 4.0%
3 0.1% 10-14 2.4% 2.5%
4 0.1% 15-19 1.4% 1.5%
5 0.1% 20-24 0.9% 1.0%
6 0.5% 25-39 2.0% 2.5%
7 0.5% 40+ 4.5% 5.0%
Totals 1.5% + 18.5% 20%

I know, that's a LOT of information! Here's a quick review... If you think you'd like to join our exciting new company, just click here to sign up for more information!

Top 11 Reasons Agents are Joining eXp Realty

  1. The Industry's Best Residual Recruiting/Revenue Share Program
  2. Amazing Integrated Web Solutions/SEO Group
  3. Multiple Revenue Streams and Business Planning/Accountability Workshops
  4. Collaborative Blogging Platforms - Be at the Top of Google Searches
  5. eXplosive Lead Generation Programs.
  6. Low Split's and Fee's
  7. Cutting Edge Real Estate Agent Tech Tools
  8. Free Website Hosting and Free Business Cards
  9. Green, Paperless, Low Carbon Footprint
  10. 10.  On-demand Training 24/7 by Top Facilitators via eXp Virtual and eXp University
  11. 11.  eXp is at the Forefront of Sponsoring Local Social Events, RE Camps and

Again, If you think you're ready to join our exciting new company, just click here to sign up for more information or to check out our corporate site click here, or email me at Loren@LorenCastillo.com


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Jan. 14, 2010


Laurelhurst is an elegant, family-friendly neighborhood in southeast Portland. The sparkling gem of a development sports majestic, hill side residences in styles such as bungalow and stone and brick. Laurelhurst's houses are graced with splendid views of a breath-taking park (patterned after New York's Central Park). This stellar community hosts local attractions such as an exceptional infrastructure (near downtown), prestigious schools, marvelous parks, excellent restaurants, spectacular coffee shops, and an outstanding library. Laurlehurst enjoys Portland's abundance of amenities which consist of reputable medical facilities, a magnificent zoo, wonderful museums, and a major league sports team (the Trail Blazers). Portland provides a wide array of employment opportunities with manufacturing companies, high tech corporations, and retail businesses.

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Jan. 14, 2010


Kerns is a charming, quiet development in southeast Portland. The superb community hosts older East Portland style dwellings.Kerns' local amenities include a a spectacular infrastructure (close to downtown and the Pearl), fabulous schools, gorgeous parks, delectable dining, beautiful art galleries, relaxed coffee shops, and a fantastic library. This dazzling jewel of a neighborhood benefits from Portland's wealth of attractions such as esteemed hospitals, a splendid zoo, excellent museums, and a major league sports team (the Trail Blazers). Portland offers a varied assortment of employment options with manufacturing companies, high tech industries, and retail businesses.

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Jan. 14, 2010


Hosford-Abernethy is a tranquil, historic community in southeast Portland. The spectacular neighborhood boasts striking Old Portland style homes, which are comprised of Victorians, Craftsman bungalows, and Arts and Crafts dwellings, nestled amidst graceful elms. Hosford-Abernethy features local attractions which consist of exceptional schools, outstanding parks, great dining and entertainment options, superb shopping selections, an amazing museum of science and industry, a fabulous theater, and a terrific library. This sparkling gem of a development enjoys Portland's wide collection of amenities which include renowned medical facilities, a marvelous zoo, and a major league sports team (the Trail Blazers). Portland hosts a broad selection of employment with manufacturing companies, high tech corporations, and retail businesses.

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Jan. 14, 2010


Hazelwood is a peaceful, conveniently situated neighborhood in southeast Portland. The amazing development sports well-maintained ranch and Cape Cod style residences interspersed with new townhouses and apartments on tranquil, tree-rowed streets. Hazelwood residents are blessed with panoramic views of Mount Hood and Mount Tabor. This stellar community hosts superb local amenities such as an excellent infrastructure (near I-205, the Trimet Max Line, and major shopping centers), fantastic schools, wonderful parks, and an exceptional library. Hazelwood benefits from Portland's broad selection of attractions which consist of prestigious hospitals, a wonderful zoo, magnificent museums, and a major league sports team (the Trail Blazers). Portland supplies a vast plethora of employment opportunities with manufacturing companies, high tech industries, and retail businesses.

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Jan. 14, 2010


Glenfair is a strategically- placed development in southeast Portland. The precious keepsake of a community features a splendid infrastructure (near Max Light Rail and downtown), esteemed schools, marvelous parks, and an outstanding library. Glenfair enjoys Portland's vast plethora of amenities such as reputable medical facilities, a fantastic zoo, fabulous museums, and a major league sports team (the Trail Blazers). Portland provides a a wide array of employment options with manufacturing companies, high tech corporations, and retail businesses.
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Jan. 14, 2010


Foster-Powell is a captivating, community-conscious, and culturally diverse community in southeast Portland. The dazzling jewel of a neighborhood offers local attractions such as prestigious schools, magnificent parks, fantastic ethnic dining, and a spectacular library. Foster-Powell benefits from Portland's wide array of attractions which include esteemed hospitals, a superb zoo, impressive museums, and a major league sports team (the Trail Blazers). Portland offers a varied assortment of employment selections with manufacturing companies, high tech industries, and retail businesses.

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Jan. 14, 2010


Eastmoreland is a gorgeous, elegant neighborhood in southeast Portland. The spectacular development hosts majestic Tudor and Colonial design dwellings on streets graced by sweeping elms. Eastmoreland's residences are characterized by sprawling yards and beautiful gardens. This cream of the crop, elite community features local amenities which include magnificent schools, an outstanding liberal arts college (Reed College), spacious green spaces and parks, a terrific golf course, and an exceptional library. Eastmoreland enjoys Portland's wide collection of amenities which consist of superb medical facilities, a splendid zoo, exquisite museums, and a major league sports team (the Trail Blazers). Portland hosts a broad selection of employment opportunities with manufacturing companies, high tech corporations, and retail businesses.

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Jan. 14, 2010


Creston-Kenilworth is a lovely, family-oriented development in southeast Portland. The amazing community boasts charming Craftsman style houses surrounded by towering firs. Creston-Kenilworth hosts local attractions which consist of outstanding schools, superb parks, great dining selections, a superb music center, terrific arts exhibits, a fantastic community music center, a sparkling pool, and an excellent library. This stellar neighborhood benefits from Portland's abundance of attractions such as wonderful hospitals, a spectacular zoo, exceptional museums, and a major league sports team (the Trail Blazers). Portland supplies a vast plethora of employment options with manufacturing companies, high tech industries, and retail businesses.

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