Sunday, March 15, 2009

Recession and the Virtual Office


Recessions suck. Our business in the real estate industry is down, people are nervous and the general economic global environment is shaky at best. What good can possibly come from a recession? Vast amounts! 

This recession in particular is an essential cleansing process. Unnecessary excess that remain unaddressed in booming markets are now paired down. Wasteful behavior is corrected, banks will required to be more transparent, and commerce to be more accountable. Does this affect our real estate industry?  Only for those who intend long term survival. 

Agents are aware there are newer and better ways to do business, and in very busy and prosperous markets, there is  little time or need to make business model changes. Now with our slow recovering down market, agents are seeking just such a change and are looking towards their Brokerage to implement them.   

The future of successful businesses is not just about “less is more.”  In addition to less expense, a successful Brokerage must offer “more value” as well.  I yawn at the sound of such kitschy buzz words so forgive the use. It is simply is true. 

Agents are aware that office space is becoming less useful and more expensive each year, and therefore are attracted to the Virtual Office concept. But savings due to such a business model is not enough. The Virtual Office must offer the tools and technology to make it efficient for agents to run their business paperlessly and online. Agents must always feel connected to their office, Broker and their colleagues. Social relationships in the Brokerage must be easily created and maintained, and again it needs to be Brokerage’s business model that provides the methods and technology for these to form.   

Cutting back and being conservative is a positive by-product of such a recession, but this will only sustain Brokerages a bit longer, not perpetually. The recession also creates opportunities for the creation of new sustainable models of operation, such as providing for the mobile agent and providing the social platform for on-the-go agents to stay connected. 

Agents are far ahead of most Brokerages in recognizing their needs in this new and changed real estate profession and will be moving towards those accommodating such models at a rapid rate. Brokerages ready to accommodate the needs of their more tech savvy agents or looking to recruit younger generations of agents will have a more valuable business to market when selling their business on retirement.   

RE/MAX Alpine Realty (an iREALTY office) in Calgary is opening mid-April 2009 and interviewing agents now. Contact me for more information.

Brokerages interested in learning more about the iREALTY concept are encouraged to contact me, to see if your office is suitable to add iREALTY features. 

Jessica Stoner    403-678-8006 cell,  stonerjessica Skype address


  1. Hey do you think its worthwhile to get a virtual office ? I know a couple but their plans look rather pricey. Appreciate any recommendations

  2. Hey savant,
    I think the Virtual Office is the way all real estate will be done in the future. However, you have to make sure the Brokerage you are considering suits you. Moving to a Virtual Brokerage just because it is Virtual does not seem wise if the Broker and Brokerage is not the right fit. Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss it further, and I would be happy to talk with you. 403-678-8006 or skype chat stoner.jessica