How CURB's 100% Commission Brokerage Model Started
Several years ago when I was still an agent, a friend had asked me to sell a property for him. At the time I was taking a long sabbatical from real estate and my license was on ice. So before I listed the property I thought, why should I give a bunch of my commission away to do this transaction ? So I looked around to see if I could find an online brokerage to do the deal and keep my commission and just pay a small flat fee, of which I was more than happy to do. After finishing that deal with no problems and putting all my commission in my pocket for the first time, I thought, why in the world aren’t all brokerages running this virtual online model ? I did an entire transaction and I didn’t have to drive to an office or deal with office politics, plus I got to keep all my commission ! ..What the heck is not to like about that ?
A few days later after closing that deal with the 100% commission brokerage, I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of my chiropractors office and had a lightening bolt revelation and decided right then and there that I was going to start my own company creating this business model. In fact, I was so sure of my hunch about the 100% commission model being the future, I immediately signed up with an online real estate school to start my brokers training classes while I was still sitting in the parking lot ! I invested my own money and a grueling year building my business.
I also had a hunch on the future of real estate about a year before the 2008 REO crisis. I was a green pea agent in the Bay Area working for a brick & mortar brokerage struggling to survive. I did the same thing most new agents do which was to shotgun market and do anything and everything to get a deal in the pipe. I subscribe to vertical thinking, so I looked around at the successful agents in my office and quickly realized that the top dogs certainly were not shotgun marketing, ..they were niche marketing. Now I had to discover a niche.
After looking at the other agents that were niche marketing I thought, “Oh my gosh, even all the niches are taken, what's left for me ?” I thought back a few years prior to me doing real estate when I was a mortgage broker and saw firsthand all these and adjustable rate loans going out to people who worked at Taco Bell and I thought, “Holy moly, when these loans adjust there's going to be a slew of foreclosures.” Then I thought, OK, I need to buddy up with the banks and do their foreclosures (that only I thought would be coming down the pipe). So I ask my broker and some other agents in the office how to get in touch with banks to do foreclosures and nobody knew anything, so I was pretty much on my own. So I picked up the phone and made about 100 phone calls until I finally connected with somebody at a bank somewhere who pointed me in the direction. He told me, oh you want to do REO. I thought he said Oreo, like the cookie. Not to look incompetent I just went along with it and said, yeah that's what I want to do ! He then told me that there was a REO convention in two weeks in Palm Springs and I need to be there because all the lenders and banks that do foreclosures would be there. ..Jackpot !
Only one problem, we only had a few thousand dollars in the bank and it cost $1000 to get into the door of the convention. My amazing wife said, “If you really think there's going to be foreclosures then let's go for it”. So we went for it. So two weeks later I put my eight month pregnant wife into our 1995 Ford Taurus with bald tires and broken air-conditioning and drove off to Palm Springs. We were so broke we stayed in a Motel 6 outside of town. In the morning at the convention they offered breakfast for the attendees, so after eating my breakfast I got an extra plate and went through the buffet line again and brought the plate to my wife at the motel to feed her.
So I’m at the REO convention and I finally get in front of the lenders and banks and the first thing they ask me is, “What state are you from?” When I told them I'm from California they looked at me like I had two heads and exclaimed; "What in the world are you doing here? There's no foreclosures in California !" They said if you're from Michigan or Ohio let's talk. But I gave them my business card anyway and said, hang onto this, I think you might be calling me in the near future. Then we went home.
About six months later sure enough, my phone started ringing. And then it rang and rang and rang. On one day I actually got 10 properties from a bank to liquidate. It was crazy. I rode the REO wave for five years.
And now I have the same hunch about the demise of the current real estate brokerage model and the rise of the online 100% commission model.
Now my goal is to create the most user-friendly online 100% commission real estate brokerage for agents and teach them to be independent thinkers to make their business flourish that way it should.
In the next blog I will answer the question; "Why aren't all real estate companies 100% Commission Brokerages ?"
Ronny Santana - Broker / Owner
California's Premier 100% Commission Brokerage
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