The Real Estate Office of the Future - TODAY!

Real Estate Agent with Fathom Realty West Sound WA State 52404

Just recently, here on ActiveRain, I posted an article that was featured entitled "Are Brick & Mortar Real Estate Offices Becoming a Dinosaur?"

The comment stream was wonderfully stimulating and thought-provoking, even better than the article itself!

This article was actually a condensed 'teaser' post based on an article that I had published a day earlier on GeekEstateBlog entitled "Real Estate Outside the Box: Questioning the Value of Brick & Mortar"

Which leads me to pose yet another question that inquiring minds want to know:

If You Were Designing the Real Estate Office of the Future, What Would It Look Like?

My basic premise for asking this question is two-fold:

  1. The majority opinion from my previous articles clearly indicated a shift away from a traditional brick & mortar real estate office environment. If that's the case, where are we heading?
  2. My Brokerage, Keller Williams West Sound, is currently involved in opening up a location here in Kitsap County WA, so your input/ideas may actually get incorporated into what we do!

So if you were opening an office (would it have to be an office, per se?), what would you do differently than what you already have?

Keep in mind that this space needs to be both agent-friendly and consumer-engaging. Agents/Brokers need a place to plug-in, print out copies, scan documents, meet with clients, etc. Consumers need something to draw them in, engage them, offer relevant value, and encourage repeat visits.

How big of a space would you need? What basic elements/furnishings would you have? What features would you provide for your agents/brokers? What kind of space would you create for consumers/clients? What information/takeaways would be of most value to them?

I am anxious to see what the collective creative braintrust of ActiveRain can come up with!

~   o   ~   o   ~   o   ~   o   ~   o   ~


Rich Jacobson is a licensed real estate professional with Keller Williams West Sound, providing knowledgeable empowerment and relentless representation for his clients of residential properties and vacant land throughout all of Kitsap County WA and portions of Pierce, Mason, and Jefferson Counties. You can also find him at KitsapLifeSoundBiteBlog, and Crabbing in the Hood, or e-mail:

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Rich Jacobson is a District Director for Fathom Realty and a licensed REALTOR®; an avid Crab Hunter, Clam Digger, and Oyster Shucker, He is the Social Media Evangelist for Life on the Kitsap Peninsula & The Western Puget Sound in scenic WA State.


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Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

I'd love to work from my home ENTIRELY. The state licensing dept has some say so a place to hang my license so those regs need to be changed

Oct 20, 2011 12:40 AM #1
Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker
Janisch & Co. - Conroe, TX
Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you!

I did actually see a real estate storefront in a grocery store a few months back.  Silly me..... I thought it was a little strange..... but then again I'm from the old school.


Oct 20, 2011 12:49 AM #2
marti garaughty - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type...

garaughty, abstract art, illustration, graphic design, branding

Oct 20, 2011 03:37 AM #3
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Rich -- should be consumer-centric, inviting and interactive.   Small enclosed flexible private places for agents/brokers to meet clients/prospective recruits as well as a resource room where agents could do the things that must be done back-office.

Oct 20, 2011 03:54 AM #4
Donna Malone
Waterfront, Luxury, Family, Affordable, Cottage, Deals - Bridgewater, NS
Homes and Property for Sale Nova Scotia

Rich, I love the design of the mall kiosk photo. It allows prospects to browse without pressure. Perhaps the new office is not one space. Maybe it's a two part facility, something that is interactive like the mall kiosk and a component that provides office support for agents.

Oct 20, 2011 07:17 AM #5
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Rich, I have long thought that the idea of having a Real Estate Kiosk in a major shopping mall would be a great idea.  I would love to see some statistics on how the firms that have tried that... have done.  Do you have any statistics on how well such kiosks have done ?

The photo in your post looks very engaging, and very welcoming.

Oct 20, 2011 09:28 AM #6
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Karen:  I don't have any concrete stats. The kiosk that I've pictured is the one that Windermere set-up in the Kitsap Mall here in Silverdale. IMHO it's one of the best investments of time versus more traditional floor time. It's a great place to connect with people you know and meet new folks. I am closing on a deal next month that came as a result of this kiosk. Much depends on the vibrancy of the mall, it's location, and the manner in which your staff 'works' the kiosk. Some agents simply sit with the confines, reading a book, texting on their smart phones, while others establish eye contact with passerbys and engage people actively.

Oct 20, 2011 09:40 AM #7
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

An open bar with a big screen TV.  I will do floor time on Sundays and Monday Night.   

We can really talk about "Functional" and use words like that but what do they mean.  First off the clients need very comfortable seating.  They should also have table space to look things over.  I think it would be helpful to have a screen available facing the client where the agent could show homes on line as he searches.  Then you only print out the ones the client wants to see.  There should be water and light refreshments for the clients.  Many will end up spending more time on site than they planned.

Other than time meeting with the client at the office the agent needs to be mobile.   I have heard they have Touch Pad computers that can also function as a lap top - this is the wave of the future.  Sometimes you just need a keyboard.  We need very small printers and scanners with us.  Perhaps something like a clip board size where the clip board is also a lid over a small box.  The box can hold the paper and you can print on site.  

Lastly I love docusign.  But I want to skip the entire e-mail side of it and have a set up where clients can sign ditigally on my note book or phone.


Just some thoughts. 

Oct 20, 2011 09:53 AM #8
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Gene:  Some really great and thoughtful contributions to the conversation. I agree, that many times what we say we want and what we actually 'need' can be hugely different.

Oct 20, 2011 10:07 AM #9
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

The kiosk just seams to cry out....Amature to me.  Not enough quiet and a chance for to many interuptions.

For Wallace, I am suprised that you have to have a place to hang your shingle...I work completely from home as do the agents inder my care.

Oct 20, 2011 02:45 PM #10
Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986.
eXp Realty, Victoria BC - Victoria, BC
Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490

HI Rich,

It is a huge questions that would take hours to fully and appropriately answer, as there are just way to many issues to consider to give it the directions and suggestions it would require.

In my humble opinion, it very much depends on the type of organization you want to develop and the culture you want to nourish.

If you want to chat about it, I would be very happy to do so at your convenience (I have created, owned, bought and managed a number including 3 different kiosks)

Oct 20, 2011 03:05 PM #11
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

William in #11... I don't think I would use the word "amateur" to describe the kiosk.  I might call it "brief..." or even "low key."  I think it is a very good example of what it is supposed to be.  Something to pique one's interest... and I think it would do that.  Perhaps it just might not make it in the Mall of America in Minnesota, eh ?

Oct 20, 2011 05:35 PM #12
Jennifer Manchester
Suburban Properties of Charlotte, LLC - Mint Hill, NC
GRI, ePRO, ASP - Broker/Home Stager

Hi Rich:

I don't know if I would say brick and mortar offices are going by the wayside.  Clients still like to know you have an office, that still goes to legitimizing you as a business.  I personally do not like meeting in coffee houses as it seems everyone is eavesdropping on your conversation.  But definitely some flexspace with a conference room or two to meet with clients seems to still be necessary.  I do most of my "office work" at the house, but I find I still need to have a professional space to meet people.


Oct 31, 2011 05:37 AM #13
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Can the company "rent" space in a shared office environment versus the cost of their own space?  How many agents need a full time space to come to?  If you are working with sellers you are meeting at their home not in an office.  If you are working with buyers a flex shared office space in a convenient location will do. 

Nov 03, 2011 12:45 PM #14
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