Eye on the Future

Tech leader Craig Mirambell won’t let his interest in bright, shiny objects keep him from making smart spending decisions.

Some brokers slashed business expenses during the Great Recession. Others trimmed around the edges. Guest editor Craig Mirambell of Metairie, La., did neither.

He opened New Orleans–based Mirambell Realty as a solo practitioner in 2006, on the heels of Hurricane Katrina and the eve of the prolonged economic crisis. What might have seemed like doomed timing came with two silver linings: the tremendous upsurge in sales activity and new construction that followed the 2005 storm and the chance to ramp up slowly and mindfully as the economy struggled.

Today, Mirambell Realty has 18 agents and annual sales totaling $40 million in a market where the median home price is $210,000. Although the recession didn’t hit him as hard as it did others, Mirambell says this issue’s “After the Cuts” held particular resonance for him as a brokerage owner. The article looks at lessons learned from the recession and examines how brokers are adjusting as markets stabilize. His biggest takeaway: “It’s important not to wait for a downturn to cut costs if necessary,” he says. “You have to study your own profit and loss statements constantly.”

As his team has grown, Mirambell has toyed with the idea of opening a second office. The article reminded him to proceed with caution. “I’d have more exposure with a satellite office,” he says, “but we’re not an office-centric company. Our agents usually work remotely.”

In his recruiting, Mirambell looks for agents who aren’t afraid of change, and he has made a concerted effort to keep the brokerage ahead of the curve. The company has essentially been paperless from the get-go. All transaction documents are stored in the cloud and accessible from any device.

Currently, he has his eye on Matter-port’s $4,500 3-D camera, which enables virtual walkthroughs. (Think Google Street View but inside a property). He’d be the first in his area to have it. “If other brokers get one, it loses some value,” Mirambell says. In the not-too-distant future, he envisions buyers taking hologram-like listing tours with their own furniture displayed in rooms, noting it’s important to look forward, not back.

Wendy Cole

Wendy Cole is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.