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James Thornton (NextRE) Real Estate Agent



James Thornton
location_on Gladwyne, PA — NextRE
Get to Know James Thornton

I am passionate about the real estate business. I grew up around the construction business when I worked as a plumbers helper for local 690 summers while in High School.  I operated a construction company for approximately 25 years.  Working in that industry helped me to pay for my college tuition and afforded me extra income when I taught.  When I graduated college in 1976, I took a major cut in pay to become a school teacher, teaching Industrial Arts Woodworking in South Philadelphia.  Taking such a cut in pay made me eligible for an affordable housing program that  totally rehabbed existing homes and offered them for sale for about one-third the cost of renovation.  I was able to purchase a newly renovated home that came with a vacant lot behind it where I was one of the few in South Philly who had the luxury of off street parking.  I could walk the three blocks to work and I was grateful for the opportunity to own a brand new renovated home for such an affordable price.  I became active with the community organization that offered  the affordable housing and sat as a volunteer on their board for four years until I married and moved to Denver where my wife had received an academic grant and a new job.  My interest in affordable housing led to the purchase of a condemned building in Denver that I converted from 29 studio apartments to 10 brand new two bedroom affordable housing rentals.  I was helped back in Philly when I was introduced to and became the owner of a new affordable home and now ten families received brand new renovated units with state of the art appliances with energy efficient heating and air conditioning units that were well insulated.  I ran my company until about 1998 when a client who had $107,000 worth of work performed after a tree fell on her home decided to keep the final $72,000 check from the insurance company.  I earned a real estate license years before but only dabbled part time in real estate up to that time.  I paid off all the vendors, paid off my employees and subcontractors and began to work full time in the real estate business.  I found that I really enjoyed meeting so many interesting people, their families and became quite fulfilled working full time in the industry.  I found that I received great personal satisfaction working as a problem solver for buyers and sellers.  When you are helping individuals and families with what might be the largest financial transaction in their life, you have the duty and responsibility to get it right.    I have been fortunate having had the opportunity to work in both the expensive high end markets as well as lower priced markets.  Construction was profitable but you did not have the opportunity to work with enough different people.  I am a people person.  I love meeting new people.  Real estate sales allows me to meet so many different types of people from so many different places and makes me feel much more connected. 


I represent buyers and sellers in the Philadelphia region and New Jersey shore that includes many of the towns in Delaware, Montgomery, Chester, Bucks, and the New Jersey shore resort areas.  I have a summer home in Ocean City, New Jersey and will often hold open houses on Sundays wearing a pair of shorts or showing buyers bayfront and oceanfront homes by boat.  When I purchased our family shore home in Ocean City, the realtor Joe Scafario would take out buyers on his boat with beer for the buyers and most of the time he wore sandals, surfer shorts and a Ron Jon T shirt.  Buying our home from him escalated my idea of the perfect occupation.  Fun in the sun, great people and a marketplace with happy buyers who love the shore. 

I created a web site for sellers who are upside down on their mortgage, owing more to a lender than their homes are presently worth and for individuals who want the services of a realtor but want the opportunity to sell their home themselves.  www.2percentcommission.com which will be undergoing a web site make over during the summer of 2011 offers sellers the opportunity to hold open houses twice a month and if they are the procuring cause of the sale of their home they can participate in a real estate program that can save them much of the commission charged by their agent.  For example, if you hire a realtor to list your home, both the seller and realtor agree to the total commission offered.  Participating agents offer the seller the opportunity to have the marketing program of the agent they signed their listing agreement with to be in full force while at the same time the sellers are performing open houses twice a month.  A race between the sellers and their agents begins.  If the agent brings a ready, willing and able buyer who presents an offer accepted by the seller then the seller pays the full commission as agreed in the listing agreement.  If the seller procures the buyer then the commission is lowered to a 2% total.  To participate in this program the seller pays a non-refundable 1% of the sale price up front or if they choose not to pay 1% up front then the seller agrees to pay an extra 1% fee at closing above the base commission.  This option gives the seller motivation to hold the two open houses a month and to get instant feedback from potential buyers at the open houses, affords the seller the opportunity to pay as little as a total of 2% commission and gets sellers to participate as a team member in the marketing process. 


Jim is a realtor in Pa. and NJ. His favorite hobby is volunteering at his daughter's non-profit at www.sustainableurbandevelopment.org Be a volunteer! Check out my daughter's blog!