By Tiana Baur, Marketing Manager
It’s been a hot minute since we last talked about eXp Realty news. Since we left this topic, it’s as if nothing and everything has changed all at once. The problems and pain points in the industry are still largely the same, but the drive and focus around them have narrowed and brokerages across the nations largely “get it.” Instead of having the urge to shake people into realizing they’re going to be forgotten in a technology-driven world, it’s like all of a sudden, we can have a normal, civilized conversations about it.
What is eXp & what’s their deal?
To recap: eXp Realty is a new kind of real estate brokerage. At eXp, there are no desk fees, no royalty fees, and agents get to keep somewhere around 80-100% of their commissions. What’s more is they offer every single agent the opportunity to buy into the business and become a shareholder.
eXp Realty is growing – and fast. The company increased the number of agents and brokers by 171 percent to 6,511 agents in 2017, compared to their 2,401 agents in 2016.
What’s the latest eXp Realty news?
If you thought eXp Realty was just a phase, you thought wrong. In 2018, eXp more than DOUBLED their agent count, going from 6,511 in 2017, to ending 2018 with over 15,500 agents. Not only that, but their revenue jumped 220% (no, that’s not a typo). The record-hitting number was $500.1 million. We should note that their net loss, however, remained steady at $22.4 million. By the end of 2018, eXp had closed 74,678 residential transactions, up 195 percent year-over-year.
So yeah, you could say eXp Realty is doing something right, or a lot of somethings right – but that doesn’t mean they haven’t attracted some haters along the way. Gary Keller said some things about their tech, specifically that it has antiquated feel, and I quote, “It’s old game technology. That’s their digital cloud-based platform. Old gaming technology. All you have to do is go look at your Sony PlayStation, or your Xbox, and then go look at that — it’s like you’re looking at Donkey Kong or Pac-Man technology.”
While any successful business (or any successful person for that matter) attracts haters, they typically attract plenty more lovers, as is the case with eXp. Agents are straight up flocking to the brokerage faster than snowbirds flock to Palm Springs or Florida. What does this mean for traditional brokerages now? Surely everyone sees eXp Realty is here to stay, so what are the steps needed to not only compete, but to thrive in a time where new-age brokerages are winning?
How traditional brokerages can compete.
Happy agents don’t leave their brokerage. Frustrated agents do. Agents are leaving their brokerages because they have issues that are going unsolved or a general lack of support that they’re searching for elsewhere. The best way to combat brokerages like eXp is to support your agents in ways that you have been hesitant to in the past.
Here are some ideas to start with:
Your brokerage’s brand is everything. It’s how the communities you serve know you, it’s the face of your company, and the reason repeat and referral business is such a big part of your brokerage’s revenue. But agents are the ones out there culminating and nurturing that brand, so helping them build their personal brand will only reinforce the brand your brokerage has built.
Remember: your agents picked your brand for a reason. They are not trying to run from it, they are simply trying to grow their own business (they are independent contractors after all), so limiting brand scalability is a major no-no. If an agent wants to start a podcast, support it. If an agent wants their own logo, support it. It’s these little gives that will keep them there.
How about supporting the one thing that’s most important to an agent’s business? Listing support is an up and coming strategy, so getting in early will differentiate you from the competition. Try co-marketing with Promote – you pay for part of the ad spend on their listing and an agent can choose to add more monetary power behind it. Your agents see you’re supporting them, which is a major win. In addition, with co-marketing, there are no minimums and you select your own budget for however much or little you’d like to spend.
Agents need to have one place they can go to for everything. They need to be able to connect multiple MLSs to their tools, integrate their website, have a solid reporting dashboard, connect their CRM, CMA, intranet, client data, and more all in one place. If you’re not providing your agents with a solid tech stack to grow and scale their business, then that’s the first place you need to start. A solid tech stack that is built on an open platform is really the bare minimum when it comes to agent recruiting and retention. The more delicate matters like culture, a welcoming atmosphere, and helping agents find unlimited opportunities, are next.