eXp Realty, The Real Estate Cloud Brokerage, is one of the fastest-growing global residential real estate companies, and the largest by geography in North America. The international LLC was founded in 2009 by Glenn Sanford and is a subsidiary of eXp World Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPI) which currently has a market cap of well over $7.4 billion—indicated by the hockey stick growth of its stock over the last year.
After discovering the cutting-edge technology, community, and culture behind eXp’s rise, I decided to join them this year as a trading services representative—a side of the industry I’ve become very familiar with in my experience building lead generation marketplaces.
For those that know me, I’ve spent a considerable amount of my professional life leveraging technology to solve meaningful problems. I come from a mentality of remote-first environments, and have experienced the by-product of reduced capital costs and increased productivity. eXp is a fully distributed virtual brokerage, and if you’re not one of the 43,000+ agents within that world, you might not realize the impressive scale of this global organization, particularly in the business of “real estate”. Naturally, I was drawn to their tech-forward approach, and how they espouse core values of agility, collaboration, and innovation.
Businesses that were nimble in adapting to the WFH environment during the pandemic have experienced rocketship growth at unprecedented levels, which we are seeing across a number of essential verticals in education, e-commerce, and real estate. Perhaps you can call it a ten-year overnight success, but as the saying goes, luck is when preparation meets opportunity. During the Great Recession in 2007-09 when the housing market crashed, Sanford, who was a top producing broker himself, understood that the real estate industry was in need of massive reinvention.
It wasn’t until 2016 that the Virbela platform was adopted as its virtual solution. Virbela is the first virtual world platform designed specifically to solve the challenges of remote collaboration. Its founders are organizational psychologists by trade and describe both social and emotional connections as the key to high-performing remote teams. Happiness, safety, and health are core tenets in Virbela’s mission statement, and that focus typically bodes well for the people that spend a significant portion of their lives engaged with such a workplace (or product that optimizes for happiness).
Akin to SimCity, or IMVU (created by the author of the Lean Startup, Eric Ries), your virtual self is in the form of an avatar. Customizable to your liking from head to toe.
I’ve previously written about my love for re-creating cities in simulations, but to be immersed in such a world in my professional life, is something I couldn’t have even imagined. Now, of course, there are things you don’t see every day, like a transaction coordinator running frantically into the ocean, however, I was never one for a dull workplace that takes itself too seriously.
Within the cloud campus, you have access to the best resources and training in the business. If you opt not to run around and work up a virtual sweat, you can fast-travel to any location on the map. The campus is where agents from all over the world meet, which solves the absence of serendipity in a typical WFH environment. A green dot indicating online status is one thing, but you truly feel the presence of a crowd in a digital auditorium when you see all the animated 3D avatars.
eXp has been ranked on Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work List for four consecutive years, with reviews averaging an overall rating of 4.7 stars, which is significant, given a platform with anonymous users. Beyond the generally positive sentiment toward the company, what really strikes a chord with me is eXp’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The company recently expanded to 4 new international locations this year; Puerto Rico, Brazil, Italy and Hong Kong. Although I’ve only been to Hong Kong, I really look forward to travelling again, and it’s gratifying to know I can find peers and professional opportunities in a variety of destinations around the world.
Growth within the organization isn’t linear. You can generate income from multiple sources; among them, their Agent Equity Program, Agent Attraction, and of course the bread and butter of how you offer traditional trading services. It is a brokerage after all, but a global one and not a franchise, which naturally offers better splits and incentives based on the virtual infrastructure. Sponsor awards are issued to agents that directly attract another agent upon the sponsored agent’s first completed transaction. If you choose to enroll in their Agent Equity Program, you can get paid 5% of every transaction commission with EXPI stock issued at a 10% discount.
One of my anchors in life has been to never stop creating, despite any setbacks or rejection. Nobody can prevent you from learning, applying yourself, or making something you know other people want. You can’t anticipate when new opportunities might come along that you couldn’t have factored in prior.
The right synergy of real estate and technology is something I am truly passionate about and answers the question of what I would do even if I knew it wouldn’t work out. As in the need for reinvention of the real estate industry, vision takes time to develop and materialize—though I’ve come to the realization that you don’t need the manifestation to experience that joy.
[Disclaimer: I am an independent contractor with eXp, and these views are my own and not those of the Company.]