"We’re simply scratching the floor": EXp CEO on life in a digital world

EVENT UPDATE: Glenn Sanford, CEO and founding father of eXp World Holdings will happen at Inman Join New York from January 28 to 31. Uncover the longer term at ICNY. Click on right here to search out out extra …

It’s nearly unimaginable to guess the variety of eXp Realty brokers at any given time. Actual property brokerage, which operates on a digital cloud, has seen the variety of brokers, revenues and transactions explode every quarter from one 12 months to the following.

However as the corporate evolves quickly, eXp Realty has additionally targeted on launching new ancillary providers and strengthening its expertise stack to assist the ever-increasing variety of brokers who select to droop (nearly) their licenses there.

EXp World Holdings CEO Glenn Sanford will give attendees of Inman Join in New York a glimpse of this digital world on the finish of the month. Previous to the occasion, Sanford met with Inman to debate the digital world of the enterprise, its strategy to constructing expertise, its progress technique and different subjects.

On the finish of 2018, you acquired VirBELA, the editor of your digital world. How did it change the way in which you approached constructing expertise in 2019?

One factor is that we will spend money on the VirBELA platform. Once we have been only a buyer, we primarily used it by means of a [software as a service] licensed and tried to stress them to attempt to enhance various things and do various things. Now [that] we even have the choice to spend money on extra voice servers, we will spend money on testing new issues. So there are a variety of experimental kind actions that we will do now that we weren't doing earlier than.

So, since we acquired VirBELA, we really launched the VirBELA open campus – which we really made a very open house – we created a product referred to as staff rooms that targets everybody who has groups however you realize, actual property groups, creating rooms for them. We now have numerous our brokers and groups who’ve really bought staff rooms to handle their groups. After which we additionally strengthened the gross sales advertising and marketing staff. We work with numerous totally different folks and we must always have comparatively excessive profile shoppers utilizing this platform. Singularity College, which is the group of Peter Diamandis, makes use of the VirBELA platform. We launched it to them final January – a few 12 months in the past – and they also use it, they did XPRIZE stuff right here, so fairly cool stuff.

the digital world of eXp Realty. | Photograph credit score: eXp Realty

Does this imply that you simply assume this expertise can solely be used to assist the actual property trade? Or have we not but touched the floor of what the existence of a digital world may imply for the actual property trade?

Sure, I believe we’re simply touching the floor. One of many issues we're and we'll see if we do it earlier than Inman Join, however we're pondering of the thought of ​​creating an open campus particularly for actual property and actual property expertise corporations, giving them a spot to work and for folks to get in, have a chat with them, see their expertise and in some way nonetheless have a spot for the actual property trade. That is one thing we’re contemplating and we’ll see if we will get some traction on it within the subsequent quarter.

Do you assume now we have began to see different corporations on this trade observe your instance by decreasing the workplace footprint and decreasing the bodily house they’ve?

I don't know the way companies will survive with out contemplating that a part of their enterprise is working with their brokers as a distant workforce. You actually have a variety of stress on the brokerage fee aspect between brokers and brokerage. I believe so long as brokers demand extra providers for much less cash, brokerages must discover a approach to do it.

Have we reached some extent the place the digital world has turn into extra standardized and individuals are very comfy working within the digital world?

I all the time understand that nobody else was utilizing this expertise. [Cynthia Nowak, eXp’s vice president of marketing and communications] is in Seattle, working from dwelling, I'm sitting in a Starbucks, you're wherever you’re, now we have all of our workers and everybody working remotely collectively as in the event that they have been in the identical house and that provides us such a aggressive benefit. I'm simply stunned that no one else is utilizing it.

The expansion was crucial for eXp Realty; the corporate has skilled unbelievable progress by way of variety of brokers and income. Is there some extent the place progress goes to turn into much less targeted, or are we not even near that?

We exploit society to some extent, utilizing the Internet Promoter Rating. [What] By that we imply that we wish to guarantee that we all the time present glorious service to our brokers. Due to this, we realized that brokers would be a part of us. Clearly, now we have a compensation mannequin that’s fairly engaging – brokers can entice by means of it – but when we don't present nice providers, we're not going to develop. Our large factor is basically to supply providers. We made some changes final 12 months, 2019, from the monetary mannequin, we made some changes on the finish of 2018 from the fairness mannequin, and these two are form of designed to assist us obtain web profitability. It's form of the music we targeted on final 12 months, however apart from that, we expect these things has been evolving for fairly some time.

Talking of progress, why take this mannequin overseas when there’s nonetheless a lot market share to be conquered in the US and North America basically?

The cool factor a few mannequin like ours is that opening one other nation isn’t far more difficult than opening one other. State. The transaction, itemizing and sale of actual property, whether or not within the UK, Australia, Canada or different international locations, is a regionally managed enterprise. However the skill to introduce collaborative expertise and have the ability to work throughout international locations, we thought, why not? Within the UK, I believe now we have two or three staff there. We now have two or three staff in Australia, but now we have already added 50 to 100 brokers in every nation in just some months.

With eXp Realty being heavy on the staff mannequin and digital brokerage, there was some regulatory assessment. Is that this an ongoing concern? Do you assume regulators haven’t adopted the brand new trade fashions sufficient?

I believe any firm that grows up with an entire new mannequin goes to be topic to regulatory assessment. We now have seen, clearly, Uber, which is clearly a lot sooner and extra disruptive, however I believe we’ll proceed to see the regulators study extra about us. The cool factor is that when the regulators actually understood us – and now we have seen this occur in a number of states, the place they initially have been like “ this mannequin didn’t haven’t any sense & # 39; & # 39; – as soon as they noticed it in motion they usually noticed how we obtained compliance, the way in which we really work with our brokers, rapidly, they’re really extra supporters than mannequin antagonists. It’s fairly cool as soon as now we have obtained them and as soon as they perceive what we’re doing, how we will change a extra conventional bureaucratic individual or staff to acknowledge that it’s is the longer term.

Glenn Sanford speaks at Inman Join New York in 2019. | Photograph credit score: Kyle Espeleta / Inman

The final time we spoke was if you launched ancillary providers like mortgage, shifting and shutting providers. Plainly this has turn into a brand new frontier for a lot of corporations within the trade in an effort to enhance the transaction expertise. Is it one thing that’s dictated by the buyer or do you assume it’s one thing that the trade is pushing for?

I believe shoppers, if they will get a one cease store, it actually helps. When the buyer works with an agent, basically, he actually doesn’t know which securities escrow firm he’ll use, he doesn’t know the mortgage corporations to a lesser extent. The flexibility to construct a great, strong group of providers that may make it simpler for the buyer, I believe makes good sense. In our mannequin, we all the time focus rather a lot on the selection of the buyer, clearly which is greatest for him, but in addition for the agent to assist the buyer to decide on which is the perfect for the buyer. We don’t dictate to our brokers in any respect that they need to use one in all these providers or promote one in all these providers. We all the time begin from the identical concept that if we don't present nice service in every of those classes, our brokers shouldn't use them. We’re pretty clear about this internally.

For the remainder of this new 12 months, is there something that you simply assume we may see essentially altering the trade?

Admittedly, iBuyers and what Zillow does with its flex program, every little thing else undoubtedly modifications brokerage to some extent. I believe we're nonetheless in just a few years, however I believe if we glance again in 5 years, we're going to begin to see among the programmatic blockchain expertise begin to have an effect on actual property transactions and the way we might deal with the colonies on the outskirts. I’d say that within the subsequent 15 to 20 years, I believe that is in all probability going to make a change as large as something.

What’s the largest menace to the brokerage mannequin on this sector? Are expertise corporations like Zillow, the committee trial, authorities regulators finding out the commissions?

I believe the entire above has sure ranges of impression. I’m not actually involved with the entire above. I believe Zillow will proceed to alter the trade, simply the way in which they function. I believe prosecutions in committee are attention-grabbing, however to alter a whole trade, I believe the [Department of Justice] and others ought to settle for the truth that they need to disrupt an necessary engine of the financial system for a sure time period to impact any type of vital change. I’m not very involved for the time being about vital impacts apart from the financial system itself. We now have tremendous low rates of interest, now we have a Fed that’s nonetheless successfully supporting the financial system. If the Fed modifications route, I believe that’s after we will see home costs begin to drop and we may see that this may have the best impression on ;to come back up.

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