>>> FORWARD

Robert Snedden Edwards (Rob)
6 min readJun 26, 2023

This is my corner of the Internet where I share some projects, life lessons, and tips for shortening your time to learning something new.

I am the first branch manager of an eXp Realty “office” in San Francisco. It’s a leased co-working space on Greenwich St in Cow Hollow, right around the corner from Sotheby’s in SF. From this space we are building a network of luxury agents and teams across the country and world — because in the eXp model, the agents can.

The agents control who gets invited to join eXp. We are in control of expansion, not the corporation. eXp is not a franchise. It is also debt-free — both in short-term and long-term debt, and owes nothing to venture capitalists.

Agents own this company. Over 70% of stock is owned by agents and the founder.

If you think you already know everything about eXp, you probably don’t know much — that’s what I’ve discovered while talking to other agents about this new brokerage model. I literally studied eXp for a year from the outside before diving in and switching. Listen to me when I tell you: that’s too long. I wasted an entire year, and I regret it. First things first …

No it’s not a pyramid. And no, it’s not network marketing. That’s what your current brokerage manager is telling you so that you don’t leave them.

Keller Williams founder Gary Keller has been known to stand on stages at his own conferences and denounce eXp as his own deputies and franchise owners left to join. Not exactly the way you keep your entire agent body from focusing on the then-rising competitor.

RE/MAX is known to email one-sheet “truth letters” distorting the eXp model to scare its managers and agents into staying put. Also not a good look.

Compass’s former president Leonard Steinberg produces a daily email on facts and stats and recently included a derisive paragraph about eXp’s agent productivity — not accurate data, nor a good look for the company.

Do not fall into that trap where your brain wants to associate this business model with something you already know. Do not poo-poo, ignore or discount this company just because one small aspect of its operations ever so slightly resembles something else you know (and may not love.)

Instead deploy First Principles analysis and look at eXp’s business model as fresh and original rather than by analogy. It is not multi-level marketing just because one small aspect of the compensation model resembles that.

I have no problems calling out those who will redirect you, lie to you, and otherwise have no interest in your well-being. And there are plenty of old fashion brokerage office managers who are well aware of the powerful elements of eXp and want to hide them from you. They discuss it behind closed doors.

Entrepreneur Alex Hormozi says it best, “Some people in your life just don’t want what’s best for you; they want the version of you that best serves them.” And that’s OK. Just know who is in control when you subjugate your own needs to remain in that place. It’s not you.

_________________

In the old fashion brokerage model there is no exit plan for you. Let alone a retirement plan for anyone other than the executives. You see, the exit plan in place, only benefits them. Because you, the agent, are at the bottom of their pyramid, selling homes, bringing in revenue, and you are being aggregated by the aggregators — the C-suite and the corporate board. This is the pyramid in this story — the brokerage model of the past, of days gone by.

If you learn nothing else on my little page today, just learn this: when you do not have true ownership in a company that you are building, you are just a fundraiser on the CEO’s campaign to wealth. You are the servant. You are also expendable. You might not feel expendable today, but when you stop selling the income stops too. You have no recurring income in the old fashion brokerage model.

That’s a hard pill to swallow, I know. But when that CEO comes to town and you get a big hug or handshake it seems like he will never leave you behind. But here’s the truth: he already has. But that’s another article.

So no matter how cool the company logo is, or how fab the offices, or the lovely receptionist, the pretty dashboard, your parking spot, or the ease of use of that proprietary software, you are still at the bottom of that pyramid. You are being aggregated. And there is no wealth in your future from selling real estate there. No matter your price point of homes you sell. Because it was never about you. The brokerage model that 95% of agents in America are currently participating in provides them no leverage, no method of duplication, and only one source of income: your commission split. And that’s it. You are at the mercy of the economy, the interest rates, and the executives who set your fees (and build all those financial handcuffs into your ICA.)

But there is another way.

A better more generous brokerage model where agents are not disposable, nor told what they can earn, nor asked to stay small. Four percent of agents in the country at eXp agents now. 75,000 roughly — still 100,000 agents shy of Keller Williams, but just surpassed RE/MAX in agent count.

The highlight of eXp, for me, was that agents share with one another. There is no hoarding of best practices. Imagine that. They care about each other — because they invited each other into the company. In fact, agents wait in a queue for weeks to be able to share with others their superpower in our mastermind sessions.

There is unique technology at eXp, yes. Everyone loves our metaverse. It’s your real-time link to support staff. It’s odd at first, but after a few days you realize how genius it is. No texting or emailing and waiting for a response. It’s real time. You speak to people. You don’t have to read (or mis-read) their written words. So efficient.

The company actually white labelled the metaverse and it is used by other industries. Harvard and Stanford stayed open during that first semester of COVID because they were already using it. It is a net positive on the balance sheet. That’s the real genius here.

The founders have chosen not to spend its revenue on building new perilously ephemeral proprietary software that will be outdated within five years (unlike Compass has) and instead leverage all the tech start-ups in the proptech space (property and real estate software). They let the private sector devise the tools, take the risks, perfect them on their own time and dime, and then and only then introduce them to the eXp agents.

eXp then does deals with the best SAAS companies out there to get its agents smokin deals on subscriptions to the best tools. KVCore, Chime, Follow-up Boss, Luxury Presence, and … well there are too many to list.

And when the agents say XYZ is the new new thing that is accomplishing ABC faster, better, smarter, then the company goes out and gets it for us at a serious discount. There are 75,000 agents at eXp — only Keller Williams is larger than eXp now. We have bargaining power. The executives in strategy, data, AI, and growth are super accessible. They want to hear from us. At my prior brokerage it was rare to ever get a call returned when you contacted upper middle management.

__________________

The benefits at eXp are nothing short of revolutionary. Stick with me here. Believe it all, because it’s all true.

Everyone has a $16,000 commission cap. Sell approximtely $3 million in properties anywhere in the world and you’ve likely hit the $16,000 commission cap. eXp takes nothing more from you for the rest of your anniversary year; you are at 100% on every deal.

At every sales level — whether you sell less than a million per year in your small town, or over $25M per year in Malibu — the eXp split model will always let you keep more than at any other other old fashion brokerage. All of them. Every time. I have a spreadsheet to prove this.

The unique client-facing app you may have at your brokerage for searches and collections-of-searches has been replaced already. Zenlist is a private company in San Francisco that has out-done that black-n-white app you think is the best. It was once, but it no longer is. It’s been around for four years already. Who knew?!

So start here. After you’ve watched these videos, contact me for a conversation: https://all-in-sf.com/

--

--

Robert Snedden Edwards (Rob)

San Francisco. Real Estate Agent. City planner. Historian. Birder. Golfer. Surfer. Swimmer. Hiker. Editor. Writer. Donor. Pisces. Lehigh > UCLA > Penn > Harvard