As experts in real estate, eXp Realty knows when physical space is a must—and when virtual worlds can replace and even outpace the constraints of an office. Some of this wisdom was hard-earned during the Great Recession of 2007-9, but much of it was instinctual for Glenn Sanford, founder of eXp Realty.
“When the housing market crashed in the aughts, it was clear that real estate needed to reinvent itself,” explains Sanford, “and how we conducted business at eXp was under our control. A virtual world gave us a strong start, while responding to what the industry really needed, at a time when less agile real estate agencies were failing.”
Sanford adopted Virbela as its virtual solution in 2016. Working closely to imagine a new world for work, the Virbela and eXp teams built eXp World.
Today, 70,000 real estate agents from the US, Canada, and 15 other countries work in eXp World. Since Virbela’s virtual worlds scale to accommodate tens of thousands of users, it’s easy to build business together.
Even in an industry where individual relationships and personal work ethic drive results, eXp agents cite the company as a major factor in their success.
In 2021, the company was named one of the Best Places to Work 2021 - Employee’s Choice among large US companies for the fourth year in a row. Staff and agents gush about work from wifi, work-life balance, round-the-clock support, agent diversity and camaraderie, and cutting-edge technology.
The value of collaboration is indisputable at a company like eXp, where networking and new information are vital to agent success.
Since virtual worlds let companies bring in the best talent from anywhere, eXp is continually elevating its ranks. And, unlike other real estate companies, where office space may limit team capacity, eXp can support new or rising agents at any time.
The cost benefits of a virtual world are key to its ability to develop an exceptional team. Companies in the US can pay between $25 and $75 per square foot of office space annually in many cities. In San Francisco, commercial leases can soar to $13,032 per person per year. In New York City, it’s $14,800.
With the money saved on physical space, eXp invests in attractive compensation, plus training for its agents. The company’s flexibility and forward thinking attracts top agents. The level of support keeps them.
One of the largest residential real estate brokerages in the US, its ranks shot up by ten times between 2016 and 2018. Now, it has more than 70,000 agents. It was important to Sanford that eXp’s growth included its signature agent support.
“As the number of agents in eXp World increases, we’re able to maintain close collaboration, thanks to the scalability of Virbela,” he reports. “Our goal is for each agent to be able to grow their careers alongside the growth of the company. The agent and company growth path are deeply interconnected. We want every single agent and customer we serve to be extremely happy.”
During US business hours, eXp World is staffed, and agents from around the world can get support for real estate transactions, payment processing, IT, and more. The connectivity is similar to how agents might stop by another department’s office in a physical building, but with improved access, because simple tasks can be handled when convenient for agents.
Plus, as its team grows, eXp finds it easier each time to expand into new markets.
Agents who use eXp World have full access to eXp University, an educational program with more than 50 hours of virtual classes each week. Courses like “Grow, Build and Scale with Video” or “Accounting 101” let agents at all levels learn more about real estate, sales, marketing, and finance in English and Spanish.
Meetings and conferences take on the feeling of real-life events, too. In its auditorium, eXp leaders and instructors host training sessions with hundreds of participants. A conference in Q3 2020 featured 12,000 attendees from 35 countries with participants enjoying presentations, breakout conversations, and individual networking.
These gatherings are a fundamental part of team building, but also foster comfort in the virtual world, so that agents use the space for their own conversations or relationship building at any time.
With an expansive virtual space and 24-7 collaborative culture, eXp Realty has designed a company that breaks the typical real estate mold.
In becoming a real estate company with no actual real estate, the result is a renewed focus on the best ways to bring together a global team, while empowering the independent strengths that drive the industry.