A new real estate brokerage launching in Quebec this month is betting that the future of the industry is in the cloud.
Although it’s in the property business, eXp Realty maintains no bricks-and-mortar offices. Brokers under the banner access all the tools of the trade online, including training sessions.
Competitors include redfin.com, which launched in Toronto and Vancouver earlier this year, and compass.com, which is only active in the United States.
According to information on its website, eXp was founded in 2009. In 2013 it had fewer than 280 brokers in the United States, but the company has aggressively expanded since then, growing to 8,000 brokers last year, and surpassing 20,000 in North America in June.
The company launched in Canada about a year ago and now has over 500 brokers operating in four Canadian provinces (Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Saskatchewan).
Leading the charge in this province is Quebec native Donna Dalonzo, a broker with over two decades of experience in real estate. She said eXp Realty recently began operations in Quebec at the end of July.
For Dalonzo, who previously co-owned and operated RE/MAX and Keller Williams franchises in Quebec, not having a bricks-and-mortar office to commute to was a key selling point. She said many brokers prefer to work out of a home office or to rent their own office space, and have come to prefer accessing materials and resources online.
“An agent does not have to go into the office these days,” she said. “We have coaching and training that goes on every single day, and an agent can join the live class from wherever he is in the world.”
The company’s rapid growth in North America and expansion into Canada is part of an ambitious plan to go global. Plans are in the works to launch the brand in three more Canadian provinces, as well as in Australia and the U.K. by the end of the year, Dalonzo said.
“I haven’t seen rapid growth like this ever, and I’ve been in the business 25 years,” she said.
Dalonzo said eXp offers realtors many of the same services and tools they would expect from other agencies, but at a much lower price because the company doesn’t have office expenses.
“In a nutshell, a broker that comes over to eXp pays way lower fees, gets daily live coaching if they want it, they receive stocks, revenue share, and a free website — a complete website, not just a page — and a lead generation system with a CRM (customer relationship management system) attached to it. There’s a lot of value,” Dalonzo said.
Details of the pricing for brokers are outlined on eXp’s broker recruitment website, buildingbetteragents.com, which claims that top-producing brokers could save tens of thousands in brokerage fees annually.
Looking at the incentives for brokers, it’s clear that broker-to-broker recruitment is driving much of this growth. When an eXp broker lures someone from another agency to the company, or recruits a new agent, he or she not only receives stock in the company but also earns a percentage of all the revenue earned by the new broker. The company also offers stock to brokers when they make their first transaction each year and hit their annual commission cap.
Like other real estate brokerages, eXp is subject to provincial regulations, which in Quebec are overseen by the OACIQ (the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec).