Perhaps no one in residential real estate brokerage has experienced the kind of growth that Sanford experienced this year, the year of the pandemic. His cloud-based real estate brokerage company eXp Realty (Nasdaq: EXPI) simply exploded in 2020, cementing its transition from an innovative new business model to full-blown real estate brokerage powerhouse.
In 2019, eXp has already risen to the fourth-largest brokerage firm in the nation (2020 Mega 1000) with $36.2 billion in 2019 sales volume, and third in transactions with 130,627 sides. But that was when eXp only had 24,557 agents. EXp World Holdings, eXp Realty’s parent company, ended the third quarter 2020 with these numbers:
- EXp Realty’s agent count grew to 35,877, a 56 percent increase from the third quarter
- A revenue of $564 million, a 100 percent year-over-year jump.
- Gross profit increased 103 percent year-over-year to $46.8 million.
- The company recorded a net income of $14.9 million, making the third quarter 2020 the most profitable quarter in the company’s history.
- Sales volume and transaction sides increased 112 percent and 95 percent, respectively, in the third quarter from the same period in 2019.
In founding eXp Realty and developing its business model, Sanford essentially sought to improve the cap-based model Keller Williams Realty leveraged. The eXp model is supercharged with public eXp stock: agents can take a part of their generous commission split as stock, and they receive stock-based performance and recruiting bonuses as well. That surely contributed in the stock exploding from $11 in January to $81.60 in mid-December. EXPI closed the year at $63.12 and a market cap of $4.42 billion.
EXp’s entirely virtual model also contributed significantly to its amazing growth, as Covid-19 forced real estate agents to work remotely and virtually. EXp agents and teams faced zero disruption, as they were already working in the cloud, in eXp Realty’s 3D virtual world powered by Virbela, which eXp World Holdings acquired in 2018.
And this is just the start for the company as eXp is expanding internationally, with growing numbers of agents in Canada, the UK, Australia, France, India, Mexico, Portugal and South Africa. Sanford also has its sights on becoming a one-stop-shop for customers and making work easier for its agents by providing the highest quality mortgage, title, escrow, and home warranty services.
Sanford not only leads this fast-growing brokerage, he is the largest shareholder and remains firmly in control of the company’s destiny, affirming him as one of the most powerful people in real estate. Prior to launching eXp in 2009, Sanford launched BuyerTours Realty which used a combination of web and traditional bricks and mortar. It could be thought of as a precursor to the all-virtual eXp. Prior to that, he ran a large mega-agent team for KW and was one of its agent leaders for online real estate.