Cloud-based eXp Opens Virtual Real Estate Training Hub

Get a look inside the five-year-old public company’s newly launched immersive training and technology campus, open to all real estate practitioners.

April 2, 2015

Imagine taking a stroll through a coastal beach campus where the sun is always shining; you walk past an open amphitheater full of real estate pros listening to a panel of experts discuss the latest industry trends. Agents convene in rooftop meeting rooms and share ideas on interactive screens in the walls. And you can travel from one area to another through a teleport.

This anecdote may sound like a sci-fi world, but it’s where 520 real estate agents in 30 states and two Canadian provinces go to work every day. This is eXp Realty’s cloud-based brokerage office and newly launched education campus.

The company, which launched in 2009, is based in the virtual world. Agents and visitors enter the space through a website — office.exprealty.com — where they create an avatar controlled through their keyboard and communicate with their computer microphone. The feel is reminiscent of a first-person, immersive video game: think the online game Call of Duty, but instead of shooting bad guys, you’re attending meetings and filing paperwork.

“Working the magic” was once the status line that eXp founder and Chief Executive Officer Glenn Sanford used when he was away from his computer, but the saying has followed him throughout his career in more ways than one. His five-year-old brokerage is now turning a profit. After posting a net loss of $1.12 million in 2013, the company was in the black with a $104,000 profit in 2014. Growth has helped. Company sales went from $344 million in 2013 to $505 million in 2014, and they added about 35 percent more agents.

“One of the reasons why brokerages aren’t profitable is because of their bricks and mortar,” says eXp President Jason Gesing. “This demonstrates our ability to be profitable as a result of our technology.”

One can say that 2014 was good to eXp. It was the brokerage’s first full year as a public entity. In 2013, eXp bought and merged into a shell public company. Today, the leadership team answers to its agents and brokers, who are now shareholders. As of March 31, the company had 78 stockholders on record with shares running about $0.43 apiece.

Gesing predicts that eXp will double its sales force this year with almost no advertising, ending 2015 with close to 1,000 agents — and 10,000 by 2020. He adds that company growth is organic, propelled mostly by word of mouth.

In January, eXp hired Brad Andersohn, Zillow’s former outreach manager and director of Zillow Academy, to head up its new training and support campus, which is open to all at campus.retechcampus.com. Need help with your CRM system? Can’t get into your Gmail? The campus offers tech support for any real estate pro, regardless of affiliation. The goal is to create an industrywide resource and training center.

“I can do more training, more in a workshop, and more with attendees than in a traditional webinar,” Andersohn says. “This platform is going to open so many doors for agents who need support.”

The campus is open 24/7; however, there are limitations to the number of avatars that can enter the space at one time. eXp supplements its live trainings with Google Hangouts, streaming video, and recorded archive sessions.

“We’re definitely pushing the envelope on use of this type of technology,” Sanford says. Even among other industries and government entities, there’s nothing quite like it. Sanford and his team have worked to create an interactive culture in the cloud environment so that agents far and wide can collaborate and avoid isolation.

“We have a good group of people who love what they’re doing and want to encourage each other and grow their businesses,” says Gesing. “There’s a willingness among people within the company to look at new things and try them out.”

eXp offers 30 hours of live training each week in the cloud office and now in the new campus. It also holds leadership meetings as well as coaching and goal-setting sessions, and managing brokers meet with their agents there.

And as the company continues to grow, the cloud space will grow as well, Gesing adds. The newly redesigned virtual office already has a larger capacity than its previous version. They made it more open air and aesthetically pleasing, hence the seaside views.

“If we do our job well, I think we’ll be the architects of what the real estate industry will look like in the future,” says Gesing.

For a complete eXp campus event calendar, visit retechcampus.com.


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