My journey as an NJ Realtor began several years ago. It’s been just over a year since I left my Remax brokerage in Manalapan, N.J. – my safety net of almost 9 years. It was time to follow my heart, trust my gut and become part of the buzz I was hearing about… eXp Realty. One year later, I’m ready to tell the story of my professional evolution, from why I made the switch to my vision for the future.
It’s important to note right from the start – I wasn’t looking for another brokerage. I was very happy at Remax and with my broker and office. I joined Remax in 2010 after leaving Keller Williams. I was having my best year yet. The last thing on my mind was making a major switch to another brokerage.
I know. You’re wondering why I would try to fix something that wasn’t broken.
The short answer – I was intrigued. Over the previous few years, I was hearing from various agents about this “new cloud-based brokerage”. However, much of the information being shared was from overly-excited eXp agents who weren’t able to effectively communicate the full picture of eXp Realty and what it had to offer. What I envisioned and thought I understood about joining eXp was that I would not be able to have an office space, I would be harassed by other eXp agents to recruit new agents and I would be isolated with no support or communication except via “the cloud”. I could not have been more wrong and misinformed.
In late August 2018, I was speaking to another agent in Texas and he told me he recently joined this amazing new real estate company – eXp. I told him I had heard about eXp but had no interest in joining. He then said, “Do you know Jay Kinder and Mike Reese?” Of course, I did. I had been a part of their coaching company, Kinder Reese, for years and it was the best business decision I had made to date. As a result of their training and coaching, my business was taken to the next level. He then informed me that Mike and Jay recently joined eXp as well.
That was when I knew I needed to seriously research and learn more about eXp Realty. Having been an NJ Realtor for almost 13 years and coached by many different industry professionals, the training, tools, and resources I gained through Kinder Reese Coaching far surpassed any other program. Mike and Jay were always ahead of the industry and knowledgeable about what was to come. From there began endless hours of research, discussions with Jay Kinder, and collecting feedback from other eXp agents across the country. I utilized Facebook to search for posts about eXp, watched countless videos and Facebook livestreams and read every blog and article I could find. I truly had “eXp insomnia”! Here is 1 of the videos that kept me up at night! (I will provide additional videos at the end of this blog). During those weeks of intense research, I found myself hoping to stumble onto something negative that would keep my roots planted. I truly did not want to go through the heartache of leaving a company and office where I was so comfortable and restructure my business under a new brokerage.
Over the next few months, as much as I felt a switch to eXp Realty was right for me, I continued to look for reasons not to join. Yet the more I researched, learned and understood, I realized what an amazing opportunity it was. But I was terrified. I feared the unknown, feared the consequences of leaving behind what was safe and comfortable, and hesitant to step outside my comfort zone. Anxiety took over, as I was afraid of leaving a reputable real estate brokerage like Remax for a virtually unknown company.
In early October, I made the decision to get away for a few days with my daughter and we traveled to St. George, Utah, to see my brother run a marathon. The goal was to clear my head and finally make a decision. I continued to ask myself the question “If everything is going well, why would I make such a change?” The answer was that I needed to grow and challenge myself. While I am not the most religious person, I do believe in God and this was a time in my life when I needed help from him and the universe. I decided to ask God for a sign if I was making the right decision by joining eXp. Right before we left for the airport to come back to New Jersey, I looked out the window and saw this – the first double rainbow I’ve ever seen in my life. The sign from God could not have been clearer.
I had my answer, but remained terrified. I entered the real estate business in 2006 and in doing so, I took a big leap of faith back then too. Prior to that I was in medical sales and enjoying the six-figure salary, company car and all the benefits that came with it. However, I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing and I knew there was more for me. Medical sales was not my destiny. Back in 2006, I was selling my townhome and buying a new home, and the experience with my realtor was less than impressive. I enjoyed the process from start to finish and knew I could do a better job and provide more value than I received from my realtor. It was a difficult decision to surrender my stability and step into the crazy world of real estate – but I did it. I reminded myself that if I could take the risk back then and completely change my career path, I could certainly take a chance with eXp Realty. However, the fear remained that without the Remax brand behind me, I would lose the business I had spent so much time and energy building and clients would not want to work with me without a “name” behind me. I struggled with confidence and faith in myself and believing it was me my clients wanted and not the brokerage name.
Yet, I had my answer and knew I had to take the risk.
It was not easy the first few months. Colleagues told me I was making the biggest mistake of my life, a fellow agent told me I was selfish and jeopardizing my families’ financial security, and another agent told me I would never be successful without the Remax name behind me. I also had to explain to clients why I was leaving Remax after so many years and joining a brokerage they had never heard of. I had to appear confident through it all, despite being anxious about my decision. For many of us in real estate, a great deal of our self-worth is wrapped up in the business and our successes or failures determine how we feel about ourselves. I struggled internally the first few months, but was determined to push through, build my confidence and focus on my vision.
It has now been one year since I joined eXp Realty, and before I tell you where I am now in my journey, I’d like to explain why I made the switch. There are countless reasons, but the following are my primary reasons in order of importance:
#1 – COLLABORATION WITH ICON AGENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Joining eXp gave me the opportunity to become part of a team and brokerage where we all have a vested interest in growing the company. I am part of an upline with some of the top agents and teams in the country. I now have access to the best masterminds, boot camps, online training and live training available. I can contact these mega agents for help, to ask questions and brainstorm. Prior to eXp, reaching out to the industry’s greatest minds was literally impossible. Agents in a local market don’t want to share their secrets. With eXp, I’m learning from agents from California to New York City – and they are more than happy to help and share their secrets to success. This is invaluable to me and ultimately my No. 1 reason for joining eXp Realty.
#2 – TOP NOTCH TRAINING & STATE-OF-THE ART TECHNOLOGY
Aside from my upline training and mentorship, I also have company training. eXp is known as an agent-owned cloud brokerage, which means eXp has its own online campus. It’s a virtual world featuring a variety of live classes offered daily by national coaches, trainers, guest speakers and top-producing agents from across the country. eXp’s Director of Education was named among Inman’s “Top 50 Most Influential Online”. The technology provided with eXp is known throughout the industry as the most innovative and powerful – at no additional cost to agents. Some of the tools provided include top tier lead generation software, transaction management, workplace by Facebook, marketing center, CRM and more. Over the years, I have purchased every new “shiny” real estate program out there, wasting thousands of dollars because I never had direction regarding which systems would truly provide value. That has all changed with eXp, as I am provided with the best technology and training available.
#3 – REVENUE SHARE
When I made the decision to join eXp, I had to remove this factor from my decision-making process. I did not want revenue sharing to be a heavily-weighted factor because if I never grew my downline this would be irrelevant. Also, the last thing I wanted to do was become a recruiter. I wanted to focus on my business, provide value to my clients and not spend valuable time trying to convince agents to join. Yet, since joining eXp, I truly believe in the model and the value the company offers its agents. I still don’t have the desire to “recruit” other agents, however, I certainly do want to share the information and opportunity with them because it truly has improved my life both personally and professionally. I have come to understand that the revenue share component can be life-changing for some agents, and I know some eXp realtors who are rewarded every month with 5-6 figure additional income. Now that is a game changer!
To explain the revenue share program:
- It is not profit share, meaning that eXp does not pay all its expenses and then compensate agents with net profit.
- Revenue share is taken off the top, with agents getting paid first.
- If you sponsor an agent into the company, you get paid a portion of the money that agent pays into the company. That money goes to the agents, and not eXp corporate, brokers or franchises.
Understanding this program is vitally important. For years, I was building the futures of brokerages and franchises. eXp Realty does the reverse – they reward agents first to build our futures and families.
#4 – STOCK AND AGENT OWNERSHIP
eXp Realty is listed on the NASDAQ and is a publicly-traded company. Not only do they reward agents with stock, but agents also have the opportunity to purchase stock at a discounted price with each closing. Thus, giving agents ownership in the company and aligning us all together. Both the revenue share and stock provide a legitimate retirement plan. What other brokerages do this?
It’s now one year later. So where am I in this journey? What is my vision and goals for the future? What have I learned and how I am continuing to learn and grow?
This past June, I completed my brokers class and passed my test. I am officially a broker associate. At the end of August 2019, I opened the first eXp Realty branch office in my area and now have approximately 10 agents who have joined me at eXp Realty Central Jersey. Our office culture is supportive, where everyone contributes and is dedicated to building a truly wonderful environment.
My goals moving forward are:
- Continue to grow the office by educating other agents about this opportunity and how eXp is truly different from other brokerages.
- Continue to grow my real estate business and add more value to people’s lives through doing so.
- Take what I am learning through this process and help other realtors grow and build their businesses.
I have learned so much throughout this journey and it’s only the beginning. First and foremost, I have learned that it’s incredibly important to trust your intuition and instincts versus what others try to lead you to believe. People do and say things that might hurt us due to their own insecurities. I have also learned that clients don’t care what brokerage I am with. They care more about the value I personally provide to them. This has taught me to believe in myself more than ever before, value my worth and understand how deeply I care about my clients and their best interests. This experience has taught me that while many say I dream too big, those people dream too small.
I am only at the beginning of this journey. I struggle with patience and wanting everything to fall into place now, but I’m realizing its vitally important to just take a step back and enjoy the journey.
If you have any comments or would like more information about joining us at eXp, please visit www.melissadesantis.work/join. I would love to connect with you.
Want to learn more about me? Click here.
Here are a few more of the videos I watched over & over again while researching eXp Realty: