A new national agency concept - eXp UK - has told Estate Agent Today that its recruitment schedule is running “well ahead of expectations”.
eXp UK is an agency brand with roots in the US but an independent operation in the United Kingdom led by Adam Day, a veteran of three online estate agencies.
An announcement about the agency was made in June but formal recruitment only began towards the end of September - just three weeks ago.
“I’ve got 22 agents signed up and another 11 being on-boarded now. So as of today that’s 33 and we believe that figure will be 40 by the end of October” Day has told EAT in an exclusive interview.
So far most of the eXp UK sign-ups have been individual agents operating on a freelance basis - all of them are experienced agents, some of them from Purplebricks and Yopa and others from High Street agencies.
eXp UK allows agents to keep up to 70 per cent of their commission if certain targets are met; the firm offers each agent a personalised website for their patch, plus technical back-up, lead generating and instant valuation tools as well as a CRM system.
There is no guaranteed bricks-and-mortar office or hub, although the freelance agents are encouraged to set up their own branch office if they wish.
Whether operating from an office or from their home, the eXp UK agents are networked with the parent company through PropTech.
Critically eXp agents can decide their own fees: to date, all of them have chosen the traditional High Street model of fees ranging from 1.0 per cent to 1.5 per cent, and on a no-sale no-fee basis.
Day founded one of the early online agencies, Hatched, which was eventually bought by Connells; he then joined easyProperty in 2017 before moving on briefly to the original Emoov online agency in 2018.
But he insists that eXp is absolutely not at all like an old-school online agency - and the business model is flexible enough to embrace traditional High Street firms. “We’re in advanced negotiations with an agency with nine branches and another with four” he says.
Day envisages that High Street agencies could keep their existing branch network but could expand into a new area with an eXp UK agent - this would be under the firm’s brand name but would involve a freelance agent not necessarily working from an office as he or she developed the business on the new patch.
“Then after a year or two, it might be obvious to the company and to staff agents that the agents working under the eXp banner are making more money because of our business model. Then the company might reduce its branch network.
“We’re in an era when there’s enormous pressure on fees, and at the same time a branch that is on Rightmove and Zoopla, has salaries and cars and office costs will involve spending thousands and thousands a month. eXp offers the scope for growth without those extra costs, or reducing costs and existing agencies operating in a new way.”
eXp - which already has over 19,000 agents using a similar business model in the US and Canada - is having a formal UK launch event in London in mid-November.