Former NAEA President says that new eXp venture is poised for success in UK

Former NAEA president Mark Bentley has spoken of his belief that newly launched eXp will become a force to be reckoned with in UK estate agency.

eXp is an American brand – with 24,000 agents worldwide – being launched in this country by Adam Day who, after nine years in high street agency, founded online agency Hatched and went on to work at easyProperty and Emoov.

Bentley has always worked in traditional high street firms – but as he points out, “all agents are now online”.

During a distinguished 40-year career, his longest association was with midlands agent Paul Carr, where he spent 22 years, stepping away when he became Propertymark President.

With his presidential year over, he still does occasional project work for the firm through his own consultancy, but is now looking forward to his next challenge –becoming an eXp agent in the New Year. He says this is due to requests from past clients and friends to offer full estate agency services through his consultancy.

Bentley is already working as a consultant for the network, advising the 60 or so agents who have already signed up to it.

As an agent himself, his new business will be twin-branded – Mark Bentley Estate Agent powered by eXp.

All the eXp agents will be branded similarly.

Bentley says it is this branding which will make the new eXp agents stand out in their marketplaces: it will be down to the individuals to promote their services, offering customers their own reputations and know-how.

Bentley says he had a number of choices to consider as his presidential year came to an end. He was approached by local high street firms in the midlands, and he also looked at various hub models.

However, he says: “Although I can see their pluses, I am not convinced that agents are ready to give up all the support services of a traditional branch network to go and work on their own, self-employed, from a hub.”

How will eXp be different? Because, he says, it unites agents under its brand, marketing and software systems.

“It puts the agents first and they are able to charge a proper fee and provide their clients with a much more individual, personal and arguably higher level of service than even high street agents are able to offer,” says Bentley.

The agents ‘meet’ regularly, for support and network, in a virtual campus environment. Agents do not have to pay towards the cost of a brick and mortar office. They can run their business from their home office.

Bentley says: “It sounds gimmicky, but it’s very clever and effective.”

He was attracted to eXp after a couple of visits to the States, in his presidential capacity, where he saw the brand in operation and what he describes as the buzz it generated.

How will this transfer to the UK, given that US estate agency brands have generally struggled to gain traction here? (To be fair, the vice versa case is equally true – UK brands have also struggled in America.)

Bentley acknowledges this could be a problem, and says that agents from US brand Keller Williams are among the recruits to eXp (as are former Purplebricks agents).

However, he says that eXp is sufficiently different to succeed and is ensuring that it fits with UK process, terms and software, etc. It is also, he says, an attractive model to agents, charging a one-off £150 admin fee, plus £150 to £200 a month. After that, agents keep a minimum 70% of their commission.

Other attractions, he says, are that eXp agents get work-life balance; there are no targets, because the agents set their own; and all receive shares in the company.

So, is eXp a franchise? An online agent? A series of local operations?

“We’re not a franchise,” he says. “Agents are not buying into a name as they are, for example, with Hunters, because it’s very much their own name they are investing in, powered by eXp UK

“I would describe the model as a genuine hybrid which combines the best of the high street with the best of technology. I do see it as the future.”

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32 Comments

  1. NotAdoctor32

    Well there is a massive shock, that someone being paid by an organisation thinks they will be successful.

    Any more ‘news’?

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  2. J1

    I think this is really expensive for the agents involved

    Take away 30% of any agents revenue and they will go bust

     

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    1. LordElpus56

      The overheads are lots, lots lower than traditional estate agencies though. If you’re paying out £3-5000 a month in portals, systems and marketing then you’ll go bust if you don’t sell enough property to cover that and the money you need to live off.

       

      The 30% is about the same, or less, than those overheads, and because it’s deducted from your earnings, it’s paid at the back end rather than upfront and directly proportional to your earnings.

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      1. J1

        So you are saying that XP pick up all portal costs for the self employed agents?

         

         

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  3. Cheltenhamproperty98

    Take away 30% of any agents revenue and a large chunk of their normal overheads and the future will be bright. That’s what has happened in the US and the UK will follow.

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    1. J1

      Will they have portal; Pi and equipment expenses ?
      What about holiday pay, sick pay and other benefits too?
      It is hard being self employed when you have always been employed 

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      1. Cheltenhamproperty98

        Will they have portal; Pi and equipment expenses ?
        Just access to a couple of quite well-known portals.
         
        What about holiday pay, sick pay and other benefits too?
        No, in the same way that business owners don’t now.
         
        It is hard being self employed when you have always been employed.
        Life in business is hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

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        1. J1

          What does access mean?
          Do they need to pay for Rightmove and Zoopla themselves if they want to be on them?

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          1. J1

            No reply??????

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    2. Cheltenhamproperty98

      This model certainly won’t be for everybody but it will be for enough people to make it a success.

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  4. 0racle

    Wow…. and, in other news… Paul Smith says Spicerhaart are booming, Countrywide are finished and PB don’t make any profit…. 
    …. next you’ll be telling me Boris votes Tory….

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  5. JimCricket

    Incredible.. give away 30% of your income and part of that huge cut goes towards the cost of paying for a ‘virtual campus’ where people can meet and network. It looks like an American pyramid selling scheme where you can make more money out of ‘recommending’ others to join than actually doing some estate agency. Not a business built on substance.

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  6. fluter

    Are they a disruptor because it wont work unless they say it is? Oh, hang on a sec………..

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    1. AgencyInsider

      “It puts the agents first and they are able to charge a proper fee and provide their clients with a much more individual, personal and arguably higher level of service than even high street agents are able to offer,” 

      Oh dear.

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  7. Property Poke In The Eye

    So you pay Exp £150-200 per month – give away 30% of profit – pay all other expenses and you don’t get any marketing back ie RM/Z/OTM ???? Sorry..can’t see it working

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    1. J1

      30% of turnover

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  8. Woodentop

    “It puts the agents first and they are able to charge a proper fee and provide their clients with a much more individual, personal and arguably higher level of service than even high street agents are able to offer,” says Bentley.

     

    Blimey April the 1st seems to be coming around as regular as clockwork these days. Nuts.

     

    Bentley says: “It sounds gimmicky, but it’s very clever and effective.”

     

    No, it is a gimmick, nothing more than a franchise. All credibility lost.

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    1. Cheltenhamproperty98

      Why is it a gimmick?

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  9. smile please

    First off i wish any individual giving up a salaried role the best of luck, they should be commended for taking a risk.

     

    BUT are they a little naive?

     

    Nobody knows who EXP, Keller Williams etc are (The public).

     

    So how are they going to gain instructions as there will not be many ‘Free valuations’ the answer is networking. But once you have tapped out friends and family, then what? That’s where the proposition falls down.

     

    It is hard enough for an established high street office to win an instruction let alone a chap based a few miles from the property working out of a serviced office (dining room table).

     

    EXP and KW say you should earn what you are worth, charge 1.5% (or whatever you feel) and keep a large portion. Well as above hard enough for a good local estate agent to win the instruction but to get a ‘good fee’ is even harder.

     

    For the owners of EXP or KW its a no brainer, very little outlay and they will take a slice of the pie (pyramid selling springs to mind) but the worker bees will be lucky to make anything close to a full time salary.

     

    Where it could work is for semi-retired individuals, want to sell a few properties a year for a nice holiday. But hey, would you want ‘THAT’ motivated agent selling your property ………

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    1. Keyser Söze

      You make some very good points. Exp are just starting out but let us have a look at how this model is doing under Keller Williams…

      – KW appear to have 5 active market centres (with one due to open in Gatwick soon)

      – The Glawsgow MC seems to have closed? The page is inactive on their website and there does not appear to be any properties listed in Scotland? Has this been reported on?

      – KW have 239 agents across their MCs

      – KW have 174 available properties

      – They have more agents than they have properties

      – I noticed that Tyron Ash, their big name earner, recently left to set up on his own

      This has to come with a huge health warning for anyone looking to leave employment. KW and Exp have been pushing heavily online that this is the future of estate agency. The common theme is why do you as a lister only take 10% commission with an employed role and the company keeps the other 90%. Strangely implying that the other 90% is profit for the company? Most estate agencies would currently be happy operating at a 10% profit margin in the current market so I find this argument very strange.

      I always thought the PB crowd were a comical cult on Linkedin. KW and Exp are even worse with the videos they are peddling!

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      1. Hillofwad71

        Keyser By some quirk   fairydust  has already arrived at KW   in the county of Essex  in the shape of a pair of Headphones and the response has  been well  quite stunning  .

        Although there are only 7 properties for sale in Essex .It’s all relative !

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        1. PeeBee

          Now NINE, apparently. How71… some with rather unseasonal photos for “NEW” listings as per the flashes on the photos…

          …and the vast majority not showing on the portals they state they advertise on!

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        2. smile please

          HOW71
          Do you find it odd the Essex Hub is marketing properties in Lincolnshire? 
          Maybe Quirk is looking to show he has more instructions than he really does?

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          1. Hillofwad71

            He casts his net that wide he probably has a few floating in the Wash

            A bit like Ewemove  Dorking who has picked up  a couple in Cardiff when the franchisee there packed up in the Spring

            Paul Carr look to have come a long way  who originally were more Kingstanding  than Four Oaks Estate .so fair play  to them

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  10. Property Pundit

    Notice how many first time posters jump on this type of thread to big up the topic of discussion?

    Last week we had a chap saying the High Street branch was a relic while promoting his ‘work from home’ business. Same here.

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  11. houseseller

    Track Record…Hatched – easyProperty – Emoov.

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  12. Cheltenhamproperty98

    I have read some negative stuff on this site in my time but nothing compared to this from agents without any idea and therefore just guessing how it will work (or not as they see it). Here is a great business model that worked in the US. 10,000 agents added last year alone, I understand! They tried it Canada and once more it’s working and now UK and Oz. Check it what it’s about before the negativity.

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    1. smile please

      We do have an idea (more than an idea) see above.

      The US, Canadian and Oz markets are very different to the UK’s.

      If you know anything about these markets you will know many of the 1000’s that have a license with these firms use this as a second job, almost like selling AVON. Given you get circa 3% as a selling agent and same again as a buying agent it gives a fairly nice second income to cover christmas or finance a car / have a holiday.

      ‘Soccer Moms’ can sell the other parents properties.

      I am guessing reading between the lines you have signed up for a license.  Maybe a bit more research was needed before jumping in?

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      1. Cheltenhamproperty98

        You obviously believe the Americans have not been bright enough to figure out that the UK model differs from theirs. This company along with Keller Williams have learnt from the mistakes of Remax And Century 21 and are making the necessary changes to make it work here. In the case of KW they have adopted their model now for several countries.

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        1. smile please

          Yes they have learnt from their mistakes, instead of expensive / out-dated franchising and opening of offices they have put the burden of running a business on the shoulders of self employed agents. Adam Day has nothing to lose but everything to gain. 
           
          I wish you well but only THE very best agents will prosper on this scheme and if they are that good there are better options open to them. 

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          1. Cheltenhamproperty98

            Fair enough. I am sure you will agree that only time will tell but for me, careful analysis of the business proposition shows Mark Bentley was right to put his name to this.

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            1. smile please

              Absolutly, i hope i am wrong as said before, i admire people giving up a salary and giving it a go. 

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