Self-employed estate agency model grows to more than 150 agents in UK

eXp UK, the American estate agency model launched in this country in November 2019, says it now has more than 150 self-employed agents.

Adam Day, who heads the UK operation, said that experienced individuals from different backgrounds have joined, to become self-employed agents looking to grow their own businesses.

Day said: “We only allow experienced agents to join because we want to set agents up for success.

“From my experience within estate agency, agents’ chances of success are much higher when they have experience and are working with other experienced agents. Estate agents in the UK underestimate their abilities and how important they are to the estate agency they are currently employed by.

“As far as I’m concerned, all agents really need, on top of experience, is to believe in themselves, and eXp will help with the rest.”

Agents working with eXp UK earn a minimum of 70% of the commission they generate, and earn up to 99% depending on the number of sales they do within a year, according to Day.

He added: “It’s an exciting business model and we’re growing at an exciting rate, but the agents make it easy for us.

“It’s exciting for both myself and the agents – they’re all great and they seem to love the freedom and autonomy that they get to run their business how they see fit, and I love supporting and watching them grow.”

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29 Comments

  1. AlwaysAnAgent

    As soon as the world returns to normal the invisible back bedroom agents will be drowned out by real high profile branch-based agents. It isn’t difficult to sell the benefits of home working when we’re all being asked to work from home where possible. The only winner is Fagin at the centre of these home-based models taking 30 – 40% of the commission earned.

    Scraping the bottom of barrel for the dregs of the available instructions must be an enjoyable existence. No thank you.

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    1. paths

      The dinosaur brigade has arrived!

      Can you explain how the “real high profile branch-based agents” will suddenly “drown out” everyone else?

      Customers want the best outcome from their sale, which means working with an agent who presents their property in the right way and manages the process effectively. They really don’t care that you spend £x,000 a month to have branch on the high street that no-one went into even before the pandemic.

      The best agents are going self-employed where they can earn multiples of what they do working in an outdated and miserable branch, be creative in their marketing that goes beyond sticking a card in a window, and not be kept in a corporate box wearing a shiny polyester suit.

      If you can’t see this is the way the world is going, you are deluded.

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      1. AgentQ73

        All the points you mention an office based agent can do, plus the other benefits of having an office.

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        1. paths

          Agreed. There’s nothing wrong with having an office if it complements everything else you do. My point (which maybe wasn’t clear) is that the endless bleating on from dinosaur agents about how critical an office is to success is just wrong. Having an office doesn’t make you a good agent that people want to work with.

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      2. AlwaysAnAgent

        Path, you forget to mention the bankruptcies of these self-employed solo operators, their debts, the poor souls earning less than minimum wage, the obvious 50% failure or churn rate, the misery of the casualties, and the list goes on.

        I’m a real agent with a real business. I am profitable and my business has a value when I wish to exit or retire. There’s a world of difference.

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        1. paths

          There are also a plethora of high st agents who have gone bust…
           
          There are very many agents that do well with offices and I’m sure you’re one of them. It doesn’t make it a better model than self-employed.
           
          Self-employed isn’t a ticket to riches or guaranteed success. But for those who are capable, driven, ambitious – they can make very good money without needing the £100s of k to open a branch.
           
          I still don’t understand your point about branch agents drowning out self-employed agents when the world returns to normal. What do you think is going to happen? People are going to all exit their homes and give thanks to the Lord that they can finally visit the branch of their high st agency?
           

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  2. bestandfinal51

    I am always confused with exp. When seeing them pop up endlessly on social media, I find myself trying to understand if they are estate agents or recruitment consultants. As they always appear to be looking to add new agents to earn “bazillions of pounds of the commission earned”. Then you take a look at the individuals websites of those making the claim, and apart from a few, they appear to have little stock, and very few showing as sstc.
     
    The swagger with which they roll around, some it appears with large ego’s whilst claiming to be changing estate agency etc Did we not here these same statements five or so years back with Purple Bricks?
     
    Wearing the badge of honour which is “I am here for my customers seven days a week”, whilst admirable and may sound like a vocation for successful estate agency. But lets be clear, you would need to be available seven days a week, as you have nobody else to answer the phone.

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  3. John Murray, powered by eXp

    Bestandfinal51 – I am now an eXp agent and have been since August last year.

    As a group, we now list more than any of the other similar-style agency out there week on week (no this does not include PB).

    Our group average is 65% Sold stc – my Sold stc is current 53% (more work needed) and Val to List conversion in 83%.

    When we agree a sale, the majority of the properties come off the main portals, particularly Zoopla, so you don’t have a balanced view of the actual results.

    Many have joined in the past few months so are starting out – and the great thing about our group is that we are all very helpful and supportive of one another on our My Workplace which we participate in.

    We do have people answering the phone – in the main, Moneypenny, similar to many other agencies out there, and we can then return the call when we want to and are able to.

    I personally choose to have office space in my local Regus Business Centre, but only go there by appointment to meet Clients, as all should in the current climate.

    I have called many agents recently on chain checks and guess what, the phone doesn’t get answered and it goes to ‘voicemail’. My phone is answered all the time, either by myself or my PA service.

    Last week I sold stc two homes at 7.30pm, having conducted personal viewings at the property with hot buyers.

    The level of service those who won their business, rather than being paid to ‘man’ an office, is different class. It is similar to the best of the indys out there, who also provide brilliant service for their Clients.

    It is interesting that the default position of others is to attack or criticise, rather than to understand.

    Having previously built and run 2 x high street offices before, the main advantage of this is profit – I know what my overheads were for high street offices and staff (and staff turnover etc as it is a very transient industry) and the costs are extreme.

    Now there is a low-cost entry point for agents who want to run their own business but were previously priced out of the market from doing so, so why not celebrate the chance this offers some, when we are all going through tough times from Covid. The fee of £150 plus VAT, plus great preferential rates with a host of suppliers, means it is really affordable for many now, without having to risk their homes to fund it.

    It is not for everyone, but it is for some and there is always room for good estate agents and good estate agency, isn’t there?

     

     

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    1. AlwaysAnAgent

      Is your churn / loss / failure rate similar to other networks at around 50%? 
      It’s misleading to talk about rewards while choosing to avoid mentioning the risks. 

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      1. John Murray, powered by eXp

        I have so far conducted 18 vals, listed 15, I dis-instructed one vendor, lost 2 that sold to the previous agent on the day of going live with me, exchanged 1 so far and Sold stc on 7 at present, with 4 homes still available, 2 of which have offers not yet tied up. I take on another on Saturday, at OIEO £475,000 at 1.5% plus VAT (that is the fee for my last 4 instructions) and they wish to purchase my £475,000 I have for sale at 1% plus VAT – those two will give me £11,875, to add to mu current pipeline of £20,400 (£32, 275), of which 70% is mine. My aim is to keep a £30,000 pipeline running all year, turning it over 3 times a year for £90,000, leaving me for Y1 income of £63,000, with about £5,000 p.a. in costs, leaving circa £58,000 profit to me for Y1 – I wonder how many of the 24,000 or so branches in EA will do that in PROFIT in year 1 – hope that helps!

         

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    2. bestandfinal51

      John Murray, powered by eXp I am not “attacking” anybody. Criticising? Yes!!

      I am merely highlighting that the spin exp agents  are gurgling has been heard before. I actually state within my original comment that the ‘idea’ and ‘intention’ is “admirable”. However, with all due respect, Moneypenny is in my humble opinion not  the answer for your customer focus, and is counter intuitive to your standpoint that the client is getting a better service. Having somebdoy answer the phone and take a number, is not dealing with the call and subsequent enquiry. Why not get a relative to take messages fo you – would save you some of that commission you are looking to earn whilst also be more focused on you.

      I don’t have to look at the portals to gain a balanced view – exp own sites do that. Be assured, I look at all my competitors sites, so no special courtesy given here.

      I do understand the desire to not sit behind a pane of glass all day on behalf of a boss. However, nobody here is changing estate agency. Everybody is merely selling houses. Nobody here is working for themselves. We all are, whether with offices or not, working for our clients.

      I do though take great issue with the HMRC debate associated with the model.

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      1. John Murray, powered by eXp

        Moneypenny is just my overflow – I answer most of the calls myself, off my office number forwarded to my mobile.

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    3. AgentQ73

      Why do you take property of the market when its SSTC ?

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    4. MarkRowe

      Hi John,

      Some interesting points. However, I’ve always wondered – what happens when you want to take time off? You mention the expense of staff etc, but surely you’re not looking at running this at the same level indefinitely – there’s a plan to expand it?

      I get that this is a model that can work, so I’m not downplaying it, I’ve just always seen this above as the major weakness and the barrier to it being successful.
      High street agency isn’t, for me, about the physical agency being on the high street. It’s about tangibility and a team of experienced agents from where the customer knows they have their point of contact. The self employed model is very much geared towards how the agent wants to work nothing to do with how it benefits the client…

       

      Just my thoughts.

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      1. John Murray, powered by eXp

        Hi Mark
        Many thanks for commented – you raise some great points.
        When I started my previous business in 2004, I worked one month on my own and then recruited 2 people, a sales advisor and admin. Working on your own can be tough…but…
        …the key lesson I have learned is it is not about market share where we want as many homes on the market as possible and it is important to get away from that mindset – it is about having the right stock, at the right price, that generate good levels of enquiries, and sell in 2 to 4 weeks…
        I only ever want a maximum of 10 homes For Sale and ideally about 6 at any one time – the rest being SSTC. That is totally manageable and with good diary management, and blocks of time set aside each week for sales progression etc, it is doable.
        Re time off – that is the big question – many in eXp are now working next to one another location-wise and they help one another – some have recruited another member of staff – others will use virtual PAs trained to cover enquiries, progression, arranging vendor-conducted viewings, etc – just no listing appts when off.
        Being cloud-based, the owner will of course take laptops etc with them and can touch base at points of the day as and when required.
        I have joined BoB – Business over Breakfast and already have a team of property professionals I can call upon in my network for great client service and one is a VPA – so no issues there.
        The one thing I would disagree with is your last point, where the working practice has nothing to do with how it benefits the client…that isn’t the case.
        It is important that all get to design the life of their choice and being self-emplyed you can do that…my Client service is outstanding – I have my phone on me all the time and if I can’t take a call they get a call back within minutes. Also, I am constantly on the phone in evenings with clients, as that is really convenient for them too, as they are home schooling, home working, etc in the day and they don’t have time to talk – so the flexibility really adds to customer service, not detract from it.
        Thanks for the reply though – much appreciated
         

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  4. EAMD172

    These models all sound great for the agent. Unfortunately the one big area they fall down is sales control. No one ever returns your call as another agent in a chain, their chain checks are usually appalling and they just don’t chase their sales. Not just exp, but all the online agents. Running a pipeline of £1.3m between our 5 branches takes 4 full time employees to do it properly or the equivalent. Always available and other team member to take calls when on other calls. Always call back. Clients need to be able to talk on the phone to someone who knows what they’re doing and online only agents most often just don’t. I’m not saying all, but I still haven’t come across one who is any good at sales control. We are debating whether to start charging buyers £500 to £1000 if they’ve sold through an online agent as we know we will end up doing their sales control for them. NOT GOOD ENOUGH ALL YOU ONLINERS. Need to get your house in order and carry out a proper job of being an estate agent 10 hours a day rather than daft claims of 24 hours a day when no one can get hold of you and there’s no other staff to take a call.

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    1. paths

      eXp isn’t an “online agency”. 
      What it sounds like you’re referring to is a PurpleBricks, where the agent gets paid upfront has no incentive to progress the sale.
       
      With the broker model (like eXp) if the sale doesn’t complete, the agent doesn’t get paid. No salary. Nothing. They are MORE incentivised to get the sale completed than a salaried high st agent!
       

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  5. BillyTheFish

    Whether this one works or not this model is the future of the property industry, like it or not. Office overheads should be enough for any owner to think hard about other options, Covid has shown profit is possible without one.

    Put yourself in your 25 year old shoes and ask yourself if you would go for 10% and office rules or 70% and freedom.

    At 35 it may seem a bit risky, at 45 it may be too late. At 25 you go for it and that bunch are the future of property.

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    1. AgentQ73

      What ongoing office over heads other then rent and potentially business rates does an office have that you don’t have at home ?

      My one office costs 1k a month in rent, it is a billboard on the high St, easily gets me at least 2 instructions a month from people popping into the office( in normal times), and makes life a million times easier than sat outside empty houses waiting for surveyors to turn up. Plus the older generation like to be able to call in when they want. Particularly landlords for some reason.

      Nothing wrong with working from home but the office makes me money.

      Plus I dodge home schooling.

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  6. Gangsta Agent

    As always with these schemes there will be a few winners but mainly losers.

    A handful seem to be vocal (and appear to have most of the instructions) whilst the vast majority are probably sitting in their spare bedroom wondering where the next instruction or £ is coming from.

    Not quite sure if it’s really self employment as you still need to dance , albeit virtually to the exp tune but if it works for you then good luck, but as for the future try telling that to Connells!

     

     

     

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  7. Neil Robinson

    I honestly don’t understand why certain people on here have to **** on about how their system is correct and everyone else’s is wrong. eXp is a system that is available for people to join if they want to join it.
     
    It’s an opportunity to start and run your own business – and yes, that is irrefutable – whilst keeping overheads at a minimum. Some people want that, and they also want to just work on their own within a support network. There is nothing wrong with that, and eXp add a tremendous amount of value in that regard.
     
    Others want to go big and have loads of staff. That’s fine.
     
    Others just want to work for someone else and earn a wage. That’s also fine.
     
    Others have vision and want to create something new in the industry. If they want to bet the farm on that and take the risk, who the hell are we to criticise?
     
    None of those options are wrong, and its incredibly disrespectful to slate anyone who chooses whichever path they want to go down.

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    1. AlwaysAnAgent

      No need to be condescending Neil.

      It’s a discussion and people are welcome to have their own viewpoint. Having a view is healthy.

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      1. Neil Robinson

        I don’t think what I said is any more condescending than the constant bleating against this type of model.

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    2. bestandfinal51

      Neil Robinson You lost me at “Others have vision and want to create something new in the industry. ” For the love of God, this is NOT new!

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    3. Woodentop

      New ideas, yes. Old ideas that actually fail, fail and fail, no. And who picks up all the pieces from the mess that is created during and abandoned? What so many people seem to forget in estate agency the business model has to work with customers and experience has proven beyond any doubt that self-employed working from home fails and we are talking about some very big players that have tried it with £meggar amounts thrown at it. Not forgetting the number of self-employed within office based agents fails! 
       
      When you can get the customer to switch over to you working from home, then things may be different. All I hear is those working from home find it cheaper. That is not an advantage to the customer, only you reducing your overheads. You still have to do the same as the office based agent, who has many more strings to their bow that you can never compete against in a ‘service industry’. Customers are not interested in your office savings.  
       
      Many industries for decades have used the same self-employed model. Only a handful ever succeed, the winners are those at the top selling the Midas touch is easy.

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  8. Russell121

    Personally I think the biggest issue is not whether you have a shop front or not, it’s the fact working alone, trying to do it all yourself and having your calls answered remotely is not a real recipe for success.

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    1. padymagic

      I agree with Mr Jarvis

      It’s all very well being the best you can be selling and listing but doing it alone with no comrades to chat to and bounce ideas off makes it a lot harder

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  9. Gangsta Agent

    Amway, Herbalife, Remax all good American pyramid type selling companies that have tried it over here and in the main have failed, I suspect in time exp, kw and the copycat UK ones will go the same way

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  10. WatchingwithInterest

    I am aware of one of the contributors in this thread has already closed at least 2 high street agents through bankruptcy and now appears as a self employed agent.
    When Adam says they are experienced agents this is not a good yard stick of whether they will be successful or not or whether they leave more contractors and customers out of pocket when they decide to pack this business in.
    There will be good and bad agents in both high st and online but making the point some of these have failed at both.
    I suspect that the best agents won’t go to Adam’s company but will make it on their own.

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