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eXp Realty vs Keller Williams: 2021 Complete Review

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The friendly battle between eXp Realty vs. Keller Williams has got tongues wagging in the real estate circles. Real estate enthusiasts are treated to a lot of information and misinformation regarding these great titans models of real estate.

But how can one make up a well-thought-out decision with all the misinformation? It’s simply not possible. This article provides a detailed comparison between these two real estate giants.

eXp Realty Background

eXp Realty was launched in 2009 with a radical idea to revolutionize the real estate industry. It was founded by Glenn Sanford and considered the antithesis of how traditional brokerages operate, ditching brick-and-mortar offices and offering generous commission structures for agents (no one pays more than 20%).

This gives them the convenience of working from home or anywhere they want, but also sharing revenue and equity opportunities with their agent partners.

Since its launch, eXp Realty has now grown to an international company with more than 59,000 agents in more than 16 countries around the world. It has also been named one of the fastest-growing residential and commercial real estate companies in the history of real estate. 

Keller Williams Background

In 1983, Gary Keller and Joe Williams formed the agency that would eventually become KW. Starting out with just a couple of agents in their tiny office, they became the largest single-office real estate company within two years of creation.

After suffering heavy losses due to market crashes soon after its start-up period though, it was time for something new; a model based on empowering agents as well as themselves.

After asking his now top agents what kind of business model they wanted to see and how he could better serve them, he carved out the new “Keller Williams” Real Estate Business Model which first started off at ground level and later rose back up from there stronger than ever before.

Business Models: eXp Realty vs Keller Williams

There are two main business models used in the real estate industry, the profit sharing model and the revenue share model. And while these two models can work for any brokerage, eXp Realty prefers revenue share while Keller Williams has gone for the profit share.

eXp Realty - Revenue Share Model

This is a model that has been preferred by exp realty. In this model, the company shares 50% of the revenue received from each transaction before expenses are removed. This means that agents can financially benefit from “sponsoring” new agents into eXp every time an agent closes a sale and contributes to Company Dollars.

Pros:
  • It rewards those agents that bring in new business and close deals.
  • It motivates the agents to refer other agents to join the firm.
Cons:
  • Revenue-share agreements are generally more expensive for companies because they have to pay a higher percentage back to their agents so this model can be less profitable than profit-share.

Keller Williams - Profit Share Model

Profit sharing in a brokerage is when the company shares profits generated by agents back to its sponsored agents.

It seems generous until you realize that they only share after all expenses are subtracted from revenue – like rent, insurance, and utilities for example. In this model an agent can be productive but if the office or franchise isn’t profitable there’s no profit-share at all.

Keller Williams uses this model and describes it as a core component of their business as it requires both the agent and the brokerage to leverage each other for success.

Pros:
  • Motivates agents to bring in business since they can earn more money from their efforts.
  • It boosts morale and productivity among the agents as they feel valued by the company.
Cons:
  • It can be hard to maintain a team with different incentive systems.
  • This model is more difficult for agents who are just starting or trying to rebuild their business because there’s less room for mistakes.

Fees: eXp Realty vs Keller Williams

eXp Realty Fees

An eXp Realty agent is required to pay the following fees:

  • Monthly fee: $85
  • Annual Cap: $16k
  • Commission split percentage (between agent and company): 80%(agent)-20% (company)

Keller Willams' Fees

A Keller Williams agent is required to pay the following fees:

  • Average monthly fee: $50-$125
  • Annual Cap: $21-26k
  • Royalty Cap: 3k
  • Commission split percentage (between agent and company): 50% to 80% (agent) – 20%-50% (company)
  • There are also desk fees

Programs for New Agents

One of the biggest advantages of working with eXp Realty and Keller Williams compared to any other brokerage is their intense programs for agents.

eXp Realty offers an extensive training program and a variety of tools, such as online courses to help agents learn the ropes.  eXp also offers a mentor program for all new agents. 

Keller Williams has a more traditional approach with its new agent boot camp that includes three phases: New Agent Orientation, The Wealth Builder Program, and Advanced Training. This gives them time to invest in their newest recruits and turn them into top producers.

Team Structure

exp reality vs keller williams-teams

The team structure at eXp Realty varies from that of Keller Williams.

Teams at eXp Realty

The team structure at eXp Realty is pretty simple. Agents are part of a single “team” and work near one another. They share client information, leads, and profits from the deals they make together. If you’re someone who prefers to mentor others or help co-workers through difficult times then this could be a good fit for you.

Agents are also allowed to form their own teams and split profits as they see fit, but this is not encouraged unless agents have some experience under their belt already.

Team Leader

Every team needs a leader to make decisions and sort out disputes, so the agent leading your group must be someone who will be there for you when you need them. If they can’t lead themselves then any other agent within an office may take up this position if they’ve proven to be successful and trustworthy with multiple levels of experience in real estate brokerage business operations. It’s not unheard of for two people to work together, but most of the time that’s not necessary.

Teams at Keller Williams

Keller Williams Realty has an entire “team” system that offers something different from other companies. Agents can either be part of what’s called a Gold Team or up-and-coming Blue Teams who will eventually become Gold Teams themselves with enough time invested into them.

This means there may be more competition between teams because of how many people work together, though it could also lead to higher levels of success if all systems function properly.

Team Leader

The leader of a Blue team is up for grabs to whoever has what it takes, they can be elected or appointed, depending on circumstances and job requirements. There are plenty of opportunities in this department as long as you’re willing to work hard enough.

Every company needs someone who will take charge and help their agents grow into top sales producers. This could mean they have experience with leadership positions in other industries or even just some life advice from personal experiences. The qualities one may need for success vary greatly so make sure your new agent coordinator is experienced no matter how much education they had beforehand.

For both companies, team leaders train new real estate agents. In-person training through these teams encourages other members to join eXp Realty and Keller Williams respectively.

Training and Support

eXp Realty 

eXp Realty is an independent brokerage that focuses on empowering its agents. Training and support include:

  • Training
  • Online Learning Center with extensive training videos and documentation
  • Mentoring Programs to pair new agents with experienced ones for the first year. Agents can also pay for a mentor on their own to help them get up to speed more quickly, share knowledge and keep fresh ideas flowing.

It becomes easier to recruit agents because of the support the agents get. This makes it possible for a team to grow faster within a short period.

Keller Williams 

Keller Williams is different from other real estate companies in that it has brick-and-mortar offices worldwide as well as independent brokers who represent its brand name instead of acting independently. It offers the following:

  • A wide range of online learning opportunities including webinars, live training, recorded training, downloadable content like PDFs and Apps; certification programs (online or classroom); company-sponsored conferences around the country; and a mentoring program
  • Regional and national conferences as well as local training events. Agent count increases through live training programs and other support features.
  • Continuing education programs for license renewal, including incentives like some of the most affordable courses in Colorado – Keller Williams sponsored real estate seminars.

Programs Offered by eXp Realty vs Keller Williams

eXp Realty Programs

The eXp Group brings together the world’s most experienced and innovative organization dedicated exclusively to representing homeowners selling or buying residential properties through its network of independent contractor franchised offices throughout North America, Europe, and Central Asia under the trade name ‘eXp’.

Founded by technology entrepreneur Mark Penners in 1996 ‘eXp’ was originally established as a subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation (LMC: NASDAQ) in the U.S. and is now a separate, privately-held company headquartered in California with offices around the world.

eXp’s headquarters are located at One Liberty Place near Philadelphia City Hall where it has operated since its founding by Penners and LMC as Expedia Realty Services LLC (ERS).

This corporation operates exclusively through franchised independent contractor agents who represent both sellers and buyers of real estate properties.

The eXp Group offers prospective clients all necessary services that may be needed when buying or selling their property including but not limited to free MLS listings for homebuyers from over 100 different sources; premium marketing materials such as professional photography, virtual tours on video, HDTV media spots broadcast across North America, and live real-time internet streaming video.

Keller Williams Programs

Keller Williams Worldwide is the parent company of the international real estate brokerage with more than 100,000 agents in over 700 offices around the globe.

Keller William Worldwide operates within four primary service lines: residential, commercial retail office, and industrial properties; vacation rental homes; land acquisition including raw land development, urban infill projects such as mixed-use housing/retail developments or community parks; and consulting services related to these areas.

The firm deals primarily on an exclusive basis because it believes that “partnership” leads to a higher level of service. Keller Williams Worldwide also has a subdivision called “The KW Institute” which is an educational institution for real estate professionals.

This company offers real estate agency licensing, real estate broker training, and continuing education courses online as well as in-person to help agents build their business with Keller Williams Realty.

Similarities:

Both eXp Realty and Keller Williams use an independent-agent system. Agents can increase their sales volume and earn more when they recruit other agents. They retain agents by offering them lucrative benefits that are hard to resist.

Agents Commissions and Benefits

real estate commissions

As you think of which one between eXp Realty vs Keller Williams is best for you, perhaps it is necessary to know how much commission and benefits each gives its agents.

Commissions and Benefits

eXp Realty offers a commission of 12.00% to its agents on the first $750,000 in sales volume with an additional 0.25% for each additional $250,000 in sales volume over that amount; Keller Williams offers their agents commissions as high as 33%.

For annual benefits, eXp Realty provides life and disability insurance coverage up to $150,000 per year at no cost to the agent. Keller Williams offers its agents extensive health-insurance plans including dental and vision care among others depending upon company enrollment status which varies by region.

eXp also pays for licenses (salesperson license) and continuing education courses for both new agents and veteran employees; while KW does not offer continuing education courses, it does have an “online” course called the KW Institute where agents can earn credits for their license renewal.

Rewards Programs

Another key area of comparison is rewards programs offered by each company.

Keller Williams Worldwide offers its agents a $1500 reward when they attain or surpass annual sales quotas. This incentive kicks in at two times the quota amount and increases to three times that number if targets are exceeded by 50%.

eXp Realty operates with tiers which increase as yearly sales volume reaches certain levels:

  • $0 – $250k (20%)
  • $500k – $750k – 25%
  • $750k – $1000k (30%)
  • $1000k and up / $3500/month (40%)

Agent Compensation

Keller Williams’ compensation plans are tiered based on an agent’s annual sales volume:

  • Under $250,000 – agents earn 12.00% commission plus 0.25% for every additional $250k in sale volume over that amount.
  • Under $500,000 – rates increase to 15.00%. Between $750-$1000k a commission of 18.75 is earned with an extra 25/cents per dollar after the first million and then 20%.
  • Agents who sell more than one million dollars annually can expect to receive a total compensation package at or above 33%.

eXp Realty offers its agents bonuses (on top of commissions) which include health benefits as well as retirement savings programs such as 401(k).

Offices

eXp World is an independent brokerage and does not have a physical office space. It’s a cloud-based real estate brokerage so all of the office work is done from home or outside of an office.

Keller Williams does not operate in this manner and has a network of brick-and-mortar offices around the United States, Canada, Australia, China, and India with more than 800 franchisees worldwide that each have their own local staff to support them in their area.

eXp World agents do not need to go into office space because they are independent contractors who can choose where they want to conduct business.

Keller Williams only works through its franchised real estate brokerages which offer services such as listing agreements for buyers and sellers by way of contracts stipulating compensation terms between a buyer’s agent (also known as “listing agent”) and seller’s agent (also known as “exclusive agent”).

Benefits of working with eXp Realty

If you want to become a real estate team leader fast, consider joining eXp Realty. This is because they have a simple team-leader qualification process and want you to be successful.

“We help agents work seamlessly with each other, which is unlike any other company.” Says one of the leaders. Six distribution centers in the US feed leads into an online database of more than five million properties for agents from all over North America. Agents can see houses on their screen before taking them out physically and they get leads within minutes.

The brokerage offers eXp stock, which is available to anyone. You get the same split as if you were an agent.

Also, eXp Realty has tools that allow one agent to work with past clients even from rural areas, helping them grow faster. Even if you want to sell homes in multiple states across the US, that should not be a problem.

Benefits of working with Keller Williams

Gene Frederick, a leader with Keller Williams, says the company has tens of thousands of satisfied agents, and he knows of no one who has left the company to go independent. “You have a home office,” Frederick says. “We provide you with all the materials you need.”

Marieta, an Assistant to the Market Center Administration, says that Keller Williams has a lot of benefits for new agents. “We have the #OneKellerWilliams real estate hashtag and we actually get to participate in their social media,” Marieta says.

“The clients are always asking how well you know your market, so if they see ‘I grew up in this area,’ it’s a really big selling point.”

“You could just be an agent without any experience but still have all these people looking over your shoulder,” she said.

Conclusion

eXp Realty vs. Keller Williams is a detailed comparison of two real estate brokerages that offer different benefits to agents and recruits.

What type of agent are you? If you’re looking for more freedom, check out eXp’s independent contractor model with no brick-and-mortar requirements or team leader qualifications.

On the other hand, if your priorities are stability and proven success over time, then KW may be right for you given their large worldwide presence with 800+ franchisees globally who each have local staff to support them in their area. KW offers a different split for every agent, which often starts low. eXp on the other hand offers a standard split for all agents.

eXp Realty has tools that allow one agent to work with past clients even from a rural area while Keller Williams only works through its franchised real estate brokerages. It offers services such as listing agreements for buyers and sellers by way of contracts stipulating compensation terms between a buyer’s agent (also known as “listing agent”) and seller’s agent (also known as “exclusive agent”).

At either company, newer agents will get exposure to industry trends so they can grow into successful leaders themselves. Which do you want: Freedom or Stability? Let us know by sending us an email, or leaving a comment below.

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