When you hear the term “cloud-based brokerage,” most real estate agents will immediately think of eXp Realty! But hold on, there’s a new cloud-based rival quickly gaining momentum and giving eXp and the industry a run for their money: REAL Broker. 🚀
You might be tempted to say, “Are they just copying eXp?” 🤔
Well, think of REAL as a second-generation cloud brokerage. They analyzed what was working at eXp, identified areas for improvement, and crafted their own model. Just like how Apple observed the Blackberry and then created the iPhone, a second-generation smartphone. 📱
Sometimes, being the 2nd or 3rd generation of a business model can be more beneficial than being the first. For example, Keller Williams Realty wasn’t the first franchised real estate company, but they adapted the model and are now the largest real estate company in the world by agent count. 🌎
When I was deciding which cloud-based brokerage to join, I went into deep research mode, talking with agents and gathering information. This article is the result of that research. So, let’s dive into the benefits of the two largest cloud brokerages, REAL Broker and eXp Realty, to help you make an informed decision about which one to join! 🎯
REAL Broker vs. eXp Realty: The HONEST Breakdown
eXp Realty 💼
- The Pioneer: eXp is the original cloud-based brokerage and has established a strong presence in the industry.
- Revenue Share: eXp adopted an improved version of the revenue share model pioneered by Keller Williams Realty.
REAL Broker 🏢
- Second-Generation Cloud Brokerage: REAL learned from eXp’s model, identifying areas for improvement and implementing changes.
- Third-Generation Revenue Share: REAL developed a 3rd generation version of the revenue share model, building on the foundations laid by Keller Williams Realty and eXp.
Making the Choice 🤔
Both eXp Realty and REAL Broker have their advantages. As an agent, consider your priorities and goals, and take the time to research and talk with agents at each company. In the end, the choice is yours! 🌟
Today we are going to do a side-by-side comparison of the following categories:
- Commission Cap
- Commission Splits
- Stock Bonuses
- Revenue Share
- Software Included
- Potential For Growth
REAL Broker vs. eXp Realty: Commission Cap 💸
Since both brokerages are cloud-based, they save a significant amount of money compared to franchise-based companies. This means they can pass those savings onto their agents in the form of lower commission caps. 🎉
eXp Realty 🌟
- Commission Cap: eXp Realty has a $16,000 yearly cap.
REAL Broker 💫
- Commission Cap: REAL Broker offers a $12,000 cap.
The winner in this round is clear-cut. When it comes to a lower commission cap, REAL Broker takes the lead, saving you $4,000 per year! 🏆 But does that still mean it’s more cost effective to work at Real Broker? Let’s find out!
REAL Broker vs. eXp Realty: Commission Splits 💰
While commission split percentages may not be as important to agents who do a high volume of transactions and know they’ll cap each year, they do matter when it comes to how soon you’ll cap during the year. A more generous split can help ease financial pressure at the start of the year. Splits are also highly relevant for newer or part-time agents who may not cap at all. 🌱
eXp Realty 🌟
- Commission Split: eXp Realty offers an 80/20 split.
REAL Broker 💫
- Commission Split: REAL Broker provides a 15/85 split.
In this round, REAL Broker comes out on top again, giving its agents a better-split ratio than eXp Realty and most other brokerages. More money in your pocket! 🥇
REAL Broker vs. eXp Realty: Fees 💵
Fees are another way brokerages generate revenue from their agents, so it’s crucial to be aware of all the fees a brokerage charges its real estate agents. 🧐
eXp Realty 🌟
In addition to its annual cap, eXp Realty charges:
- $149 Start-Up Fee
- $85 Monthly Cloud Brokerage Fee
- $25 Transaction Review Fee
- $40 Risk Management Fee per transaction (caps at $500)
- $250 Transaction Fee after you cap
REAL Broker 💫
Same goes for Real Broker, In addition to its annual cap, REAL Broker charges:
- $249 Sign-Up Fee
- $750 Annual Fee
- $285 Transaction Fee after you cap
- $30 BEOP fee for each transaction
Real Broker doesn’t charge a monthly fee, and you only pay the annual fee out of the closing of your first three deals of the year. Meaning if you don’t sell any homes, you don’t pay any fees PERIOD.
When comparing fees, it’s essential to consider the overall impact on your business and which structure best suits your needs. Remember to factor in these fees when making your decision between eXp Realty and REAL Broker! 💼
REAL vs. eXp: Cap & Fee Scenario 📊
Let’s run a quick scenario to help you visualize the differences between eXp Realty and REAL Broker when it comes to caps and fees.
Imagine you’re a solo agent who closes 20 transactions a year at an average price point of $400,000. This translates to $8,000,000 in volume and $240,000 in GCI at an average commission of 3%.
eXp Realty 🌟
- Monthly Cloud Brokerage Fee: $85 x 12 months = $1,020/year
- Transaction Review Fee: $25 x 20 transactions = $500/year
- Risk Management Fee: $40/transaction, capped at $500
- Capped Commission: After 7 transactions, you’ll pay a $250/transaction fee for the remaining 13 transactions = $3,250
Total Fees: $1,020 + $500 + $500 + $3,250 = $5,270 (on top of the $16,000 cap)
Total Cost: $21,270/year to sell 20 homes
REAL Broker 💫
- Annual Fee: $500
- Capped Commission: With an 85/15 split, you would give up on average $1,800 commission. After 5 transactions, you’ll cap and pay a $285/transaction fee for the remaining 15 transactions = $4,275
- BEOP Fee: $30 x 20 transactions = $600
Total Fees: $500 + $4,275 + $600 = $5,375 (on top of the $12,000 cap)
Total Cost: $17,375/year to sell 20 homes
When comparing caps and fees, it’s $3,895 cheaper per year to sell 20 homes with REAL Broker compared to eXp Realty. Keep these figures in mind when making your decision between the two brokerages! 🏠
REAL Broker & EXP Realty Stock Bonuses 📈
Both REAL Broker and eXp Realty are publicly traded companies that offer their agents multiple ways to earn free shares of the company by achieving certain milestones in their businesses.
eXp Realty 🌟
eXp Realty offers its agents 5 ways to earn free stock within the company:
- Earn shares on your first transaction of each year
- Earn shares when you cap
- Earn shares when an agent you sponsor completes their first transaction
- Earn $16,000 worth of shares by hitting their Icon Agent Award
- Agent Equity Program allows you to purchase shares out of your commission at a 10% discount
REAL Broker 💫
REAL Broker offers its agents 4 paths to earning free stock in the company:
- Earn stock by capping each year (the amount varies based on stock price & number of agents in brokerage)
- Earn stock by attracting new agents to the company
- Earn $24,000 worth of stock by hitting their Elite Agent Award
- Purchase stock out of your commission & receive up to 35% free additional shares with a max of $8,000 free stock a year
While both brokerages have similar stock incentive programs, eXp Realty has one additional way of earning stock compared to REAL Broker. However, REAL Broker offers a better bonus incentive for purchasing stock with your commission, and REAL offers its “Elite Agents” a higher award than eXp’s “ICON Agents” receive (although it is slightly more challenging to hit Elite Agent than ICON Agent).
Considering the stock incentive programs, this round goes to REAL Broker. A capping agent enrolled in the stock purchase plan will earn more free stock with REAL than with eXp.
REAL Elite Agent vs. eXp Icon Agent 🏆
Both companies reward their top-producing agents with stock awards for achieving certain milestones in their real estate businesses. Let’s compare the two award programs.
eXp Icon Agent
eXp Icon Agents can receive up to $16,000 in stock total. This is divided into 3 separate awards with specific requirements for each:
- $8,000 Production Award
- $4,000 Cultural Commitment Award
- $2,000 Event Attendance Award
There are 3 ways to qualify for eXp Icon and receive the $8k production reward:
- Pay the $16k cap + $5,000 in post-cap transaction fees. At a $250 transaction fee, this means closing an additional 20 homes after you cap.
- Pay the $16k cap + $500k in GCI with at least 10 closed transactions and pay the “ICON Qualifying Fee.” The exact amount is not clear, but their documents provide an example of it potentially being $1,400.
- If you have a team, pay the $16,000 cap + your team pays $40,000 in “company dollars”.
If you meet the production requirements, you can also earn the Cultural Commitment Award and the Event Attendance Award, totaling up to $16,000 in stock rewards for hitting Icon Agent Status.
REAL Broker’s Elite Agent
REAL Broker has a similar program called the Elite Agent Program. REAL agents can receive up to $24,000 in free stock for hitting Elite Agent, broken down into a $16,000 Production Award and $8,000 Cultural Award.
There are two ways to receive the $16k Elite Agent Production Award:
- Pay $12k cap + $6k in post-transaction fees, which is 22 transactions.
- Pay $12k cap + earn $500,000 in GCI with at least 10 transactions.
After you hit Elite Agent, you are eligible for the $8k Cultural Award if you “Teach monthly topics at the REAL Academy, give back to the Real agent community, or give back to your local community.”
Note: REAL’s $16k production award is significantly higher than eXp’s $8k production reward, yet still requires the same amount of total transactions to get your stock award. With an average price point of $400k, it would take you about 5 transactions to cap, and then you would need another 22 transactions to hit Elite Agent for a total of 27 sales.
At eXp, you would cap at 7 transactions and then need another 20 transactions to hit Icon Agent Status. So, you are looking at about 27 transactions at REAL, and 27 at eXp. Buyer remember! At REAL you’re getting $10,0000 more in stock bonus then you would from eXp.
However, if you choose the GCI route, you would need fewer transactions at REAL than at eXp. Both companies require you to cap and then earn $500k in GCI on at least 10 transactions. And since REAL has a lower cap, with an average price point of $400,000 & 3% commission, you would need on average 2 fewer transactions at REAL than at eXp to hit this threshold.
Let’s run some more scenarios where we factor in the fees and the Icon/Elite agent award to see what the price difference would be.
Suppose you close 35 transactions a year at an average price point of $400k and an average commission of 3%.
At eXp Realty, you would pay:
- $1,020 in monthly fees
- $875 in transaction review fees
- $500 in risk management fees
- No transaction fee on the first 7 transactions but then $250 on transactions 8 through 27 and that gets reduced to $75 on transactions 28 through 35 for a total of $5,600 in transaction fees
- $16k Cap
- Total cost: $23,995 to sell 35 homes a year
For hitting Icon Agent, you can receive up to $16,000 in free stock + $200 in stock for your first transaction of the year and $400 in stock for capping.
When you deduct the free stock from your cost of business, it means you are only paying $7,395 a year to sell 35 homes at eXp.
At REAL Broker, you would pay:
- $750 annual fee
- $12,000 cap
- No transaction fee on your first 5 transactions, then $285 on the next 22 transactions, and then just $99 on transactions 28 through 35 for a total of $6,770 in transaction fees
- $30 BEOP fee on all 35 transactions for a total of $1,050 in BEOP fees
- Total cost: $20,570 to sell 35 homes at REAL
If you add in the $24,000 you receive for hitting Elite agent + 750 shares of stock for capping (currently worth about $1,400), it means at REAL, it would effectively cost you -$4,830 to sell 35 homes a year, and in fact, you would be up $4,830 a year.
When you compare that to eXp, where it would cost you $7,395 a year to sell the same number of homes, there is an annual difference of $12,225.
REAL Broker & EXP Realty Revenue Share Programs
Revenue share was first introduced by Keller Williams Realty to attract new agents, and similar but more generous models were adopted by eXp Realty and a 3rd generation model by REAL Broker.
THIS SECTION IS WHERE eXp and REAL DIFFER GREATLY! Pay attention to this section, especially the fine print further below.
Revenue share rewards agents for attracting new agents to the company by paying them a portion of the new agent’s cap for as long as they are with the company. These programs have huge potential for long-term wealth building if you can get in early on one of these companies.
eXp Realty Revenue Share Program
eXp offers its agents up to $2,800 a year for bringing in a new agent to the company out of that new agent’s $16,000 a year cap. Any agent you directly bring in will be in your tier 1. So if the agent you bring on then brings on another agent, that second agent will be in your tier 2 and so on. Their revenue share program actually can go up to 7 tiers with various compensation for each tier. To unlock the rewards for all 7 of your tiers, you need to bring on 40+ qualifying agents in your tier 1. Qualifying agents means they need to be producing agents who are closing transactions.
REAL Broker Revenue Share Program
REAL Broker offers a similar revenue share program except they give you $4,000 for every capping agent on your tier 1 you attract to the company. You can receive an annual revenue share for up to 5 tiers deep and need to recruit at least 25 qualified agents to unlock all 5 tiers.
Some additional pros of REAL Broker’s revenue share program include:
- WILLABLE REVENUE SHARE: REAL’s Willable Revenue Share Program, which will officially launch early in 2023, offers the ability to provide for your loved ones by designating a beneficiary to receive your revenue share participation in the event of your passing. Note that the beneficiary will not be required to get licensed to earn the revenue share.
- CO-SPONSORED REVENUE SHARE: REAL Broker acknowledges that recruiting the best talent is often a team effort, so they will be introducing the ability for two agents to co-sponsor an agent, allowing both to benefit from revenue share.
Comparing the two revenue share plans, you can see that REAL pays you MORE MONEY for your tier 1 agent than eXp. This is a difference of $4,000 a year vs $2,800 a year for directly attracting an agent to the company. At REAL, your tiers 2, 3, & 4 also all payout MORE than EXPs does. Of course, eXp offers revenue share going 7 levels deep compared to REAL’s 5 levels.
In my opinion, REAL’s revenue share model is more profitable to the average agents who may have only a few people they have directly brought into the company. eXp’s revenue share is probably more profitable for a mega recruiter who may have several hundred or thousands of agents under them and fully unlocked all 7 tiers.
One goal many agents have is to receive enough revenue share to cover the cost of their cap and essentially receive 100% of their commission all year. At REAL, you only need to bring in 3 capping agents in your tier 1 to receive enough revenue share to completely cover your cap at the company. At eXp, you would need to bring in 6 capping agents into your tier 1 to receive enough revenue share to completely cover your cap at the company.
Something you should keep in mind is that the majority of agents have 0 people in their down
lines. So for you to actually have producing agents in all 5 tiers or 7 tiers is something few agents ever actually achieve. For this reason, I personally like the fact that REAL pays out higher for your tier 1 since that is the only tier I actually have control over.
THERE IS ONE MORE HUGE DIFFERENCE! All the numbers and tiers aside, the next few paragraphs will explain the BIGGEST difference in the two companies’ revenue share program and the culture of the company!
REAL Broker’s Independent Contract Agreement explicitly prohibits promising ANYTHING OF VALUE in exchange for naming someone as the referral agent.
eXp DOES NOT HAVE THIS CLAUSE!
This may seem like a small detail BUT IT IS NOT.
What this has created are agents who make outlandish promises of value for putting THEIR NAME AS THE SPONSOR INSTEAD OF YOURS!
They do this by promising agents exclusive training, weekly mastermind, private coaching, access to private groups, webinars, etc.
eXp does have rules around “stealing” other people’s recruits but if one agent is promising recruits tons of free value and you’re not, you could easily see how they may put the other agents name down when joining.
Now you may think “so what” or “good for them” BUT this can directly impact you and your own downline at eXp.
It’s NOT uncommon to hear about an agent LEAVING eXp just to RE-JOIN 6 months later under a different sponsor to get access to “exclusive content”.
But more importantly, let’s say you reach out to an agent at your last brokerage and tell them all about eXp, for a month you answer all their questions, send them resources, and hop on video calls with them and walk them through the process of joining.
One day they tell you the great news that they have joined eXp!
You ask them, “great, did you put me down as your sponsor?” and they reply “No, I put this other guy I saw on YouTube who promises me exclusive training and access to his private Facebook group if I put him as my sponsor!”
THIS is exactly what happens at eXp.
This practice is not good for the NEW eXp agent or YOU for building out your downline.
How can YOU, the average agent who is running a real estate business, be expected to compete against a full-time recruiter who is promising exclusive training, coaching, mastermind groups, weekly webinars, and more!
This is one of the issues REAL Broker seeks to fix.
THIS is how they are improving on the revenue share model Keller Williams and eXp have created, by prohibiting promising anything of value for putting someone’s name down as your sponsor.
For that reason, I absolutely have to give this round to REAL Broker. I would much rather get paid MORE for my first few tiers AND have a fair system where it’s easier for the average agent to build out a downline.
REAL Broker & eXp Realty Software Included
Fees, stocks, and revenue share are obviously not the ONLY things you should consider when choosing a real estate company. What software and tools they give you should also be a deciding factor, and truthfully, this is where eXp does have a unique selling point.
First, let’s acknowledge what software BOTH companies offer.
Both companies utilize Workplace. This is a platform created by Facebook and is essentially like a series of Facebook groups JUST for business use without all the distractions of personal content and ads. You can mastermind with other agents, search for an agent, and direct message them, and both eXp and REAL also have additional training resources within the workplace.
eXp uses Skyslope for transaction management, while REAL Broker has built their own proprietary transaction software called reZEN, which is very user-friendly and easy to use.
eXp Realty uses Inside Real Estate & KV Core for their agent’s CRM and websites, while REAL Broker offers its clients Chime for their CRM and Website needs. Although both services seem to provide similar tools, Chime has a significant edge over KV Core.
Many eXp agents have found that Chime offers superior features and functionality compared to KV Core. As a result, some eXp agents choose to purchase Chime at an additional cost of over $500 a month, even though KV Core is already included in their package. In contrast, REAL Broker agents can access Chime for just $40 a month, making it a much more affordable and attractive option for them.
When you want to attend training, you log into eXp World and walk to the training location. When you have a question about your commission, you log into eXp World and walk to the information booth, have questions about just about anything, you log into eXp World and walk to a specific location to get an answer.
THIS is the proprietary exclusive software eXp claims gives them an edge over every other brokerage.
Instead of just signing into a zoom class for live training or picking up the phone to ask a question about your commission, they prefer you to log into eXp world and walk your avatar to a specific location before you can ask your question.
I’ve talked to a lot of current and former eXp agents about what their thoughts are on eXp World, and here is my honest assessment after listening to them. Brand new agents seem to like it, while experienced agents dislike it. I know several agents who say they have not logged into it for years or only log in once or twice a year to listen to a specific presentation from leadership and then I know some newer agents who say they think it’s fun.
Whether you will use it or not, one thing to keep in mind is that YOU ARE PAYING FOR eXp WORLD.
eXp charges you an $85/month “cloud brokerage fee” which I’m sure a big part of goes to this proprietary software. Compared to REAL, you are also paying an additional $4,000 a year in your cap with this being the biggest additional piece of technology you receive.
So as far as who wins this round, I’m going to have to give it to REAL Broker. Both eXp and REAL offer CRM’s and websites, but REAL Broker’s Chime has a clear advantage over eXp’s KV Core. Many eXp agents are willing to pay extra for Chime due to its superior features, while REAL Broker agents get access to Chime at a significantly lower cost. As for eXp World, I’m going to count it as a non-factor, since opinions among agents are divided, with some enjoying the platform and others not using it and disliking the fact that they still have to pay for it monthly. Overall, REAL Broker comes out ahead in this round thanks to its more competitive and powerful CRM offering.
REAL Broker & eXp Realty Potential Growth
If you are focused not just on saving money by being with a cloud-based brokerage but also on trying to build true wealth, then the potential growth of a company IS something you want to look at.
Many agents who got in early on Keller Williams‘s revenue share program are now millionaires because of it and will receive passive income for the rest of their lives.
Similarly, many of the agents who got into eXp EARLY are also now multi-millionaires from their revenue share and stock appreciation.
So the question is, can you STILL build massive wealth from either of those companies with how large they are today? Maybe, but it’s a heck of a lot harder now than if you had gotten in early with them.
I do believe that cloud-based brokerages ARE THE FUTURE OF OUR INDUSTRY!
And because of that, I think both eXp and REAL Broker are going to see MASSIVE GROWTH over the next few years.
And over the next 10 years, I would not be surprised if there are other national cloud brokerages that pop up alongside REAL & eXp as well. This model is the future.
Here is my honest opinion about the two companies. If you want to be a full-time recruiter and coach, eXp may be a better option for you. They have fewer restrictions on what you can do for recruiting and because they charge you more money, they have more money they can disperse in 7 tiers of revenue share.
On the other hand, if you want to be a full-time real estate agent and only focus on revenue share part-time or not at all, then I think REAL is a better option. They charge you significantly less and their culture is not as focused on recruiting.
And I think there are FAR MORE AGENTS in the industry who want to join a cloud brokerage to help grow their real estate businesses than there are who want to be full-time recruiters!
Because of this, I think REAL has the potential for MORE EXPLOSIVE growth in the future.
I honestly think that REAL brokers can follow a similar growth path and even surpass eXp one day.
I am giving this round to REAL Broker. eXp has blazed the trail for other cloud-based brokerages to break into the scene, and I think REAL is going to have a far easier time growing quickly because of it.
So who wins?
After reviewing and comparing eXp to REAL Broker, I personally decided to join REAL Broker.
As a real estate agent, I will simply make more money at REAL than I will at eXp, I think the company has greater potential for growth, and the culture is more in line with my core values. I was also already a big fan of the Chime CRM which has been vital for automating my business. And being able to cut my cost down from $650 a month to just $40 for Chime was also a no-brainer.
Next Steps With REAL
Pick a date and time below to schedule a FREE 1-on-1 video consultation with me to see if REAL Broker would be a good fit for your business.
If you are ready to join and don’t have a sponsor yet, I would love to be your sponsor in the company at no additional cost to you, and I will then have a vested interest in your success at REAL. When you sign your Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA), just put my name, Tommy Mutchler, down as your “Sponsoring Agent,” and I will officially be in your upline!
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