Michael Valdes is the Chief Growth Officer at eXp Realty and President at eXp Global. Working in the real estate sector since 2005, he also holds the distinction of being the only Latino president of a US real estate corporation.
The real estate industry has faced many challenges these past few years, being forced to evolve and adapt to the times. From a pandemic that turned the world upside-down, to new demands and needs from clients, real estate had to look into new technology to keep afloat.
eXp Realty was one of the real estate firms that thrived in spite of the difficulties by investing in a cloud-based infrastructure to better serve both agents and clients.
Michael Valdes, Chief Growth Officer at eXp Realty, spoke with DesignRush to discuss some of the roadblocks and opportunities this uncertain era has presented, making it abundantly clear that there’s potential even in challenging times.
Spotlight: The recent pandemic opened the floodgates for remote work models, converting many people’s homes into their new offices. What impact did this have on the real estate industry?
Michael Valdes: The pandemic had a huge impact on the real estate industry, along with every other industry. It truly forced all of us to change course and adopt technology as individuals and businesses in order to satisfy the human need for connection.
Through the Virbela digital platform, we are able to continue to provide options for our agents that facilitated the ability to deepen relationships with their clients during such a tenuous period for the world.
Agents were not only able to connect with their clients on a personal level, they were also able to conduct business and continue the buying/selling process digitally.
This was all due to our cloud-based brokerage model and virtual working environment, which has been in operation for over a decade and truly resonated with agents, their families and their clients around the world.
Operating in over 20 countries, where else does eXp Realty plan to expand? And what are the perks and challenges of having a global real estate network?
As of today we are officially operational in 23 countries and our goal set last year was to be operational in 50 countries within 5 years – we are well on our way and have no plans to slow down!
Having a global real estate network of over 85,000 agents across 23 countries allows for our agents to engage in cross-functional collaboration around the world.
Bringing people together beyond boundaries with advanced cloud-based technologies – from digital applications and services applications and services to real-time communications to virtual reality environments – fosters interconnectivity, boosts morale and heightens performance, which ultimately drives each agent’s individual success.
I think the most obvious challenge is that every country has its own government, cultures, languages, policies, laws, currency and time zones. Managing our business across multiple countries means managing all of our offerings across all of these different factors.
At the same time, this challenge allows our eXp Realty family to meet and establish relationships across the globe and it’s undoubtedly worthwhile for everyone involved!
eXp Realty reportedly has the world's fastest-growing cloud-based brokerage. How is technology helping the company’s evolution?
Yes, and it is certainly due, largely in part, to our cloud-based operations. Through constant innovation and digital operations, we have the ability to expand on a global scale without stepping foot on a plane.
In just under two years, we have opened brokerage operations in 23 countries and locations – that’s unheard of!
We do not have brick-and-mortar offices. Rather, our agents are avatars that operate, connect and collaborate with colleagues and clients through a cloud-based platform.
We are constantly enhancing our technology stack and offer a fully integrated digital marketing strategy accessible to all agents. To support our agent-first focus, we provide our agents with the tools, programs and platforms necessary to help support their own brands and businesses.
At eXp Realty, we are focused on building and enhancing a technologically advanced digital real estate infrastructure that changes not only the way the modern agent works, but empowers the agent to build and grow their own brand.
We are changing lives not only for our agents and their families, but our customers and their communities.
We’re in a particularly challenging economic time due to several factors. How is eXp Realty managing these challenges, especially considering inflation affecting people’s purchasing power?
When there is a shift in the market, as we are facing now, it’s important to find and embrace the opportunities that come with it. A perfect example is the birth of eXp Realty.
When businesses were shutting down after the 2008 housing crash, eXp World Holdings Founder, Chairman and CEO Glenn Sanford understood the pain points of the industry and saw an opportunity to launch a cloud-based real estate company with a flexible operating model.
Thirteen years later, eXp Realty continues to thrive through all types of challenging market conditions.
We know that agents and clients alike are facing a shift with the recent market changes and we know we can offer the best platform to find opportunity in this change. To help our agents prepare for this road ahead, we have committed to offering several educational opportunities to scale their growth.
In addition to our evergreen training offerings where agents have access to 80+ hours a week of live and on-demand training through our online eXp University classes taught by top-producing agents, we have also launched our “Level Up” initiative which consists of three days each week packed with live trainings to enhance mindset, learn effective skills and take purposeful action.
This new initiative is open to the entire real estate industry – because a rising tide raises all ships.
We really encourage all of our agents to embrace this market change as an opportunity to scale their business offerings and increase their knowledge base in order to help their clients better navigate the effects of an inflated market.
Sure, buying power may seem down at the moment but it’s important to keep in mind the flexibility of a mortgage for refinancing when the market strengthens. Investing in real estate will always be a smart decision.
eXp Realty recently launched a new luxury real estate program suitably named eXp Luxury. Can you tell us more about it? How are you approaching premium brand partnerships?
We are constantly looking for opportunities to build new programs and services that can serve our agents and we saw an opportunity to enhance our position in the luxury market.
Considering that luxury is core to many of our top agents, this launch was a proud moment for us to be able to show them our commitment to helping them enhance production and strengthen their individual brands within the market, while elevating their customer service offerings!
With this program, luxury residential real estate will now benefit from our brand and agent-centric model, which incorporates unmatched marketing capabilities, premium brand partnerships, luxury certification courses and coaching, masterminds and events, exclusive access to a council of experienced eXp Luxury agents and a global network of luxury agents around the world, ready to collaborate anytime, anywhere.
Premium brand partnerships will continue to be developed but will offer our luxury agents the opportunity to couple their luxury real estate offerings with other luxury offerings such as targeted advertising placement with SUCCESS Magazine.
This luxury division will also benefit our consumers who will have access to one singular company around the globe, rather than a franchise, which allows for smooth and easy internal collaboration on international luxury properties.
Lastly, what are some tips you can share to anyone looking to buy or sell their homes?
I think it’s key for buyers and sellers alike to remain confident during any challenging times.
I would also encourage anyone looking to buy or sell to do their due diligence and work with a respected agent who is knowledgeable in their market and has the tools necessary to get them the home of their dreams at the best possible price in the least amount of time.
This will also ensure that you achieve the proper and best informed guidance needed to navigate a less than certain market.
Thank you for your time, Michael Valdes! Best of luck to you and eXp Realty!
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