It’s official, there’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Glenn Sanford, founder of eXp Holdings and CEO of eXp Realty. The firm moved from No. 3 to No. 1 by transaction sides in the soon-to-be-announced 2023 RealTrends 500 rankings, based on 2022 data.
Robert Reffkin’s Compass held on to the top spot in sales volume, ranking No. 1 for the second year in a row. Reffkin will be a featured guest on the RealTrending podcast on March 20, where he discusses the brokerage’s growth plan, lessons learned scaling rapidly and his move to build on company culture through in-person relationship building.
A big initiative for Compass this year is to reinforce the importance of culture and encourage agents to go into the office, which is already a requirement at headquarters in New York City. “There’s an energy when agents get together in person,” he said.
Sanford was a featured speaker at the 2022 RealTrends Gathering of Eagles, the premier leadership event for real estate, where he spoke extensively about different strategies brokers and brokerages could employ to successfully navigate the shift in the market.
In a recent interview, he acknowledged that his firm wasn’t immune to the challenges of the current market. However, he said that they were in a position to “weather the market,” and will focus on “production-based training and coaching” this year.
“After over 20 years where the Anywhere Advisors entity of Anywhere Real Estate and the HomeServices of America entity of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices were consistently Nos. 1 or 2 in both categories on the RealTrends 500, it is frankly amazing that in less than 10 years, these two relatively young firms rose to these positions in our rankings,” said Steve Murray, senior advisor for HW Media and founder of the rankings.
What this shows, is that there is not one path to growth. “Their paths to such growth were very different in some ways and the same in others. Compass used their capital and a focus on high-producing agents and teams in high-end markets to achieve their results. eXp used a mixture of its own equity, revenue sharing and the virtual nature of its business to gain its position. Access to and use of capital, therefore, was key for both organizations,” said Murray.
It is noteworthy that eXp was the only one of the top four firms to grow both its closed transactions and its sales volume in 2022, when sales of existing homes were down significantly. Compass, for its part, declined at a slower rate than the two other giants of the industry.
One thing remains true for these firms and all others in the residential brokerage business: Recruiting and retaining agents and teams remains the core driver of growth.
“We saw these two firms coming in past years and believed it was only a matter of time before they became the leaders in closed transactions and sales volume,” said Murray. “We expect both Anywhere and HomeServices of America to take new and additional steps to regain their own growth in the years ahead. Thus, we expect competition to intensify considerably in the years to come.”
The full list of 2023 RealTrends 500 brokerage firms will be released on March 24 and announced in The Wall Street Journal the same day.