Virtual brokerage eXp Realty is growing by nearly 200 agents in South Florida with the acquisition of Kurz Real Estate, The Real Deal has learned.
It’s the latest move in Florida by Bellingham, Washington-based eXp, which entered the Sunshine State nine years ago.
“We are one of the largest brokerages to merge with eXp. Ninety-eight percent of our agents are moving with us,” Kurz Real Estate owner David Kurz told TRD. Kurz made the announcement at The Real Talk Conference on Friday afternoon.
It’s now known as Kurz Enterprise Network at eXp Realty.
At Miami-based Kurz Real Estate, agents were taking home 90 percent of their commissions. With eXp, they will have an 80-20 split, but that is capped out at $16,000 a year, Kurz said. After an agent reaches that amount, they receive 100 percent of the commissions for the rest of the year.
Kurz said he was first approached by eXp about two years ago, but began serious negotiations with the brokerage in recent months. Kurz worked closely with Kevin Cottrell and Gene Frederick of eXp to make the decision.
“It was a very difficult thing to do. I think a lot of ego and passion gets in the way,” Kurz said. “We’ve built something over the past three years. Most people can’t do that.”
Traditional brokerages with brick-and-mortar locations have struggled to remain as profitable as they have in the past, amid rising commission splits.
Florida is the second-largest market for eXp in the U.S. after Texas, Andrew Shock, designated managing broker for the state, told TRD earlier this year. The brokerage is projecting to grow to 4,000 agents in the Sunshine State by this time next year.
Kurz’s agents will be moving over to eXp within the next two weeks. New agents to join include Jennifer Gomez with Douglas Elliman’s Chad Carroll Group.
Kurz will continue operating its three offices in Coconut Grove, Miami Lakes and Fort Lauderdale. The heads of those offices will pay for the leases individually, with Kurz leading the Coconut Grove location at 3692 Grand Avenue. The offices will be open to all eXp agents
Kurz, a former Douglas Elliman director of luxury sales and team leader, opened his brokerage in the fall of 2016. Earlier this year, the brokerage expanded with the merger of Golden Acre Real Estate in Miami Lakes, doubling its agent count. Most of Kurz’s company sales have been in the $350,000 to $450,000 range.
EXp is one of the fastest-growing brokerages in the country with more than 20,000 agents. It recently launched its own iBuying program called Express Offers.
The virtual brokerage, founded in 2009, offers high splits, revenue-sharing and company stock options. During the second quarter of 2019, eXp reported a “record” $266.7 million in revenue, up 104 percent year over year. The firm also reported a $2.2 million net loss, up 16 percent.
Kurz compared eXp to Amazon, calling it a “game changer for the industry.”
“It was borderline irresponsible of me to not offer this to my agents,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if 18 to 24 months from now, we have 2,000 to 2,500 agents in South Florida.”