eXp Realty’s remote-work model may have spared it some of the transition pains suffered by traditional brokerages in the age of social distancing, but the virtual brokerage is hardly immune to the effects of the economic downturn.
The Washington-based firm announced Wednesday it had reduced headcount by about 15 percent across the company, among a swathe of cost-cutting measures it is taking in response to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Staff departures aren’t easy, but we are doing this with the utmost respect for each and every person,” eXp Realty CEO Jason Gesing said in a statement. “We are grateful for the contributions of those who are leaving us. However, we are confident about our business model and these changes are the right thing to do to put eXp on a stronger path to grow when business — and life — returns to normal.”
The company also released preliminary business highlights from the first quarter, once again highlighting the dramatic growth trajectory eXp has been on since going public last May. Agent and broker headcount was up 59 percent year-over-year at 28,449, while residential transaction volume nearly doubled to $11.2 billion.
In other cost-cutting moves, eXp has eliminated business travel for staff, while the firm’s executives and board members have taken significant salary and compensation cuts. Additionally, some staff have been transferred from eXp Realty to work on immersive technology platform VirBELA, which is also owned by eXp Realty’s parent company, eXp World Holdings.
eXp says that VirBELA, which allows companies — including eXp Realty itself — to create Sim City-style virtual worlds for employees to work in, has seen increased interest during the coronavirus crisis.
In his statement, Gesing called the outbreak a global health crisis “unlike anything we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes, and our hearts go out to everyone impacted around the world, especially our agents, staff, partners and their families. From day one, we have run a lean and agile business so that eXp would be sustainable for the future.”