He might be selling real estate in the oldest country town in South Australia, but that doesn’t mean David Washington’s business model is ancient too.
No, the development sales specialist joined eXp Realty in September 2021 and has gone from strength to strength with the fully cloud-based real estate brokerage.
He’s the first agent in the town of Gawler, about 45km north of Adelaide, to join the US-born virtual agency, with others staying the traditional franchise route.
David says he started in real estate back in 2003 and worked for several franchises in the town. He and wife Cassandra then launched Brock Harcourts, before selling and working for the new owners of what’s now known as Harcourts Gawler Sales.
He decided to switch to eXp Realty in September to grow his future in development sales.
“The attraction was more growth,” he says.
“I could do my own thing, and now I’ve built a one-stop shop for developers, and for marketing, selling, attracting buyers for their estates as well as finding sites.
“But, first and foremost, I work for the people I’m selling for, and my priority is getting them the best price and conditions.”
David says he started the development side of his business by educating himself on how to sell rezoned land.
“I educated myself as much as I could by picking people’s brains, talking to town planners, talking to project managers, having meetings with councils and just finding out all I could about the different types of zoning and the different types of council areas,” he explains.
“I don’t rezone the land, but I find out which area has been rezoned, and I door knock those areas and ask permission from the owners to, if I come across a developer looking in the area, bring them past their block and bring them back offers.”
David says eight out of 10 times he receives an answer in the affirmative, and then he’s in a position to inform them what their land is worth, what a developer will pay and what the development costs are.
“I price up the rezone land so I can help the vendors secure a great price, then track down developers and then, hopefully, get them back to sell where possible,” David says.
“You’re never guaranteed the land back to sell, but normally one time in three, you’re lucky enough to get that. And that’s how I grow my business, hopefully getting a few land estates along the way.”
David says his business also includes residential property sales and a rent roll, which, combined with the shares he receives for reaching certain milestones with eXp, is setting him up for the future.
“The attraction to eXp Realty was also about getting the best out of my future,” he says.
“The growth in shares that you get paid as you go along, and the starting of my own rent roll, which you can’t do with a traditional franchise, grows equity and growth for my future and my family.”
David was also attracted to eXp’s commission structure, which sees agents receive 100 per cent of their commission once they have written $100,000 GCI.
Since September, David says he has written $170,000 and significantly boosted his sales volumes.
A bonus for David is that eXp provides the systems, policies and procedures to run your own business along with assisting with paperwork and providing around the clock IT support and online training.
“You have to be self-motivated,” he notes.
“No one is going to put the listings in front of you. You do still have to do the footwork, but all of the systems are in place for you to succeed.”
David says clients have responded well to the change to eXp and he notes there’s also plenty of scope to use the client’s branding.
“I can use my own logo ‘powered by eXp’, and I can push a developer’s brand, which they really like,” he says.
Glenn Sanford founded eXp Realty in the US, on the back of the Global Financial Crisis, in 2009 as a way to save overhead costs associated with bricks and mortar real estate offices.
It was a way to future proof business in times of economic downturn. By the end of 2015, eXp Realty had 864 agents, and at the end of 2017, this had jumped to 6511.
The platform came to Australia in 2019 and now has more than 77,000 agents internationally.
The online brokerage provides agencies and agents with the ability to scrap bricks and mortar offices on the ground in favour of a 3-D, fully-immersive, cloud office environment called eXp World.
Built by virtual reality company virBELA, which eXp World Holdings acquired in 2018, eXp World provides agents access to collaborative tools, training and socialisation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
David says not having a shop front hasn’t affected his business.
“You don’t need an office anymore,” he says.
“People are more comfortable meeting in their own homes, or I take them for a cup of coffee.
“I used to pay $35,000 a year for an office, and it’s not required. People like dealing with people who they like.”
David says over the next 12 months, he plans to perfect his one-stop shop for sales developments and continue to grow his rent roll.
He’s also looking to bring new agents to the eXp Realty brokerage, for which he would be rewarded with more shares in the company.
“It’s all about building your own growth, not someone else’s growth. You’re building your own future,” David says.