Which cloud-based brokerage is best for you?

When you say the phrase “cloud-based brokerage” most real estate agents immediately think of eXp Realty!

However, there is a new cloud-based rival that is quickly building momentum and giving eXp and the industry as a whole a run for their money and that company is REAL.

Your first instinct may to say “so they are just copying eXp?”.

Well, sorta. REAL looks at it as they learned from some of eXp’s mistakes (and there were several) and improving on their model.

And to this point, I would say you don’t always want to be the first to market with a new business model. Sometimes being the 2nd or 3rd generation of that model is more beneficial.

Keller Williams Realty WAS NOT the first franchised based real estate company or even the second or even the third but they adapted that model, improved on it, and are now the largest real estate company in the world by agent count because of it.

However, Keller Williams Realty WAS THE FIRST to offer revenue share to it’s agents for attracting other agents to the company. eXp went on to adopt an improved version of revenue share into their model and REAL has gone to implement an even BETTER version of revenue share than either company offers into its own business model (more on that later).

When I was deciding what cloud-based brokerage I personally wanted to join, I dove in pretty deep researching and talking with agents at each. This article is the product of my intensive research.

So in this article, I want to do a side-by-side comparison of REAL Broker VS eXp Realty to help real estate agents make an educated decision on which cloud-based brokerage to join.

NOTE: All numbers & stats were taken from this EXP Realty Presentation and this REAL Broker Sign Up Page.

REAL Broker vs eXp Realty.jpeg

Today we are going to do a side-by-side comparison of the following categories:

  • Commission Cap

  • Commission Splits

  • Fee’s

  • Stock Bonuses

  • Revenue Share

  • Software Included

  • Company Branding

  • Potential For Growth

REAL Broker VS EXP Realty Commission Cap

Being that both brokerages are cloud-based, the companies save a huge amount of money every year compared to franchise-based companies and can pass those savings on to their agents in the form of lower commission caps.

EXP Realty has a $16,000 a year cap

REAL Broker has a $12,000 cap

So this one is pretty cut and dry. As far as which company has the lower cap, this round goes to REAL Broker who will be charging you $4,000 less a year.

REAL Broker VS EXP Realty Commission Splits

Commission splits percentages may not be relevant to agents who do a good bit of volume and know they are going to cap every year. All this really affects is WHEN in the yar you will cap.

However, having a more generous split can take off some of the financial pressure your business may feel at the start of the year.

However, Splits are VERY relevant to newer agents or part-time agents who may not cap at all.

If someone is only doing 3–4 transactions a year and never fully caps, having a better split percentage means they keep MORE MONEY in their pockets.

EXP Realty has an 80/20 split

REAL Broker has a 15/85 Split.

Again, this one is pretty clear to call, this round goes to REAL Broker who gives its agents a better split ratio than eXp does and most other brokerages do.

REAL Broker VS EXP Realty Fee’s

Fee’s are another sneaky way brokerages make money off of their agents and it is important to pay attention to all the fees a brokerage is charging its real estate agents.

On top of its annual cap, EXP Realty also charges:

  • $149 Start-Up Fee

  • $85 A Month Cloud Brokerage Fee

  • $25 Transaction review fee

  • $40 Risk Management Fee Per Transaction (Caps at $500)

  • $250 Transaction Fee After You Cap

eXp REALTY caps and commision splits.png

On top of its annual cap, REAL Broker also charges:

  • $149 Sign-Up Fee

  • $500 Annual Fee

  • $225 Transaction Fee After You Cap

REAL Broker, llc splits and commision splits.png

REAL Broker also wins this round. Their fee structure is simpler than eXp’s and less expensive for the agent as well.

REAL Broker VS EXP Realty Stock Bonuses

Both companies are publicly traded companies and offer their agents multiple ways to earn free shares of the company by hitting certain milestones in their businesses.

NOTE: Because REAL Broker, LLC has only recently become a publically traded company, at the time of writing this article, their stock is not currently traded on the NASDAQ. However, they have met all the requirements to be listed on the NASDAQ and submitted the application. They are projected to be listed later this year.

eXp Realty offers its agents 5 ways to earn free stock within the company.

  • You earn some shares on your first transaction of each year

  • You earn shares when you cap

  • You earn shares when an agent you sponsor completes their first transaction

  • Earn $16,000 worth of shares by hitting their Ion Agent Award

  • Agent Equity Program allows you to purchase shares out of your commission at a 10% discount

eXp Realty stock program.png

REAL Broker offers its agents 4 paths to earning free stock in the company.

  • You earn stock by capping each year (amount varies based on stock price & number of agents in brokerage)

  • You earn stock by attracting new agents to the company

  • You can earn $24,000 worth of stock by hitting their Elite Agent Award

  • Purchase stock out of your commission & earn up to 50% free additional shares with a max of $8,000 bonus stock a year.

REAL Broker stock program.png

Both brokerages have very similar stock incentive programs.

eXp does have 1 additional way of earning stock compared to REAL, however, REAL Broker offers a better bonus incentive for purchasing stock with your commission, and REAL offers its “Elite Agents” a higher award than EXP’s “ICON Agents” receive.

For the question of who has a better stock incentive program, I am going to give this round to REAL Broker in my opinion. A capping agent enrolled in the stock purchase plan will earn more free stock with REAL than they will with eXp.

REAL Broker VS EXP Realty Revenue Share Programs

Revenue share was first introduced by Keller Williams Realty to attract new agents and similar but more generous models was adopted by EXP Realty and later improved even more by REAL Broker.

THIS SECTION IS WHERE eXp and REAL DIFFER GREATLY! Pay attention to this section, especially the fine print further below.

Revenue share rewards agents for attracting new agents to the company by paying them a portion of the new agent’s cap for as long as they are with the company.

These programs have huge potential for long-term wealth building if you can get in early on one of these companies.

EXP Realty Revenue Share Program

EXP offers its agents up to $2,800 a year for bringing in a new agent to the company out of that new agent’s $16,000 a year cap.

Any agent you directly bring in will be in your tier 1.

So if the agent you bring on then brings on another agent, that second agent will be in your tier 2 and so on.

Their revenue share program actually can go up to 7 tiers deeps with various compensation for each tier. To unlock the rewards for all 7 of your tiers, you need to bring on 40+ qualifying agents in your tier 1. Qualifying agents means they need to be producing agents who are closing transactions.

exp realty revenue share explained.png

REAL Broker Revenue Share Program

REAL Broker offers a similar revenue share program except they give you $4,000 for every capping agent on your tier 1 you attract to the company.

You can receive an annual revenue share for up to 5 tiers deep and need to recruit at least 25 qualified agents to unlock all 5 tiers.

REAL Broker revenue share program.png

So comparing the two revenue share plans, you can see that REAL pays you MORE MONEY for your tier 1 agent than eXp.

This is a difference of $4,000 a year vs $2,800 a year for attracting an agent to your tier 1. At REAL, your tiers 2, 3 & 4 also all payout MORE than EXPs does

Of course, eXp offers revenue share going 7 levels deep compared to REAL’s 5 levels. However, in my experience and opinion, it can be very difficult to build out a downline 7 levels deep, even 5 levels deep will be challenging.

The truth is the majority of the agents you bring on probably would recruit anyone underneath of them. It is FAR easier to build out your tier 1 & 2 of your downline than it is to build out tier deeper tiers.

Also, by the time you get to the 7th generation of agents trying to recruit other agents, all the early adopters have already jumped on the bandwagon and it becomes much hard to build out your downlines.

Some of the early adopters at eXp may have been able to build 7 tier deep downlines but with eXp’s massive growth over the past few years, if you are just joining NOW, you would have a very hard time achieving a 7 level deep tier.


All the numbers and tiers aside, the next few paragraphs will explain the BIGGEST difference in the two companies’ revenue share program, the culture of their company, and how REAL set out to fix a MAJOR FLAW IN eXp’s MODEL!

REAL Broker’s Independent Contract Agreement explicitly prohibits promising ANYTHING OF VALUE in exchange for naming someone as the referral agent.

REAL Broker independent contractor agreement .jpeg


This may seem like a small detail BUT IT IS NOT.

What this loophole has created at eXp are agents who make outlandish promises of value for putting THEIR NAME AS THE SPONSOR INSTEAD OF YOURS!

They are literally stealing people’s recruits!

They do this by promising agents exclusive training, weekly mastermind, private coaching, access to private groups, webinars, etc.

Here is one example below but I could probably find dozens of eXp’s TOP AGENTS promising similar incentives.

eXp Realty recruiting.png

Now you may think “so what” or “good for them” BUT this can directly impact you and your own downline at eXp!

It’s NOT uncommon to hear about an agent LEAVING eXp for 1 year just to RE-JOIN under a different sponsor to get access to “exclusive content”.

But more importantly, let’s say you reach out to an agent at your last brokerage and tell them all about eXp, for a month you answer all their questions, send them resources, and hop on video calls with them and walk them through the process of joining.

One day they tell you the great news that they have joined eXp!

You ask them, “great, did you put me down as your sponsor?” and they reply “No, I put this other guy I saw on YouTube who promises me exclusive training and access to his private Facebook group if I put him as my sponsor!”

THIS is exactly what happens at eXp.

They have created a culture of doing whatever it takes to add people to your downline, even if it means stealing recruits from OTHER eXp agents!

This practice is not good for the NEW eXp agent or YOU for building out your downline.

How can YOU, the average agent who is running a real estate business, be expected to compete against someone who promises exclusive training, coaching, mastermind groups, weekly webinars, and more!

Some of these MEGA eXp agents might have 100+ agents in their tier 1 downline by using these tactics. So how invested in each of those agents’ success do you think they really are?

When one of those agents has a question, do you think their sponsor will be willing to hop on a phone call or zoom call to help them out? Probably not!

Instead of having 1 agent with 200 people in their tier 1 downline, it is far better for EVERYONE to have 20 agents with 10 cappers their tier 1 downlines!

THAT is the type of company REAL broker seeks to create!

THIS is how they are improving on the revenue share model Keller Williams and eXp have created, by prohibiting promising anything of value for putting someone’s name down as your sponsor.

For that reason, I absolutely have to give this round to REAL Broker. I would much rather get paid MORE for my first few teirs AND not have a rigged system that allows a handful of agents to STEAL other agent’s downlines.

REAL Broker VS EXP Realty Company Branding

So this may seem like an arbitrary point to compare BUT I think it is relevant.

You are going to be branding this companies name and logo on your business card, website, social media accounts, yard signs, and more.

I personally want to be part of a brand I think looks cool.

So let’s compare eXp Realty’s branding to REAL’s.

exp realty logo.png

real broker logo.png

Again, this is up to personal preference but I like REAL’s logo.

It’s modern, it’s a unique design and because of that, it stands out in the field of real estate logos designed in the 80’s and 90’s.

I have no problem placing this logo on my own branding.

As far as the name “REAL Broker” again, I think it’s fine. The “broker” part of that name is a little confusing and I wish was not part of it. I still think REAL Broker is better sounding than Keller Williams Realty and, in my own opinion, I like the name “REAL” better than “eXp”.

So for this round, I am again going to have to give it to REAL Broker for having a stylish and modern logo and name.

REAL Broker VS eXp Realty Software Included

Fee’s, stocks, and revenue share is obviously not the ONLY things you should consider when choosing a real estate company. What software and tools they give you should also be a deciding factor and truthfully, this is where eXp does have a unique selling point.

First, let’s acknowledge what software BOTH companies offer.

Both companies use Skyslope for transaction management. This is where you will submit your contracts for compliance and review by your broker.

Both companies also utilize Workplace. This is a platform created by Facebook and is essentially like a series of Facebook groups JUST for business use without all the distractions of personal content and ads.

You can mastermind with other agents, search for an agent, and direct message them and both eXp and REAL also have additional training resources within the workplace.

eXp uses Inside Real Estate & KV Core for their agent’s CRM and websites.

REAL Broker on the other hand offers its clients Chime for their CRM and Website needs. Both services provide very similar tools.

REAL broker also gives its agents free access to Cloud CMA which is a service that allows agents to easily create nice home valuation reports with customized comps.

Now there is one piece of software that eXp offers which no other brokerage offers and that is eXp World or what they also like to call their “cloud office”.

exp realty world.jpeg

When you want to attend training, you need to log into eXp World and walk to the training location. When you have a question, you need to log into eXp World and walk to the information booth. Have questions about just about anything, you need to log into eXp World and walk to a specific location!

THIS is the proprietary exclusive software eXp claims is what gives it an edge over every other brokerage…

Now, this may sound good in THEORY but from what eXp agents tell me, it gets very old very quickly.

Instead of just signing into a zoom class for live training or picking up the phone to ask a question about your commission, you need to log into eXp world and walk your avatar to a specific location before you can ask your question…

eXp claims this gives their agents some sort of advantage but most eXp agents will describe it as more of a burden than anything.

So as far as who wins this round, I’m going to have to give it a tie. Both eXp and REAL offer CRM’s and websites and even some of the exact same software. As far as eXp world, I’m going to count it as a non-factor since it has both positive and negative aspects to it.

REAL Broker VS eXp Realty Potential Growth

real broker growth .jpeg

If you are focused not just on saving money by being with a cloud-based brokerage but also on trying to build true wealth, then the potential growth of a company IS something you want to look at.

Many agents who got in early on Keller Williams’s revenue share program are now millionaires because of it and will receive passive income for the rest of their lives.

Similarly, many of the agents who got into eXp EARLY are also now multi-millionaires from their revenue share and stock appreciation.

So the question is, can you STILL build massive wealth from either of those companies with how large they are today? Maybe, but it’s a heck of a lot harder NOW than if you had gotten in early.

I do believe that cloud-based brokerages ARE THE FUTURE OF OUR INDUSTRY!

And because of that, I think both eXp and REAL broker are going to see massive growth over the next few years.

In my opinion, I think REAL has the potential for MORE EXPLOSIVE growth. And I think eXp has laid out a road map of what that may look like for REAL.

REAL Broker currently has a little over 2,000 agents and growing. eXp had about 2,000 agents at the beginning of 2017 and within the last 4 years, has exploded to a little over 60,000 agents as of today.

Many agents who were in eXp in 2017 are now multimillionaires because of it!

I honestly think that REAL brokers can follow a similar growth path and possibly do it even quicker now that eXp has blazed the trail.

So this means over the next 4 years, REAL could easily add an additional 58,000 agents to the company.


Why not yours?

And when you factor in that you don’t have the problem with shady agents promising exclusive training for agents to join their down line, I think the potential to build a downline is FAR GREAT at REAL today than it is at eXp.

Now let’s take a look at the two companies’ stock prices. Owning eXp stock you received for free in 2017 has also made many agents millionaires.

As of today, eXp’s stock is trading at $30.79. Real Broker’s stock is trading at $1.88.

So if REAL Broker follows a similar growth path to eXp and their stock also reaches $30 a share someday, that means stock you own in REAL today could 15x in the next few years.

I am giving this round to REAL Broker. eXp has blazed the trail for other cloud-based brokerages and I think REAL is going to have a far easier time growing because of it.

I think getting in on REAL broker NOW is very similar to getting into eXp back in 2017 when it was about the same size.


So who wins?

real broker llc.jpeg

After reviewing and comparing eXp to REAL broker, I personally decided to join REAL Broker.

As a real estate agent, I will simply make more money at REAL than I will at eXp, I think the company has greater potential for growth and has a better culture that does not allow bribing agents to join your downline.

Next Steps With REAL

For your free REAL Broker informational packet breaking down in more detail the fees, stock program, revenue share, Elite Agent program, and more OR to schedule a 1-on-1 zoom call with myself to see if REAL would be a good fit for you, email me at [email protected]

If you are ready to join and don’t have a sponsor yet, I would love to be your sponsor in the company at no additional cost to you and I will then have a vested interest in your success at REAL. When you sign your Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA), just put my name, Malcolm Lawson, down as your “Sponsoring Agent” and I will officially be in your upline!

You can join here  https://www.joinreal.com/malcolm-lawson/refer

Or check out these other REAL Broker articles I wrote:

REAL Broker VS eXp Realty

An Honest Review Of REAL Broker

Is REAL Broker Good For Real Estate Teams?

10 Things To Do After Joining REAL Broker, LLC

Why I Left Keller Williams To Join REAL Broker

Pros & Cons Of Joining REAL Broker