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During the COVID-19 pandemic, which has struck the California real estate market, we as a community and industry have seen and experienced ever-changing policies, protocols and guidelines. From virtual tours and open houses, masked and gloved home inspections, and sanitation precautions to new contract advisories, the ways properties are being bought and sold may look different, but the processes still remain an essential part of the American way of life. Despite these changes, a recent “monthly Google poll conducted by the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) in early June found 40 percent of consumers said it is a good time to sell, up from 29 percent a month ago…and 32 percent of the consumers who responded to the poll believed that now is a good time to buy a home. These are encouraging signs in the wake of April and May’s significant drop in sales totals.

Though the market is volatile, real estate agents are remaining an essential part of the real estate community and real estate brokerages are growing! In California, statistics for May and June 2020 show top brokerages gained 150-plus agents.

It is not surprising that the top two brokerages that had the largest number of agents join their team are both virtual, online brokerages. During these times, flexibility and the ability to work from home are key to the success of real estate agents and brokerages alike. The second deciding factor contributing to the desire to change brokerages during this uncharted time is the generous commission splits offered by varying brokerages.

Many Americans, especially now, are looking to where they can save the most money and ensure the financial stability for their families. With this in mind, online brokerages tend to have a more competitive fee structure than traditional, brick-and-mortar brokerages. Take the leading two companies, for example—those that grew by more than 150 agents—Real Estate eBroker, Inc (DBA REeBroker Group) and eXp Realty of California, Inc.

REeBroker Group is an independent brokerage that was established in 2005. They are a flat fee brokerage ($500 + E&O per transaction) with no start-up costs focusing solely on the California real estate market. They also have five-star reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook as well as an A+ BBB rating.

eXp Realty is a larger, publicly traded company recently established in 2015. They have a nominal start-up fee ($149) with additional monthly fees for tech support, websites and training (approx. $1620 annually). While eXp Realty is a virtual brokerage with many online options their broker’s commission split is 80/20 + E&O where the broker receives 20 percent of the agent’s commission in addition to collecting risk management. eXp Realty focuses on real markets both domestically and internationally.

While inventory remains low in most areas of the real estate industry, brokerages and consumers alike are optimistic about the second half of 2020.

Sarah Vance is the marketing manager at REeBroker Group. For more information, please visit https://reebroker.com.

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