RE/MAX agent Paul Saperstein was successful on his own, but he was ready to start a team — so he moved over to eXp and teamed up with colleague Tony DeFalco to launch The Saperstein Team. Here’s how switching brokerages to start a team worked out for him.
Christy Murdock Edgar is a regular Inman contributor who writes about news, tech and marketing. She has two recurring columns, “Lessons Learned” and “Dear Marketing Mastermind” that publish weekly and monthly on Mondays and Tuesdays respectively.
In the oceanside communities of Boynton Beach, Delray Beach and Boca Raton, if you’re looking to sell your home, you’re probably reaching out to Paul Saperstein.
With hundreds of listings each year, Saperstein has built a reputation as a top-producing mega-agent. So much so, in fact, that he was recently included in the REAL Trends/Wall Street Journal Thousand List as No. 198 on its ranking of the top brokers in the U.S.
What more could a broker at this level of success want? As it turns out, a team. To change up his business model, Saperstein joined with colleague Tony DeFalco to launch The Saperstein Team brokered by eXp Realty. Find out how moving from single broker-associate to team leader worked for them, and how a switch to eXp Realty made it possible.
Tell me why you feel team building is more possible under the eXp model than under the model of your former brokerage.
Saperstein: My former brokerage (RE/MAX) required a monthly fee per agent on the team. Often it took agents time to get productive, meaning that the team leader had a lot of overhead while agents were getting up to speed. With eXp the monthly fee is much less expensive, plus we have a lot more tools to get the agents productive faster.
DeFalco: In addition, with the eXp residual model, Paul and I have a way to be compensated without taking money away from the agents on every one of their transactions. With a traditional model, the team leaders have to be paid a percentage of the agents’ commissions in order to benefit. Here, unless we give them a true referral or co-list, we’re not taking any of their money on the transaction.
Saperstein: Traditionally, a team leader is compensated by taking part of the commission of each team member. We get paid through exponential revenue share. We bring on agents, provide the strategies and training that we know work — because we used them as individual agents — then have them as a subsidiary agent. We’re building a group of real estate professionals working together and producing synergy, so each person excels at a higher level. This model incentivizes excellence from every member of the group.
Many people who work with eXp talk about the ability to work with agents/brokers in other states. Is that something that is unique to the eXp setup and how does it work?
DeFalco: I believe it’s unique to eXp. Each agent can be compensated by attracting an agent in a different state or Canada, but in addition Paul and I or any agent can build a team across state lines without being licensed in those states. Because each state in eXp has a top managing broker, we are able to build our team without geographic restrictions.
When did you leave your previous brokerage, and what was the timeline like for scaling to your current business?
Saperstein: Oct. 1, 2018 we joined eXp and our total group is now over 50 agents across Florida, Texas, Maryland, New Jersey and Georgia. Hard work, dedication and understanding the eXp model is how we were able to scale so quickly. We have a goal of 500 agents by the end of 2019.
What specifically did you do to attract agents to your team?
DeFalco: We just showed great leadership and the proven systems that took Paul from doing 50 transactions a year five years ago to 200 per year currently.
Hard work, energy, work ethic and systems that are dependable, duplicatable and predictable allow us to work with agents so they can reach the next level. We believe in ABC: always be contributing. We know that if we contribute to our agents’ success, that’s good for all of us.
What do you see happening over the next 5 years?
Saperstein: I believe over a five-year span eXp will be the largest real estate brokerage by agent count in the world, based on initial record-setting growth in production. I believe in five years our total group will be around the 10,000 agent mark. We’re currently in North America, but I hope at that point we would be worldwide.
DeFalco: Building this team on our own takes a lot of time. Because we have people at eXp who introduced us into the company, they are able to help us build as well. Instead of one broker or team lead providing value to the agent, we have seven on our up line who are leaders and mentors who are isolating each agent’s business to make sure they are productive/profitable.