Competition and a slowing market are making international expansions an increasingly important part of many U.S. companies plans for growth, including eXp Realty.

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Virtual brokerage eXp Realty announced Tuesday that it is expanding operations into Poland, highlighting the increasing importance of overseas markets to American real estate companies.

The expansion means eXp now has a presence in 23 different countries. In a statement Tuesday, Chief Growth Officer Michael Valdes said “Poland’s rapid growth and continued resilience in the real estate market along with its rich and multi-cultural history, speaks to the attractiveness of its property sector.”

Dorota Chomuntowska

Dorota Chomuntowska, a Polish broker with more than a decade of experience in the industry, will lead operations for eXp in Poland. In Tuesday’s statement, she praised the virtual brokerage’s “innovative and agent-centric model” and said she looks “forward to leading eXp’s expansion across the country.”

EXp’s expansion into Poland is the fifth such move for the company this year, with previous launches taking place in the Dominican Republic, Greece and New Zealand, among other countries.

The Polish launch also comes about a week after parent eXp World Holdings reported its third quarter earnings. At the time, the company revealed that a rising agent count helped boost revenue, but profits nevertheless were down compared to the same period last years. The falling revenue reflects a rapidly cooling housing landscape, and in a statement company founder and CEO Glenn Sanford described contending with an “increasingly challenging market.”

Such challenges — as well as intense competition that predates the current downturn — have made international expansions an increasingly key part of many U.S. firm’s strategies. Aside from eXp, rival Keller Williams has lately expanded in the Caribbean, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. Smaller firms such as The Agency have also be pushing into foreign regions.

Such expansions offer American companies the chance to increase revenue and agent counts without having to lure those agents away from rival domestic firms — a prospect that can become both costly and highly acrimonious. Experts also believe the current downturn is likely to reduce the number of practicing agents in the U.S., meaning that if companies want continued growth, international expansion will only become more important.

Michael Valdes

This is particularly true for eXp; last year Sanford said the company hopes to eventually have 500,000 agents — a lofty goal that would far surpass the current agent counts of any rivals. Last month, at eXp’s annual gathering Sanford further explained that he wants to have 250,000 agents in the U.S. alone. However, eXp currently has about 85,000 agents worldwide, meaning it has aggressive growth goals for both the U.S. and international markets.

In the case of eXp’s move into Poland, Valdes ultimately concluded in Tuesday’s statement that “we are changing the way real estate is done around the world and are excited to empower agents in Poland with our unique model built for success.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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