When an eXp agent dies, their heirs will get automatic access to their “outstanding, unvested equity awards,” eXp World Holdings founder and CEO Glenn Sanford announced on Wednesday.

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EXp Realty’s equity share program is getting a significant update, according to a Facebook post from eXp World Holdings founder and CEO Glenn Sanford on Wednesday.

“EXp is large enough now that, unfortunately, we have agents who pass every month. A few years ago we had our first agent pass with vesting equity awards,” Sanford said. “Every month that happened in the early days we had a discussion about accelerated vesting. In each case, we agreed to do that.”

“Since then, every month, I would sign the acceleration of issuance,” he added. “Yesterday, with the help of [eXp Deputy General Counsel] Olivia Curley, we documented automatic vesting going forward as a matter of course. No need for a monthly decision to be made. It’s now business as usual.”

An eXp spokesperson told Inman that the change, dubbed eXtend A Hand, enables eXp to release agents’ outstanding, unvested equity awards into their Morgan Stanley at Work account immediately after getting notice of their death. From there, heirs can contact the brokerage’s internal stock department at stock@exprealty.com to get additional assistance with accessing the shares.

Previously, the process could take up to three years, unless Sanford signed an acceleration of issuance.

“Ironically, years ago, we had internal debates about this and how if we didn’t do this, it would ‘help our financials’ since we weren’t obligated to based on the way we initially put the program together,” he added. “Let’s just say those people don’t work here anymore.”

Wendy Forsythe

In a post on LinkedIn, EXp Chief Marketing Officer Wendy Forsythe echoed Sanford’s sentiments, saying the move to automate the release of unvested shares was the right thing to do.

“Losing a loved one is very personal and the hardest thing. As their professional family, we can help immediately,” she said. “Many people have told me — at eXp and other publically traded companies I worked for — that the shares [and] stock they earned is their plan to take care of their families later in life.”

“This decision gives eXp agents the assurance they can do that even in the worst of circumstances,” she added. “EXp can do this because of our financial strength. Not something our competitors can say.”

Sanford’s and Fosythe’s posts garnered hundreds of comments from eXp agents and industry members who lauded the company for putting agents first.

“Compassionate, empathetic, and aligned ethically with our core values of sustainability for our families, transparency by bringing things from behind the curtains, integrity in doing the right thing, and, lastly, community — being a good neighbor to create a sustainable legacy,” eXp agent Chris Janzon said under Sanford’s post. “That’s what it’s all about at eXp Realty.”

“We lost an amazing Realtor, Keely Rich, this year, and [extending] a hand helped her so much, I’m sure this new policy will help her sons,” eXp agent Jessica Nieto added. “Thank you for always looking out for us Glenn, at any cost.”

Sanford also replied to several comments from the family members of agents who passed before the policy change, pledging to personally help them access their loved one’s outstanding, unvested equity awards.

Meanwhile, Forsythe’s post caught the attention of CEOs who said Sanford’s announcement inspired them to update their equity programs.

“Great idea Glenn Sanford,” Curbio CEO Rick Rudman said. “I’m going to steal it for Curbio. Every employee here gets options that we hope will make a contribution to them and their families.”

EXp has long been praised for its revenue share and equity benefits program, which paid out $232.6 million to agents and brokers in 2023.

Revenue share payouts are based on the number of productive agents a current eXp agent or broker sponsors, while equity shares are given when agents and brokers meet certain key performance indicators, such as hitting the full commission cap. Agents can also enroll to be paid 5 percent of every transaction commission in stock purchased at a 10 percent discount.

“Our mission is simple: empower agents to succeed and solve their biggest pain points,” Sanford said in a previous article. “Before we created this company, real estate agents were not offered any meaningful ownership in the brokerages they were part of, so we built eXp to compensate our agents for their contributions to our growth.”

“We’re not just a brokerage, we’re a community of forward-thinkers committed to shared growth opportunities,” he added. “Despite market challenges, our resilient model continues to thrive, proving that when our agents succeed, we all do.”

Email Marian McPherson

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