Lauren: Good morning everybody. It is Monday December 21, a few days from Christmas and a few more days for the year which we’re all excited to be turning the page on this year of 2020. Although I’m Lauren Cohen, with Investing Across Borders, my podcast about how you and your family and friends can invest across borders and make a real impact not only in your home country, but in other countries as well. And one thing that has
happened that’s been a silver lining in 2020, certainly for me, is becoming a part of this amazing organization, EXP Realty. And one of the main reasons that it’s so exciting for me as an international lawyer and realtor, of course, is because of the gentlemen I have on the show today.
Mr. Michael Valdez, Michael please introduce yourself and just give a brief bio about where you came from and what brought you to this company
that is going gangbusters.
Michael: Lauren first it’s my pleasure to be with you today on your show. Thank you so much I love talking about all things International, and I
love the fact that this is your space as well so I’m looking forward to our conversation today. And you’re right 2020 has been a very interesting
year for many people, and you know there’s being a lot of people that have been dealing with and struggling, and you know obviously my heart goes out to all of those folks, and hopefully 2021 will be a much brighter future for all of them and all of us. But 2020 for me personally has been just
like you, a wonderful, wonderful experience in joining this incredible brand. And so, I joined EXP in May of this year. And as President of EXP
Global it’s really been an incredible adventure that has been fantastic but prior to that I was with Realogy for 15 years.
Lauren: So, Realogy is Coldwell Bankers.
Michael: So Realogy is not a consumer basing company so they own Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s, Century 21, ERA that are Homes and Garden in corporate, and I was in charge of all the international business for all six brands and so collectively that was 113 countries and yeah that’s it.
Lauren: Aren’t you going to be in 113 by the end of 2021, that’s where going it’s not it’s not unheard of.
Michael: Listen it took 15 years to build that one. Okay. So, but listen. We’re at a much faster trajectory here at EXP, they said I love what this
model was, the idea that EXP makes the agent the brand.
Michael: And when that is something that is articulated well, across the globe, it’s no stopping us, there isn’t. Imagine Lauren, in two months
right, so we really started doing all in August, we announced to the press the five countries we’re coming into which was South Africa, Mexico,
India, Portugal, and France. And so, we started launching two months ago, we launched South Africa two months ago, we launched India a month ago, we launched Mexico, two weeks ago and then it was Portugal last week, and France last Monday. So, we got everything done, these five countries done in a two months span of time without me ever jumping on a plane.
Lauren: It’s an incredible world that we live in, this would never, could not have happened certainly not without jumping on a plane a couple of
years ago but circumstances dictate what how we respond, and we have responded in kind. I mean, EXP has gone crazy. Since the pandemic because
it’s such a tech driven company, thank God. And so, when the stock came in, my boyfriend taught told me buy it, buy it at $8 and I’m like I don’t
know! And when was it the other day, $75 on Friday. Yeah, I mean, and that’s only in that span since you’ve been here I think it was April through to now, and it just reflects the amount of impact that these companies have not only internationally, but on its domestic realtors especially here in the US where people were struggling and not knowing what to do, and how do you get rid of the pandemic and how do you buy and sell houses when you can Zoom, and I want to go and physically touch that house. So, here’s an opportunity for you to build something, not just something for today, but something for tomorrow and that’s the most beautiful part of EXP right.
Michael: So, you got to remember its sort of like you know it says, our motto said, we were built for this, when this happened. And it’s really,
true. It’s the idea that you know everyone is on zoom calls, like we are now everyone’s on Microsoft Teams.
Lauren: All day long.
Michael: The EXP world has been around for 10 years the Brubella Technology that’s owned 100% by EXP, is a technology that is now being used by a lot of other industries. So, the Lloyds Price Waterhouse, the financial sector is using this, the entertainment sector is using this, the educational services industry is using this. So, now, it’s really the idea that our technology to your point is, is now, we’re valued as a tech company which we should be, because it’s what we have. It’s what we’re doing. It’s what is our differentiating factor, and you know I’d just like to add something to what you were saying, it’s not just the world we’re living in, but there’s no other brands, in my opinion that could have done what we did, right. So, it is not about just not being able to jump on a plane because it’s COVID, it’s about the fact that our entire platform is based on what we can deliver over a zoom call or over a Microsoft team, there’s nothing else I can show you in person that I can’t show you virtually, because that’s what you experience, you experience the EXP world, you experience all the training in the world, you experience everything that we’ve created there. There’s no other brand that does that because we own the technology.
Lauren: It’s amazing. The other day I saw an article on one of the social media’s about how in 10 years, everybody’s going to be operating their business through an avatar. And I’m like, we’ve been doing that for 10 years right, so I have a 10-year-old, and I just showed him the EXP world
the other day, he starts doing this, and this and I’m crazy. It’s crazy. I look at him on his PlayStation land oh boy, but the truth is he knows what
to do. He says, “mommy I use my Avatar to smash into the wall”. So, let’s just briefly touch on this. So, we have this virtual world through Rubella, that we had the foresight or not, we, the company, the founders and the developers, and all that had the foresight to buy this technology, and this technology drives how we interact, where we meet, when you have international meetings. When you launch your brand, when you have questions when you have onboarding, everything is in this world, and you know I’ve run Masterminds in there. I’m sure you remember International Mastermind, which I’m going to start doing again in the new year, and we would have 30, 40, 50 and 60 people coming in. I’d have slides on this virtual wall, they were my physical slides, I was using a special third party, and showing the slides and the people were watching and asking the questions. It’s an amazing thing. And that is the future of real estate and we have it now.
Michael: And it’s amazing what this technology is because, you know I do a global international meeting every month. In fact, I’m doing it right
after this. And you know there’s usually 500 people in the room. We had our conference that we just did last month, there were 17,000 people. I
mean you know this is something that is just crazy we were doing between the live streaming and the people that were in, you know, it was funny
because actually the capacity was so strong that it shut it down a couple of times. And so we had to keep fixing it as we were going so it’s sort of
like what’s really wonderful is the agility of this company as well, but it is so true because what I love about EXP, is that even though you start
thinking about this remote virtual reality technology, but once you’re in it, it becomes commonplace. People come into my office we just sort of
like have that regular interaction like you would with anyone else in YOUR office. Now, you build these relationships and your avatars, that are extraordinary. You know when I, when I meet somebody in person, and of course we’ve met, we’ve never physically met right, and oh my god, you’re
right. And it’s because you have the sense of a relationship already done. You know what’s so beautiful is the fact that this brings the world together, so when you go into the avatar it is culturally sensitive, ethnically sensitive, religiously sensitive, so everything that you are. It really is a melting pot of the world and it’s beautiful. And so when you go into the EXP world you can also jump into the Canada world, the Mexico world, the India world you know, I just left a webinar right now where I was, where I was speaking and it was amazing that here’s a webinar that’s being conducted in Hindi for EXP in the country.
Lauren: And India’s like this huge, huge mega populated country. Right. And in all the India, there’s so much opportunity in real estate. It’s just an amazing, the numbers alone. I wanted to ask you something about when you were when you came over and you started building in the world, what did you find in this EXP World, what did you find to be the most intriguing part of being able to work in this virtual world that’s like a video game, essentially.
Michael: Well, you know what I found is the fact that when we were just talking about it, it becomes that for a split second, but once you’re in
the relationships that you build are really so deep and you build it around the world, and the idea that you are now, connecting the world in such a real way. I have right now, this is my last as was mentioning to you, this is going to be my last meeting of the year for my global meeting, and I have each one of my country leaders coming in to thank their teams, and so you’re going to have nine countries on the stage, and that just brings the reality of who we are, you know, for our conference last month I had I had each one of our country leaders have a welcome in their native language. It is so impactful to understand when you start saying we’re a global company, when you start hearing it, when we start sort of like jumping up and there’s a webinar in Hindi and there’s a webinar in Spanish and there’s a webinar in French, and you know it was the idea that means we’re going to be very cognizant in celebrating the country and honoring the country in which we were entering. And so I did not want to have a Mexico webinar in English because we were celebrating a Spanish speaking country, same thing in France we were not going to do that webinar in French we obviously in English, we’re going to do it in French, and it was really celebrating the country that we were in because you have to, you are domestic company in that country, over a global company.
Lauren: As you handle Canada, I’m just kidding you spell Canadian ay I’m often, half the day I spend on calls with Canada, and often translating even myself. I still speak Canadian because I’m saying like that “bloody” whatever, because I grew up there and it’s just part of my culture, but I live in Florida. So, when I came here, I adjust my wording. Because when you’re talking to Canadians, you know just different things and Canadians are always excusing ourselves.
Michael: Listen I lived in London for five years and some things just stuck with me, so I still say, you know, the queue was crazy. Like I haven’t said I said I’m not standing in line, the queue was crazy. I still say rubbish bin and I catch myself. And so, but it was so funny because I lived there for five years and I loved my time there.
Lauren: One of the things that I find the most amazing and beneficial and rewarding in this company is collaboration. I’m sure, even between us. You came on board. Here I am this international lawyer, I came in, I did not come in because I was intrigued by the International, but at the time I came in, because I was kind of like talked into it, and I wasn’t doing anything with my real estate license, literally Michael, I’ve had it for 13 years, did nothing didn’t make one cent until I joined EXP, nothing. I didn’t even work with my international real estate investment clients that were getting visas through real estate, even then didn’t even deal with it didn’t do referrals. Now I’m doing referrals, all over the map right and everybody wants to help everybody. And there’s a lot of reasons for that, not the least of which is because we are all like you said, owners, we’re all shareholders are vested in the outcomes of everybody working within this company. We want everybody to succeed because then the whole succeeds, and that collaboration has been huge for me and I’m sure it’s something that you have found unique as well.
Michael: It’s one of the most beautiful things about this company, it’s the fact that everyone says that it feels like a family. And it’s a term that’s overused, but not here. It’s something that truly feels that way. And it really is you know you can put in a question on workplace chat and put in a question, and in five minutes you have 32 answers.
Lauren: with that I have been running these webinars about immigration through real estate, and everybody wants to know because it’s a very
unusual topic, how do you get an immigration visa through real estate investment? Most lawyers think you can’t do it, even immigration lawyers
because it’s it you know real estate investing is passive. I will say that I’ve only done two so far, but there is at least half the room filled with EXP’ers that are trying to learn how to help their clients, service their clients better because they don’t know how to guide the client because obviously they’re not lawyers, right, so here they have somebody in the family that they can trust, who’s going to guide them and I am there for all of them, they ask them questions all the time. I have a couple of agents I’m working with now that want to immigrate from Canada to the US, and they’re with EXP and they’re going to stay with EXP. So, it’s just a lovely feeling to be a part of that, and to be able to have that impact and help the agents and realtors to help their clients. That’s what it’s all about for me and I know for you as well.
Michael: Absolutely. You know there’s 27 countries around the world that do real estate for some sort of residency. And so you know it’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to assist all these clients around the world with those opportunities, you know we’ve just opened now in Portugal, which is one of the best ones right, and so the Malaysian visa program that has a 10 year tax abatement. There’s a lot of great foreign investment that’s coming into Portugal because of that it’s also good reasons why we selected it as one of the first countries coming in. It is an incredibly robust real estate business there, it’s a beautiful country, and there’s a lot of incentives that come int Portugal.
Lauren: Watching earnings growing through the country and every other day I’m like I want to come and it’s one of the places I haven’t been and it’s
on my bucket list. I haven’t been to the whole of Spain, Portugal and Morocco that whole area, that’s really on my bucket list and essentially soon I’ll have a reason because we’ll be meeting all our EXP’ers. You know, Ernest tapes his Portugal office, every day it’s in a different place.
Michael: Your selling the country and beautiful. Yeah. My, mom is from Spain and so I lived there as a child and so you know for me, I love, love
that entire area I love all of Europe. And so, but like Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, it’s just so incredible to have that presence that we’re going to be continuing to build in continental Europe, which is really going to be a good foothold for what we’re doing across the globe. Right. And so, you know, we’re building this this global brand.
Michael: It’s the idea that you know we are under the radar until you know us, and then it becomes, that person becomes the ambassador and spokesperson for us, and they start saying, how do you not know if it hits me, you know, and this fire gets ignited.
Lauren: It’s true I have a new recruit that we’re bringing in hopefully and she runs a VA company and she, she said to me the other day, I hate
you because now I have to get my real estate license. She loves the model so much and I’m like, that’s great. Whatever it takes, you know. We’re obviously not going to talk about what countries we’re onboarding because we’re going to have a report a press release on that in early January, we’ll have some insider information myself, which is great but we won’t share that but Europe is a great place. South America too for a lot of reasons but most European countries, for example, have access to the E2 visa which I’m sure you’re familiar with. And that’s a great visa for immigration through real estate. EB5, which we’re not even going to go to is a total nightmare right now, and I just had somebody, reach out to me and want to raise $1 million, and put a fully defined project to that. You do not want to do that that’s one unit. It’s $100,000 to put the project together. Let’s find you a different way. But the reality is that there’s just so much opportunity with Europe and so many South American countries
that also have that Visa and Turkey and Grenada and some other countries have a layer that you can buy into their immigration platform. Unfortunately, Portugal isn’t an E2 country but these other countries, you can buy immigration through real estate investment, and then get access to the US so they’re also springboards. So, this again brings the whole picture together about how can EXP impact you. I look at people that say,
I don’t want to talk about EXP. I’m like what are you under a rock? My boyfriend who happens to be my partner in this, and I’ve always said he drank the Kool Aid, like he’s been drinking the Kool aid for a long time. I’m drinking the Kool Aid now; you can’t help but drink the Kool Aid with what you are doing you and Megan in this global market. And what we are all going to build going forward. Michael, how do people reach you?
Michael: Well, it’s a win! So, let me let me just back up to a couple of things, you know every everyone sort of says you know it’s wonderful that you’re doing, I can’t do a thing. It is this whole amazing team that comes in and I am so fortunate to have created a wonderful team around me, that
is so talented in the international arena, and really building in their own skill sets of what we’re creating. We’re moving so quickly. And it’s not just my team but it’s every other team that really is working within EXP. The legal team, the financing, the accounting team, everything that we need to do to build, to lift a country. Remember we’re not a franchise. We must go in and create a corporation in every country that we’re in. We must set up a banking relationship and accounting relationship. We must hire our broker of record; we’ve got to have a small team in place. There’s a lot of people involved that touched this project for any country that we’re in, which again when you start thinking about, we’ve done this in five countries in two months, it’s next to impossible. We’re doing this simultaneously times five. And then next year we’re going to have a lot more countries that we’ll be announcing, and that number will be in double digits next year that’s what that was based on this year I figured it out, double digits, and so we’re going to be really aggressive next year, but it is that whole sort of thing that there is a lot of opportunity so we’ve set up a few ways of communication, there is one website that we really ask everyone to go to first it is expglobal.partners. That is a site that allows and it’s an external site, so you don’t have to be with EXP to reach it. So it’s expglobal.partners, and then there, if there’s an interest first of all what we do is that we
allow pre-registration of interest for any countries we announce, so obviously we’ve already done it for this year we’ll be announcing our pre- qualified countries the first week in January. Once we announce those countries, people will be able to pre-register interest for those countries. That site also has a separate tab that allows you to put in an interest for a country we may not have already announced. So, if there’s a country that we haven’t announced that you have a contact for or that you want us to consider, there is a form there for that. That becomes the best place to start any conversation because that then becomes a CRM system for us, that when we do consider a country, we already have a pipeline in place, we’ll go back to those folks that had pre-registered or put in an interest of some country. And if we decide to go into that country, we’ll reach out to those people first. And so, they’ll already have sort of somewhat like, you know, traction early on, I guess will involve them early on, so that is the best site that we ask people to do. What I would implore people not to do is to reach out to me on social media or DMS or anything like that it’s impossible to keep track of all of that. And so, we really do want everyone to go to one site that allows us to really track it well.
Lauren: As you know I have an interest in Israel, which we will, we’ve been talking about for a while, but we’re not talking about any specifics because we’re not obviously allowed to and as a lawyer, I’m very sensitive to that but I will say that, you know, I as I told us as I mentioned that
had my license for all these years, and been doing what I’ve been doing for all these years, and it’s really only through EXP, and the platform that it allows us, because it allows you to be as diligently involved as you want. I think that they say about 50% of the agents are our real production agents, and the other 50% are more like me more of a connection agent agents or producers but not a lot.
Michael: Most of our agents are producing.
Lauren: I guess that I said it wrong, but the production agents are not necessarily attracting. Right.
Michael: Well, you know, I think the real great balance is when you when you look at the advantages that EXP brings to somebody right, and it’s the
fact that there’s four different ways of really earning at EXP, as opposed to just your very attractive commissions. So, there are people that you know truly embrace all four of them, and it is that idea that you know you when you’re attracting someone to your downline that person needs to be productive in order for you to have a downline. So, if you were just sort of like attracting people, then you know you needed to attract producers
for that to be effective for your growth line.
Lauren: Right and unlock those levels and all that exciting stuff that happens with that. And I think that too many people just are not fully cognizant like when you look at the stock model, the stock line. Right. I don’t think there’s people that came in a couple years ago, that are multimillionaires now, because of stock gifts. They didn’t even buy any of the stock, we bought it and I got some gifts but, you know, I didn’t buy it at $8, but I did buy it, but there are mega millionaires just from that stock and the amazing record that it’s had over these past eight nine months, and it’s just going to continue. They’re projecting it to go over $160 by the end of 2021, which makes all of us very happy right now.
Michael: As an officer of the company I can’t speak.
Lauren: Obviously. It’s an amazing story to see how that how that has happened from a penny stock that wasn’t even getting attention people were
kind of, you know, to telling the story almost like an Amazon level or an Apple level story.
Michael: I think it’s the value of what we are bringing, of course, this is not an indication for anyone to buy the stock in any way. This is for someone to go in and do their own research. The EXP story is a very compelling story. We’ve built a wonderful story this year, we had, we acquired Success Enterprises, we started a commercial division we started the global division as you know, and you know we have been really very busy in what we’ve been doing our story is gaining traction, people are learning about us and the value that we bring to the industry.
Lauren: It’s just very different. It’s very new. It’s unique and it’s cutting edge, and that’s about it, that’s one of the many things. So, Michael, I thank you so much for joining us today. It’s a pleasure to work with you. It’s a pleasure to be your partner. It’s a pleasure to be looking forward to 2021 and be a resource for this company everyday as you are and love it, it gives me pleasure when somebody reaches out to me. When they asked me about divorce law I’m a little confused and I refer to one of my colleagues, but you know it that’s what this company is about, it’s being there for each other, helping each other, taking the time on Christmas week to be on my podcast and I wish you a very Merry Christmas, a happy and healthy New Year, and I can’t wait to see what we’re going to do together in 2021.
Michael: It’s going to be amazing and happy holidays to everyone to all your listeners thank you again for the opportunity to speak with you It is my, my pleasure. And I’m so looking forward to next year.
Lauren: Thanks, Michael, have a good one. Bye.