10-K 1 expi-20191231x10k.htm 10-K expi_Current_Folio_10K

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K

[X] ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

or

[_] TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from ________ to _________

Commission File Number: 001‑38493

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EXP WORLD HOLDINGS, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware

    

 

98-0681092

(State or other jurisdiction

 

 

(IRS Employer

of incorporation)

 

 

Identification No.)

 

2219 Rimland Drive, Suite 301

Bellingham, WA 98226

(Address of principal executive offices and Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (360) 685‑4206

 

Title of each class

Trading Symbol

Name of each exchanged on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.00001 per share

EXPI

NASDAQ

 

Securities registered pursuant to section 12(g) of the Act:

Common Stock, par value $0.00001 per share (Title of Class)

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

Yes [_]    No [X]

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.

Yes [_]    No [X]

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

Yes [X]    No [_]

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).

Yes [X]    No [_]

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer”, “accelerated filer”, “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b‑2 of the Exchange Act.

 

 

 

 

Large accelerated filer

[_]

Accelerated filer

[X]

Non-accelerated filer

[_]

Smaller reporting company

[X]

Emerging growth company

[_]

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has selected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. [_]

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b‑2 of the Act).

Yes [_]    No [X]

 

The aggregate market value of the voting and nonvoting common equity held by non-affiliates of eXp World Holdings, Inc. was approximately $252,205,811 based on 22,660,001 shares of common stock held by non-affiliates as of June 30, 2019, being $11.13 per share.

The number of shares of the registrant’s $0.00001 par value common stock outstanding as of February 20,  2020 was 65,619,860.

 

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

Page

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS 

1

 

 

 

PART 1 

 

2

Item 1. 

Business

2

Item 1A. 

Risk Factors

9

Item 1B. 

Unresolved Staff Comments

22

Item 2. 

Properties

22

Item 3. 

Legal Proceedings

22

Item 4. 

Mine Safety Disclosures

22

 

 

 

PART II 

 

22

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

22

Item 6. 

Selected Financial Data

23

Item 7. 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

25

Item 7A. 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

35

Item 8. 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

36

Item 9. 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

66

Item 9A. 

Controls and Procedures

66

Item 9B. 

Other Information

70

 

 

 

PART III 

 

70

Item 10. 

Directors, Executives, Officers and Corporate Governance

70

Item 11. 

Executive Compensation

75

Item 12. 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

78

Item 13. 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

80

Item 14. 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

80

 

 

 

PART IV 

 

81

Item 15. 

Exhibits, Financial Statement and Schedules

81

Item 16. 

Form 10‑K Summary

82

 

 

 

SIGNATURES 

83

 

 

 

 

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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report and our other public filings contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements give expectations or forecasts of future events. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “project,” “plan,” “should,” “intend,” “may,” “will,” “would,” “potential” and similar expressions to future periods. Forward-looking statements are not based on historical facts but rather represent current expectations and assumptions. Forward-looking statements include statements we make about matters such as: future revenues; future industry market conditions; future changes in our capacity and operations; future operating and overhead costs; operational and management restructuring activities (including implementation of methodologies and changes in the board of directors); future employment and contributions of personnel; tax and interest rates; capital expenditures and their impact on us; productivity, business process, rationalization, investment, acquisition and acquisition integrations, consulting, operational, tax, financial and capital projects and initiatives; changes in the regulatory environment; and future working capital, costs, revenues, business opportunities, cash flows, margins, earnings and growth.

Forward-looking statements relate to the future and are subject to many risks, assumptions and uncertainties, including those risks set forth in this report and as described in Part I, Item IA Risk Factors incorporated by reference. Although we believe the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results, developments and business decisions could differ materially from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements. The environment for which we operate in is highly competitive and rapidly changing and it is not possible for our management to predict all risks, as new risks emerge from time to time.

All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements by or attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by these factors. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as may be required by law.

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PART I

Item 1. BUSINESS

eXp World Holdings, Inc. (“eXp”, or, collectively with its subsidiaries, the “Company”, “we”, “us”, or “our”) was incorporated in the State of Delaware on July 30, 2008 and initially focused on operating a real estate brokerage.  Today the Company owns and operates a cloud-based real estate brokerage and a technology platform business that enables a variety of businesses to operate remotely. Our real estate brokerage is now one of the largest and fastest growing in the United States by agent count, and recently began to expand internationally.  Our technology platform business develops and uses immersive technologies that enable and support virtual workplaces. This unique enabling platform helps businesses increase their effectiveness and reduce costs from operating in traditional “brick and mortar” office spaces. 

In our current state, almost the entirety of our revenue and profit or loss are generated by our cloud-based real estate brokerage and wholly-owned subsidiary, eXp Realty LLC (“eXp Realty”).  Because we do not have significant standalone contributions of revenue and profit or loss from our other businesses, we operate and manage the Company as one business unit.  In the future, we believe there is strong potential for multiple significant revenue and profit opportunities that may be organized into distinct business units in order to increase our management effectiveness. Over the long term, we envision owning and operating a diversified portfolio of service based businesses whose operations benefit substantially from utilizing our enabling technology platform.

Within the Company today, we strategically prioritize our efforts to grow our real estate brokerage, develop immersive and cloud-based technology products and services, nurture affiliated services (and our Preferred Partner Program) related to real estate transactions, and strengthen and iterate on our enabling technology platform.

We currently operate businesses in the following categories:   

Real Estate Brokerage - We launched eXp Realty in October 2009 with a small number of real estate agents in two states and ended the fiscal year 2019 with a team of over 25,400 real estate professionals, operating throughout the United States and most of the Canadian provinces. In the fourth quarter of 2019, we expanded operations in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and Australia. Except for certain employees who hold active real estate licenses, virtually all of our real estate professionals are independent contractors.

Technology Products and Services – In November 2018, the Company completed its asset acquisition of VirBELA, LLC’s (“VirBELA”) core group of products and services.  The Company also launched eXp World Technologies, LLC, its innovation and technology division, which now holds the VirBELA brand.  VirBELA continues to offer a modern, cloud-based environment focused on education and team development with clients in various industries from government to retail. The unique virtual collaborative work environment from VirBELA provides service-based businesses with distinct advantages in managing costs, attracting talent, and scaling operations without the burden of “brick and mortar” office locations.  This technology provides eXp Realty with a primary source of differentiation and competitive advantage.

Title, Escrow, and Settlement Services – During the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company entered into an agreement with a third-party investment firm to form a joint venture to offer title, escrow and settlement services in the United States. The joint venture, Silverline Title & Escrow, LLC is 50% owned by eXp Silverline Ventures, LLC, an indirect subsidiary of eXp and 50% owned by the third-party business partner.  Operations in this area are currently in a nascent state.

Mortgage Brokerage Services - During the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company made capital contributions in consideration for at least a minimum 50% ownership interest in First Cloud Investment Group, LLC (“First Cloud”) with the remaining ownership interest held by certain of our independent agents and brokers. First Cloud was organized for the purpose of managing IntroLend First Cloud, LLC (“IntroLend First Cloud”), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company created to provide mortgage origination to end-consumers. The Company will always retain at least 50% of the outstanding equity ownership units in First Cloud.  Operations in this area are currently in a nascent state.

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eXp Realty

eXp Realty is a leading, rapidly growing, cloud-based international real estate brokerage company. We disrupt from within the traditional real estate markets in which we operate for the benefit of agents and brokers through innovation, use of cloud-based technology, and development of world-class agent and broker attraction and retention practices.  We generate revenue primarily by serving as a licensed broker for the purpose of processing residential real estate transactions, from which we earn commissions. The Company in turn pays a portion of the commissions earned to the real estate agents and brokers.

Our mission is to deliver maximum value to our shareholders, agents, brokers and staff, while building an international brand as the leading cloud-based brokerage. Our cloud-based solutions provide primarily residential real estate agents and brokers the collaborative tools to seamlessly support and facilitate buying and selling activities by consumers throughout the home purchase process. Our model is designed to:

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Provide the opportunity for homebuyers to successfully experience home ownership and for homeowners to realize the best outcomes possible through the sale of their homes.  Our licensed agents and brokers primarily use our proprietary cloud-based transaction processing and home search and tour tools to help homebuyers find, visit and close on the house that meets their needs, and to help homeowners efficiently market and sell their homes without the effort—and additional costs—associated with the typical home selling process.

·

Provide a business opportunity for our agents and brokers.  We provide an entrepreneurial business opportunity for individuals to aid in the purchase and sale of residential homes. Low entry fees as well as the ability to select their own schedules and time commitments allow our agents and brokers to supplement their income by starting their own independent businesses without leaving their current jobs, while also proving opportunities for strong leaders to build their own agency teams and grow under our brokerage brand on a full-time basis. Our compensation structure (fees and share-based), technology, sales support and back-office processing are designed to enable agents and brokers to successfully grow their independent businesses without the fixed costs inherent with a traditional brick-and-mortar brokerage.

·

Provide stock ownership opportunities for our agents and brokers.  Through our agent equity programs, our agents and brokers have a unique choice to attain a greater vested interest in eXp through the acceptance of equity awards in the Company’s stock as part of their compensation packages. These programs allow successful agents and brokers to become stakeholders in the brand they represent and align our goals across the distribution network.

Brokerage Offices and Services in Our Virtual World

We operate over the internet and rely on cloud-based technologies to provide our residential real estate brokerage services. Through various platforms, buyers search real-time property listings, and sellers list properties and gain exposure across the various geographic markets in which we operate. We also provide buyers and sellers access to a network of professional, consumer-centric agents and brokers. Additionally, we deliver marketing, training and other support services to our brokers and agents through a combination of proprietary technology enabled services, as well as technology and support services contracted to third parties. Our brokers and agents leverage our technology, services, data, lead generation and marketing tools to represent residential real estate buyers and sellers to list, find and consummate the purchase or sale of a home.

Internally, we use our technology to provide agents, teams of agents, and brokerage owners with opportunities for increased profitability, reduced risk, and greater levels of professional development while fostering an organizational culture that values collaboration, strength of community, and commitment to serving the consumer’s best interests. We provide agents, teams of agents, and brokers with the systems, support, professional development and infrastructure to survive and then thrive in unpredictable and, at times, challenging economic conditions. This includes delivering 24/7 access to collaborative tools and training for real estate agents and brokers.

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We have adopted a number of cloud-based technologies. Among the technologies we use to operate our business, is our 3D, fully-immersive, cloud office, which has virtual conference rooms, training centers, and individual offices in which our management, staff, agents and brokers all work on a daily basis learning from, sharing with, transacting business with, and socializing with colleagues from different geographic regions by utilizing avatars. In these virtual spaces agents and brokers meet for state-based sales meetings, attend live interactive trainings and classes, go over commission disbursement authorization forms, build websites and online branding materials, and work on purchase and sales agreements.

Further, in these virtual spaces new managing brokers are evaluated and approved, our management meets to discuss strategy and vision, and personnel interviews are conducted. In addition, we have face-to-face meetings, conferences, presentations, retreats and other physical interactions where circumstances warrant.

We also provide physical space to brokers and agents when required, primarily with third party providers of access to offices, workspace and meeting rooms at locations worldwide. 

Our cloud office has fully-staffed transaction and administration, web development, search engine optimization and technical support teams. Consequently, our cloud office serves as our primary company office for brokers, agents, management and staff and provides agents, teams of agents and brokers with a full suite of back office functions, live training, education, coaching and mentoring that places a premium on engagement, discussion and collaboration, transaction support, broker support, and technical support. The utilization of this cloud office platform permits us to more easily serve and extend our entire geographic reach.

Furthermore, we allow our agents and brokers, some of whom are former real estate brokerage owners, to leverage our infrastructure to reduce their fixed costs and to be empowered to build scalable teams of agents in any of the markets that we serve while preserving and enhancing the agents and brokers’ personal brands. In this way our agents and brokers can attract agents and build a co-brand in any markets currently served by the Company without any additional capital requirements.

Agent and Broker Training and Communication

eXp Realty has held firm in its belief that each individual agent delivers value to individual home buyers and sellers in different ways depending upon the knowledge, skills or niche of the agent and the needs and wants of the consumer. Consumers work with agents because of their skills and service individually and generally place greater weight on those individual skill sets, service levels and style than they do on the brokerage brand with which the agent is affiliated.

Numerous real estate coaches provide training and classes to brokerages on a vendor basis or to individual agents outside of their brokerage relationship in the most cost-effective way to strengthen their skills and help them succeed. The needs of individual agents vary as do the methods of instruction that are most effective for their learning. This approach aims to offer coaching that draws upon, highlights, promotes and supports some of the best coaches in the industry based upon their individual talents and the corresponding fit to the particular needs to our individual, entrepreneurial professionals.

Fee Structure

The lower overall cost of operating our cloud office has enabled us to offer our agents and brokers a higher split of the gross commissions generated from real estate transactions than most traditional real estate brokerages. This higher fee split along with our unique delivery of support services and the flexibility it provides for brokers and agents has facilitated our growth over the past several years.

We also differentiate ourselves by not charging our agents and brokers royalties or franchise fees. Our agents pay a low monthly cloud brokerage fee and various transaction processing fees.

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Revenue Sharing Plan

Our cloud office has enabled us to introduce and maintain a revenue sharing plan whereby each of our agents and brokers can participate in and from which they can receive commission income resulting from transactions consummated by agents and brokers who they have attracted to our company, helping to contribute to our growth.

Consistent with our commitment to enabling and empowering agents and brokers in pursuit of building a scalable business and organization, our revenue sharing plan allows brokers and agents a financial mechanism to build teams across geographic borders without incurring any expense, oversight responsibility, or liability.

Our revenue sharing plan provides an opportunity where agents and brokers can potentially earn additional income while focusing on the growth of the eXp brokerage brand and their individual agencies. 

Customers

Our clients are primarily residential homeowners and homebuyers in the markets in which we operate as serviced by our international network of independent agents and brokers.  These customers are sellers or purchasers of new or existing homes and engage us to aid in the facilitation of the closing of the real estate transaction, including, but not limited to, search, listing, application processing and other pre- and post-close support.  In the United States, over 10.4 million people moved into or out of an owner-occupied residence in 2018, according to data published by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Based on current market information, sales of existing residential properties represent a large majority of home sales in the U.S. market. This provides our agents and brokers with greater opportunities to represent the buy or sell—and sometimes both—sides of a real estate transaction. In addition, we help our customers fulfill their needs by providing ancillary transaction related services. Our experienced agents and brokers are well suited to support these customers’ needs with a level of professionalism, knowledge and support as they endeavor on one of the largest transactions they will most likely experience.

Real Estate Industry Overview

We primarily operate in the U.S.  residential real estate market. Through our network of independent agents and brokers, we have brokerages in all 50 states in the U.S. residential real estate market, residential real estate markets in most of the Canadian provinces, and, to a lesser extent, in parts of the U.K. and Australia, where we launched operations in late 2019. As our principal operating market, the U.S. residential real estate market for existing homes accounted for approximately $1.5 trillion in transaction volume with 5.3 million homes sold in 2019 based on data released by the National Association of Realtors in 2020.

The overall health of the U.S. residential real estate market, including demand for homes, is driven largely by, among other factors, the inventory of existing homes, the affordability of housing, macroeconomic factors (e.g., U.S. Federal Reserve rates, unemployment rates, job growth, etc.), governmental policies (e.g., tax deduction and credits, regulatory initiatives, etc.), demographic trends (e.g., customer tastes and perceptions, buy versus rent preferences, income growth, marriage rates, etc.), mortgage rates and financing availability. Although the housing market in the U.S. is cyclical as evidenced most recently during the recession of the late 2000’s and subsequent recovery since 2012, we believe that the residential real estate market will continue to grow due to expected increases in the formation of new households and the relatively low interest rate environment incentivizing homebuying, as well as a robust level of homes available for purchase.

Residential real estate brokerage companies typically realize revenues in the form of a commission based on a percentage of the price of each home purchased or sold, which can vary based on industry standards, geographical location, and specific customer-agent negotiations, among other factors. Therefore, variability in the commissions earned in the real estate industry exists based on general economic and market factors, as well as price and volume of homes sold. When home prices and the volume of home sale transactions increase (decrease), commissions generally will also increase (decrease). However, we are positioned to earn commissions on either—or both—of the buy side or sell side of

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residential real estate transactions, as well as the ability to receive other fees for complimentary services provided during the close process.

Competition

We compete with local, regional, national and international residential real estate brokerages with respect to the sale of homes and to attract and retain agents, teams of agents, brokers and consumers—both home sellers and buyers. We compete primarily on the basis of our service, culture, collaboration, utilization of cloud-based systems and technologies that reduce costs, while providing relevant and substantial professional development opportunities for our agents and brokers with an opportunity to generate more business and participate in the growth of our company.

We believe that we are the only national real estate brokerage presently using a 3D immersive office environment in place of physical brick and mortar offices. Additionally, this innovative operational structure coupled with our distribution model allows us to effectively enter new markets with speed and flexibility and without much of the investment and cost associated with establishing a traditional brokerage. We also believe our compensation and incentive programs to attract and retain highly productive agents is one of the most compelling in the industry. As such, we believe that we are well-positioned in our competitive landscape.

Express Offers

In October 2019, we launched Express Offers, a new home-buying and selling platform for U.S. eXp Realty agents and their clients. This gives homeowners another option to sell their home quickly without the hassle of showings, staging and uncertainty.

Express Offers allows eXp Realty agents to submit homes on behalf of their clients to a number of institutional buyers who are interested in purchasing homes in a particular local market. For home sellers, their properties may qualify to be submitted to more than one buyer, yielding multiple cash offers. 

Unlike other “iBuyer” experiences, Express Offers ensures a real estate agent is part of the transaction to assist the homeowner. When a homeowner expresses interest in selling their home with Express Offers, they are matched with a certified eXp Realty agent and receive a thorough disclosure that walks them through every detail of the process. eXp agents earn a percentage of the transaction fee each time that a buyer successfully closes a deal.  We believe that we operate the most agent-centric and homeowner beneficial offering in the nascent “iBuyer” market segment.

Software Development

Our Company continues to increase our investment in the development of our own cloud-based transaction processing platforms and further expand our products and service offerings. We continue to create process efficiencies and provide our agents and brokers with mobile applications designed to facilitate transactions in an efficient and consumer friendly way.  To further expand our products and service offerings, we offer an on-demand, home tour mobile application that enables home shoppers to request immediate access to properties exclusively to eXp Realty agents in certain markets. 

Our operational model and growth strategies necessitate the internally-developed technologies used to support our operations now and in the future, as well as requires us to, at times, consider existing and emerging technology companies for acquisition, partnerships and other collaborative relationships.

Intellectual Property

Our cloud-based real estate brokerage is highly dependent on the proprietary technology that we employ and the intellectual property that we create. “eXp Realty” is one of our registered trademarks in the United States. We have also placed the marks “3D MLS”, “3D Listing Service” and “RE Tech Campus” on the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Supplemental Register. We also own the rights to the domain names:  http://exprealty.com,  http://exprealty.ca,  http://exp-uk.co.uk, and http://expaustralia.com.au.

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While there can be no assurance that registered trademarks will protect our proprietary information, we intend to assert our intellectual property rights against any infringement. Although any assertion of our rights could result in a substantial cost and diversion of management effort, we believe the protection and defense against infringement of our intellectual property rights are essential to our business.

Seasonality of Business

Seasons and weather traditionally impact the real estate industry in the markets in which we operate.  Spring and summer seasons historically reflect greater sales periods, and, in turn, higher revenues and operating results in comparison to fall and winter seasons. 

Government Regulation

We serve the residential real estate industry which is regulated by federal, state and local authorities as well as private associations or state sponsored associations or organizations. We are required to comply with federal, state, provincial, and local laws, as well as private governing bodies’ regulations, which combined results in a highly-regulated industry.

We are also subject to federal, state, and provincial regulations relating to employment, contractor, and compensation practices. Except for certain employees who have an active real estate license, virtually all real estate professionals in our brokerage operations have been retained as independent contractors, either directly or indirectly through third-party entities formed by these independent contractors for their business purposes. With respect to these independent contractors, like most brokerage firms, we are subject to the Internal Revenue Service regulations and applicable state law guidelines regarding independent contractor classification. These regulations and guidelines are subject to judicial and agency interpretation.

Real Estate Regulation - Federal

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974, as amended, (RESPA) became effective on June 20, 1975. RESPA requires lenders, mortgage brokers, or servicers of home loans to provide borrowers with pertinent and timely disclosures regarding the nature and costs of the real estate settlement process. RESPA also protects borrowers against certain abusive practices, such as kickbacks, and places limitations upon the use of escrow accounts. RESPA also requires detailed disclosures concerning the transfer, sale, or assignment of mortgage servicing, as well as disclosures for mortgage escrow accounts.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”) moved authority to administer RESPA from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). The Dodd-Frank Act increased regulation of the mortgage industry, including but not limited to: (i) generally prohibiting lenders from making residential mortgage loans unless a good faith determination is made of a borrower’s creditworthiness based on verified and documented information; (ii) enacting regulations to help assure that consumers are provided with timely and understandable information about residential mortgage loans and to protect consumers against unfair, deceptive and abusive practices; and (iii) establishing minimum national underwriting guidelines for residential mortgages that lenders will be allowed to securitize without retaining any of the loans’ default risk. In February 2018, the CFPB released a five-year strategic plan indicating that the CFPB intends to continue to focus on protecting consumer rights while engaging in rulemaking to address unwarranted regulatory burdens. Under the current strategic plan, the CFPB would (i) provide “clear rules of the road” through rulemaking and amendments; (ii) foster a “culture of compliance” among businesses; (iii) engage in “vigorous enforcement”; and (iv) educate consumers to make the best financial decisions.  Additionally, in a recent regulatory agenda, the CFPB indicated that it planned to review “inherited regulations” to ensure “outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations” are addressed and modernized. As a result, the regulatory framework of RESPA applicable to our business may be subject to change. In addition, federal fair housing laws generally make it illegal to discriminate against protected classes of individuals in housing or brokerage services. Other federal laws and regulations applicable to our business include (i) the Federal Truth in Lending Act of 1969; (ii) the Federal Equal Credit Opportunity; (iii) the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act; (iv) the Fair Housing Act; (v) the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act; (vi) the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act; (vii) the Consumer Financial Protection Act; (viii) the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act; (ix) the Telephone Consumer Protection

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Act; and (x) state and federal laws pertaining to the privacy rights of consumers, which affects how we collect and use customer information, including solicitation of new clients.

 

Real Estate Regulation - State and Local Level

Real estate and brokerage licensing laws and requirements vary from state to state. In general, all individuals and entities lawfully conducting businesses as real estate brokers, agents or sales associates must be licensed in the state in which they carry on business and must at all times be in compliance.

Certain jurisdictions may require a person licensed as a real estate agent, broker, sales associate or salesperson, to be affiliated with a brokerage in order to engage in licensed real estate brokerage activities or allow the agent, broker, sales associate or salesperson to work for the public, another agent or broker, sales associate or salesperson conducting business on behalf of the brokerage, sponsoring agent, broker, sales associate or salesperson.

Engaging in the real estate brokerage business requires obtaining a real estate brokerage license.  In order to obtain this license, jurisdictions require that a member or manager be licensed individually as a real estate broker in that jurisdiction. This member or manager is responsible for supervising the licensees and the entity’s real estate brokerage activities within the state.

Real estate licensees, whether they are brokers, salespersons, individuals, agents or entities, must follow the state’s real estate licensing laws and regulations. These laws and regulations generally specify minimum duties and obligations of these licensees to their clients and the public, as well as standards for the conduct of business, including contract and disclosure requirements, record keeping requirements, requirements for local offices, escrow trust fund management, agency representation, advertising regulations and fair housing requirements.

In each of the states where we have operations, we assign appropriate personnel to manage and comply with applicable laws and regulations.

Most states have local regulations (city or county government) that govern the conduct of the real estate brokerage business. Local regulations generally require additional disclosures by the parties to a real estate transaction or their agents or brokers, or the receipt of reports or certifications, often from the local governmental authority, prior to the closing or settlement of a real estate transaction as well as prescribed review and approval periods for documentation and broker conditions for review and approval.

Third-Party Rules

Beyond federal, state and local governmental regulations, the real estate industry is subject to rules established by private real estate groups and/or trade organizations, including, among others, state and local Associations of REALTORS® (“AOR”), the National Association of Realtors® (“NAR”), and local Multiple Listing Services (“MLSs”). “REALTOR” and “REALTORS” are registered trademarks of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Each third-party organization generally has prescribed policies, bylaws, codes of ethics or conduct, and fees and rules governing the actions of members in dealings with other members, clients and the public, as well as how the third-party organization’s brand and services may or may not be deployed or displayed.

We assign appropriate personnel to manage and comply with third party organization policies and bylaws.

Employees

We ended fiscal year 2019 with 634 full-time employees. Our employees are not members of any labor union, and we have never experienced business interruptions due to labor disputes.

Our operations are overseen directly by management. Our management oversees all responsibilities in the areas of corporate administration, business development, and research. We have successfully expanded our current management to retain skilled employees with experience relevant to our business and intend to continue with this initiative. Our

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management’s relationships with agents, brokers, technology providers, and customers will provide the foundation through which we expect to grow our business in the future. We believe the skill-set of our management team will be a primary asset in the development of our brands and trademarks.

Available Information

Our Company files annual, quarterly, and current reports, proxy statements and other documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). The SEC maintains an Internet website that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC. The public can obtain any documents that we file with the SEC at www.sec.gov.

Our Company maintains a website at www.expworldholdings.com. Our filings with the SEC, including without limitation, our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, are available through a link maintained on our website under the heading “Investor Relations—SEC Filings.” Information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this report.

 

Item 1A. RISK FACTORS

In addition to the other information set forth in this report, you should carefully consider the following factors, which could materially affect our business, financial condition or results of operations in future periods. The risks described below are not the only risks facing our company. Additional risks not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial also may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations in future periods.

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

We have identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting which could, if not remediated, result in material misstatements in our financial statements.

Our management conducted an evaluation of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting based on the framework in “Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013)” issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (“COSO”). Under auditing standards established by the U.S. Public Company Oversight Board, a material weakness is a deficiency or combination of deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected and corrected on a timely basis.

During its evaluation of the effectiveness of disclosure controls and procedures as of December 31, 2019, management identified material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting related to user access and program change-management over information technology and business process controls that are dependent on affected information technology general controls and implementing key components of the COSO framework including information and  communication, control activities and monitoring.

See Part II, Item 9 – “Controls and Procedures.”

While we are in the process of identifying and implementing remedial measures to address the control deficiencies that led to the material weaknesses, there can be no assurance that remedial measures will prevent other control deficiencies or material weaknesses. We may identify additional material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting in the future. If we are unable to remediate the material weaknesses or we identify additional material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting in the future, our ability to analyze, record and report financial information free of material misstatements, and to prepare our financial statements within the time periods specified by the rules and forms of the SEC may be adversely affected. The occurrence of, or failure to remediate, the material weaknesses and any

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further material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting may result in material misstatements as well as negatively impact the reliability of our financial statements, our reputation, our business and the trading price of our common stock, potentially leading to the suspension of trading on or delisting of our common stock from the NASDAQ stock exchange.

We have experienced net losses in recent years, and because we have a limited operating history, our ability to fully and successfully develop our business is unknown.

We have a history of operating at losses since our inception in October 2009. Our ability to realize consistent, meaningful revenues and profit over a sustained period has not been established and cannot be assured.

While we believe that we have made significant progress in revenue growth and managing our overhead by implementing our cloud-based technology strategy, our services must achieve broad market acceptance by consumers and we must continue to grow our geographical reach, attract more agents and brokers, and increase the volume of our residential real-estate transactions. If we are unsuccessful in continuing to gain market acceptance, we will not be able to generate sufficient revenue to continue our business operations and could sustain on-going operating and net losses.

Despite our ongoing efforts to build revenue growth, both organically and through acquisitions, and to control the anticipated expenses associated with the continued development, marketing and provision of our services, we may not be able to generate significant net income from operations in the future.

Our profitability is tied to the strength of the residential real estate market, which is subject to a number of general business and macroeconomic conditions beyond our control.

Our profitability is closely related to the strength of the residential real estate market which is cyclical in nature and typically is affected by changes in national, state and local economic conditions which are beyond our control. Macroeconomic conditions that could adversely impact the growth of the real estate market and have a material adverse effect on our business include, but are not limited to, economic slowdown or recession, increased unemployment, increased energy costs, reductions in the availability of credit or higher interest rates, increased costs of obtaining mortgages, an increase in foreclosure activity, inflation, disruptions in capital markets, declines in the stock market, adverse tax policies or changes in other regulations, lower consumer confidence, lower wage and salary levels, war or terrorist attacks, natural disasters or adverse weather events, or the public perception that any of these events may occur. Unfavorable general economic conditions, such as a recession or economic slowdown, in the United States, Canada or other markets we enter and operate within could negatively affect the affordability of, and consumer demand for, our services which could have a material adverse effect on our business and profitability. In addition, federal and state governments, agencies and government-sponsored entities such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could take actions that result in unforeseen consequences to the real estate market or that otherwise could negatively impact our business.

The real estate market is substantially reliant on the monetary policies of the federal government and its agencies and is particularly affected by the policies of the Federal Reserve Board, which regulates the supply of money and credit in the U.S., which in turn impacts interest rates. Our business could be negatively impacted by any rising interest rate environment. As mortgage rates rise, the number of home sale transactions may decrease as potential home sellers choose to stay with their lower mortgage rate rather than sell their home and pay a higher mortgage rate with the purchase of another home. Similarly, in higher interest rate environments, potential home buyers may choose to rent rather than pay higher mortgage rates. Changes in the interest rate environment and mortgage market are beyond our control, are difficult to predict and could have a material adverse effect on our business and profitability.

We may be unable to maintain our agent growth rate, which would adversely affect our revenue growth and results of operations.

We have experienced rapid and accelerating growth in our real estate broker and agent base. During the year ended December 31, 2019, our net agent and broker base grew by 63.3%, from 15,570 agents and brokers at December 31, 2018, to 25,423 agents and brokers at December 31, 2019. Because we derive revenue from real estate transactions in which our brokers and agents receive commissions, increases in our agent and broker base correlate to increases in

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revenues, and the rate of growth of our revenue correlates to the rate of growth of our agent and broker base. The rate of growth of our agent and broker base cannot be predicted and is subject to many factors outside of our control, including actions taken by our competitors and macroeconomic factors affecting the real estate industry generally. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain our recent agent growth rate or that our agent and broker base will continue to expand in future periods. A slowdown in our agent growth rate would have a material adverse effect on revenue growth and could adversely affect our results of operations.

We may be unable to effectively manage rapid growth in our business.

We may not be able to scale our business quickly enough to meet the growing needs of our affiliated real estate professionals and if we are not able to grow efficiently, our operating results could be harmed. As the Company adds new real estate professionals, we will need to devote additional financial and human resources to improving our internal systems, integrating with third-party systems, and maintaining infrastructure performance. In addition, we will need to appropriately scale our internal business systems and our services organization, including support of our affiliated real estate professionals as our demographics expand over time. Any failure of or delay in these efforts could cause impaired system performance and reduced real estate professional satisfaction. These issues could reduce the attractiveness of our Company to existing real estate professionals who might leave the Company as well as resulting in decreased attraction of new real estate professionals. Even if we are able to upgrade our systems and expand our staff, such expansion may be expensive, complex, and place increasing demands on our management. We could also face inefficiencies or operational failures as a result of our efforts to scale our infrastructure and we may not be successful in maintaining adequate financial and operating systems and controls as we expand. Moreover, there are inherent risks associated with upgrading, improving and expanding our information technology systems. We cannot be sure that the expansion and improvements to our infrastructure and systems will be fully or effectively implemented on a timely basis, if at all. These efforts may reduce revenue and our margins and adversely impact our financial results.

If we fail to grow in the various local markets that we serve or are unsuccessful in identifying and pursuing new business opportunities our long-term prospects and profitability will be harmed.

To capture and retain market share in the various local markets that we serve, we must compete successfully against other brokerages for agents and brokers and for the consumer relationships that they bring. Our competitors could lower the fees that they charge to agents and brokers or could raise the compensation structure for those agents. Our competitors may have access to greater financial resources than us, allowing them to undertake expensive local advertising or marketing efforts. In addition, our competitors may be able to leverage local relationships, referral sources, and strong local brand and name recognition that we have not established. Our competitors could, as a result, have greater leverage in attracting new and established agents in the market and in generating business among local consumers. Our ability to grow in the local markets that we serve will depend on our ability to compete with these local brokerages.

We may implement changes to our business model and operations to improve revenues that cause a disproportionate increase in our expenses or reduce profit margins. For example, we may allocate resources to acquiring lower margin brokerage models, the development of a mortgage servicing division, a commercial real estate division, a title and escrow company or a continuing education division. Expanding our service offerings could involve significant up-front costs that may only be recovered after lengthy periods of time. Any of these attempts to pursue new business opportunities could result in a disproportionate increase in our expenses and in reduced profit margins. In addition, any of these additional activities could expose us to additional compliance obligations and regulatory risks.

If we fail to continue to grow in the local markets we serve or if we fail to successfully identify and pursue new business opportunities, our long-term prospects, financial condition and results of operations may be harmed, and our stock price may decline.

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The utilization of a 3D cloud based immersive office as a suitable substitute for a physical brick and mortar location is a new and unproven strategy and we cannot guarantee that we will be able to operate and grow within its confines.

Currently, our cloud office adequately supports the needs of our agent population located across the markets we serve. We cannot guarantee that our cloud office platform will continue to support our agent population and meet our business needs as we grow. The effectiveness of our cloud office platform is tied to a number of variables at any given time including server capacity and concurrent users. In addition, the use of the cloud office platform, and the use generally of 3D immersive office environments as an acceptable substitute among agents and brokers for physical office locations is unproven. We cannot guarantee that industry rank and file will adopt or accept cloud-based 3D office environments as a substitute for a physical office environment in a sustainable, long-term manner.

We intend to evaluate acquisitions or investments in third-party technologies and businesses, but we may not realize the anticipated benefits from, and may have to pay substantial costs related to, any acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures, or investments that we undertake.

As part of our business and growth strategy, we evaluate acquisitions of, or investments in, a wide array of potential strategic opportunities, including third-party technologies and businesses as well as other real estate brokerages. If we are not able to integrate acquisitions, or execute on joint venture strategies, successfully, our operating results and prospects could be harmed.  Since 2018, we have acquired new technology and operations and entered into joint venture arrangements. We will continue to look for opportunities to acquire technologies or operations that we believe will contribute to our growth and development. The success of our future acquisition strategy will depend on our ability to identify, negotiate, complete and integrate acquisitions. The success of our future joint venture strategies will depend on our ability to identify, negotiate, complete, and successfully manage joint ventures with other parties. In addition, acquisitions and joint ventures could cause potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities or incurrence of debt.

Acquisitions and joint ventures are inherently risky, and any we complete may not be successful. Any acquisitions and joint ventures we pursue would involve numerous risks, including the following:

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difficulties in integrating and managing the operations and technologies of the companies we acquire, including higher than expected integration costs and longer integration periods;

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diversion of our management’s attention from normal daily operations of our business;

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our inability to maintain the customers, key employees, key business relationships and reputations of the businesses we acquire;

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our inability to generate sufficient revenue or business efficiencies from acquisitions or joint ventures to offset our increased expenses associated with acquisitions or joint ventures;

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our responsibility for the liabilities of the businesses we acquire or gain ownership in through joint ventures, including, without limitation, liabilities arising out of their failure to maintain effective data security, data integrity, disaster recovery and privacy controls prior to the acquisition, or their infringement or alleged infringement of third party intellectual property, contract or data access rights prior to the acquisition;

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difficulties in complying with new markets or regulatory standards to which we were not previously subject;

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delays in our ability to implement internal standards, controls, procedures and policies in the businesses we acquire or gain ownership in through joint ventures and increased risk that our internal controls will be ineffective;

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operations in a nascent state depend directly on utilization by eXp Realty agents and brokers;

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adverse effects of acquisition and joint venture activity on the key performance indicators we use to monitor our performance as a business; and

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inability to fully realize intangible assets recognized through acquisitions or joint ventures and related non-cash impairment charges that may result if we are required to revalue such intangible assets.

Our failure to address these risks or any other challenges we encounter with our future acquisitions, joint ventures and investments could cause us to not realize all or any of the anticipated benefits of such acquisitions or investments, incur unanticipated liabilities, and harm our business, which could negatively impact our operating results and financial condition.

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We face significant risk to our brand and revenue if we fail to maintain compliance with the law and regulations of federal, state, county and foreign governmental authorities, or private associations and governing boards.

We operate in a heavily regulated industry subject to complex, federal, state, provincial and local laws and regulations within the markets in which we operate and third-party organizations’ regulations, policies and bylaws governing the real estate business.

In general, the laws, rules and regulations that apply to our business practices include, without limitation, RESPA. the federal Fair Housing Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, and federal advertising and other laws, as well as comparable state statutes; rules of trade organizations such as NAR, local MLSs, and state and local AORs; licensing requirements and related obligations that could arise from our business practices relating to the provision of services other than real estate brokerage services; privacy regulations relating to our use of personal information collected from the registered users of our websites; laws relating to the use and publication of information through the Internet; and state real estate brokerage licensing requirements, as well as statutory due diligence, disclosure, record keeping and standard-of-care obligations relating to these licenses.

Additionally, the Dodd-Frank Act contains the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act (“Mortgage Act”), which imposes a number of additional requirements on lenders and servicers of residential mortgage loans, by amending certain existing provisions and adding new sections to RESPA and other federal laws. It also broadly prohibits unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices, and knowingly or recklessly providing substantial assistance to a covered person in violation of that prohibition. The penalties for noncompliance with these laws are also significantly increased by the Mortgage Act, which could lead to an increase in lawsuits against mortgage lenders and servicers.

As we expand our business into new markets, including the United Kingdom and Australia, we are subject to additional foreign governmental regulation. Ensuring compliance with these newly applicable laws could substantially increase our operating expenses. In addition, entry into these new markets exposes us to increased risk and liability. For example, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) confers significant privacy rights on individuals (including employees and independent agents), and materially increased penalties for violations. A violation of any of these applicable laws could have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

Maintaining legal compliance is challenging and increases our costs due to resources required to continually monitor business practices for compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations, and to monitor changes in the applicable laws themselves.

We may not become aware of all the laws, rules and regulations that govern our business, or be able to comply with all of them, given the rate of regulatory changes, ambiguities in regulations, contradictions in regulations between jurisdictions, and the difficulties in achieving both company-wide and region-specific knowledge and compliance.

If we fail, or we have alleged to have failed, to comply with any existing or future applicable laws, rules and regulations, we could be subject to lawsuits and administrative complaints and proceedings, as well as criminal proceedings. Our noncompliance could result in significant defense costs, settlement costs, damages and penalties.

Our business licenses could be suspended or revoked, our business practices enjoined, or we could be required to modify our business practices, which could materially impair, or even prevent, our ability to conduct all or any portion of our business. Any such events could also damage our reputation and impair our ability to attract and service home buyers, home sellers and agents, as well our ability to attract brokerages, brokers, teams of agents and agents to our company, without increasing our costs.

Further, if we lose our ability to obtain and maintain all of the regulatory approvals and licenses necessary to conduct business as we currently operate, our ability to conduct business may be harmed. Lastly, any lobbying or related activities we undertake in response to mitigate liability of current or new regulations could substantially increase our operating expenses.

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We may suffer significant financial harm and loss of reputation if we do not comply, cannot comply, or are alleged to have not complied with applicable laws, rules and regulations concerning our classification and compensation practices for the agents in our owned-and-operated brokerage.

Except for our employed state brokers and commission only employees, all real estate professionals in our brokerage operations have been retained as independent contractors, either directly or indirectly through third-party entities formed by these independent contractors for their business purposes. With respect to these independent contractors, like most brokerage firms, we are subject to the taxing authorities’ regulations and applicable laws regarding independent contractor classification. These regulations and guidelines are subject to judicial and agency interpretation, and it might be determined that the independent contractor classification is inapplicable to any of our affiliated real estate professionals. Further, if legal standards for classification of real estate professionals as independent contractors change or appear to be changing, it may be necessary to modify our compensation and benefits structure for our affiliated real estate professionals in some or all of our markets, including by paying additional compensation or reimbursing expenses.

In the future we could incur substantial costs, penalties and damages, including back pay, unpaid benefits, taxes, expense reimbursement and attorneys’ fees, in defending future challenges by our affiliated real estate professionals to our employment classification or compensation practices.

Our international operations are subject to risks not generally experienced by our U.S. operations.

 

In addition to operating in Canada, in 2019 we expanded our business into Australia and the United Kingdom. Our international operations are subject to risks not generally experienced by our U.S. operations. The risks involved in our international operations and relationships that could result in losses against which we are not insured and therefore affect our profitability include:

 

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fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates;

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exposure to local economic conditions and local laws and regulations;

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employment laws that are significantly different that U.S. laws;

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diminished ability to legally enforce our contractual rights and use of our trademarks in foreign countries;

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difficulties in registering, protecting or preserving trade names and trademarks in foreign countries;

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restrictions on the ability to obtain or retain licenses required for operations;

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withholding and other taxes on third party cross-border transactions as well as remittances and other payments by subsidiaries;

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onerous requirements, subject to broad interpretation, for indirect taxes and income taxes that can result in audits with potentially significant financial outcomes;

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changes in foreign taxation structures;

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compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act or similar laws of other countries;

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uncertainties and effects of the implementation of the United Kingdom’s referendum to withdraw membership from the European Union (referred to as Brexit), including financial, legal and tax implications; and

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regional and country specific data protection and privacy laws including the GDPR.

 

In addition, activities of agents and brokers outside of the U.S. are more difficult and more expensive to monitor and improper activities or mismanagement may be more difficult to detect. Negligent or improper activities involving our agents and brokers may result in reputational damage to us and may lead to direct claims against us based on theories of vicarious liability, negligence, joint operations and joint employer liability which, if determined adversely, could increase costs, negatively impact the business prospects of our franchisees and subject us to incremental liability for their actions.

 

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If we do not remain an innovative leader in the real estate industry, we may not be able to grow our business and leverage our costs to achieve profitability.

Innovation has been critical to our ability to compete against other brokerages for clients and agents. For example, we have pioneered the utilization of a 3D immersive online office environment in the real estate market which reduces our need for office space and facilitates the transaction of business away from an office. If competitors follow our practices or develop innovative practices, our ability to achieve profitability may diminish or erode. For example, certain other brokerages could develop or license cloud-based office platforms that are equal to or superior to ours. If we do not remain on the forefront of innovation, we may not be able to achieve or sustain profitability.

The market for Internet products and services including, without limitation, 3D immersive experiences, virtual reality and augmented reality is characterized by rapid technological developments, evolving industry standards and consumer demands, and frequent new product introductions and enhancements. The Company’s future success will depend in significant part on its ability to continually improve the performance, features and reliability of its Internet-based virtual environment, its tools and other properties in response to both evolving demands of the marketplace and competitive product offerings, and there can be no assurance that the Company will be successful in doing so. In addition, the widespread adoption of new virtual reality and augmented reality applications through new technology developments could require fundamental changes in the Company’s services.

Our value proposition for agents and brokers includes allowing them to participate in the revenues of our company and is not typical in the real estate industry. If agents and brokers do not understand our value proposition we may not be able to attract, retain and incentivize agents.

Participation in our gross revenue sharing plan represents a key component of our agent and broker value proposition. Agents and brokers may not understand or appreciate its value. In addition, agents may not appreciate other components of our value proposition including the cloud office platform, the mobility it affords, the systems and tools that we provide to agents and brokers, and the professional development opportunities we create and deliver. If agents and brokers do not understand the elements of our agent value proposition, or do not perceive it to be more valuable than the models used by most competitors, we may not be able to attract, retain and incentivize new and existing agents and brokers to grow our revenues.

We offer our independent agents the opportunity to earn a portion of their commissions through our revenue share program which pays under a multi-tiered compensation structure similar in some respects to network marketing.  Network marketing is subject to intense government scrutiny, and regulation and changes in the law, or the interpretation and enforcement of the law, might adversely affect our business.    

 

Various laws and regulations in the United States and other countries regulate network marketing. These laws and regulations exist at many levels of government in many different forms, including statutes, rules, regulations, judicial decisions, and administrative orders. Network marketing regulations are inherently fact-based and often do not include "bright line" rules. Additionally, we are subject to the risk that the regulations, or a regulator's interpretation and enforcement of the regulations, could change. From time to time, we have received requests to supply information regarding our revenue share plan to regulatory agencies. We could potentially in the future be required to modify our revenue sharing plan in certain jurisdictions in order to comply with the interpretation of the regulations by local authorities.

 

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has entered into several highly publicized settlements with network marketing companies that required those companies to modify their compensation plans and business models. Those settlements resulted from actions brought by the FTC involving a variety of alleged violations of consumer protection laws, including misleading earnings representations by the companies' independent distributors, as well as the legal validity of the companies' business model and distributor compensation plans. FTC determinations such as these have created an ambiguity regarding the proper interpretation of the law and regulations applicable to network marketing companies in the U.S. Although a consent decree between the FTC and a specific company does not represent judicial precedent, FTC officials have indicated that the network marketing industry should look to these consent decrees, and the principles contained therein, for guidance. Additionally, following the issuance of these consent decrees, the FTC

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issued non-binding guidance to the network marketing industry, suggesting it was intending to reinforce the principles contained in the consent decrees and provide other operational guidance to the network marketing industry.

 

While we strive to ensure that our overall business model, and revenue share plan, are regulatory compliant in each of our markets, we cannot assure you that a regulator, if it were to review our business, would agree with our assessment and would not require us to change one or more aspects of our operations. Any action against us in the future by the FTC or another regulator could materially and adversely affect our operations.

 

We cannot predict the nature of any future law, regulation, or guidance, nor can we predict what effect additional governmental regulations, judicial decisions, or administrative orders, when and if promulgated, would have on our business. Failure by us, or our independent agents, to comply with these laws, could adversely affect our business.

 

We may be unable to attract and retain additional qualified personnel.

To execute our business strategy, we must attract and retain highly qualified personnel. In particular, we compete with many other real estate brokerages for qualified brokers who manage our operations in each state. We must also compete with technology companies for developers with high levels of experience in designing, developing and managing cloud-based software, as well as for skilled service and operations professionals, and we may not be successful in attracting and retaining the professionals we need. Additionally, in order to realize the potential benefits of acquisitions, we may need to retain employees from the acquired businesses or hire additional personnel to fully capitalize on the opportunities that such acquisitions may offer, and we may not be successful in retaining or attracting such individuals following an acquisition. From time to time in the past we have experienced, and we expect to continue to experience in the future, difficulty in hiring and difficulty in retaining highly skilled employees with appropriate qualifications. Many of the companies with which we compete for experienced personnel have greater resources than we do. In addition, in making employment decisions, particularly in the software industry, job candidates often consider the value of the stock options or other equity incentives they are to receive in connection with their employment. If the price of our stock declines, or continues to experience significant volatility, our ability to attract or retain key employees may be adversely affected. If we fail to attract new personnel or fail to retain and motivate our current personnel, our growth prospects could be severely harmed.

Our operating results are subject to seasonality and vary significantly among quarters during each calendar year, making meaningful comparisons of successive quarters difficult.

Seasons and weather traditionally impact the real estate industry. Continuous poor weather or natural disasters negatively impact listings and sales. Spring and summer seasons historically reflect greater sales periods in comparison to fall and winter seasons. We have historically experienced lower revenues during the fall and winter seasons, as well as during periods of unseasonable weather, which reduces our operating income, net income, operating margins and cash flow.

Real estate listings precede sales and a period of poor listings activity will negatively impact revenue. Past performance in similar seasons or during similar weather events can provide no assurance of future or current performance, and macroeconomic shifts in the markets we serve can conceal the impact of poor weather or seasonality.

Home sales in successive quarters can fluctuate widely due to a wide variety of factors, including holidays, national or international emergencies, the school year calendar’s impact on timing of family relocations, interest rate changes, speculation of pending interest rate changes and the overall macroeconomic market. Our revenue and operating margins each quarter will remain subject to seasonal fluctuations, poor weather and natural disasters and macroeconomic market changes that may make it difficult to compare or analyze our financial performance effectively across successive quarters.

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If we fail to protect the privacy of employees, independent contractors, or consumers or personal information that they share with us, our reputation and business could be significantly harmed.

Hundreds of thousands of consumers, independent contractors, and employees have shared personal information with us during the normal course of our business processing real estate transactions. This includes, but is not limited to, social security numbers, annual income amounts and sources, consumer names, addresses, telephone and cell phone numbers, and email addresses.

The Application, disclosure and safeguarding of this information is regulated by federal and state privacy laws. To comply with privacy laws, we invested resources and adopted a privacy policy outlining policies and procedures for the use of safeguarding personal information. This policy includes informing consumers, independent contractors and employees that we will not share their personal information with third parties without their consent unless required by law.

Privacy policies and compliance with federal and state privacy laws presents risk and we could incur legal liability for failing to maintain compliance. We may not become aware of all privacy laws, changes to privacy laws, or third- party privacy regulations governing the real estate business or be unable to comply with all of these regulations, given the rate of regulatory changes, ambiguities in regulations, contradictions in regulations between jurisdictions, and the difficulties in achieving both company-wide and region-specific knowledge and compliance.

Our policy and safeguards could be deemed insufficient if third parties with whom we have shared personal information fail to protect the privacy of that information. Our legal liability could include significant defense costs, settlement costs, damages and penalties, plus, damage our reputation with consumers, which could significantly damage our ability to attract customers. Any or all of these consequences would result in meaningful unfavorable impact on our brand, business model, revenue, expenses, income and margins.

Our business could be adversely affected if we are unable to expand, maintain and improve the systems and technologies which we rely on to operate.

As the number of agents and brokers in our company grows, our success will depend on our ability to expand, maintain and improve the technology that supports our business operations, including, but not limited to, our cloud office platform. Loss of key personnel or the lack of adequate staffing with the requisite expertise and training could impede our efforts in this regard. If our systems and technologies lack capacity or quality sufficient to service agents and their clients, then the number of agents who wish to use our products could decrease, the level of client service and transaction volume afforded by our systems could suffer, and our costs could increase. In addition, if our systems, procedures or controls are not adequate to provide reliable, accurate and timely financial and other reporting, we may not be able to satisfy regulatory scrutiny or contractual obligations with third parties and may suffer a loss of reputation. Any of these events could negatively affect our financial position.

Our business, financial condition and reputation may be substantially harmed by security breaches, interruptions, delays and failures in our systems and operations.

The performance and reliability of our systems and operations are critical to our reputation and ability to attract agents, teams of agents and brokers into our company as well as our ability to service home buyers and sellers. Our systems and operations are vulnerable to security breaches, interruption or malfunction due to certain events beyond our control, including natural disasters, such as earthquakes, fire and flood, power loss, telecommunication failures, break-ins, sabotage, computer viruses, intentional acts of vandalism and similar events. In addition, we rely on third party vendors to provide the cloud office platform and to provide additional systems and related support. If we cannot continue to retain these services on acceptable terms, our access to these systems and services could be interrupted. Any security breach, interruption, delay or failure in our systems and operations could substantially reduce the transaction volume that can be processed with our systems, impair quality of service, increase costs, prompt litigation and other consumer claims, and damage our reputation, any of which could substantially harm our financial condition.

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Loss of our current executive officers or other key management could significantly harm our business.

We depend on the industry experience and talent of our current executives. We believe that our future results will depend in part upon our ability to retain and attract highly skilled and qualified management. The loss of our executive officers could have a material adverse effect on our operations because other officers may not have the experience and expertise to readily replace these individuals. To the extent that one or more of our top executives or other key management personnel depart from the Company, our operations and business prospects may be adversely affected. In addition, changes in executives and key personnel could be disruptive to our business. The Company does not have any key person insurance.

Failure to protect intellectual property rights could adversely affect our business.

Our intellectual property rights, including existing and future trademarks, trade secrets, patents and copyrights, are important assets of the business. We have taken measures to protect our intellectual property, but these measures may not be sufficient or effective. We may bring lawsuits to protect against the potential infringement of our intellectual property rights and other companies, including our competitors, could make claims against us alleging our infringement of their intellectual property rights. There can be no assurance that we would prevail in such lawsuits. Any significant impairment of our intellectual property rights could harm our business.

Cybersecurity incidents could disrupt our business operations, result in the loss of critical and confidential information, adversely impact our reputation and harm our business.

Cybersecurity threats and incidents directed at us could range from uncoordinated individual attempts to gain unauthorized access to information technology systems to sophisticated and targeted measures aimed at disrupting business or gathering personal data of customers. In the ordinary course of our business, we and our agents and brokers collect and store sensitive data, including proprietary business information and personal information about our customers. Our business, and particularly our cloud-based platform, is reliant on the uninterrupted functioning of our information technology systems. The secure processing, maintenance, and transmission of information are critical to our operations, especially the processing and closing of real estate transactions. Although we employ measures designed to prevent, detect, address, and mitigate these threats (including access controls, data encryption, vulnerability assessments, and maintenance of backup and protective systems), cybersecurity incidents, depending on their nature and scope, could potentially result in the misappropriation, destruction, corruption, or unavailability of critical data and confidential or proprietary information (our own or that of third parties, including potentially sensitive personally information of our customers) and the disruption of business operations. Any such compromises to our security could cause harm to our reputation, which could cause customers to lose trust and confidence in us, or could cause agents and brokers to stop working for us. In addition, we may incur significant costs for remediation that may include liability for stolen assets or information, repair of system damage, and compensation to customers and business partners. We may also be subject to legal claims, government investigation, and additional state and federal statutory requirements.

The potential consequences of a material cybersecurity incident include regulatory violations of applicable U.S. and foreign privacy and other laws, reputational damage, loss of market value, litigation with third parties (which could result in our exposure to material civil or criminal liability), diminution in the value of the services we provide to our customers, and increased cybersecurity protection and remediation costs (that may include liability for stolen assets or information), which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our competitiveness and results of operations.

If we fail to protect the privacy and personal information of our customers, agents or employees, we may be subject to legal claims, government action and damage to our reputation.

 

To run our business, it is essential for us to store and transmit sensitive personal information about our customers, prospects, employees, and independent agents in our systems and networks. At the same time, we are subject to numerous laws, regulations, and other requirements that require businesses like ours to protect the security of personal information, notify customers and other individuals about our privacy practices, and limit the use, disclosure, or transfer of personal data across country borders. Regulators in the U.S. and abroad continue to enact comprehensive new laws or legislative reforms imposing significant privacy and cybersecurity restrictions. The result is that we are subject to

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increased regulatory scrutiny, additional contractual requirements from corporate customers, and heightened compliance costs. These ongoing changes to privacy and cybersecurity laws also may make it more difficult for us to operate our business and may have a material adverse effect on our operations. For example, the European Union’s GDPR conferred new and significant privacy rights on individuals (including employees and independent agents), and materially increased penalties for violations. In the U.S., California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act—which is expected to go into full effect in 2020—imposing new and comprehensive requirements on organizations that collect and disclose personal information about California residents. In March 2017, the New York Department of Financial Services’ cybersecurity regulation went into effect, requiring regulated financial institutions to establish a detailed cybersecurity program. Program requirements included corporate governance, incident planning, data management, system testing, vendor oversight, and regulator notification rules. Now, other state regulatory agencies are expected to enact similar requirements following the adoption of the Insurance Data Security Model Law by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that is consistent with the New York regulation.

 

Any significant violations of privacy and cybersecurity could result in the loss of new or existing business, litigation, regulatory investigations, the payment of fines, damages, and penalties and damage to our reputation, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

We could also be adversely affected if legislation or regulations are expanded to require changes in our business practices or if governing jurisdictions interpret or implement their legislation or regulations in ways that negatively affect our business, results of operations or financial condition.

 

In addition, while we disclose our information collection and dissemination practices in a published privacy statement on our websites, which we may modify from time to time, we may be subject to legal claims, government action and damage to our reputation if we act or are perceived to be acting inconsistently with the terms of our privacy statement, customer expectations or state, national and international regulations.

 

The occurrence of a significant claim in excess of our insurance coverage in any given period could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations during the period. In the event we or the vendors with which we contract to provide services on behalf of our customers were to suffer a breach of personal information, our customers and independent agents could terminate their business with us. Further, we may be subject to claims to the extent individual employees or independent contractors breach or fail to adhere to Company policies and practices and such actions jeopardize any personal information.

 

In addition, concern among potential home buyers or sellers about our privacy practices could result in regulatory investigations, especially in the European Union as related to the GDPR. Additionally, concern among potential home buyers or sellers could keep them from using our services or require us to incur significant expense to alter our business practices or educate them about how we use personal information.

 

We are subject to certain risks related to litigation filed by or against us, and adverse results may harm our business and financial condition.

We are subject to risk of, and are from time to time involved in, or may in the future be subject to, claims, suits, government investigations, and proceedings arising from our business, including actions with respect to intellectual property, privacy, information security, data protection or law enforcement matters, tax matters, labor and employment, including claims challenging the classification of our agents and brokers as independent contractors and compliance with wage and hour regulations, and claims alleging violations of RESPA or state consumer fraud statutes, and commercial arrangements. We are also subject to risk related to shareholder derivative actions, standard brokerage disputes like the failure to disclose hidden defects in a property such as mold, vicarious liability based upon conduct of individuals or entities outside of our control, including our agents, brokers, third-party service or product providers, and purported class action lawsuits.

 

19

We cannot predict with certainty the cost of defense, the cost of prosecution, insurance coverage or the ultimate outcome of litigation and other proceedings filed by or against us, including remedies or damage awards. Adverse results in such litigation and other proceedings may harm our business and financial condition. Class action lawsuits can often be particularly burdensome given the breadth of claims, large potential damages and significant costs of defense. In the case of intellectual property litigation and proceedings, adverse outcomes could include the cancellation, invalidation or other loss of material intellectual property rights used in our business and injunctions prohibiting our use of business processes or technology that is subject to third party patents or other third party intellectual property rights. In addition, we may be required to enter into licensing agreements (if available on acceptable terms) and be required to pay royalties.

 

From time to time, we may become involved in lawsuits and legal proceedings which arise in the ordinary course of business. At present, we are not involved in any material pending legal proceeding, and there are no proceedings in which any of our directors, officers or affiliates is an adverse party or has a material interest adverse to our interest.

 

Risk Related to Our Stock

Glenn Sanford, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, together with Penny Sanford, a significant shareholder, own a significant percentage of our stock, and as a result, the trading price for our shares may be depressed and they can take actions that may be adverse to the interests of our stockholders.

Glenn Sanford beneficially owns approximately 35% of our outstanding common stock as of December 31, 2019. Penny Sanford beneficially owns approximately 25% of our outstanding common stock as of December 31, 2019. In December 2017 Mr. Sanford and Ms. Sanford filed a Schedule 13D with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) indicating that they had entered into an agreement to vote their shares as a group with respect to the election of directors and any other matter on which our shares of common stock are entitled to vote. This significant concentration of share ownership may adversely affect the trading price for our common stock because investors may perceive disadvantages in owning stock in companies with a controlling stockholder group. The group can significantly influence all matters requiring approval by our stockholders, including the election and removal of directors and any proposed merger, consolidation or sale of all or substantially all of our assets. In addition, due to his significant ownership stake and his service as our Principal Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board and Directors, Mr. Sanford controls the management of our business and affairs. This concentration of ownership could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control, or impeding a merger or consolidation, takeover or other business combination that could be favorable to our other stockholders.

Because we can issue additional shares of common stock, our stockholders may experience dilution in the future.

We are authorized to issue up to 220,000,000 shares of common stock, of which approximately 66.2 million shares were issued, and 65.2 million shares were outstanding as of December 31, 2019. Our board of directors has the authority to cause us to issue additional shares of common stock without consent of any of our stockholders. Consequently, the stockholders may experience more dilution in their ownership of our stock in the future.

The stock price of our common stock has been and likely will continue to be volatile and may decline in value regardless of our performance.

The market price for our common stock could fluctuate significantly for various reasons, many of which are outside our control, including those described above and the following:

·

our operating and financial performance and prospects;

·

future sales of substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market, including but not limited to shares we may issue as consideration for acquisitions or investments;

·

housing and mortgage finance markets;

·

our quarterly or annual earnings or those of other companies in our industry;

·

the public’s reaction to our press releases, other public announcements and filings with the SEC;

·

changes in recommendations or analysis of our prospects by securities analysts who track our common stock;

·

market and industry perception of our success, or lack thereof, in pursuing our growth strategy;

20

·

strategic actions by us or our competitors, such as acquisitions or restructurings;

·

actual or potential changes in laws, regulations and regulatory interpretations, including as a result of the 2017 Tax Act;

·

changes in interest rates;

·

changes in demographics relating to housing such as household formation or other consumer preferences toward home ownership;

·

changes in accounting standards, policies, guidance, interpretations or principles;

·

arrival and departure of key personnel;

·

adverse resolution of new or pending litigation or regulatory proceedings against us; and

·

changes in general market, economic and political conditions in the United States and global economies.

In addition, the stock markets have experienced periods of high price and volume fluctuations that have affected and continue to affect the market prices of the equity securities of many companies, including technology companies and real estate brokerages. Such price fluctuations can be unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies. In the past, stockholders have instituted securities class action litigation following periods of market volatility. If we were to become involved in securities litigation, it could subject us to substantial costs, divert resources and the attention of management from our business, and harm our business.

Because we do not intend to pay any cash dividends on our shares of common stock in the near future, our stockholders will not be able to receive a return on their shares unless they sell them.

We intend to retain any future earnings to finance the development and expansion of our business. We do not anticipate paying any cash dividends on our common stock in the near future. The declaration, payment and amount of any future dividends will be made at the discretion of the board of directors, and will depend upon, among other things, the results of operations, cash flows and financial condition, operating and capital requirements, and other factors as the board of directors considers relevant. There is no assurance that future dividends will be paid, and if dividends are paid, there is no assurance with respect to the amount of any such dividend. Unless we pay dividends, our stockholders will not be able to receive a return on their shares unless they sell them.

Delaware law and our organizational documents may impede or discourage a takeover, which could deprive our investors of the opportunity to receive a premium for their shares.

We are a Delaware corporation, and the anti-takeover provisions of Delaware law impose various impediments to the ability of a third party to acquire control of us, even if a change of control would be beneficial to our existing stockholders. In addition, provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws may make it more difficult for, or prevent a third party from, acquiring control of us without the approval of our Board of Directors. Among other things, these provisions:

·

do not permit cumulative voting in the election of directors, which would otherwise allow less than a majority of stockholders to elect director candidates;

·

delegate the sole power to a majority of the Board of Directors to fix the number of directors;

·

provide the power to our Board of Directors to fill any vacancy on our Board of Directors, whether such vacancy occurs as a result of an increase in the number of directors or otherwise;

·

eliminate the ability of stockholders to call special meetings of stockholders; and

·

establish advance notice requirements for nominations for election to our Board of Directors or for proposing matters that can be acted on by stockholders at stockholder meetings.

The foregoing factors could impede a merger, takeover or other business combination or discourage a potential investor from making a tender offer for our common stock which, under certain circumstances, could reduce the market value of our common stock and our investors’ ability to realize any potential change-in-control premium.

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Item 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

Not applicable.

Item 2. PROPERTIES

Our principal corporate office is located at 2219 Rimland Drive, Suite 301 in Bellingham, Washington where we lease an office space that expires on December 31, 2020. We also lease small office spaces in a number of regions in which we operate, in order to comply with regulatory and licensing requirements within those jurisdictions and, in certain instances, to provide office space to our managing brokers and drop-in space for our agents. In some of these instances, the managing brokers are financially responsible for a significant portion of the rental expense associated with a leased office space. We generally do not provide office space for the agents other than for drop-in service. We do not own any real property. We believe that leased facilities are adequate to meet current needs and that additional facilities will be available for lease to meet future needs.

Item 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

From time to time, we are involved in ordinary routine litigation incidental to the conduct of our business, including matters that may be certified as class or collective actions.  Additional information is described under “Legal proceedings” in Note 15 – Commitments and Contingencies to our Consolidated Financial Statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and such information is incorporated herein by reference.

 

There are no legal proceedings pending or, to our knowledge, threatened that we believe could have a material adverse impact on our business, reputation, results of operations or financial condition.

 

Item 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

PART II

Item 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Market Information

Our common stock is quoted on the NASDAQ Global Market operated by NASDAQ, Inc. under the trading symbol “EXPI”. As of February 20,  2020, there are 65,619,860 issued and outstanding shares of our common stock held by a total of approximately 17,900 stockholders of record.

Trading in our common stock quoted on the NASDAQ Global Market is often thin and is characterized by wide fluctuations in trading prices due to many factors, some of which may have little to do with our company’s operations or business prospects. We cannot assure you that there will be a market for our common stock in the future.

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Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

The following table provides information about repurchases of our common stock through the quarter ended December 31, 2019:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a)

 

 

(b)

 

(c)

 

 

(d)

Period

Total number of shares purchased

 

 

Average price paid per share

 

Total number of shares purchased as part of publicly announced plans or programs (1)

 

 

Approximate dollar value of shares that may yet be purchased under the plans or programs

10/1/19-10/31/19

384,423

 

 

8.52

 

384,423

 

 

4,013,293

11/1/19-11/30/19

289,163

 

 

9.84

 

289,163

 

 

1,159,526

12/1/19-12/31/19

284,106

 

 

11.56

 

284,106

 

 

47,867,875

Total

957,692

 

$

9.97

 

957,692

 

 

 

 

(1)

On December 27, 2018 the Company announced that our board of directors approved a stock repurchase program authorizing us to purchase up to $25 million of our common stock.  The repurchase program began on January 2, 2019. On November 26, 2019, the Company announced the approval to increase the authorization limits of the Company’s stock repurchase program by its Board of Directors (the “Board”). The Board agreed to extend the stock repurchase program through the fourth quarter of 2020 and increase the authorization for the stock repurchase program from $25 million to $75 million of the Company’s common stock. The stock repurchase program is more fully disclosed in Note 12, Stockholders’ Equity, to our Consolidated Financial Statements.  As of December 31, 2019, we repurchased an aggregate of 2,743,637 shares of our common stock in the open market pursuant to our share repurchase program. 

 

Item 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The following table summarizes our consolidated financial data, which has been derived from the Consolidated Financial Statements for each of the five years in the period ended December 31, 2019.    The selected consolidated financial data presented below should be read in conjunction with our annual consolidated financial statements and

23

accompanying notes and "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" included elsewhere in this  report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

2019

    

2018

    

2017

    

2016

    

2015

Statement of Operations Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

 

$

979,937,241

 

$

500,147,681

 

$

156,104,544

 

$

53,555,725

 

$

22,464,306

Total expenses

 

 

988,715,325

 

 

522,532,196

 

 

178,136,198

 

 

60,927,558

 

 

24,320,560

Operating loss

 

 

(8,778,084)

 

 

(22,384,515)

 

 

(22,031,654)

 

 

(7,371,833)

 

 

(1,856,254)

Other expense (income)

 

 

281,555

 

 

(31,959)

 

 

2,077

 

 

355

 

 

1,104

Income tax expense

 

 

496,981

 

 

77,800

 

 

97,234

 

 

42,528

 

 

103,069

Net loss

 

 

(9,556,620)

 

 

(22,430,356)

 

 

(22,130,965)

 

 

(7,414,716)

 

 

(1,960,427)

Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest in subsidiary

 

 

28,906

(a)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29,801

(g)

 

21,526

Net loss attributable common shareholders of eXp World Holdings, Inc.

 

 

(9,527,714)

 

 

(22,430,356)

 

 

(22,130,965)

 

 

(7,384,915)

 

 

(1,938,901)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net loss per share

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

(0.15)

 

 

(0.39)

 

 

(0.42)

 

 

(0.14)

 

 

(0.04)

Diluted

 

 

(0.15)

 

 

(0.39)

 

 

(0.42)

 

 

(0.14)

 

 

(0.04)

Weighted average shares outstanding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

62,585,555

 

 

57,689,920

 

 

53,194,928

 

 

51,081,949

 

 

49,409,266

Diluted

 

 

62,585,555

 

 

57,689,920

 

 

53,194,928

 

 

51,081,949

 

 

49,409,266

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

    

2019

    

2018

    

2017

    

2016

    

2015

Operating Statistics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brokerage Services

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close homesale sides (d)

 

 

135,322

 

 

74,678

 

 

25,299

 

 

8,560

 

 

3,812

Homesales volume (e)

 

$

38,215,997,704

 

$

19,844,237,031

 

$

6,083,479,207

 

$

1,994,624,240

 

$

887,225,758

Average homesale price (f)

 

$

282,407

 

$

265,731

 

$

240,463

 

$

233,017

 

$

232,745

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As of December 31,

Balance Sheet Data:

 

 

2019

    

2018

    

2017

    

2016

    

2015

Cash and cash equivalents

 

 

40,087,372

 

 

20,538,057

 

 

4,672,034

 

 

1,684,608

 

 

571,814

Total assets

 

 

96,452,379

(b)

 

55,846,028

(b)

 

14,637,131

 

 

6,104,047

 

 

1,256,716

Total liabilities (c)

 

 

44,324,500

 

 

25,866,399

 

 

10,376,460

 

 

3,577,021

 

 

664,210

Equity

 

 

52,127,879

 

 

29,979,629

 

 

4,260,671

 

 

2,527,026

 

 

592,506

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24


(a)

As of December 2019, the Company entered into an agreement with First Cloud Investment Group, LLC and was determined to be the primary beneficiary. The Company consolidates First Cloud Investment Group, LLC and records a noncontrolling interest for the portion of equity not attributable to the Company. 

(b)

Total assets include $10,607,800 of the acquired identifiable assets and goodwill resulting from the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of VirBELA.

(c)

Includes the long-term portion of future deliveries of the Company’s common stock valued at $832,946, calculated using a discount rate of 10% as consideration paid resulting from the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of VirBELA.

(d)

Represents homesales sides on either the “buy” side or the “sell” side of a homesales transaction.

(e)

Represents the volume of closed homesales transactions.

(f)

Represents the average selling price of closed homesales transactions. The Company calculates the average selling price by dividing the volume of closed homesale transactions by the number of closed homesale transactions.

(g)

As of December 31, 2016, the Company acquired previously outstanding noncontrolling interest in First Cloud Mortgage, Inc., resulting in a 100% interest. Upon obtaining 100% interest, the Company inactivated First Cloud Mortgage, Inc.

Homesale units and volume are used as key metrics to determine the Company’s growth and profitability. We compare this data to competitors and historical data to measure business strategies and enhance business practices.

Item 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITIONS AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (“MD&A”) is intended to inform the reader about matters affecting the financial condition and results of operations of eXp World Holdings, Inc. (the “Holding Company”) and its subsidiaries (collectively, “we,” “us”, “our” or the “Company”) for the two-year period ended December 31, 2019. The following discussion should be read together with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere within this report. The Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations contain forward-looking statements. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements. See “Forward-Looking Statements” and “Item 1A. – Risk Factors” included elsewhere within this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions associated with these statements.

OVERVIEW

MARKET CONDITIONS AND INDUSTRY TRENDS

Our business is dependent on the economic conditions within the markets for which we operate.  Changes in the economy can have a positive or negative impact on our business.  The economic conditions influencing the housing markets primarily include economic growth, interest rates, unemployment, consumer confidence, mortgage availability and supply and demand.

In periods of economic growth, demand typically increases resulting in increasing home sale prices.  Similarly, a decline in economic growth generally decreases demand.  Increasing interest rates and decreasing consumer confidence also generally decreases demand.  Additionally, regulations imposed by local, state and federal government agencies, and geopolitical instability, can also negatively impact the housing markets for which we operate.

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According to the National Association of Realtors Summit in December 2019, home buyers continue to be sensitive to interest rates given the higher cost of homes.  Throughout 2019, homes sales increased as interest rates decreased.  Also throughout 2019, home ownership has continued to increase.  Economists have forecasted that interest rates will stay below 4% in fiscal 2020.  Homebuyer demand has increased substantially because of the low interest rate environment.  Buyers are still faced with low inventory and a competitive market, particularly for entry level and mid-market buyers.  With intensified competition, home prices will continue to increase, however this is offset by favorable interest rates.

As of December 31, 2019, we believe that these factors are generally favorable. However, significant changes to one or more of these drivers could cause the demand for housing to slow, negatively affecting all real estate brokerage firms, including eXp Realty.

Regardless of whether the housing market continues to grow or slows, the Company is positioned to leverage its low-cost, high-engagement model, affording agents and brokers increased income and ownership opportunities while offering a scalable solution to brokerage owners looking to survive and thrive in a series of fluctuations in economic activity.

Home Inventory

According to National Association of Realtors (NAR), the inventory of existing homes for sale in the U.S. was 1.6 million as of January 2019 and decreased to 1.4 million at the end of December 2019 (preliminary).  As a result, inventory has decreased from 3.9 average months of supply as of January 2019 to 3.0 average months’ supply as of December 2019 (preliminary). 

Mortgage Rates

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, mortgage rates on commitments for 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.9% for 2019 compared to 4.5% for 2018. Mortgage rates reached a high of 4.5% in January 2019.  Mortgage rates are forecasted to decrease to 3.8% for 2020 and increase to 4.1% in 2021. To the extent mortgage rates increase, consumers have financing alternatives such as adjustable rate mortgages or shorter-term mortgages which can be utilized to obtain a mortgage rate that is lower than a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Housing Affordability Index

Also, according to the NAR, the composite housing affordability index increased to 163.8 for November 2019 (preliminary) from 153.9 for January 2019. The housing affordability index continues to be at historically favorable levels. When the index is above 100, it indicates that a family earning the median income has sufficient income to purchase a median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment and ability to qualify for a mortgage.  The favorable housing affordability index is due in part to favorable mortgage rate conditions and low overall unemployment.

Home Sales Transactions

According to the NAR, existing home sale transactions for December 2019 (preliminary) increased to 5.5 million compared to 4.9 million for January 2019.  During 2019, eXp Realty settled home sales units was 135,322 resulting in sales volume of $38.2 billion.   Our home sale transactions growth was directly related to the growth of our agent base, which increased 63.3% in 2019.

Existing Home Sales Price

Existing home sales average price for December 2019 (preliminary) was $274,500 compared to $249,300 in January 2019  During this same period, eXp Realty homes sales price averaged $289,849 in December 2019 compared to $266,059 in January 2019.

26

Continued Accelerated Growth

Our strength is attracting real estate agent and broker professionals that have contributed to our growth.  As of December 31, 2019, we have grown our agent and broker base 63.3% to 25,423 agents and brokers compared to 15,570 as of the December 31, 2018.

The following table sets forth the number of transactions, sales volume and commission revenue earned on real estate transactions:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended

 

Year Ended

 

Change 

December 31, 2019

 

December 31, 2018

 

 

Number

 

Volume

 

Revenue

 

Number

 

Volume

 

Revenue

 

Number

 

Volume

 

Revenues

135,322

 

$ 38,215,997,704

 

$ 979,937,241

 

74,678

 

$ 19,844,237,031

 

$ 500,147,681

 

60,644

 

$ 18,371,760,673

 

$ 479,789,560

 

We continue to increase our presence in the United States and Canada through the execution of our growth strategies.  And in the fourth quarter of 2019, we expanded operations to the United Kingdom and Australia. The rate of growth of our agent and broker base is difficult to predict and is subject to many factors outside of our control, including actions taken by our competitors and macroeconomic factors affecting the real estate industry in general. We can provide no assurance that the Company will be able to maintain our agent growth rate or that our agent and broker base will continue to increase in future periods.

Agent Ownership

The Company maintains an equity incentive program whereby agents and brokers of eXp Realty can become eligible for awards of the Company’s common stock through the achievement of production and agent attraction benchmarks. Under our equity incentive program, agents and brokers who qualify are issued shares of the Company’s common stock.

The Company also administers a program whereby agents and brokers can establish a direct ownership interest in the Company as a shareholder. Agents and brokers can elect to receive 5% of their commission payable in the form of Company common stock which is issued at a 20% discount to market on the date of issuance. In 2019, approximately 9,600 eXp Realty agents and brokers took advantage of this program resulting in the issuance of 3,801,603 shares of common stock. This agent equity program continues to be another element in creating a culture of agent-ownership.

RECENT BUSINESS DEVELOPMENTS

Real Estate Brokerage Initiatives

Global Real Estate Cloud Brokerage

The Company announced its first international expansions outside of North America into Australia and the U.K. This is part of the Company’s initiative to operate as a Global Real Estate Cloud Brokerage. We look forward to our cloud campus being populated by real estate professionals from around the globe as they conduct business, collaborate with each other and develop meaningful personal and professional relationships across borders and cultures. In addition to these new countries, the Company continues to also focus on growth in the United States. We continue to expand in Canada, with recent openings in Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, and future openings planned in Novia Scotia throughout the rest of 2020.

 

Agent and Employee Experience

 

The Company has embarked on an initiative to better understand both its agents and employee experience. In doing so, we have adopted many of the principles of the Net Promoter Score® (NPS) across many aspects of our organization.  NPS is a measure of customer satisfaction and is measured on a scale between -100 and 100.  A NPS above 50 is considered excellent.  Whether it be the overall question "How likely are you to recommend eXp to your colleagues,

27

friends or family?" or more granular inquiries as to specific workflows or service offerings, we believe this will ensure we are delivering on the most important values to our agents and employees. In turn, this often leads to enthusiastic fans of eXp who will promote our Company and continue leading us through strong organic growth.

This also ties into one of our core values, transparency. While we strive for high satisfaction, a low or trending lower NPS is equally important to identify. The Company’s fourth quarter cumulative agent NPS was 64. As NPS scores are often leading indicators to agents and employees’ future actions, we are able to learn quickly what may be a ‘pain point’ or product that is not meeting its desired objective. We then take that information and translate it into action with an effort to remediate the specific root cause(s) driving the lower score. This fast and iterative approach has already led to improvements in such parts of our business such as agent onboarding, commission transaction processing, and employee benefits.

Agile at Scale

The Company continues to focus and refine its efforts on our engagement strategy to build a positive employee experience to advance creativity, productivity and service quality to retain top performing talent with the overall goal of growing and improving overall profitability. We have been and will continue to form more and more smaller functional teams across the entire organization. This allows for faster identification of challenges and opportunities, autonomy and decision making, and execution affecting our agents and employees. This is tied together by ensuring all teams are aligned and working towards outcomes consistent with our vision, goals, and key results.

Equity

Our agent compensation plans represent a key lever in our strategy to attract and retain independent agents and brokers. The costs attributable to these plans are also a significant component of our commission structure and results of operations. Prior to 2020, we issued share-based compensation to our agents and brokers at a 20% discount, which will change to a 10% discount for issuances beginning in January 2020. Our operational strategy and the importance of the agent compensation plans to it have not changed, but the financial impact of the change in discount is expected to have a meaningful effect on our results of operations going forward.  Our stock repurchase program and agent growth incentive program are more fully disclosed in Note 12 – Stockholders’ Equity, of the Notes to the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements.

Technology Products and Services

We continue developing the core VirBELA software platform and its underlying infrastructure to accommodate for the ever-increasing use and scale required to support our eXp Realty division. Also, we recently released a new product centered on the concept of an open campus whereby small and independent organizations may utilize sub spaces as part of a larger campus similar to collaborative environments that currently exist in the physical brick and mortar world. Lastly, we expect to continue to service existing and new business-to-business enterprise level contracts in the coming year.

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Affiliated Services

Recent acquisitions and partnerships have allowed us to begin offering to customers more products and services complimentary to our real estate brokerage business. These affiliated services include mortgage origination, title, escrow and settlement services, which we can now provide as a more inclusive offering in addition to our brokerage services. We anticipate continued growth and investment in these service offerings in 2020; however, actual performance will depend directly on utilization by eXp Realty agents and brokers.

Results of Operations

Year ended December 31, 2019 vs. Year ended December 31, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year End

 

Percentage of

 

Year End

 

Percentage of

 

Change

 

 

    

December 31, 2019

    

Revenue

    

December 31, 2018

    

Revenue

 

Dollar

    

Percentage

 

Statement of Operations Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

 

$

979,937,241

 

 

100.0

%

$

500,147,681

 

 

100.0

%

$

479,789,560

 

 

95.9

%

Expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commission and other agent-related costs

 

 

895,881,750

 

 

91.4

 

 

459,715,836

 

 

91.9

 

 

436,165,914

 

 

94.9

 

General and administrative

 

 

89,035,059

 

 

9.1

 

 

59,854,742

 

 

12.0

 

 

29,180,317

 

 

48.8

 

Sales and marketing

 

 

3,798,516

 

 

0.4

 

 

2,961,618

 

 

0.6

 

 

836,898

 

 

28.3

 

Total expenses

 

 

988,715,325

 

 

100.9

 

 

522,532,196

 

 

104.5

 

 

466,183,129

 

 

89.2

 

Operating loss

 

 

(8,778,084)

 

 

(0.9)

 

 

(22,384,515)

 

 

(4.5)

 

 

13,606,431

 

 

60.8

 

Other expense (income)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other expense (income), net

 

 

247,311

 

 

0.0

 

 

(31,959)

 

 

 —

 

 

279,270

 

 

873.8

 

Equity in (earnings) losses of unconsolidated affiliates

 

 

34,244

 

 

0.0

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

34,244

 

 

100.0

 

Total other expense (income), net

 

 

281,555

 

 

0.0

 

 

(31,959)

 

 

 —

 

 

313,514

 

 

(981.0)

 

Loss before income tax expense

 

 

(9,059,639)

 

 

(0.9)

 

 

(22,352,556)

 

 

(4.5)

 

 

13,292,917

 

 

59.5

 

Income tax expense

 

 

496,981

 

 

0.1

 

 

77,800

 

 

0.0

 

 

419,181

 

 

538.8

 

Net loss

 

$

(9,556,620)

 

 

(1.0)

%  

$

(22,430,356)

 

 

(4.5)

%  

$

12,873,736

 

 

57.4

%

Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest

 

 

(28,906)

 

 

(0.0)

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

(28,906)

 

 

100.0

 

Net loss attributable to common shareholders of eXp World Holdings, Inc.

 

 

(9,527,714)

 

 

(1.0)

 

 

(22,430,356)

 

 

(4.5)

 

 

12,902,642

 

 

57.5

 

Adjusted EBITDA (1)

 

$

12,650,107

 

 

1.3

%  

$

2,409,857

 

 

0.48

%  

$

10,240,250

 

 

424.9

%

Net loss per share

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

$

(0.15)

 

 

 

 

$

(0.39)

 

 

 

 

$

0.24

 

 

61.5

%

Diluted

 

$

(0.15)

 

 

 

 

$

(0.39)

 

 

 

 

$

0.24

 

 

61.5

%

Weighted average shares outstanding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

62,585,555

 

 

 

 

 

57,689,920

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted

 

 

62,585,555

 

 

 

 

 

57,689,920

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


29

(1) Adjusted EBITDA is not a measurement of our financial performance under U.S. GAAP and should not be considered as an alternative to net income, operating income or any other measures derived in accordance with U.S. GAAP.  For a definition of Adjusted EBITDA and a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net income, see “Non-U.S. GAAP Financial Measure.”

Revenue

Our total revenues were $979.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $500.1 million for the same period in 2018, an increase of $479.8 million, or 95.9%.  Total revenues increased primarily as a result of an increase in real estate brokerage commissions, which is directly related to our increase in agent count of 63.3% compared to the same period in 2018. 

Commission and Other Agent Related Costs

Commission and other agent-related costs were $895.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $459.7 million for the same period in 2018, an increase of $436.2 million, or 94.9%.  Commission and other agent related costs include sales commissions paid and are reduced by agent related fees. Commission and other agent related costs increased primarily as a result of an increase in settled real estate transactions and growth in our agent base.

General and Administrative Expense

General and administrative expenses were $89.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $59.9 million for the same period in 2018, an increase of $29.2 million or 48.8%. General and administrative expenses include costs related to wages, including stock compensation, and other general overhead expenses. General and administrative expenses increased primarily as a result of an increase of $24.3 million in compensation related expenses including salaries, contract labor, employee benefits, and payroll taxes and processing. These increases are a direct result of the Company’s increase in employee and agent count. Employees increased from 354 in 2018 to 634 in 2019, an increase of 79%. The Company’s agent base increased by 63.3%. Additionally, $3.2 million of the increase in general and administrative expenses is related to professional fees including accounting, legal, and other consulting. These increases are directly related to the Company’s continued revenue growth, international expansion and new business ventures.

Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing expenses were $3.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $3.0 million for the same period in 2018, an increase of $0.8 million, or 28.3%.  Sales and marketing costs include lead capture costs and promotional materials. Sales and marketing expenses increased primarily as a result of an increase in lead capture costs of $0.7 million.  

Other Income (Expense)

Other income (expense) includes amortization expense of the present value adjustment to our stock payable and start-up costs.  There were no significant changes in other income (expense) for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.

Income Tax Benefit (Expense)

Income tax expense increased $0.4 million, or 539% ,for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.

LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES

Year ended December 31, 2019 vs. Year ended December 31, 2018

Our primary sources of liquidity are our cash and cash equivalents on hand and cash flows generated from our business operations.  Our ability to generate sufficient cash flow from operations or to access certain capital markets, including

30

banks, is necessary to fund our operations and capital expenditures, repurchase shares, and meet obligations as they become due,    

We believe that our existing balances of cash and cash equivalents and cash flows expected to be generated from our operations will be sufficient to satisfy our operating requirements for at least the next twelve months.  Our future capital requirements will depend on many factors, including our level of investment in technology, our rate of growth into new markets and capital used to repurchase shares of the Company’s common stock.  Our capital requirements may be affected by factors which we cannot control such as the residential real estate market, interest rates, and other monetary and fiscal policy changes to the manner in which we currently operate. In order to support and achieve our future growth plans, however, we may need or seek advantageously to obtain additional funding through equity or debt financing.

We currently do not hold any bank debt. If we are unable to raise additional capital when desired, our business, results of operations, and financial condition would likely suffer. At December 31, 2019, our cash and cash equivalents totaled $40.1 million.  Cash equivalents are comprised of financial instruments with an original maturity of 90 days or less from the date of purchase, primarily money market funds.  We hold no marketable securities.

Net Working Capital

Net working capital is calculated as the Company’s total current assets less its total current liabilities.  The following table presents our net working capital as of ended December 31, 2019 and 2018:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

December 31, 2019

    

December 31, 2018

    

Change

Current assets

 

$

78,819,020

 

$

42,326,727

 

$

36,492,293

Current liabilities

 

 

(41,965,379)

 

 

(24,212,062)

 

 

(17,753,317)

Net working capital

 

$

36,853,641

 

$

18,114,665

 

$

18,738,976

 

For the year ended December 31, 2019, net working capital increased $18.7 million, or 103%, compared to the comparable prior year period, primarily due to an increase in cash and cash equivalents of $19.5 million and commissions receivable of $8.6 million resulting from pending real estate transactions. In correlation to the number of pending real estate transactions, accrued expenses, which includes commissions payable and revenue share, increased $9.9 million.

Cash Flows

The following table presents our cash flows for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 31,

 

 

 

 

 

2019

 

2018

 

$ Change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash provided by operating activities

 

$

55,186,432

 

$

24,310,719

 

$

30,875,713

Cash used in investment activities

 

 

(6,690,037)

 

 

(8,859,462)

 

 

2,169,425

Cash provided by (used in) financing activities

 

 

(24,568,707)

 

 

2,015,034

 

 

(26,583,741)

 

For the year ended December 31, 2019, cash provided by operating activities increased $30.9 million compared to the same period in 2018.  The change resulted primarily from the increased volume in our sales transactions, decrease in net losses, increase in customer deposits and participation by our agents and brokers in our Agent Equity Program and Agent Growth Incentive Program. See Note 12 – Stockholders’ Equity, of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements, for further details related to this program.

For the year ended December 31, 2019, cash used in our investing activities decreased primarily due to lower cash used for business acquisitions of approximately $5.2 million compared to the prior year, partially offset by an increase of $2.9 million in capital expenditures. As we continue to develop and refine our cloud-based platforms and continue to

31

accelerate our business in innovative ways, we expect to continue to use our existing cash resources on similar expenditures for the next twelve months.

For the year ended December 31, 2019, the increase in cash flows used in financing activities primarily related to the repurchase of common stock in the amount of $27.1 million offset by $2.3 million in proceeds from exercise of options.  See Note 12 – Stockholders’ Equity, of the Notes to the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements, for further details related to our Share Repurchase Program.

Outlook

As we continue to scale our Company in the future and increase market share, we aspire to realize gross margins at or near low double digits, resulting in Adjusted EBITDA margins in the lower single digits. Though we have reported decreasing gross margins over the last few fiscal years we expect to continue developing and offering additional services to our agents and brokers in addition to existing programs in an effort to increase margins. See “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for additional information and a reconciliation of net loss to Adjusted EBITDA.

These operating ambitions are not forecasts and do not reflect our expectations, but rather are aspirational targets for future performance that may never be realized. These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that are difficult to predict and that could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in them. Factors include, among others, (i) changes in demand for the Company’s services and changes in consumer behavior; (ii) macroeconomic conditions beyond our control; (iii) the Company’s ability to effectively maintain its infrastructure to support its operations and initiatives; (iv) the impact of governmental regulations related to the Company’s operations; and other factors, as described in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K in Part II, Item 1A, “Risk Factors.”

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES

The preparation of financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP requires us to make certain judgments and assumptions, based on information available at the time of our preparation of the financial statements, in determining accounting estimates used in the preparation of the statements. Our significant accounting policies are described in Note 2 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies of the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Accounting estimates are considered critical if the estimate requires us to use judgments and/or make assumptions about matters that were uncertain at the time the accounting estimate was made and if different accounting estimates could have been used in the reporting period or changes in the accounting estimates are likely to occur that would have a material impact on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

Stock-based Compensation

Our stock-based compensation is comprised of agent growth incentive programs, agent equity program, and stock option awards. Our stock-based compensation is more fully disclosed in Note 12 - Stockholders’ Equity, to our Consolidated Financial Statements. The Company accounts for stock-based compensation granted to employees and non-employees using a fair value method. Stock-based compensation awards are measured at the grant date fair value and is recognized over the requisite service period of the awards, usually the vesting period, on a straight-line basis, net of forfeitures. The Company reduces recorded stock-based compensation for forfeitures when they occur.

Recognition of compensation cost for an award with a performance condition is based on the probable outcome of that performance condition being met. The Company estimates the share-based liability based on estimated performance probabilities based on our most recent estimates on probable achievement of the performance measures established under the Agent Growth Incentive Program. These estimates calculated based on the agent’s historical performance for each award type.  Also, the requisite service period at the grant date of performance awards is estimated based on the probability of the period of time it will take an agent to meet the performance metric.  The value of the stock award is amortized over this period and recognized as stock compensation expense starting on the grant date.

32

Revenue Recognition

The Company generates substantially all of its revenue from real estate brokerage services and generates a de minimis portion of its revenues from software subscription and professional services.

Real Estate Brokerage Services

The Company serves as a licensed broker in the areas in which it operates for the purpose of processing real estate transactions.  The Company is contractually obligated to provide services for the fulfillment of transfers of real estate between buyers and sellers.  The Company provides these services itself and controls the services necessary to legally represent the transfer of the real estate.  Correspondingly, the Company is defined as the Principal.  The Company, as principal, satisfies its obligation upon the closing of a real estate transaction.  As Principal, and upon satisfaction of our obligation, the Company recognizes revenue in the gross amount of consideration to which we expect to be entitled to.

Revenue is derived from assisting home buyers and sellers in listing, marketing, selling and finding real estate.  Commissions earned on real estate transactions are recognized at the completion of a real estate transaction once we have satisfied our performance obligation. Agent related fees are currently recorded as a reduction to commissions and other agent related costs.

At each reporting period, we estimate revenue for closed transactions for which we have not yet received the closing documents due to timing of when a transaction settles. Additionally, provisions for anticipated differences between consideration due and amounts expected to be received are estimated and recorded, in most instances, as a reduction to revenue.

Software Subscription and Professional Services

The Company earns a de minimis amount of subscription revenue that is derived from fees from our customers to access the Company’s virtual reality software platform.  The terms of our subscriptions do not provide customers the right to take possession of the software.  Subscription revenue is generally recognized ratably over the contract term.

Professional services revenue is derived from implementation and consulting services.  Professional services revenue is typically recognized over time as the services are rendered, using an efforts-expended (labor hours) input method.

Software subscription and professional services revenue accounts for less than  1% of all revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Accounts Receivable and Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

The majority of the Company’s accounts receivable is derived primarily from non-commission based fees. These accounts receivable are typically unsecured. The allowance for doubtful accounts is our estimate based identified potentially uncollectible amounts and consideration of historical experience of losses incurred. We periodically perform detailed reviews to assess the adequacy of the allowance. We exercise significant judgment in estimating the timing, frequency and severity of losses.

 

The Company typically does not experience material uncollectible accounts. However, future experience could materially differ from historical results and could have an adverse impact to the Company’s results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows.

Goodwill

We review goodwill for impairment on an annual basis in the fiscal fourth quarter or on an interim basis if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not indicate that the fair value of the goodwill is below its carrying value. An impairment loss for goodwill would be recognized based on the difference between the carrying value and its estimated fair value, which would be determined based on either discounted future cash flows or another

33

appropriate fair value method. The evaluation of goodwill for impairment requires management to use significant judgments and estimates in accordance with U.S. GAAP, including, but not limited to, economic, industry, and company-specific qualitative factors, projected future net sales, operating results, and cash flows. Although we currently believe the estimates used in the evaluation of goodwill are reasonable, differences between actual and expected net sales, operating results, and cash flows and/or changes in the discount rates used could cause these assets to be deemed impaired. If this were to occur, we would be required to record a non-cash charge to earnings for the write-down in the value of the goodwill, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial position but not our cash flows from operations.

 

During the fourth quarter of 2019, we utilized a qualitative assessment of the fair value of goodwill. To perform this assessment, we identified and analyzed macroeconomic conditions, industry and market conditions, and company-specific factors. Taking into consideration these factors, we estimated the potential change in the fair value of goodwill compared with our most recent quantitative impairment test. As a result of the analysis performed, management believes the estimated fair value of the reporting unit continues to exceed its carrying value by a substantial margin and does not represent a more likely than not possibility of potential impairment. The goodwill analysis did not result in an impairment charge.

Income Taxes

We recognize deferred tax assets and liabilities based on the differences between the financial statement carrying amounts and the tax bases of assets and liabilities. A valuation allowance against deferred tax assets would be established if, based on the weight of available evidence, it is more likely than not (a likelihood of more than 50%) that some or all of the deferred tax assets are not expected to be realized.  Our assumptions, judgments, and estimates relative to the value of our deferred tax assets take into account predictions of the amount and category of future taxable income. 

 

Since inception, we have incurred operating losses, and accordingly, we have generally not recorded a provision for income taxes. We generally do not expect any significant changes in the amount of our income tax provision until we are no longer incurring operating losses. 

 

Litigation

We recognize expense for legal claims when payments associated with the claims become probable and can be reasonably estimated. Due to the difficulty in estimating costs of resolving legal claims, actual costs could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and cash flow, if we were to become a party to a material legal action.

CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS AND COMMITMENTS

As a “smaller reporting company”, we are not required to provide the information required by this Item.

OFF-BALANCE SHEET ARRANGEMENTS

We have no off-balance sheet arrangements that have or are reasonably likely to have a current or future effect on our financial condition, results of operations, liquidity, capital expenditures or capital resources that are material to our stockholders.

NON-U.S. GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES

To supplement our condensed consolidated financial statements, which are prepared and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP, we use Adjusted EBITDA, a non-U.S. GAAP financial measure, to understand and evaluate our core operating performance. This non-GAAP financial measure, which may be different than similarly titled measures used by other companies, is presented to enhance investors’ overall understanding of our financial performance and should not be considered a substitute for, or superior to, the financial information prepared and presented in accordance with U.S.GAAP.

34

We define the non-U.S. GAAP financial measure of Adjusted EBITDA to mean net income (loss), excluding other income (expense), income tax benefit (expense), depreciation and amortization; stock-based compensation expense, and stock option expense.

We believe that Adjusted EBITDA provides useful information about our financial performance, enhances the overall understanding of our past performance and future prospects, and allows for greater transparency with respect to a key metric used by our management for financial and operational decision-making. We believe that Adjusted EBITDA helps identify underlying trends in our business that otherwise could be masked by the effect of the expenses that we exclude in Adjusted EBITDA. In particular, we believe the exclusion of stock and stock option expenses, provides a useful supplemental measure in evaluating the performance of our underlying operations and provides better transparency into our results of operations.

We are presenting the non-U.S. GAAP measure of Adjusted EBITDA to assist investors in seeing our financial performance through the eyes of management, and because we believe this measure provides an additional tool for investors to use in comparing our core financial performance over multiple periods with other companies in our industry.

Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered in isolation from, or as a substitute for, financial information prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. There are a number of limitations related to the use of Adjusted EBITDA compared to Net Income (Loss), the closest comparable U.S. GAAP measure. Some of these limitations are that:

·

Adjusted EBITDA excludes stock-based compensation expense related to the Agent Growth Incentive Program and stock option expense, which have been, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, significant recurring expenses in our business and an important part of our compensation strategy; and;

·

Adjusted EBITDA excludes certain recurring, non-cash charges such as depreciation of fixed assets and amortization of intangible assets and, although these are non-cash charges, the assets being depreciated and amortized may have to be replaced in the future.

The following tables present a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net loss, the most comparable U.S. GAAP financial measure, for each of the periods presented:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

    

2019

    

2018

Net loss

 

$

(9,556,620)

 

$

(22,430,356)

Other (income) / expense

 

 

281,555

 

 

(31,959)

Taxes

 

 

496,981

 

 

77,800

Depreciation & Amortization

 

 

2,383,743

 

 

893,988

Stock compensation expense

 

 

13,958,951

 

 

19,053,478

Stock option expense

 

 

5,085,497

 

 

4,846,906

Adjusted EBITDA

 

$

12,650,107

 

$

2,409,857

 

The primary impact on Adjusted EBITDA is stock compensation expense. Stock compensation expense decreased $5.1 million and increased $8.1 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, respectively. Stock compensation expense is affected by awards granted and/or awards forfeited throughout the year. Awards granted, issued and forfeited are more fully disclosed in Note 12, Stockholders’ Equity, of the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Item 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

As a “smaller reporting company”, we are not required to provide the information required by this Item.

35

36

REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERD PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

To the Stockholders and the Board of Directors of eXp World Holdings, Inc.

Opinion on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheet of eXp World Holdings, Inc. and subsidiaries (the "Company") as of December 31, 2019, the related consolidated statements of operations, comprehensive loss, equity, and cash flows for the year then ended, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the "financial statements"). In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2019, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the year then ended, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

We have also audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2019, based on criteria established in Internal Control — Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission and our report dated March 12, 2020, expressed an adverse opinion on the Company's internal control over financial reporting because of material weaknesses.

Basis for Opinion

These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company's financial statements based on our audit. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audit included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audit also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.

 

/s/ Deloitte & Touche LLP

San Francisco, California


March 12, 2020

We have served as the Company's auditor since 2019.

 

37

REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

Shareholders and Board of Directors

eXp World Holdings, Inc.

Bellingham, Washington

Opinion on the Consolidated Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheet of eXp World Holdings, Inc. (the “Company”) and subsidiaries as of December 31, 2018, the related consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive income (loss), equity, and cash flows for the year then ended, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company and subsidiaries at December 31, 2018, and the results of their operations and their cash flows for the year then ended, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

Basis for Opinion

These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated financial statements based on our audit. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud.

Our audit included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audit also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.

 

 

 

/s/ BDO USA, LLP

We served as the Company’s auditor from 2017 to 2019.

Salt Lake City, Utah

March 18, 2019

 

38

EXP WORLD HOLDINGS, INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

As of December 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

ASSETS

 

 

 

 

 

 

CURRENT ASSETS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

40,087,372

 

$

20,538,057

Restricted cash

 

 

6,987,076

 

 

2,502,591

Accounts receivable, net of allowance of $137,430 and $484,441, respectively

 

 

28,195,798

 

 

17,428,091

Prepaids and other assets

 

 

3,548,774

 

 

1,857,988

TOTAL CURRENT ASSETS

 

 

78,819,020

 

 

42,326,727

Property, plant and equipment, net

 

 

5,428,152

 

 

2,739,525

Operating lease right-of-use assets

 

 

1,264,215

 

 

 —

Other noncurrent assets

 

 

15,756

 

 

 —

Intangible assets, net

 

 

2,677,129

 

 

2,531,669

Goodwill

 

 

8,248,107

 

 

8,248,107

TOTAL ASSETS

 

$

96,452,379

 

$

55,846,028

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIABILITIES AND EQUITY

 

 

 

 

 

 

CURRENT LIABILITIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accounts payable

 

$

2,592,894

 

$

1,758,377

Customer deposits

 

 

6,987,076

 

 

2,502,591

Accrued expenses

 

 

31,034,315

 

 

18,976,435

Current portion of long-term payable

 

 

916,240

 

 

974,659

Current portion of lease obligation - operating lease

 

 

434,854

 

 

 —

TOTAL CURRENT LIABILITIES

 

 

41,965,379

 

 

24,212,062

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long-term payable, net of current portion

 

 

1,529,506

 

 

1,654,337

Long-term lease obligation - operating lease

 

 

829,615

 

 

 —

TOTAL LIABILITIES

 

 

44,324,500

 

 

25,866,399

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commitments and Contingencies (Note 15)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EQUITY

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Stock, $0.00001 par value 220,000,000 shares authorized; 66,199,308 issued and 65,273,944 outstanding at December 31, 2019, 60,609,102 issued and 60,609,102 outstanding at December 31, 2018

 

 

662

 

 

606

Additional paid-in capital

 

 

130,682,916

 

 

90,755,616

Treasury stock, at cost: 925,364 shares held at December 31, 2019

 

 

(8,623,212)

 

 

 —

Accumulated deficit

 

 

(70,292,980)

 

 

(60,765,266)

Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)

 

 

199,899

 

 

(11,327)

Total eXp World Holdings, Inc., stockholders' equity

 

 

51,967,285

 

 

29,979,629

Equity attributable to noncontrolling interest

 

 

160,594

 

 

 —

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL EQUITY

 

 

52,127,879

 

 

29,979,629

TOTAL LIABILITIES AND EQUITY

 

$

96,452,379

 

$

55,846,028

 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

39

EXP WORLD HOLDINGS, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended

 

 

December 31,

 

 

2019

    

2018

Revenues

 

$

979,937,241

 

$

500,147,681

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commissions and other agent-related costs

 

 

895,881,750

 

 

459,715,836

General and administrative

 

 

89,035,059

 

 

59,854,742

Sales and marketing

 

 

3,798,516