Ramsey vs eXp Realty: Decoding The Conflict

Okay, I don’t know much about Dave Ramsey. I haven’t read his book or paid much attention to what he has said. But I do know something:

Anyone who listened to Dave Ramsey or his investment advisors will never be wealthy. You can count on that. Look around you. They might be rich but will never be wealthy. Show me one person who has followed Dave Ramsey’s advice and became a wealthy man or woman – NOBODY.

Sure, Dave Ramsey’s followers might get out of credit trouble, eliminate debt, and integrate into the working class rat race. Being wealthy is a different story altogether. Honestly, I’ve never paid attention to Dave Ramsey. But when I heard his team booting out all eXp agents from his referral program, the news was unsurprising. 

Deep down at a core level, Ramsey’s company, Ramsey Solutions’ philosophy around wealth and profitability couldn’t be farther from eXp Realty’s. The two cannot co-exist in the same environment. But why? 

Who is Dave Ramsey?

Don’t get me wrong, Dave Ramsey is a well-known financial advisor in the American personal finance space. Dave Ramsey has appeared on multiple TV shows and wrote several best-selling books. The famous ones are the “Total Money MakeOver” and the “Baby Steps Millionaires”. These are amazing finance books.

I recalled my first encounter with Dave Ramsey when I saw him on CNBC. He knows what he is talking about and the market responds by rewarding him financially for his work.

Dave Ramsey founded Ramsey Solutions, or Ramsey’s Digital Resources – now called Financial Peace University – to help people get out of debt and never have to worry about money again. Well, let me stop right there. The goal is to get out of debt, not bad debt, but ALL debt.

Why Keep Good Debt?

If you know anything about wealth building, we use good debt as a financial leverage tool. I truly believe this core difference will eventually set apart Dave Ramsey and real estate agents, especially eXp agents since eXp realty agents focused on building wealth as well, not just commission.

There are a lot of eXp agents making huge money, especially the ones with an investor mindset. They won’t click with Ramsey’s philosophy of saving and paying off all debt. We want to keep the good debt.

What is eXp Realty?

eXp Realty is a real estate brokerage firm founded in 2009 by Glenn Sanford and focuses on serving real estate agents. On top of real estate services, the company also owns Success Magazine, Virbela, Success Lending, Express Offer, and other affiliated related services that enhance real estate agent’s performance.

Similar to Dave Ramsey, eXp also owns a coaching company called Success Coaching but focuses only on real estate agents instead of the general public.

Due to eXp’s recruiting efforts via its revenue share model, the company grew from as little as 3,000 agents to 50,000 agents in just a short ten years. Today eXp Realty has surpassed an 83,000 agent count worldwide (check my article “Best eXp Realty Agents and Best Teams 2022“) and is the fastest growing brokerage in America.

Under the leadership of Glenn Sanford, the company has accomplished many incredible achievements despite being a new player in the industry. eXp and Dave Ramsey have no formal relationship as a company to a company. In fact, these are two companies with very different business models and philosophies of wealth.

What is The Dave Ramsey ELP Program?

What do you do when you have a huge trusted brand with tons and tons of leads for referral purposes? You will start endorsing other businesses and of course, collect money from them. This is exactly what Dave Ramsey ELP (Endorsed Local Providers) program stands for.

It allows Ramsey’s audience to connect with a local provider to help them achieve their goal, whether it’s tax, insurance, or real estate. Real estate agents who participated in this program paid the referral fees and then automatically generated real estate leads from this program. It seemed like a win-win situation until Ramsey decided to cut off all exp agents from the platform.

Without a doubt, Ramsey’s ELP program generated thousands of leads by leveraging his influence. It is a good source of paid leads. Some agents genuinely want to pay for very expensive referrals to get leads. If that is the case, then this program is for you – easy peasy!

Dave Ramsey vs eXp Realty Agents

Here comes the feud. According to Inman, there were no warning signs before Ramsey’s company terminated all ELP agents associated with eXp Realty. Justin Ford, one of the eXp agents and exp team leader who leverages Dave Ramsey ELP for his business, said Ramsey’s coach told him he has to switch brokerage to continue to receive leads from the ELP program. Ford said there is no documentation nor official warning, and all communications were over the phone. Ford refused to leave eXp so his access to the ELP program got cut shortly after that.

According to a Ramsey Coach, eXp’s recruiting model takes away from the customer experience so they would not be endorsing any eXp agents doing such practice. The recruiting effort meant the firm’s agents were not focusing on selling real estate which affected Ramsey’s audience.

This made it easier to understand Ramsey’s motives – but we will return to this later. If you want to read all the facts, that’s all there is about Cave Ramsey vs eXp.

The coaching company took aim against all eXp agents and booted them out of Ramsey’s referral program. According to an eXp spokesperson, this incident impacted about 150 exp realty agents.

The Problem With Paying Ramsey, or Any Platforms For Leads

Metaphorically speaking, we need to learn how to fish instead of paying money for somebody else to catch the fish. When you rely on someone else, you eventually lose your fishing skill. Suddenly, should Dave Ramsey decide to cut you off and stop giving you fish (aka leads), your business suffers.

If your business depends solely on paid leads, you are essentially building your mansion on other people’s land. Now, why on Earth would anyone do that?

Why You Should Generate Your Own Leads

A referral is good. Very expensive referrals are even better because it means that the leads are quality. But they’re not good when they only come from a few platforms like Ramsey’s endorsed local partners.

If my research is correct, it started out well as a simple 25% referral fee for any buyer and seller from the program. As the program got saturated, agents had to pay a sign-up fee. Then came the monthly fee. That’s when you know you need to get out of it.

Since we are on this topic, I urge agents to stop paying for leads from platforms like Zillow. Instead, learn how to generate business on your own. This is the only way to ensure that you have a long-term sustainable business and are not dependent on anyone else to thrive. 

Dave Ramsey Decided to Boot eXp agents. What Does This Mean For You? 

If you are running a big team or your business is built on paid leads, getting out of it is not easy. It is like asking a drug addict to stop taking all drugs on day one.

While the Dave Ramsey vs eXp Realty incident only affected about 150 of us, it should be a wake-up call for those buying lead for a living.

I am not telling you to shut off all your lead sources from day one. But learn to be more robust and pay attention to where your business is coming from. I believe a strong company needs to have at least four lead generation sources.

Final Thoughts

I believe the Dave Ramsey vs eXp Realty conflict was inevitable due to the two different philosophies of the two leaders. Ramsey Solutions is designed to get people out of debt, out of trouble, and live a life similar to the millionaire next door.

eXp Realty, on the other hand, encourages genuine wealth building via its stock acquisition program and revenue share. Our leader incentivizes the agent to take calculated risks and make empowered choices about their dream lifestyle.

There is nothing wrong with one or the other. It is simply a choice every human being needs to make. What will be your choice?

Will you become the millionaire next door and live a low-key life? Or will you strive to become the greatest of all time, step out from behind the curtain, and help others achieve their goals and objectives as you reach your own?