Jim Lowenstern, the owner of Castles Unlimited, speaks about eXp and what’s in store for his future.
NEWTON-- When Jim Lowenstern was in his twenties, he sold his Boston-based music business and began a new career in Palm Beach, FL selling waterfront property. Years later he moved back to New England and opened a brokerage in Newton, MA called "Castles Unlimited." Jim grew CASTLES UNLIMITED® to 70 agents with multiple locations around Boston. He published CASTLES® Magazine, hosted a real estate radio show, and a podcast, and wrote multiple books about real estate.
So, what did Lowenstern do for his next act? He moved his team in Oct 2022 to eXp, wrote a book about eXp, published a luxury magazine for eXp, hosts a podcast for eXp, and is the founder of the CASTLES® Luxury Group at eXp. We interviewed Jim and asked him what he's doing, why he moved to eXp, and what's in his future.
Q: Jim, why did you make a move to eXp with your Castles Unlimited company?
Jim Lowenstern: Anyone looking at what I built would have been envious, but the work/ life balance wasn't perfect. A successful business creates additional work, additional challenges, and in some ways less future certainty. Competition, new technologies, and even new and potentially better business models can drive a successful business toward lower profits and often unsustainable growth. I felt that the eXp business model offered a unique opportunity for my luxury group and it was the right place to be at this time in the market and business cycle.
Q: What was it about eXp that made it the unique opportunity that you sought out?
JL: Years ago, I franchised my brand Castles Unlimited. I became a franchisee with a company I won't mention and went independent again, and for a decade I kept an eye on Glenn Sanford and eXp I was on a video call with him when he only had 300 agents. It was too soon for me because I just extricated myself from an unpleasant franchise experience and I wasn't ready to do something new.
Fast forward to 2021. I was circling back to vet eXp because I had some brokers and coaches in my network who did join eXp. I had conversations and meetings with them about where the eXp business model was now, not just an unfounded theory, it's propelling agents' wealth and businesses in entirely new directions. I saw their income, and their stock portfolios and heard about their new passion for the business with eXp.
Of my CASTLES® brands and my luxury background, I knew that it would be a good marriage. eXp would benefit, my agents would benefit, and, in the end, I would benefit as well with a move to their platform.
Q: Does your CASTLES® Luxury Group offer agents anything that's unique?
JL: Yes. Most luxury brokers work for companies that do not offer caps on commissions, stock awards, revenue sharing, and in some cases no ability to brand themselves properly to grow their individual companies. eXp promotes and delivers on all those things. When top agents do the initial math most of them realize how much money they are losing out on. Then they dig deeper and learn how they can grow their teams nationally and internationally from day one and then they start to get excited. The technology, the growing eXp talent pool, and potential growth usually are what bring them to our group in the end. So, it was an easy decision for us to join because we could now offer agents things like free luxury magazine ads, free world-class coaching and weekly team-building mastermind classes, and an international platform where agents can run their businesses on.
The income difference is immediate so it's really the best of all worlds
Q: You wrote a book about eXp, and you do a podcast about eXp? And the magazine. Why so much?
JL: I know it seems like a lot. I guess in some ways I can't contain my enthusiasm but it's much more. I have been training agents for many years and this type of education is something totally new for everyone. You can't fully explain the eXp values and promise with a text, an email, or a phone call. That's why I write books for example. I know people don't read as much these days so that's why I do podcasts. Even marketing has changed since I published Castles Magazine in print form and mailed them decades ago. That's why Castles Magazine is now digital. There's a lot of information to get out to the agents and I feel that it's the right thing to do. Agents deserve more income, more stability with their finances, and more ownership in their businesses than they get at most brokerages. I feel that it's my obligation to change people's lives for the better and at the end of the day, that's why I do it.
Q: Where do you see your CASTLES® Luxury Group in the next few years?
JL: It's all about the agents who join in the end. If they chose to promote the CASTLES® branding and trademark on their yard signs, then it will be ubiquitous with high-end luxury and top-producing agents. Those agents will be making much more money and the trademark will be seen by everyone. If they choose to use their names and just market through the magazine, social media, the podcast, it will still be a growing team and still offer great tools to the agents, but it will be less widely known outside the industry professionals. Only time will tell I guess, but after only a few months with eXp we have 550 agents in 7 countries so in my opinion we're off to a nice start.
Q: How do people find your books, your podcast, and your magazine?
JL: My books can be found here. The podcast is called "The Exponential Files" and it's basically everywhere, and the magazine is a digital link here