ANALYSIS -- US real estate giant eyes Australian market

In an exclusive interview with Real Estate Business, Keller Williams, the second largest US real estate group, confirms Australia is on its radar

Keller Williams, the second largest real estate group in the United States, is “actively pursuing relationships in Australia” as part of a global push to add 75,000 associates to the organisation over the next decade.


“We are looking at expansion opportunities around the globe - including countries of all sizes,” Chris Heller, president of KW Worldwide, told Real Estate Business.

“Our focus is on looking for owners and agents who would benefit from our economic and organisational models and are the right fit for the Keller Williams mission, vision and culture.”

“We are actively pursuing relationships in Australia, and once we find the right leadership, we will move forward as quickly as possible. Our goal is to grow the KW presence across the globe by 75,000 associates over the next 10 years.”

Mr Heller told Real Estate Business late last year that the company, which has more than 700 offices in the United States and Canada, was open to purchasing an existing Australian real estate network, or starting from scratch.

Mr Heller’s comments come not long after the CEO of Victoria-based group hockingstuart, Nigel O’Neil, highlighted how difficult it has been in the past for US-based real estate groups to successfully set up shop in Australia.

“History shows that it has been difficult for US-based franchise groups to successfully enter the Australian real estate market due to the difference in how the markets operate,” Mr O’Neil said, “with arguably the Australian market more developed than the US market in terms of what agents offer clients and what franchisors offer franchisees.

“There’s no really significant player out of the US or interstate that operates in Melbourne,” he continued. “Why is that the case? I think the agents in Melbourne have developed very strong local understanding and local knowledge to make sure that they offer vendors [what they want] and to attract buyers.”

Mr Heller said KW differs from other US real estate groups in that it treats its agents and principals as “stakeholders” in the business.

“When it comes to our business models, we put agents and brokers on the same side of the table, working towards common goals for their office,” he said.

“In North America, we reward this collaboration via our profit sharing program – through which we gave our associates back more than $34 million in profits last year.

Mr Heller also pointed to the company’s training and education programs, which are offered through its training division, Keller Williams University (KWU), as a reason for its growth. The university offers more than 60 courses, including ones covering lead generation, and buyer and seller mastery.

“Most recently, KWU launched our newest course, Ignite, to propel our agents into immediate productivity,” he said.

“This course has agents engaged and working their business in class, getting leads and learning to service buyers and sellers, from setting the first appointment to closing the deal.

“Our MAPS Coaching division delivers transformational personalised coaching to our agents, offering business planning and high level accountability to grow their business,” he continued. “We offer mastery coaching, breakthrough coaching and tech coaching, as well as one of our most popular and most transformational coaching experiences – BOLD.

“BOLD is a seven-week coaching program focusing on mindset exercises, the language of sales techniques, business building strategies and live lead generation activities.

Tougher market conditions in the United States have done little to dent the company’s growth in recent years, largely on the back of a focus on lead generation and reduced expenses.

“Already this year, our agents’ productivity has increased 11 per cent, 83 per cent of our market centres are profitable and we continue to remain profitable (as of September last year).

“This outpaces every major trend in our industry.”

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