KW’s Gary Keller tells agents to “buy some dirt”.
Going on stage with AC/DC’s Back in Black and a standing ovation, Keller Williams Founder Gary Keller looked like the hip Austin tech executive in an all-black ensemble, and a message for real estate professionals in the audience at this year’s family reunion — a tee that read: “Buy land.”
The Keller Williams event, held in Orlando, is the first brand-wide in-person event since the pandemic began. Nearly 12,000 people have registered to attend the event in person.
The majority of Keller’s 2.5-hour “vision speech” focused on housing fundamentals, economic indicators and record statistics regarding low inventories, inflation and still-low interest rates. “Never underestimate the government and the gifts it gives you with bad decisions, no matter how well-intentioned,” Keller says on stage. His point was that while the pandemic stimulus money was well-meaning, the repercussions are inflation and, possibly, higher interest rates.
Despite this, Keller was overwhelmingly positive about the next year of real estate sales and the company’s position in the market. To combat the low inventory, Keller told the public to find opportunities in the development of new homes. “Find land, invent new builders… buy land,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity. We have to find the inventory and put it on the market. One way to do this, he noted, was to buy land and look for development opportunities.
Everyone wants a cut of your commission
However, he was a little more tired when he spoke Rocket Mortgage and Zillow. He discussed the demise of Zillow’s iBuying program, but warned the public that celebrating that failure was not something he felt should be done. If only because, he says, “Zillow dropped it’s iBuying, and then you realize they’re just coming back to take [more of] your money,” a comment based on Zillow’s recent earnings call where Rich Barton announced he would be rolling out a “great housing app.”
“Whoever controls the leads controls the industry,” says Keller, warning agents to diversify by using three to five sources of leads, rather than focusing too much on one source, whether through Rocket Mortgage, Zillow or another company. “Using Rocket is like using RE/MAX mortgage [aka Motto Mortgage], but do what you need to do to help your buyers and sellers. He noted that “all of these companies are moving further upstream to take the lead.” He also noted that he started Keller Mortgage above all to be “the governor over what everyone else charges. If you have a choice on pricing, it keeps prices low.
Keller explained how competition is heating up in the lead generation niche, with CoStara commercial database that has recently invested in some residential companies, including Houses.comhaving twice the Zillow value.
When it comes to financing solutions, Keller noted that companies like Hit, Orchard and Returnan Austin-based company, offers its customers solutions to financing problems and that they are “probably here to stay.”
A national initiative to educate veterans
Keller ended her time on stage by talking about Levi Rodgers, founder of the San Antonio, Texas-based band. Levi Rodgers Real Estate Group and recently named director of KWMilitary, an educational initiative to help veterans and their families choose real estate as a career. Rodgers recently moved to KW from RE/MAX.
KW Military is a business and networking community whose mission is to honor the service and sacrifice of KW officers by providing the tools, training and camaraderie needed to build great business and even greater lives.
“Thirty seconds of honesty from a real estate agent changed my life. It is my mission to inspire and encourage my people – veterans and their families – to thrive in civilian life,” said Rodgers, describing how the real estate agent who sold him his first home talked him out of buying a double-wide trailer in favor of a house that would appreciate in value.
“Real estate can help transform their future, and providing resources like a free real estate school for veterans and their families will be part of how we remove the barriers that exist for them to enter the profession,” Rodgers said.
Keller also brought Stacey Onnen on stage. The new Director of New Business Development discussed her rise from a college dropout to a senior executive at ONE real estate group, eXp Real Estate and now KW.