The Real Deal New York

Keller Williams fails to attract top agents, listings

May 14, 2012 10:00AM

Keller Williams NYC is struggling to carve its place in the city’s residential brokerage marketplace, according to Crain’s, though the firm’s executives deny this to be the case. With the exception of Ilan Bracha — a former top producer at Prudential Douglas Elliman who jumped ship to establish the national brokerage’s local arm — none of the industry’s top players have joined the firm more than a year into its existence. Further, Keller Williams hasn’t landed many exclusive listings, and seldom gets its hands on high-profile ones.

Detractors say Keller Williams won’t ever find its place in New York. The city is dominated by two giants, Elliman and the Corcoran Group, and has a bevy of established firms which specialize in niches. Keller’s lack of local brand recognition combined with wealthy sellers’ familiarity with the existing players render it unlikely to ever catch up. Even its innovative compensation model won’t help Keller Williams poach top producers because other firms tend to pamper to the wishes of its best performers.

But CEO Eric Barron countered that with 174 agents in tow Keller Williams has already exceeded its expectations and is well on its way to 700 agents by 2017. Barron also said there was more than enough business for the firm, which gets in on co-brokered deals, co-exclusive deals and has $285 million in exclusive listings. [Crain’s]