UPDATED, Mar. 22, 2022, 1:25 p.m.: One of Keller Williams’ most profitable branches in Southern California has broken off to form a new brokerage, sources told The Real Deal.
The firm’s Encino-Sherman Oaks office, led by owner Harma Hartouni, has launched as Equity Union, which bills itself as “one of the largest independently owned real estate companies in Southern California” with a roster of more than 500 agents and brokers.
The branch notched sales volume of $1.3 billion over 1,342 transactions in 2019, according to a previous press release. At the time, the figure was said to be a sales volume record for a single brokerage in the San Fernando Valley region. The branch has since exceeded that amount. In 2021, the office registered $2 billion in sales volume across 1,500 transactions, according to its website.
The firm parted ways with Keller Williams two weeks ago.
“It has nothing to do with Keller Williams, I’ve learned so much from them,” Hartouni said. “Sometimes the journey just ends.”
When asked whether agents from the branch would join Hartouni at Equity Union, he said he “let everyone individually decide what’s best for them.” Hartouni said that 95 percent of the agents chose to stay with him and leave Keller Williams.
“We are currently standing up a market center to serve Sherman Oaks and Encino, as an overwhelming number of agents expressed a strong interest to remain affiliated with our brand,” said Darryl Frost, a spokesperson for Keller Williams.
The move is the latest ripple in Keller Williams’ San Fernando Valley operations. In January, Dennis Chernov, one of the firm’s top agents, left with an eight-person team to join The Agency’s Sherman Oaks office. Chernov appeared in TRD’s list of top-producing agents in 2020 with a sales volume of $66.8 million across 32 transactions.
The launch of Equity Union adds to a personnel reshuffle in Los Angeles’ top brokerages. Some of the recent high-profile defections include Josh Flagg’s move from Rodeo Realty to Douglas Elliman and Adam Rosenfeld’s shift from Compass to The Agency.
This story has been updated to include a comment from Harma Hartouni, the head of Equity Union.