Exorcism of 15,000 “ghost agents” begins at Keller Williams

Company denies existence of policy to keep inactive, unlicensed or dead agents on the company roster to inflate numbers

Keller Williams president Josh Team surrounded by ghosts (Credit: Keller Williams and iStock)
Keller Williams president Josh Team surrounded by ghosts (Credit: Keller Williams and iStock)

Keller Williams brags about being the biggest resi real estate franchiser nationwide by agent count. But it may not be as large as it claims.

It appears that some of Keller Williams’ 160,000 plus agents in the United States are actually “ghosts,” meaning they are inactive, unlicensed, and even deceased, according to Inman.

Josh Team, Keller Williams’ president, said the company became aware of “inconsistencies” in agent count last month.

“This is contrary to our policy of reporting and our commitment to transparency as a company. As soon as [CEO] Gary [Keller] became aware, he took immediate action to reconcile our roster and ensure that this never happens again starting in early January,” Team said, according to Inman.

But sources, including a former franchise owner, told Inman that Keller Williams had a unspoken policy of keeping inactive or departed agents on the company rosters in order to inflate numbers.

“The entire push from the company had been around agent count, obviously everybody knows that,” the former franchise owner told Inman.

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When the former franchise owner purchased a Keller Williams market center, they found that 16 percent of the agents on the roster were no longer affiliated with the company.

“Two of them were dead,” the former franchise owner said. “Literally.”

Team denied there was any formal policy in place to inflate agent count

Sources also told Inman that up to 30 percent of Keller Williams’ current agents, totaling around 55,000 agents, could be “ghosts.”

Team gave a much lower estimate of “ghost agents,” putting the number between 10,000 and 15,000 agents. [Inman] – Decca Muldowney