One of the UK’s market centres set up by US-led agency Keller Williams has strongly defended its policy of recruiting newcomers from outside the industry.
The Essex centre, known as Keller Williams Plus, revealed at its launch in January it had already recruited 20 agents; now another 30 have been added, despite the lockdown when agencies were not operating. The Essex centre says it’s on target to make 100 agents in total by the end of the first quarter of next year.
This franchise of the agency is operated by Mark Readings - who was the founder of the UK’s first ever online agency, House Network - along with his sister Claire and long-standing agents Russell and Anthony Quirk.
Amongst the new recruits the youngest is just 22 and the oldest 56; precisely half come from outside the agency industry, from backgrounds such as the military, mortgage and finance, and retail.
Mark Readings says: “The cynic may look at the number of agents that we have partnered with, that have not come from the estate agency industry and say that ‘experience counts’.
“I would counter that we can take anyone with enthusiasm, ambition and integrity and train them to be a much better estate agent than someone that has sat at a desk without decent training, support and that lacks overall help and guidance. And they’ll earn more money than that desk-jockey by far”.
Claire Readings adds: “The quality as well as quantity of agents that have chosen to partner with us is incredible and with many already earning big sums. And what I am particularly proud of is the mix of the types of people and backgrounds whereby we have young and older, those with heaps of industry experience and those that are fresh and eager to learn from the ground up.
“This business is a people business, a relationship-led endeavour and whilst technology is important these days, there’s nothing more so than the people themselves. They are the key”.
The Keller Williams UK model is one of the growing number of self-employment schemes in the industry.
It involves hubs, also known as market centres, where an operating principal is supported by a team leader and an administrator. Self-employed agents then use the hub as a central resource.
Agents retain 63 per cent of their commission at first with the rest funding the overheads and support services.
Once their overall income passes a specific threshold, agents retain 90 per cent of their commission fees with the remainder going to Keller Williams.
Some agents are full-time, some are part-time; some of the latter have a second job as well.