Rauert Peters was nearly finished developing a concept for the ideal real estate company when he had an epiphany: he had outlined models and systems that already existed. “I realized that the company I had created was Keller Williams Realty,” he says.
Reaching out was the obvious next step. By February’s Family Reunion in Dallas, Texas, he and the core leadership team were reaching out alright; shaking hands with the KWRI executives in celebration of their decision to expand Keller Williams Realty in the Austria, Germany, and Switzerland region. He wasn’t the only one. Emre Erol and his core leadership team were nearby celebrating the launch of the new region serving Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. “All of the education and tools that Keller Williams provides will set a new standard for the whole Turkish real estate market,” he says. “This is training. This is education. It's detailed, extensive, and very well structured. It will be a game changer for our market.” We asked our newest international franchisees a few more questions about their decision to join forces with Keller Williams Realty.
Describe the current state of the real estate market in your country.
Erol: The Turkish economy has experienced a very positive shift over the past decade, and real estate has played a large role in the growth. Those conditions plus a strong financial and banking system has made Turkey an attractive destination for both direct investments and international individual buyers. Sixty percent of our population is under 25, which creates an amazing demand for new and better housing standards.
Peters: Like all economies, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland have seen their fair share of shifts – though they don’t necessarily coincide with the U.S. or European markets. That being said, the real estate market here is very healthy. In most metropolitan areas we have a sellers market with an underproduction of residential and some overproduction of commercial product.
We have a largely North American readership. What are the key differences between real estate in your country and the United States?
Erol: Each Western country has its own regulations and processes. However, in Turkey, a real estate transaction closely mimics the United States’ process. There is always a buyer, a seller and a real estate agent. An agent can represent both sides at the same time. In fact dual agency is a common situation here. Websites and newspapers are the typical channels for advertising since we do not have an MLS. Once both parties have settled on an agreement, they meet at the title office together with the agent to transfer the title deed. The commissions are paid in cash to the agent right after the transaction.
Peters: There are several key differences. First of which is that, like Turkey, we don’t have an MLS either. There is also no difference between agent and broker – they are one and the same. So if you want to become a broker, all you need is an application, a few Euros and you are up and running.
You have both successfully launched brokerages. Why Keller Williams Realty?
Erol: This company has such a unique culture because its focused on the agents and the people. It's a huge difference compared with the traditional models where everything is done to benefit the brand. This really attracted me from the first day because we have wanted to be part of a company like this for a long time.
Peters: Keller Williams Realty showed that it existed for the benefit of the agents’ success. The systematic approach to the day-to-day real estate business – leads, listings and leverage – was incredibly attractive. I have never in my life experienced such talent from a company and the constructive interest of everyone in my personal success. The productivity, positive spirit and high level of professionalism were more powerful than I expected. Once I had experienced that, I understood what the Keller Williams culture meant. It’s not a perception; it’s what drives the company as a whole.
What’s next for the Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Turkey regions?
Erol: Every real estate company is different. But there is one common factor: we are all in real estate and we all want success! Our vision is to provide the most extensive support on our agents’ path to success and to become the most reputable and admired real estate franchise in Turkey. Our goal is to have four market centers by the end of the year and 45 market centers with 1,200 agents by the end of five years.
Peters: We are truly leading with revenue as we work toward the launch of the first market center. We are planning to hire six professionals for the master franchise office and an additional three for the first market center. When we’ve regionalized the Keller Williams materials, we will begin recruiting agents. In five years, we are aiming to have 50 profitable offices with a total of 500 associates.