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Home appraisal’s ugly history and uncertain future

This is Part I of a deep dive into the home appraisal industry. Today we explore the origins of the appraisal industry and its current lack of diversity.

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Real Estate

Keller Williams hails 16% jump in sales volume

Company meeting served as an intro to new CEO Carl Liebert

Keller Williams sold more homes – and sold more expensive homes – in 2020, according to the brokerage’s self-reported numbers released Tuesday.

The Austin, Texas-headquartered real estate brokerage closed 1.22 million home sales in the U.S. and Canada in 2020, up 8 percent from 2019.

Keller Williams also claimed $407 billion in 2020 sales volume in Canada and the U.S., up 16 percent from the previous year.

Keller executives touted during a company meeting Monday that the 38-year-old brokerage made inroads with the luxury market last year: Keller posted over 25,000 closed transactions north of $1 million, a 34 percent gain from the prior year.

A privately-held company, Keller Williams did not disclose financials such as revenue, net income, and debt load. But Keller stated that “96 percent of our market centers across the U.S. and Canada are profitable.”

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The firm’s numbers match up with a real estate market that froze at the pandemic’s U.S. onset in March only to surge to its highest sale volume since the mid-2000s. Keller’s sales volume, for example, was partly due to a 46 percent year-over-year jump in quarter four deals.

Keller’s upswing came as the brokerage had an executive shake-up in October. A holding company – tentatively dubbed KwX – was established with Carl Liebert named CEO. Gary Keller stepped down as company CEO, but remains in the mix as chairman of Keller’s board.

A company meeting streamed live Tuesday was partly spent introducing Liebert, previously an executive for various companies including Home Depot and his most recent post at AutoNation (where he reportedly received a $3.75 million severance package).

Liebert provided his background, one perhaps suitable for a firm competing against coastal companies like Realogy and Compass.

“I’m a Hoosier from Floyds Knob, Indiana,” he said. “I married my next-door neighbor.”

Later in a conversation with Gary Keller, Liebert said, “It’s a crazy world out there. You want to work with people you can trust.”

Gary Keller billed the meeting as an “all-digital family reunion,” though Liebert, Gary Keller, and Keller President Josh Team shared a physical stage, each sporting a blazer and jeans.

The two-day digital conference includes entertainment for real estate agents tuning in. After Liebert wrapped, a band took the stage for a rendition of Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love.”

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