Three former founders of online agents sign up to UK arm of American franchise firm

Three former founders of online estate agencies have signed up to the ‘hub’ model of Keller Williams.

Mark Readings, Russell Quirk and his cousin Anthony Quirk respectively launched House Network, Emoov and HomeSeller.

Emoov went into administration last December, while House Network followed in March.

HomeSeller launched in 2015, aired some prime-time TV adverts starring TV actress Sarah Parish, but has since closed.

The trio’s deal with US franchise firm Keller Williams sees them taking a territory covering most of Essex.

This morning, they are starting to recruit self-employed agents to cover the county, with the aim to establish a network of about 100.

They will operate the Essex market centre from first-floor offices in Chelmsford.

The new Essex business will be run by Mark Readings, with his sister Claire Readings – formerly in charge of sales at House Network – alongside him.

Russell Quirk is a director of the business and will be “as involved in it as I need to be”. He will maintain his focus on his new PR firm Properganda.

Anthony Quirk will continue to run his agencies, Anthony Quirk & Co at Canvey Island, and Beaulieu Estates in Chelmsford.

Keller Williams launched in the UK in 2014 and currently operates six other market centres: London Prime in Victoria; London Bridge; Bromley; Kingston upon Thames; Leeds; and Glasgow.

In recent months Ben Taylor, formerly managing director of Countrywide’s John D Wood, who runs Keller Williams in the UK, has grown his team.

Hires include Nicky Stevenson, formerly of Peter Knight’s Estate Agency Events; Daren Cridge, of PurpleBricks; and Andrew Benn, previously a managing director at Spicerhaart.

Russell Quirk told EYE yesterday that the online sector would never achieve more than 10% of market share, leaving the likes of Purplebricks, Yopa and easyProperty “like ferrets fighting in a sack”.

He said: “Clearly the industry has to settle somewhere and we are attracted to the Keller Williams model.

“This doesn’t exactly mark a return to the high street for me, but it is a return to traditional charging, where there will be a full fee charged for a full service.”

Quirk added: “Months of contemplating and reflection have led me to invest in Keller Williams as the brand and model that has the potential to be one of the biggest estate agency businesses in the UK in addition to its worldwide status.

“It’s not until you push the boundaries of the industry as Mark, Anthony and I have done that you start to see that customers will pay a decent fee for decent attention and that this can be achieved by recruiting a significant number of motivated, ambitious local agents that will have the ability to earn proper money.”

Quirk does not anticipate any problem recruiting a large number of freelance operators in Essex, believing that there are a number of disillusioned agents who have been working for online agents as well as high street corporates.

Mark Readings said: “With our huge collective experience gained from many years pioneering and evolving online estate agency and as high street agents for many years, we are well placed to understand where the future of estate agency lies and it’s destined to be a traditional fee approach meets high service, greater accessibility and tech empowerment.

“This is exactly what Keller Williams have been all about since they were founded in the 1980s. No one does it better or makes more money.”

Keller Williams operates globally, with 180,000 agents across 1,200 market centres in 40 countries.

Keller Williams – which has described itself as a training company that happens to be in estate agency – offers franchisees ‘market centres’ or hubs. The franchisees then recruit their self-employed agents, who get to keep 70% of commission. Once they have handed over a certain amount of cash – it was £60,000 in 2017 in the London market, and £30,000 in Leeds – they get to keep 100% of their earnings.

The UK business has always been ambitious, saying in 2017 that it planned to launch 50 market centres within five years.

However, growth stalled when the first franchisee stepped down and the UK master franchise business changed hands.

Keller Williams upbeat after UK master franchise changes hands

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26 Comments

  1. GPL

     
    “Ferrets in a sack”  
     
    ……you must have been looking in the mirror as you delivered that line Russell.  
     
    Look out for their Yellow Reliant Robins!
     
     

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    1. NewsBoy

      Another day, another publicity chasing press release from a Quirk. Hopefully, this man who seems to have parted 100s of people from their money and/or their jobs, is using his own money and family on this new hopeless venture.

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  2. Tarkers71

    Sometimes I scratch my head wondering just how dozy some people must be!   Russell Quirk was the leader of a business who kept convincing people to invest millions in his business and then he went and spectacularly blew the lot leaving people without jobs and investors with zero return.   Why Keller Williams want to associate themselves is baffling at best, but perhaps shows desperation of jumping on any old bandwagon.   
     
     

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  3. Hillofwad71

     

    Catch the Wind

    No shame ! Lucky Quirk has some money down the back of his trousers  to invest  less than 9 months after investors have lost millions in his last venture he  now has the brass neck    to say

    “The online sector would never achieve more than 10% of market share!”

    Having  ushered investors in saying

    By 2020 – less than five years away – he believes online agents will account for half of all property transactions in the UK.

     

     

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  4. AndSotheStoryBegan

    A perfect culture fit.  KW are a training company that has recruits lying on the floor, being showered with dollar bills, and loudly proclaiming “I’m a money magnet.”

    This is simply an exercise in recruitment and training.  Not really an estate agency business.

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    1. SamH

      Is recruitment and training not an integral part of estate agency?

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      1. smile please

        I would go as far to question if it is a pyramid scheme.

        KW allocate you a patch to work in that you pay for. You then recruit self employed agents under you, that’s what RQ will do in my opinion, not like he will sit in a living room and pitch for business, too much hard work for him.

        Each layer takes another slice of the cake until the ‘worker bees’ are left with nothing.

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  5. AgencyInsider

    ‘Months of contemplating and reflection have led me to invest in Keller Williams as the brand and model that has the potential to be one of the biggest estate agency businesses in the UK’
    My Auntie Mabel’s cat also has the potential to be one of the biggest estate agency businesses in the UK.

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  6. smile please

    How did it go with his original high street office?

    How did it go with Emoov?

    How is his PR company doing?

    How do we all think it will end with KW?

    I have nothing against entrepreneurs, but i wish people would stop trying to chase a pot of gold without actually having to graft.  I can introduce RQ to a few mates i have lost contact with over the years who are flogging Herbalife and Juiceplus, same rubbish just different industry.

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  7. JEL

    Sounds like the next best thing ….. until somebody loses a load of money and then they’ll all move on to the next, next best thing.

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  8. Rog

    I’m very much a voyeur of this site, but this story amazes me (especially given I was looking at joining Keller Williams)

    This man who has done nothing but criticise the fees of high street agents, now wants to go out and try to convince ‘full fee’ estate agency businesses to go and work with him at Keller

    The same man who convinced loads of agents to leave their roles (I would imagine) to join his online estate agency that was going to take on Purplebricks and plundered millions of other peoples money on, is now trying to convince online estate agents to go and be self employed under his guidance, but this time with Keller Williams

    The irony when you look at both sides is staggering.

    I was interested in joining Keller Williams, but I’m not anymore that Russell Quirk is involved.

    Also, another piece of spin/lies – you don’t get 70% of the fee. The first 10% goes to the market centre and you get 70% of what’s left. Russell already having an impact and spinning whatever suits his agenda

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    1. JayB

      That’s not quite right. 10% + vat goes to the international head office in the USA then an additional 30-40% +vat goes to your office (depending on the agreement you made initially) the remainder is yours. Plus your monthly subscription which again varies based on your hub, between £150-£200+vat. And what’s worse, if your not VAT registered from day 1 then you don’t get paid the vat that is charged. So after weeks of working hard and winning business in an extremely tough market place with so many vendors wanting cheap fee’s you can end up losing almost 53% of your fee. And all your business deductibles have to come from your 47% net figure. Mr Keller himself wrote a book called millionaire real estate agent. What’s crazy is that no one who works for Keller Williams here are even close to millionaires. It may work great in the US but here the market is a hell of a lot slower, sale to completion takes way to long, in the US you can be sale agreed to completion in 30 days. (I worked there for 3 years). Take it from me Keller Williams won’t work in this country unless they adapt their model to the UK market and give their agents more than 47% of their income after waiting so long for a sale. Thankfully I did a lot of research into the UK version of KW before deciding not to join.  

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  9. GPL

     

    RQ should have to walk about with a “Wealth Warning Notice” Tattooed on his forehead…

     

    ” Associating with me could seriously damage your wealth ….but NOT mine! “

     

     

     

     

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  10. Woodentop

    Sounds like they are looking to employ themselves and rake in the benefits until it goes turtle with very little regard for the loss to investors and troops running around like chickens … keeping the ferrets fed!
     
    Who would let them pass a job interview with their CV’s?

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  11. ARC

    I find this to be a strange move for KW. There is mileage in their model and they have got some traction and good people involved in the business. They have now given a core franchise to some very polarising figures who will probably turn off the majority of the key demographic for recruiting agents, meaning that the only likely recruits will be the desperate or the equally polarising which probably doesn’t make for good business practise.

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    1. Hillofwad71

      Very little traction so far .They arrived in the UK in Sept 2013 and so far have a grand total of 226 properties  for sale nationwide  A Similar amount to an agent in a market town like Stafford 
       
      https://www.dourishandday.co.uk/properties-for-sale?start=260

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      1. ARC

        Making it even more puzzling a decision then …………………………..

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  12. Certus

    He may be right in believing that there are a number of disillusioned agents who have been working for online agents as well as high street corporates, there always are. But would they seriously want to work for any of this bunch of individuals?

    Unhappy they may be but they are solvent.

    Agree with GPL – this bunch will send you under

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  13. watchdog13

    The non stop coverage of RQ is puzzling, surely there are people in the industry that are success stories and not bottom feeders.

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    1. NotAdoctor32

      It isn’t puzzling, it is because he owns a PR firm and pays for it.  He can do the same for you and your brand, for a price.

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  14. s71

    as mentioned they do have collective experience from many years!!!!!

    “With our huge collective experience gained from many years pioneering and evolving online estate agency and as high street agents for many years, we are well placed to understand where the future of estate agency lies and it’s destined to be a traditional fee approach meets high service, greater accessibility and tech empowerment.

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  15. charlie.wright

    There are a lot of industry dinosaurs out there who started out on the streets at the coal face, then rose up the ranks in the good times and got used to 6 figure incomes while no longer having to be at the coal face.

    Those days are over for all of them who aren’t still adding or creating value to businesses that actually help movers.

    The cake has shrunk and the ones who were eating all the icing have been left with nothing to eat.

    Keller Williams, along with all similar propositions (work for yourself, but give us a cut of your income) used to be relevant and have a place when technology was out of the reach of small agents. They provided a genuine back office service that made sense for some agents who wanted to work for themselves.

    But that’s no longer the case, and these large corporate operations who aspire only to boost their own profits don’t have a real value proposition. If you take up with KW or anything similar, you’re effectively a zero-hours contract employee, feeding funds up to head office through some expensive middle management.

    Training used to be a valuable commodity to sell, but even that can now be done for free. Self-teaching, using a friendly mentor, using free training videos, it’s all available.

    I urge all agents who love their job and know how to move people to set up on their own and keep 100% of your income, only paying for services you choose that add value to you personally, and keep doing so.

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  16. HD23

    Over 100 agents/property consultants on their website and listing 227 properties in total. Not very successful.

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  17. Philip Norgan

    ad quid faciant vobis homines et vos facite eis haec ad

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    1. AgencyInsider

      Ere, who the ‘eck you fink you are? Jacob bleedin’ Rees Mogg or sumfink. Posh git.

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  18. propertyguru11

    I’ve read that RQ is now a “Brexiteer”. If you want to know what are his views, you only need to look at who’s his last client…

     

    As for this KW press release – I can’t wait to see how long it will take his “non-businessman” to have one more administration process under his belt

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