US real estate giant sets sights on UK domination

Keller Williams wants to be 'the biggest player in the UK property market by 2022'

US real estate giant Keller Williams is gearing up to pile into the UK market after testing the waters over the last couple of years.

According to the Sunday Times, the North American behemoth – which has 700 offices and 150,000 agents worldwide – is officially launching in London and Leeds next month, with designs on becoming “the biggest player in the UK property market by 2022”.

If that doesn’t feel like breaking news, you’re right. The firm started making noises about this back in 2014, with the opening of its first “property super-centre” in Victoria. At the time, the plan involved rolling out thirty such hubs in London and the South East over the next five to seven years.

They’s taken their time so far – centres in Mayfair and Leeds have since followed – but new operating partner Matt Fetick sounds ready to up the ante.

He explained that all 104 UK agents have been given “American-style customer-service training, with role-play and morning motivational meetings” and are driven to succeed by the commission structure on each deal – 70% if it completes; nada if not. Shop fronts have been deemed unnecessarily expensive, so they’ll be looking for premises up on the third and fourth floor, although there’s no word on exact locations just yet.

Perhaps most interestingly, a UK-based software system called Gazeal has also been harnessed to speed the whole transaction process up and reduce the risk of gazumping and gazundering; essentially, a legally-binding agreement is signed when an offer is accepted, although completion is dependant on mortgage valuation and all the usual i’s and t’s being crossed. Everyone’s insured in case the whole thing falls out of bed at any point, and it’s claimed that cash buyers can potentially be done and dusted in under a week.

Now that could really shake things up…