News & trendsMarket conditions

Coldwell Banker acquires Keller Williams offices

by Joe Zekas on 1/12/12

In weak real estate markets weaker brokers are often acquired by stronger ones, who view a depressed market as an opportunity to expand and gain market share. Here’s the first of what are likely to be a number of similar news releases this year:

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chicago today announced it has acquired the assets of Keller Williams Gold Coast in the Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, Lincoln Square and the West Loop neighborhoods of Chicago. The 200 sales associates of Keller Williams Gold Coast’s four offices now will operate under the banner of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

“This is a great opportunity to expand our presence in Chicago — and what better way than by joining these talented and knowledgeable sales teams,” said Fran Broude, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “We are excited about adding this highly reputable group of real estate professionals to our company, expanding our city team and growing our already significant market share.”

“I am very confident that Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage will be a wonderful new home for our agents as we collectively look to the future,” said William O’Kane, a previous owner of the four Keller Williams offices. “Coldwell Banker’s commitment to providing agents with the most advanced tools, technology, training, and their strong national brand presence combined with our local expertise makes this team the best in the area.”

“Our new agents will be able to immediately utilize our comprehensive marketing programs including our enhanced online branding strategy, strong local web site and single property web site program. All of these tools, and many more, help our agents grow their business and provide outstanding, professional service to their clients,” said Broude. “Of course, all of our agents also benefit from Coldwell Banker’s national and international network and the additional exposure this brings to their business.”

Disclosure: We produce print advertising for Coldwell Banker, one of our clients.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Robert Jarvis January 14, 2012 at 12:48 AM

I am one of those agents. And here are my two cents:

“No sales price has been disclosed…”

My reply: I hope that the pending contracts from Mr. O’Kanes franchise agents cover the costs of the Coldwell Banker acquisition. I personally don’t foresee much transitioning between the brands. In the end, while our individual agents work with other local Keller Williams Franchises to get our license transferred back to Keller Williams, CAR and MRED are working very hard to get all our licenses transferred to the offices of OUR CHOICE. In the end, it will be EXTREMELY interesting to compare the statistics. At this time, the lack of communication from Mr. O’Kanes team hasn’t provided me with enough information than what I can find through public records.

“I am very confident that Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage will be a wonderful new home for our agents as we collectively look to the future,” O’Kane said”

My reply: Mr. O’Kane may feel that he has selected a wonderful new home for our individual businesses. The term STEERING is a common term in the real estate industry. Our real estate clients are protected from being pushed, pursued and steered into buying property in a specific neighborhood because “we think its best for them”. I will not be steered into a competing brand. I welcome the opportunity to preview optional brands, but the acquisition was handled in such a way that it appears he felt he knew what was best for us.

“Specific details of the acquisition are still unclear… Crain’s did report, though, that all of the office’s assets, including pending sales, will go to Coldwell Banker in the sale.”

My Reply: Dear home sellers and home buyers; while you may feel that your specific transaction has been saddled with ciaos as you prepare your closing details, know that your Keller Williams Agent has YOUR BEST INTEREST AT HEART. Pay no attention to where your commission check ultimately is paid and focus on the person who sold your property in the first place. This little hiccup in our business has absolutely no impact on the level of service we PROMISE TO ALWAYS PROVIDE YOU. We will be legally compensated as per our agreements.

“Fran Broude, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, [said] in the press release, “We are excited about adding this highly reputable group of real estate professionals to our company, expanding our city team and growing our already significant market share.”

My Reply: I have had no other contact with Mrs. Broude other than through a brief marketing presentation today. She appears to be a very reputable and an influential person in the industry, and was very pleasant with me this afternoon. I appreciate that her team managed to facilitate preprinting THOUSANDS of Coldwell Banker business cards for my Keller Williams Teammates and I. I do however wonder where the Coldwell Banker Brand felt it was OK to preprint huge stacks of business cards with OUR CONTACT information and adding a Coldwell Banker Logo PRIOR TO asking each corresponding agent for a consultation meeting to see if there was a fit. (YES, thats right! They pre-printed business cards for EVERY KELLER WILLIAMS AGENT on the roster! and I left mine right where they are until I have made my final decision.)

Best wishes to all and know that the relationship you create with your real estate agent and broker of choice is one of the strongest professional relationships you can create. It will be very interesting to see which of the two brands images will be tarnished through this acquisition.

Robert Jarvis

NOTE: The benefits to our current Keller Williams active listings and the neighboring Keller Williams franchises will be tremendous given the extra added presence and exposure in the market place. If you look at this from the bright side, our listings are going to get twice as much exposure heading into a very difficult real estate market. I see many more real estate closings for the Keller Williams Brand in the very near future!

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