Gary W. Keller

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Gary Keller
OccupationAuthor, real estate expert
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Gary Keller
OccupationAuthor, real estate expert

Gary Keller is a nationally best selling author as well as the co-founder and chairman of the board of Keller Williams Realty, Inc., an Austin, Texas-based real estate franchise company.[1]


Keller Williams Realty

Observing the need for residential real estate agencies that were both employee- and customer-friendly, Keller co-founded Keller Williams Realty in 1983.[2][3] Keller Williams Realty was built on an operating model that relied on economies of scale and a cultural model that relied on the principles of profit sharing, interdependence, and success through the efforts of others. The company began franchising in 1991 and expanded to Canada in 1998, with sales and commissions growth topping 700 percent since 1995.[4] Keller Williams has successfully leveraged this business model since the 1980s to grow from a single office in Austin to become the second-largest real estate company in the United States and Canada, with over 79,000 agents.[5][6] Keller believes the company will pass Coldwell Banker and become number one by the end of 2012.[7]

Despite the sharp downturn in the real estate market, since 2005, Keller Williams Realty has seen substantial growth in number of agents, market centers, closed units and closed gross commission income, under Keller's direction.[8] In 2009, Keller Williams market centers generated combined profit of $80.1 million, in a year when almost every major franchise lost money.[9] The company achieved this level of profitability by meeting its objectives of boosting agent count and agent productivity. From 2008 to 2009, agent count increased from 74,200 to 76,700, even as the overall market declined.[10] Through its efforts, Keller Williams emerged from the recession in a strong competitive position. While its top three competitors (Coldwell Banker, Century 21, and RE/MAX) closed a combined 160 offices, Keller Williams grew its office count from 660 in 2007 to 680 by 2010.[11] While Keller Williams boosted its agent count, these competitors shed 38,000 agents.[12]

As chairman, Keller provides strategic direction for the company, while serving as a visionary leader within the North American Real Estate Industry.[13]


Shortly after high school graduation, Keller began a quest to become a great rock musician. He soon found that his path would not lead him to the concert stage but to Baylor University where he served as a resident manager in Penland and found a strong group of friends he continues to cherish in Lambda Chi.[14] He graduated with his BBA from Baylor University in 1979.[15]


In 2004, with the release of The Millionaire Real Estate Agent,[16] co-authored by Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan, Keller became a best-selling author when the book spent time on the BusinessWeek Best-Seller List.[17][18] The "Keller System" for real estate sales agent success involves (1) overcoming myths, such as "I can't do it" or "It can't be done in my market"; (2) thinking like a millionaire; (3) generating seller and buyer leads; (4) netting $1 million; and (5) keeping that $1 million. Chapter topics include "Six MythUnderstandings Between You and High Achievement"; "Think a Million"; "Earn a Million"; "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent Models"; "Net a Million"; "Leads"; "Listings"; "Leverage"; "Money"; "Receive a Million"; and "Putting It All Together with Focus."[19]

In 2005, Keller and his team co-authored their second book, The Millionaire Real Estate Investor,[20] which reached The New York Times best-seller list,[21] as well as Businessweek's best-seller list.[22]

Keller collaborated with guest authors Rick Villani and Clay Davis of HomeFixers on the New York Times best-selling FLIP: How to Buy, Fix and Sell Houses for Profit in 2007.[23] Flip extends the national bestselling Millionaire Real Estate series with a step-by-step guide to successfully finding, fixing and selling investment properties.[24]

In early 2008, Keller released, Your First Home: The Proven Path to Home Ownership,[25] which walks homebuyers through the process of real estate and aims to alleviate first-time homebuyers’ fears.

In late summer 2008, Keller released his the fourth book, the third in the Millionaire Real Estate series, SHIFT: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times. Based on the aggressive training program that Keller Williams has used to train agents to thrive in “down” markets, SHIFT delivers 12 tactics that bring agents profitable sales [26] and also reached the The New York Times best-seller list, the The Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller List, and the USA Today Bestseller List.[27]

All told, Keller’s books have sold more than a million copies worldwide.[28]


Based on his leadership qualities and contributions to the real estate industry, Keller was voted as one of the five "Most Admired People” in a survey conducted by REAL Trends magazine in 2000.[29] He also was named Ernst & Young's "Entrepreneur of the Year for Central Texas" and dubbed the second most influential person in the real estate industry by REALTOR magazine in 2003.[30] In 2004, he was a finalist for Inc. magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year award.[31]

In 2006, Inman News named Keller in their list of the 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders. The Wall Street Journal named Keller Williams Realty to its elite “Franchise High Performers” list in 2006, and the franchise is ranked by Entrepreneur magazine in several categories, including ranking No. 66 in the Franchise 500® and as the No. 52 fastest-growing franchise.[32]


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