Keller Williams partners with Investerge to provide a unique one-stop-shop for a new generation of property investors
Keller Williams, the world’s largest estate agency, has entered and exclusive partnership agreement in the UK with start-up Investerge to widen their service offering to include property investment.
Investerge, a new UK start-up, created by Richard Jacques, the ex-lettings director of Purple Bricks, is an online marketplace set to provide a portal for ‘off-market’ investment properties across the buy-to-let, HOM, and commercial sectors.
Jason Cannon, Operating principle, Keller Williams:
“Our mission has always been to become life-long partners to our clients and provide them with knowledge and advice whether they are buying, selling or investing. We are known for our residential expertise around the world and the quality of our staff all of whom are all trained by the Keller Williams academy. Each KW agent operates as a single business supported by the KW branded service administration. With the recent opportunities and changes to the property investment market in the UK we believe that working with Investerge, who are a focused, professional and dedicated to investment, will offer an even more compelling service and solution to our clients. Investerge also have a similar approach to KW; a focus on relationships and advice to understand the long-term aspirations of our clients”.
Richard Jacques, CEO, Investerge Ltd
“It is extremely exciting for us to partner with Keller Williams and a brilliant beginning for Investerge. As a start-up, we have a vision of the way a new generation of investors will want to work and invest. We are building technology that will believe will change the investment property marketplace and combined with the provision of a new level of service to buyers and sellers that focuses on knowledge, information and access, Investerge brings a new fresh approach to the sector. We aim to be the investment specialist that agents and brokers will want to work with. We will enhance their offering and provide new business opportunities for all. Jason immediately understood how this would work for KW. The first part of the partnership has already started with the development of a unique agent App which provides the KW team with immediate access to our investment marketplace and giving their clients access to new off-market opportunities”.
When it comes to real estate and a franchised business model then KW is a truly remarkable story. Started in the 1980’s US property crash it became a business born out of need. Traditional estate agents were dying so quickly in the ‘80s that thousands of employees were out of work. KW created a network of associates who were self-employed, and this built the business rapidly across the US using the franchise model. Today KW is the largest estate agency in the world with over 180,000 associates with 940 offices. In 2016 the business had a turnover of $67.1m.
In 2013 KW launched in the UK and, using the same model, has grown cautiously and profitably in a turbulent UK housing market since then. KW has not slowed down in innovation and is focused on two key business principles, technology innovation and the high level of training for associates, both are linked of course. KW has, also, built online digital cloud resources to help reduce overheads and provide efficiency for all associates whilst remaining firmly focused on developing highly motivated and expert associates. All associates have freedom to manage their KW business and clients and learn from a vast array of online training aids all focused on building a life-long relationship with clients whether they are in the selling or buying stage of their lives. The days of walking high streets and peering at property particulars in windows are, of course, for a KW client long gone. Your KW associate knows you, knows your needs and has the ability to fulfil all the roles and more of a traditional estate agent but proactively at a time that suits you.
Richard Jacques is a property man from a property family and jumped at the opportunity to be part of the Purple Bricks start-up. PB’s aim was to disrupt and create a new way to buy and sell your home using technology and dedicated agents. PB is a bold and exciting venture that disenfranchised estate agents across the UK. It came at a time when there was a difficult housing market and with buyers and sellers looking for more value for money, supported by decades of negative sentiment towards estate agents. The housing market needed change and PB delivered successfully.
Change continues due to the nature of homeownership and the complexity of the process. Online property portals that provide a national database of available residential properties for purchase or letting continue to grow and are they are now the foundation of the system still driven by estate agents. Estate agents are, of course, still changing and with the launch of new models such as Keller Williams the requirement for professional property experts providing knowledge and expertise during the largest and most important purchase or sale in most people’s life is still relevant.
Richard having been on the PB journey and focused on PB’s letting business was close to the buy-to-let market as it mushroomed over the last 5 years. He was able to see, first-hand, the challenges faced by those buying and managing properties and also the huge need for the letting and HOM sector to be regulated and controlled. Investors needed help especially as the sector required more and more skill, experience and professionalism to be a viable business or even profitable in a less than vibrant property market.
From this, Richard realised that the residential property investment market needed to change, a change where all parties could prosper and pull together providing value to an investor, who has very different aspirations to the average homeowner. This new vision would be one where agents, brokers, sellers and buyers all interacted and had access to thousands of properties many of which could not be openly marketed as they were already let. The solution would have a core technology that drove all aspects of the process but supported by highly trained property experts. As Richard likes to say, “When you need a concierge they appear from nowhere and just make everything happen. When you want to go alone, they are invisible!”
Key to Investerge would be the way brokers and agents used the Investerge marketplace to generate business for themselves. Costs would be transparent, and commissions shared but crucially investors would not be charged for use of the portal. For them, if they knew what they wanted and how to do it they would have the widest choice and the fastest service. For new investors, their Investerge ‘concierge’ would guide them through the whole process at no cost.
For a regional estate agent interested in widening their services they could build an investment income just by identifying clients and customers who were interested in property investment. By referring clients without any fear of compromise Investerge would help their customers find an investment and the estate agent would gain a commission. Agents would have vision of every step of the process. In Richard’s view this prevented any conflict normally associated with agents being seller focused and created new income to support the agency sector.
In the same way, Investerge grows to become a global marketplace for property brokers looking for buyers. The portal would give brokers access to a huge audience and at affordable commission rates. As Richard says, “Investerge is like Amazon for property, Amazon sells its own products and it also list others. It enables intermediaries to create value as well, all done using technology and efficient logistic, of course, a lot easier for Investerge as the stock doesn’t move!”.