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Agents First: Keller Williams American Premier Realty

August 2014

KellerWilliamsLogoIt took Keller Williams 1,600 miles and 20 years to grow from Austin, Texas, to Bel Air. But, they did it, and they did not stop here. They grew throughout the country and, finally, went global in 2012 when they opened offices overseas. Today, Keller Williams is the largest real estate franchise in the country and Keller Williams American Premier Realty is the No. 1 individual office in Harford County.

Keller Williams American Premier Realty
• Residential and Luxury Property Sales
• Commercial Property Sales
• Relocation Services
• Property Management


Diane Mahaffey
Janet Garinther
Cleo Pappas

• Training Magazine #2 training organization across all industries and the highest-ranking real estate company
• Real Trends 126 Keller Williams offices ranked by transactions and sales volume – more than any other real estate franchise
• Entrepreneur Magazine Franchise 500 list for fifth year in a row
• Inc. Magazine 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the United States list for the fifth time since 2007
• Workplace Dynamics Listed on America’s Top 10 Workplaces

Keller Williams
2021-B Emmorton Road Suite 110
Bel Air, MD 21015

Keller Williams American Premier Realty reflects its international franchisor’s growth. In 2005, Di Mahaffey, broker/owner and operating partner, along with four investors and 12 agents/associates, opened the Bel Air office, which has grown to 130 agents and is still growing. Starting in cramped quarters, they outgrew their 1,200-square-foot office, and in late 2015, just in time for their 10-year anniversary, Bel Air agents will move to a brand new 24,000-square-foot building.

Even in 2008-2009, when other real estate companies folded, Keller Williams encouraged its agents to look for different ways to help clients buy and sell property. Their words turned into action when Keller Williams helped agents with real estate resources and free training about survival in a tough market. In fact, Gary Keller, one of the founders, wrote a best-selling book, “Shift, How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times.” Locally, Mahaffey says that in 2008, “We tightened our belts and we not only survived, we thrived!”

Mahaffey and Janet Garinther credit the Keller Williams leadership and agent-centric business model for their office’s growth. From the start, everything was purposefully planned, according to proven models and systems, for Keller Williams American Premier Realty. For example, a new office must incubate within an established office until the new office is ready to launch. According to the model, to qualify for launch, an office must have a specific number of agents and demonstrate an ability to lead with revenue. Now, the Bel Air office is incubating a Perry Hall office until it qualifies for launch, and in 2007, they incubated Timonium’s Keller Williams Excellence Launch. After launch, a record 92 percent of the offices succeed.

Mahaffey says that the Keller Williams agent-centric model provides a generous commission split and associates can earn more than their commission with the Keller Williams profit sharing plan through which owners share profits with agents who help the company grow. Mahaffey says, “We treat our associates like stakeholders, measuring profits and losses, opening our books and telling the truth.” Keller Williams is the only real estate company that has a profit sharing plan at this level; last year they shared in excess of $78 million with agents.


Keller Williams leadership team (from left): Chris Perry, Team Leader, Kim Kaye, Owner/Agent, Di Mahaffey, Broker/Owner, Janet Garinther, Owner/Agent, and Robert France, Market Center Administrator.

The Keller Williams model also provides an abundance of training, so agents can achieve professional excellence at every level. Garinther, who has been director of education since 2005, says that group and individual coaching is available for any agent. Training is offered at all levels from the new agents to the mega agents. They learn best practices in real estate, best practices in business and cutting edge technology. Locally, Keller Williams American Premier Realty applied its training to achieve a debt free organization, which is unique for any company. Globally, Keller Williams’s generous compensation and its industry-leading training help agents develop “careers worth having, businesses worth owning and lives worth living.”

The Keller Williams model promotes a culture of teamwork, and Mahaffey feels pride in the culture created in the Bel Air office as agents work together to help each other and share ideas. Another way Keller Williams nurtures a caring culture is KWCares, a 501(c)(3) charity that helps Keller Williams agents and associates who struggle with an unexpected crisis. KWCares may be for an individual, but after Hurricane Katrina hit, Keller Williams mobilized its resources in New Orleans to help over 600 agents and their families with whatever they needed from food to housing. Garinther says, “Keller Williams was second only to the government in the resources it provided.”

It should come as no surprise that the Keller Williams model encourages community involvement. The second Thursday in May is designated RED (Renew, Energize, Donate) Day, and all offices close, so agents can give both time and money for a neighborhood improvement project. Locally, agents have many individual causes that they support.

In the end, clients win big with the Keller Williams Realty agent-centric business model. With agents’ knowledge, motivation and teamwork, they can move houses faster for buyers and sellers. Mahaffey says that as Keller Williams Realty continues to grow, “We are painting this town RED.” I95