Burnett Realty Joined Texas-based Giant Keller Williams In March.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Keller Williams real estate signs are popping up around central Iowa as the new franchise in Des Moines gains footing.

Burnett Realty, founded by Doug Burnett in 2000, joined the fast-growing Texas-based real estate franchise in late March.

The recession prompted Burnett Realty to reassess its direction, said Brian Wentz, team leader at Keller Williams Greater Des Moines.

"We had been very successful, then hit a ceiling in terms of growing the company beyond a certain level," said Wentz, adding that the agency looked at several options before deciding to join Keller Williams.

The Austin-based company's focus on customer service and agent training and support matched Burnett's, Wentz said.

The independent agency also liked Keller Williams' business model, which more quickly returns earnings to agents, he believes.

"We had a shared vision," said Wentz, an investor in the new business with Burnett, Susan Sanders, Jacque Sackett and Joe Yamen. Kacy Bell is the group's operating partner.

"Keller Williams is a very bottom-up operation. It wants to share in the decision making, share in the profits," Wentz said. It "believes in growing the company by growing the agent." The Des Moines business has added about 10 agents, bringing the total to 34. Wentz declined to say exactly how many more associates the firm plans to recruit, but adds that the average number at a Keller Williams office is 108.

Brennan Buckley, a spokesman for Iowa Realty, the state's largest real estate company, said several franchises operate in the central Iowa market, including Re/Max and Coldwell Banker. "There are a lot of different business models out there," he said. "We're going to stay focused on what we do best for our customers." Keller Williams has another Iowa franchise in Davenport. Wentz said Keller Williams is the nation's second-largest real estate franchise in North America, behind Coldwell Banker.

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