Why I Left Keller Williams Happily – 7 Reasons

All I kept hearing in pre-licensing class was that “Keller Williams has the best training” or “Keller Williams is the best place to go as a new agent.”

That, and the fact that Gary Keller literally WROTE THE BOOK on how to become a “Millionaire Real Estate Agent.”

So yep, when I got my real estate license, I joined Keller Williams (and was KW Rookie of the Year for all of NC & SC with 48 closings, but that’s another story).

Little did I know, I would only last one year before leaving Keller Williams Realty to grow my vision & team elsewhere.

Here’s why I left Keller Williams…

1. Old School Mindset

I originally got my license because I wanted to invest in real estate and help other people do the same. Naturally, I worked with a lot of investors in my first year.

Turns out most old school Agents don’t know ANYTHING about investing… and instead of taking the time to understand it, they throw rocks.

Example: I represented a buyer who bought a property from a wholesaler. Old school Keller Williams agents, “GASP, you’re working with a wholesaler??”

The next week the entire market center (franchise) got a class on how wholesaling was unethical and illegal.

Considering we use attorneys in NC to close real estate transactions and there are TONS of wholesales done every year, it’s not illegal. Unethical? Some wholesalers are… but we don’t work with shady people.

Needless to say, I felt frustrated, misunderstood, and like I was the black sheep at the firm.

Time to hit the ol’ dusty trail… bye, KW.

Shelby Johnson Real Estate Agent

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2. Splits and Caps

When I first joined my Keller Williams office, I barely paid attention to the split and def didn’t know what a cap was. But as I started picking up traction and closing deals, I became more and more aware of what the firm was keeping its hands on…

At Keller Williams, I had a 70/30 commission split, a $22k cap in company dollars, and another $3k cap toward the franchise fee. This totaled $25k each year…. straight up kissing that money goodbye.

At eXp I have an 80/20 split with a $16k cap (with even better caps for team members).

The cool part? Because of the eXp ICON Program, I’ve recouped almost every penny of that $16k back in the form of company stock every year that I’ve been a producing agent.

3. Training

Keller Williams is a franchise, so each office is independently owned and operated.

Why do we care? It means that each local office is responsible for its own training… and they use agents within their local office to do said training.

Sounds good, right??! Actually, nah.

  1. The best realtors are out there slinging deals, not teaching your punk ass.
  2. Most agents at your local brokerage view you as competition. Are they really going to share all their best techniques with you?
  3. Even IF the #1 agent in your local office trained you one-on-one… it’d still only be a big fish in a small pond.

Flipside, eXp Realty incentivizes ($) the best agents across the country to teach classes on what made them successful. There are over 50hrs of live training weekly.

No small-town mindsets around here.

But you might be wondering, “What about my specific market? Who will teach me that?”

Glad you asked…

4. Mentorship

When newly licensed agents onboard eXp, they’re paired with a local mentor who hand-holds them through their first few transactions.

Even at Keller Williams, which is supposed to be the very best firm to go to as a newly licensed agent, I never once had one-on-one mentorship.

Since my goal was to continue to grow my community, having local mentors that our firm provided was an incredible amount of leverage for me… not to mention peace of mind.

The fact that I could bring on agents across the country and know they’d be taken care of, trained and developed for their market-specific needs was (and is) insanely cool.

Speaking of growth…

5. Growth Restrictions

Remember how I mentioned Keller Williams is a franchise and each office is independently owned and operated?

That means if I wanted to expand outside of my local market, I’d have to affiliate with a whole other franchise… a whole new set of rules, leadership, splits, caps and fees. That made me sweat just thinking about it.

eXp isn’t a franchise. It’s a single, nationwide brokerage.

No matter where I want to expand, I don’t need to re-affiliate with another real estate business. I don’t have to go through a new circus game of rules, or deal with even more money due to the firm.

One house, one set of rules. LFGrowwwww!

6. Profit Share vs. Revenue Share

The terms sound similar but they’re SUPER different from a business perspective.

Profit is the money left over in a business after expenses are paid. Revenue is the money that a business generates before any expenses are paid.

Why do we care?

KW and eXp both share company income with their agents, as a thank you gift for attracting talent to their organization.

But the amount KW shares vs. the amount eXp shares = night & day different.

I might have made a couple of hundred dollars total from KW’s Profit Share… but in 2022 alone, I made $51k with eXp’s Revenue Share. I built a Rev Share Calculator if you want to play with it.

Gotta love truly passive income.

7. Bonus: Stocks

I’m a real estate investor at heart, stocks aren’t my thing. But I’ll tell you from personal experience, stocks become a lot cooler if you start getting them for free.

Glenn Sanford, eXp Realty’s CEO must be a pretty smart dude… he found a way to practically guarantee agents will care more about their firm’s success, by making them owners of that company. Talk about buy-in.

Over the years, I’ve accumulated $43k in eXp Realty company stock (as of 3/30/2023) for a few things that I would have done regardless:

  • Producing
  • Attracting agents to the firm
  • Helping those agents produce
  • Earning the ICON award (3x)

Keller Williams Realty doesn’t offer stock compensation. They’re a franchise so it’s not in their business model.

Why does all this matter? Because as agents, we’re on the commission treadmill, constantly running towards our next closing with no end in sight…

But with Rev Share and company stocks, we’re one step closer to a future of financial freedom.

Why I left Keller Williams

See above.

Want to talk about it? Hit me up.


PS: If you’re thinking about leaving your brokerage, I wrote a post on how to tell your broker you’re leaving.

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