A Woman Without A Company

Real Estate Agent with Alain Pinel REALTORS BRE#00861017

You may have heard of "A Man without a Country"? This is a different take on that classic tale.

A little background...

I work for Keller Williams Realty. I have been in real estate off and on for over 30 years. I grew up in a family business, got in and out of real estate--and four years ago, when I discovered Keller Williams--felt that I had found a safe place that I could be forever.

My Market Center had close to 200 agents. We had a sales manager and an agent services coordinator. We were rocking and rolling. Then the same snafus and economic crisis nonsense that hit everyone else hit us. Agents left in droves like rats deserting a sinking ship. We dropped to 40-50 agents but were still viable. Then the owner of our company made the difficult decision to close the Market Center. Everyone--and especially me--was devastated. Some scrambled and left immediately to be followed by others when we were without a copier/scanner and much of our infrastructure and leadership were gone.

At one time, I determined that I loved San Francisco more than I loved Keller Williams. Then when it came down to blue (Prudential), green or black; I stuck it out with Keller Williams. 95% of my colleagues went to the Keller Williams office in Berkeley. I followed suit for a few days but quickly jumped ship to Keller Williams Oakland for a variety of reasons.

I am paying a high price for my loyalty. I love Keller Williams--and ever since attending MEGA Camp last August--have looked to the national level for my guidance and leadership. I am involved with MAPS coaching. I was on the ALC. And as of this week--I have "capped" (getting nearly 100% commission). Why should I complain, do you ask??

Because when I send listing information to buyers IN San Francisco or listing information to sellers IN San Francisco, my signature contains an Oakland address. Have I lost buyers or listings because of this? I don't know. I do know that it is difficult enough competing in a chauvinistic city like San Francisco as it is. Now my local board shows me as a non-local agent?!??!

I LOVE San Francisco. I live and work in San Francisco. I also love the Keller Williams model. In all honesty, I feel extremely let down by:  my colleagues who left, the KW regional office (Maureen and Dick) for not allowing me to have a "branch" or MEGA agent office presence in San Francisco, and by the international corporate office for doing NOTHING to stabilize my Market Center which at one time was the flagship for Northern California!!

I feel abandoned and let down and seriously question if my loyalty is misplaced.

And then to add insult to injury--my new market center has refused to pay me for a transaction that closed on Monday! I had NO idea that having the admin function 20 miles away woud be such a detriment. But it seems to me that if people aren't around the corner or down the street, they are not accountable.

So the questions I ask myself are these:  Did the Keller Williams model let me down? Did Keller Williams Realty Int'l let my market center down? Why can't Keller Williams be successful in San Francisco? And lastly, IF I can't count on my company, why should I continue to be loyal to them?????????

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Rebecca White (formerly of Keller Williams San Francisco Properties)  

Comments (10)

Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker Associate ,CRS,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hi there,

Interesting questions...as for KW, I can't help on that one. However when it comes to success in Oakland vs. S.F. I'd imagine the cost of doing biz in Oakland is a fraction of the cost in the "city".

As your your Oakland adderess in your email, why is it necessary to have any address in your email? Btw, I'm a 30+ yr. full-timer myself, but we're an independent brokerage.

Good luck!

Feb 10, 2010 04:06 PM
Rebecca White
Alain Pinel REALTORS - San Francisco, CA
Real Estate Agent - San Francisco

Hey Lynda,

Thanks for your comment. But to clarify--I LIVE in San Francisco. I WORK in San Francisco. I LOVE!!! San Francisco!!! My license is in Oakland because my San Francisco office no longer exists.

I have NO control over the email that gets sent through the MLS as they have to have the address of my broker (or where my license is) as the default "signature". I CANNOT change this. It is set up by the MLS. I called them--no can do. 


Feb 10, 2010 04:20 PM
Robert Machado
HomePointe Property Management, CRMC - Sacramento, CA
CPM MPM - Property Manager and Property Management

If I were you I would find an office in SF to hang my license.  You do not want to confuse your clients.  As far as KW, I think they made a business decision which was best for them.  You should do the same. 

Feb 10, 2010 04:32 PM
Tim Lorenz
TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team - Mission Viejo, CA
949 874-2247

It is always difficult to figure out what to do in situations like that.

Feb 10, 2010 04:35 PM
Song San
Coldwell Banker Dynasty - Rosemead, CA
Broker, MBA

  Rebecca, I could feel your pain because I went through a few companies that went down in flames while the senior managers were either vacationing in Hawaii or playing a few rounds of golfs with friends.

  Just curious. Since you invested so much time and energy in SF and loved the city so much, would you not be able to join a different company in that area? I might be in that scenario one day and thought to either go to Prudential, ReMax, or KW if all the CB in my area are closed. Good luck.


Feb 10, 2010 04:38 PM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Interestingly in our area the office address doesn't seem to matter much to buyers & sellers as does the market knowledge of the agent.  I think if your expertise and love of SF show then your office "address" shouldn't matter.  Include in all of your email and hard copy packages the info that you live, work and play in the city.  The bottom line becomes if you lose business due to your office address then it might be time to find an office with the right address.  It sucks but if RE is your livelyhood then brand loyalty won't pay the bills.

Feb 10, 2010 11:57 PM
Lynn Della

So sorry to hear of your plight, Rebecca.  I think your other friends have offered you excellent advice.  Robert put it very bluntly but his words seem to summarize what Tim, Song (San?) and Cindy have said.

It's not entirely like the other situation we have in common, in terms of putting yourself and your own needs first ....

Best of luck in whatever you decide!

Feb 14, 2010 04:55 PM
Janna Scharf
Keller Williams Realty Coeur d'Alene - Coeur d'Alene, ID
Coeur d'Alene Idaho Real Estate Expert


I'm glad you found a way to stay with KW, and I enjoyed visiting with you for a few minutes!  I left KW for 4 months when I moved to a new town, went with the big blue sign.  OMG, the environment was toxic, couldn't get back to KW fast enough, even though the office was small and struggling for market share.  That was then, this is now, we are kicking it and I have never been happier.  It's the non-tangible culture that is the difference, and it's hard to explain it to outsiders who have never experienced it...



Jun 30, 2010 11:08 AM
Peggy Hughes/pha logistix, inc.
pha logistix inc - San Francisco, CA

Rebecca,  I'm so sorry you are having to go through this experience.  And, I'm also surprised to learn that KW doesn't have or would consider another type of SF presence.  But, is the Oakland address of your broker of record interfering with your SF business?  If it is, then I agree that perhaps a change of agency is warranted.

My thoughts are with you as you struggle to resolve this dilemma.

Oct 29, 2010 04:40 PM
Rebecca White
Alain Pinel REALTORS - San Francisco, CA
Real Estate Agent - San Francisco

Hello All,


Just to update you, I stayed most of this year with Keller Williams as I was held "escrow hostage" (meaning I had 13 transactions that I didn't want to abandon or not get paid on).


My license hung in Berkeley and that name appeared in big bold black letters at the bottom of every email and update that came from the San Francisco MLS.


After losing out on 3 listings to local SF companies, I waited for 2 more closings, had a deal fall out of escrow and then interviewed with several companies--including Keller Williams in Menlo Park. Whereas it might have been nice to have a Mega Agent office in the City, I didn't want to bear the expense on my own. I was very impressed with Tim Murray with Alain Pinel and liked the proximity of the office and that I could bring my new dog to work.


In the end, I chose to go with McGuire Real Estate because of their reputation in San Francisco and the support that I would get to be able to better serve my clients. Making a change again in mid-life is tough but so far, so good. And the best part? Many of my former KW colleagues are also with McGuire!


And as if to reinforce my decision, the Keller Williams office in Berkeley defected en masse to Better Homes & Gardens. I was fortunate to have made the choice to leave and have time to investigate options before the decision was made for me.


Nov 29, 2010 09:14 AM