Once again, real estate professionals from all over the globe stampeded to the Anaheim Convention Center for another unforgettable Family Reunion. While some things remained consistent (the culture, the camaraderie, the Gary, etc.), there was plenty to distinguish this event from years past (the market conditions, the tech innovations, the 40th birthday celebration, etc.). It would take a full-length KellerINK publication to cover everything that took place during FR23, so for the sake of time, we’re going to hit you with the Top 4 Takeaways from this year’s Family Reunion.
1. The Market Has Shifted
It’s official, the post-pandemic housing boom is no more. The days of 3% interest rates and same-day home sales are a thing of the past, and we may never see them again. “My guess is you will never see 4% [interest rates] in your lifetime,” Gary Keller predicted during his industry-defining Vision Speech. His aim wasn’t to scare agents, but to prepare them for the hard truths they will have to deliver to buyers whose expectations were shaped by the remarkable conditions of 2020 and 2021.
One of the biggest drivers of this market shift is inflation. “It’s kind of still gonna be a rocky ride in ’23, because ’23 will be a full year of the federal government trying to get control of inflation,” Keller warned. Mortgage rates are just one of the knobs and dials the Fed has at its disposal to try and ward off a full-blown recession, but several other factors could upend the economy, including the current federal debt ceiling standoff, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and climate change. Despite these concerns, there are plenty of reasons for real estate professionals to remain optimistic.
2. Things Have Been Much Worse
Although the market isn’t as advantageous as it was a couple of years ago, it’s important to take a step back and put things in perspective. As Keller Williams celebrates 40 years of business, Gary Keller recalled the 10-to-18 percent interest rates he was up against during his first years in the real estate industry. It may seem unfathomable to current buyers to agree to a double-digit mortgage rate, but there are two things Keller pointed out that remain true today: 1) real estate appreciates and 2) you can always refinance when interest rates go down. As he often says, “The best time to buy a home is now.”
This example underscores the message agents need to relay to their clients: real estate is the best long-term plan for wealth building. “Even if owning a home takes up 60 percent of your income, do it,” Keller urged. “Why? Because you’re trying to lock in your cost of living.” To prove his point, Keller compared the overall value of homeownership versus renting.
Keller Williams researchers discovered that over the last decade, the average homeowner broke even within three years of owning their home as compared to renting and investing. From the fourth year on, the return on investment from homeownership grew exponentially, bringing in double the value of renting and investing by year eleven. Keller implored agents to have these conversations with their clients, and he assured them that Keller Williams tech is the key to getting their foot in the door.
3. KW Is Doubling Down on Tech
What’s one thing technology and the housing market have in common? Renting your tech is never as valuable as owning it. While some real estate companies decided to acquire their tech, Keller Williams has spent the last five years building the industry’s most robust CRM and lead-generation platform from scratch. At this year’s Family Reunion, the results of this labor of love were put on full display.
From Command App updates to optimized agent sites, Keller Williams panelists took the stage to explain all the ways KW tech can bring more leads, listings, and leverage to your business. This is the competitive advantage agents need as the fight for contacts becomes more intense.
4. It’s Time to Charge the Storm and Thrive ‘25
As the real estate industry has boomed since the Great Recession, so has the number of agents entering the profession. This resulted in 6.3 transaction sides per agent in 2022, which is the lowest ever recorded. But as KW Head of Industry and Learning Jason Abrams reminded the audience, “Just because there are less opportunities, does not mean that anyone’s opportunity is less.”
When the going gets tough, passive agents leave the industry, which creates a huge advantage for the agents who are willing to put in the work during a market shift to reap the rewards on the other end. That’s the crux of Thrive ‘25, KW’s three-year mission to produce more millionaires than the industry has ever seen.
Between the tech updates, the new communities, and the industry-leading training, Family Reunion 2023 reminded the industry why Keller Williams is the home where entrepreneurs thrive. For current KW agents, it was an inspiring reminder. For the recruits in attendance, it was a persuasive argument. But for Keller Williams, it was just another example of their enduring commitment to help agents and associates build businesses worth owning, lives worth living, and legacies worth leaving.