Episode 59 - GRIT The Real Estate Growth Mindset with Kevin Kauffman

Brian Charlesworth
March 2, 2021

Kevin Kauffman started his real estate career in 2007 - right when the market was starting to crash.  Despite his family and friend’s objections, he believed that this was an opportunity for him so he chose to follow his instincts.  Though his experience has been rough, he gained the confidence and drive to succeed against the odds.

Today, Kevin is a realtor and the owner of the Group 46:10 Real Estate Network at eXp Realty which has expanded into 5 markets in 2018. Group 46:10 has been consistently named as one of “The Thousand” A-list of the top producing real estate agents and teams in the country.  Kevin is also the host of the Kevin and Fred Show podcast (formerly known as Next Level Agents podcast).


In this episode, we talked about:

(06:31) What got Kevin interested in doing podcasts?

(08:36) What is the MOO method?

(09:12) The benefits of podcasting

(11:14) What’s the deal with Clubhouse?

(14:59) How creating your own media and content can be a powerful tool for your business

(16:06) The value of having the right relationships

(18:00) When to NOT take advantage of some social media platforms

(19:02) What Zillow’s buying of Showtime could mean to the real estate industry

(24:58) The importance of adapting to disruptors

(25:32) Kevin’s insight on Gary Keller’s response to competition

(39:40) Where is the industry headed to?

(41:21) Why there will be fewer real estate agents in the future

(42:36) Kevin’s advice to new agents

Episode Transcript:

Brian Charlesworth  0:35  

Alright, Hello, everyone. And welcome back to the Grit podcast. I'm Brian Charlesworth, the founder of Sisu and the host of the show, and for those of you who don't know what Sisu is, Sisu is where real estate transactions online. And we're focused on streamlining the real estate home buying and selling process, primarily focused on working with real estate businesses, and then allowing everyone involved in the transaction to collaborate. So the mortgage and title and those types of companies. So anyway, today, we have a special guest with us here, Kevin Kaufman out of Scottsdale, Arizona, and I love this, I read his LinkedIn today and said, Kevin is a podcast host and an entertainer. So we're gonna talk a little bit about that today.

Kevin Kauffman  1:18  

You're the guy, you're the one that read my bio on LinkedIn, I love it.

Brian Charlesworth  1:21  

And you believe that you know, his podcast is the Kevin Fred show. And anyone in real estate probably is familiar with that. It's part of the industry syndicate. And we will talk a little bit more about that probably today. But I think real estate falls in there somewhere as well. He came into the real estate industry in 2007. He's built a team called 4610. That is in five states and just one of the top real trends teams. He also used to own a kW market center. And he sold that and went to eXp. So I want to hear a little bit more about that. But he's actually in five states. And that's amazing, and not an easy task to do. I've seen a lot of people try to build these remote businesses or market centers or whatever you want to call it, and it can be a challenge. So in addition to that, geez, Kevin has a next-level agents Facebook group that has over 26,000 members. So just Kevin, you've got a lot going on. How do you manage all this?

Kevin Kauffman  2:23  

I don't. It's a mess. It's always a mess, Brian, thanks for having me on, man

Brian Charlesworth  2:27  

Yeah, what did I miss there? I mean,

Kevin Kauffman  2:30  

Oh, gosh, no, I don't know. Please don't because I get sick. Every time I hear someone read a bio or just even a highlight from it. I sell real estate man, we truthfully, we first and foremost, we sell real estate. I'm based in town sitting in Tempe, Arizona today. That's where my office is. I live in Scottsdale. But it's you know, it's Phoenix. It's the Phoenix metro area. It's such a big spread out area, my business partner and I've been working together since February of oh eight, we decided to kind of team-up I think I'd been in the business for about six or seven months at that point. And we started working together doing short sales. And one thing led to another next thing you know, we had kind of had a business and it was growing and kind of became this big giant thing. And all these other little fun things that you just talked about kind of my tongue in cheek there with on my LinkedIn profile about being a podcast, host and entertainer, all those things sort of kind of went from there. So no, we sell real estate first and foremost. But we also have a good time giving back and not just teaching but also learning from other people in the industry.

Brian Charlesworth  3:30  

I love that you put that in your bio, if you ever want some entertainment, go read all the bio's on our website. Because Frank is just like you and he wants to put random things in there. So we like to see if anybody ever reads it. So entertainer that was just because you're famous for Fred and Kevin show or you know, that for the Facebook group, or Where'd that come from?

Kevin Kauffman  3:55  

I think. So the part of it is I had somebody ask us, a guy who works for Open Door, which one of the big ibuyer companies like asked me one day goes, What exactly do you do? It's like, Well, you know, it's kind of like so it kind of became a joke, right? But the reality is, is we started Fred and I started teaching classes on short sales back in Oh wait, when nobody else was kind of nobody knew what was going on with short sales and so we started getting sort of getting out in front of people and sharing what we did know and what we were having success with and even what we were failing at. And that later evolved into started a video blog. And I'll never forget, it was November of 2009. Because Gary Vaynerchuk book crush it had just come out and we read it. And we started a video blog like wouldn't bought a Kodak camera that's sitting in the desk right over my shoulder that night and started filming videos and we had a blog called short sale power hour and we're fairly tongue in cheek you can't really take us too seriously. we're serious about the way we go about our business. And yet we also wear shorts and flip-flops. And I wear a black t-shirt. You mentioned Frank and I showed up to zoom the other day, like literally dressed as the other person just without even knowing it like exact

Brian Charlesworth  5:11  

Like you and I are today.

Kevin Kauffman  5:12  

Yeah, black hat, black glasses, black t-shirt, hoodie. You name it, like the whole nine. And so we're just kind of, you know who we are. And I haven't had embraced that, you know, over the years. And it's kind of just who we are. We're not we're not very good. Go with the grain people. We're not we don't play politics very well. We just don't do things like that very well. And we've just embraced that. And so I think that's kind of where that came from. I don't know why I was. I hate talking about myself. I hate talking bio in the last film that out one day, I just was like, I don't know how to say it or try to entertain people from time to time.

Brian Charlesworth  5:45  

Love it. So it seems to me You're way ahead of the curve. Like you had Gary Vee get you start you went out bought that camera and oh, eight Is that right? Isn't November of Oh, nine. Yeah. So who else was doing it? video in? Oh, nine? Not very many people?

Kevin Kauffman  6:01  

No, probably not. Not that many. Not especially not compared to now. I mean, truthfully, even now. Not that many people are doing it. Sometimes it feels like everyone's doing it because of the industry and the people that probably you and I are both around. You have to. But the truth is even in the industry, there's not really that many people utilizing video and for sure. In oh nine even less. Yeah.

Brian Charlesworth  6:27  

Yeah. So anyway, I think it's really cool. You guys got started on that so early. So when did you guys actually start your podcast?

Kevin Kauffman  6:35  

That was just over two years ago. It was I guess a little more than two years ago was November of 2018. Yeah, that would have been 2018. Yeah. So just a little more than two years ago, started decided to start a podcast. I always wanted to do a podcast more of like a scratch my own itch. I really like to interview people. I like talking to smart people learning how they're successful learning what makes them tick. One of the things I love about this industry is how wildly different successful models are. Like, there's not one way to do things. Yeah. And a lot of us, especially if we join, like a big company, like I was at Keller Williams, for the first 11 years of my career. It was it was amazing. Like, nine of those years were really amazing. And, you know, but there was like the model, people said, it's part of the language like you got to be on the model as if there's only one way of doing it always rubbed me the wrong way. Because there's not one way to do things, especially in this industry. And so I've always been fascinated by the different ways people succeed. So it just kind of I really just once I found out that you can record a podcast like this over zoom and scrape the audio from it. I was like, yeah, somebody on my staff told me that I wasn't really you can just scrape the audio right off that video. Because again, yeah, I've been doing video since 2009. I knew how to do that. But I could not conceptually wrap my head around how to podcast. Yeah, so I thought I had to go to this big studio and pay an engineer and all this stuff. I don't know. And so once I realized that I was like, Okay, I'm gonna I just started a podcast that day. I was like, oh,

Brian Charlesworth  8:04  

Who told you that? Like, how did you discover that you could scrape that and take all that content and do stuff with it?

Kevin Kauffman  8:11  

Well, so I've always used video, I've always used content and repurpose it, you know, take one piece of content and use it on our Facebook page uploaded to YouTube use it as a clip of it on Instagram stories, things like that. So I've always we've always created content for realtors. And for consumers. I say always since November of 2009. We've created content one way or the other. And I started repurposing it. There's a marketing genius. by the name of Dean Jackson, he calls it the move method, which is multiplied oral output. So if you're gonna record one piece of content, like what else can you do with that? One single piece? And I'm, I'm not kidding, Brian, it was literally a conversation I just had with a member of my staff who helped on the operation side just with random things. And she said, you know if you just give me that video that you did, I could just take the audio off of that and put it on a podcast for you.

Brian Charlesworth  9:03  

Yeah. So you're about a year ahead of where I am. And you know, you have a different type of business than I do. But I'd love to hear like what benefits for our listeners, what benefits have you received from podcasting?

Kevin Kauffman  9:17  

Oh my gosh, it's like, it's hard to even, I almost can't even start to quantify that. So I would go back to let's like, let's go back to November of oh nine because even though that was a video that was effectively a podcast, in a way, we're putting out content regularly. So as okay with my realtor hat on for a moment, like the simplest one that we can all relate to tons of referrals, I can't count the agent referrals and relationships that I've created around the country since started since we start putting out content. And that was free and, you know, helpful, like, hopefully, helpful to some people. And so I think that's one of the more obvious ways that it works. It's easy to count and track is a ton of referrals. But I learned so much I just get to know people I'm, I'm a bit of a connector, probably my one real skill in life is connecting people understanding who's great at what who does this and who does that and how, you know, who's really the best at it. And connecting people with each other. I'm I am actually, I excel at that, I believe. And I think podcasting is one way that I have now because I get to, I get to normally, roles are reversed. And I know luckily you and I get to reverse these roles here real soon. Get to find out what makes people tick. What makes them really smart. What do they know something about that? Maybe people don't even realize that they know about like that? What is this person's genius, if you will. And oftentimes because I have a lot of conversations like that, just know where to connect the dots for other people.

Brian Charlesworth  10:54  

Yeah, that is such a great thing about this, like just hearing from you about how you leverage your podcasting and what you're doing differently and how you start with video. It's like you're just way ahead of the times. So I want to ask you a couple of some questions about a couple of the current things going on. And in the real estate world.

Kevin Kauffman  11:13  

Yeah, let's do it.

Brian Charlesworth  11:14  

First one is clubhouse. Are you on clubhouse? Tell me what's going on with that.

Kevin Kauffman  11:19  

I'm on it. I have an account. I've participated a couple of times, I think what's going on is that there's people are number one, it's new. So people want to check it out. And nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd. And so there's a little bit of that going on for it. I think the ease of use to be able to have access to other people's information is appealing to people. It's why podcasts have taken off the way that they have. It's why video has it's just that and this is just a new form of it. What it's funny, I found myself questioning it a couple weeks ago, because I've seen a lot of the scheduled whatever you call those talks, or I'm not even sure the correct name for number

Brian Charlesworth  11:59  

Conversations I guess.

Kevin Kauffman  11:59  

Conversations yeah. And I'm like their podcasts like their podcasting. But I'm like in the first thing I thought was like, man, I hope they're actually recording it so they can let this live somewhere else too. So there's like this thing of this the exclusivity thing of you have to be there to hear it and that I'm thinking for like the actual creators, I'm going, I'm sure hope that they're recording this too. for, you know, again, going back to the dean Jackson math method of multiplied oral output, if you're going to take the time to use the content or create the content, use it in multiple places. So I think that's what it is. I think, for some people, this is their moment, like I had with podcasting of like, Oh, I could just use zoom and record a video and scrape the audio, I think they're going Oh, it's really easy to have this conversation. We don't have to use zoom, we don't have to use a conference line. And it doesn't matter. You can come and go as you please. And it's just really, it's just kind of a new thing. And I think it just allows people to have access to to people information they wouldn't otherwise have in a form that they wouldn't otherwise have.

Brian Charlesworth  13:00  

Yeah, you and I think so much like it's funny. I actually thought about doing our interview today on clubhouse. Oh, really? It would have been my first interview there. But why not? Right?

Kevin Kauffman  13:13  

Yeah, that's you know, that's the thing that what, and when I then

Brian Charlesworth  13:17  

open it up to the last 15 minutes of q&a for everybody.

Kevin Kauffman  13:20  

Yeah, it's you know, it's an interesting thing I haven't, I kind of just go in and browse every you know, probably once or once a day or every other day, and I'll go I'll go listen into a room if there's someone speaking or there's a topic that's interesting to me. I'll go in there and listen for a little while. I haven't spent a ton of time there. But it's, I think it's an interesting thing. And my guess is it's here to stay.

Brian Charlesworth  13:41  

Yeah, I agree. I think it's super powerful. I jumped into a room one night, I got invited on stage just did a quick intro, they were talking about operations and streamlining your operations of a real estate company. You know, and I didn't try to sell anything. I was just they asked a few questions about See, Sue told me I couldn't sell. But then a bunch of our customers are on there talking about how they use the zoo and all of a sudden we had like 24 leads come in that night. This is like at nine o'clock at night. So

Kevin Kauffman  14:11  

That's the power of something that's new though of instead of sort of Pooh poohing it like every, you know, a year ago, if we were doing this you would that you'd be asking me what's going on Tick Tock instead of what's going on with clubhouse right. And what I saw most people do go Oh, yeah, that's that app for kids and teenagers to sing and dance and, and all that fun stuff. Instead of going what's the early mover advantage? Because there's a there's a distinct early mover advantage and it's really easy. You just gave a great example of it with what you experienced on clubhouse recently. And or go back to Gary Vee. I've referenced him a few times like we're you know, he's like, okay, maybe this platform whatever it is, goes away one day maybe it's maybe this is short lived.

Brian Charlesworth  14:56  

But if you can, he's been on platforms that have gone away right?

Kevin Kauffman  14:59  

Absolutely He has, right but if you can go learn to create content in that fashion, where can you go use that skill somewhere else and for, for any business owner. Being able to create your own media and content can be a very powerful tool. And so there's no harm in it unless you, you know, you find out it's using you versus you using it. But outside of that, I mean, there's, you know, so many people turn their nose up at the deleted Facebook, they did it at Twitter, they did it on Instagram, and in so on and so forth. And now it's clubhouse. But last year was tiktok. And there's probably lessons in all of those to find that we can use.

Brian Charlesworth  15:40  

I mean, for me, it's what value and I'm a little bit different than you because my customers are different than you. And in a way to an extent I guess they're the same in some aspects. 

Kevin Kauffman  15:50  

Yeah, they're not. They're not all that different.

Brian Charlesworth  15:52  

Yeah, yeah. But I'm sure you've found this. And I've found that just bringing value to the industry, there's value in bringing value to the industry.

Kevin Kauffman  16:01  

Yep. So that was it, that's a big, that's a great way to put it. And I feel like every relationship I have, so many of the amazing things that have happened to me in this industry happened because of somebody I met. At a time I was doing that, whether it was most of it goes really goes back to my early short sale days, when we were just freely giving away, how to close short sales at a high level, with you know, without charge, we didn't charge people for it until we started traveling to do it. And we still didn't sell it for nearly enough money, but we just gave it away. And it opened up so many doors and put us in so many relationships, that, you know, I can think back to so many things that have come from that. And this is just the new iteration of that.

Brian Charlesworth  16:48  

Yeah. So you brought up Tiktok, are you on Tiktok?

Kevin Kauffman  16:53  

No, I deleted it from my phone, because I realized I wasn't going to actually start, I wasn't gonna spend the time to create like that anymore. And so I took it off. So that way, it wasn't a distraction. Like, I'm the guy that loves social media. And last September, deleted Facebook and Twitter from my phone. I've Instagram left basically for the messaging. And I use Facebook Messenger as like it's another text, right? Because part of what my business is communicating with other agents like you do and communicating with people that are my sphere of influence our client, our consumers that we also interact with. And so I've really weaned myself off of social media a bit.

Brian Charlesworth  17:31  


Kevin Kauffman  17:31  

However,I love what's happening with Tick tock, it's great. I just Yeah, I just realized that I wasn't gonna ever use it the way I could.

Brian Charlesworth  17:40  

I have a son that became Tiktok famous last May. And he's actually in LA now he's, you know, just he was 19 million movies now. And, you know, I had an interview with Tom Ferry on, actually on my podcast, and I asked him, because he's a TA, he talks about Gary Vee a lot as you do, right? I asked him, so Gary Vee has over 5 million followers on Tiktok Why are you not on there? And so, so anyway, I just think it's it's interesting that, you know, people choose to take advantage or not take advantage of certain platforms. And obviously, you're weighing out, okay. Is that really a marketplace that I can leverage? And I think it is elevating to where I think I think the users of Tick Tock used to be younger, just like Instagram started young. And now it's elevating up to where, you know, you have guys my age on, they're doing all kinds of things, right?

Kevin Kauffman  18:32  

Yeah. For me, I realized that I wasn't going to do that. And so like, I use Facebook very well. I know how to use it, I get I extract a ton of value from it. And I just realized, like, I'm not gonna put in the time on Tiktok like I would need to in order to, to get some value out of it. And it wasn't going to be a part of my lame for currently. And so that was it. Okay,

Brian Charlesworth  19:00  

so other current news, Zillow buying showingtime 

Kevin Kauffman  19:04  

Yeah, what a bold move.

Brian Charlesworth  19:06  

Tell me I would love to get your perspective on this. I actually got to have somewhat of an interview is a private conversation with Spencer rascoff this week, founder of Zillow, but I'd love to love to hear your take on what does that mean to the industry?

Kevin Kauffman  19:21  

I don't think we know yet what it means. I think what it represents is that they've they're very serious in their move forward in their new model since you know since Spencer is a super nice guy, right? I was a Zillow customer once for like six months, but I met him when I had at an event we hit it off and like if you don't remember nice guy, yeah, if you don't like Spencer, you're you're probably a jerk. He's a nice guy. He's hard to not like and we hit it off and we're talking to Mike Okay, I really liked this guy. I think rich his partner is very easy to not like and I think that when they made that move of Spencer stepping down and rich stepping back in as CEO, that was a, I think that was the time in history that that was a recorded time in history, in my opinion, where Zillow said, Okay, we're not even going to pretend to be agent-friendly anymore. We're a company that can benefit you as an agent. And it's also just part of what we do as a business. And we've got this other piece of our mission now that looks like it's going to be where our future lies, right? in controlling the transaction and the consumer first. Yeah. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that, by the way, I think that's them doing their business, I think as real estate agents, brokers, we're the ones that allow that to happen. And now we have to, we have to step up to the plate to answer the call that they have sent by giving more options to the consumer, which by the way, I think is a really good thing. But what does that particular transaction mean? I think it just means that they're serious. And that they see the value, there's obviously a ton of value doesn't take a detective to realize there's a ton of value in having that showing service data in and on top of layer on top of all the other data that they have with what their plans are with controlling transactions. And, and I don't say that like, Oh, poor me as an agent. I just mean, it's part of their bigger plan. And to me, it seemed like a very shrewd and good business decision. Mm-hmm. We'll see if the price was right or not. I

Brian Charlesworth  21:25  

don't know. Yeah. Well, I don't think anyone knows. But you know, if you can pay 500 million, and it's going to create billions for your business. The Price Is Right. Yeah. It doesn't matter what that company was actually worth.

Kevin Kauffman  21:37  

Yeah. Oh, totally.

Brian Charlesworth  21:38  

If you look at the Instagram acquisition that Facebook did,

Kevin Kauffman  21:42  

it was a billion dollars now

Brian Charlesworth  21:45  

be like, oh, because you did that you're now you have $100 billion more, right? Yeah.

Kevin Kauffman  21:50  

At the time, it was like, what they paid a billion dollars for Instagram. And now it's like, that's, that's not that much money.

Brian Charlesworth  21:57  

Yeah. So you know, it's interesting, what will happen with this? is it all about the data? And I think there's so many people talking about that. But I think it's about so much more. If you read Inman and see Rich's comments about you know, they, they are becoming a part of the transaction process, and they have always been consumer or client-focused. So, I mean, this is all speculation on my part, but it wouldn't surprise me at all, if they actually allow the consumer to schedule their own showing and have one of our agents or one of their premiere agents or one of their flex agents, show up and, and do the show. And you know,

Kevin Kauffman  22:47  

Totally, I yeah, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see anything like that. You know, I think the people talk about the data, because people are talking about the data, like they don't like there are so many people in our industry, it's just like, they're just regurgitating things that they don't actually know anything about. And yeah, it's, there's no data was about the data. It's about the service and the data that that company provides. But the reality is, is, again, it's good for consumers, hey, here's, here's kind of the way I look at it as an as a real estate agent isn't in the industry, we allowed an outsider to come in and provide out something new to consumers that they very clearly have said that they want in before we did. And so now we have to up our game, if we're gonna stay in business, that's kind of how I look at it

Brian Charlesworth  23:32  

I mean, here's the thing. Everybody comes in and disrupts this industry. And at one point, you were at kW and kW disrupted this industry, they came in with a different model that has caps and they were a training company that taught people how to build a real estate team. That didn't exist, right. Yeah. And then compass comes in. And then you know, red eye, redfin, then compass. And then you know, and Zillow, of course, and Trulia and realtor.com. And so So I think, you know, they talked about becoming a part of the transaction. And obviously, realtor.com did this years ago at this point by buying up city. And now you have Zillow, really trying to become a part of the transaction. And in my opinion, those two companies become the two largest real estate companies in the world very, very quickly, just by sending referrals out, right.

Kevin Kauffman  24:23  

Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, like if you really, first of all, I'm a firm believer that Zillow has the number one consumer brand and not in our industry. Like there's it's just out of doubt. There's no doubt about it, right?

Brian Charlesworth  24:34  

If you are on vacation, I don't care even if you're in real estate, if you're on vacation on the beach and you want to know how much that $20 million home is that you're looking at? You go to Zillow.

Kevin Kauffman  24:45  

Yeah. Saturday Night Live is not doing a skit about Keller Williams Realty or XP or century for anyone like there. That you know is that's not how it works. So there's so yeah, no doubt they've built that they've earned it. And then there's always disruptors. There's always changes. I think that we just have to. We all have to adapt like you have to get better or you're you go away. That's just the way it works. That is the way it works. There was a time when REMAX was the disrupter. Yeah, there was a time when Keller Williams was the disrupter. And neither one of those companies look like a disrupter these days. And it's just, it's just changed.

Brian Charlesworth  25:24  

So that being said, I want to talk about a new company like that. That is a disrupter. And you happen to be there, right? eXp, there was a time that I think this industry felt like Gary Keller was the king of this industry. Right? By if you look at it today, who is the only CEO of real estate? national, they used to be a franchise companies company, in the case of eXp, it's a national company, right? national brand. And the only billionaire that I'm aware of is Glen, right. I had last time I looked, I think it was worth it was just over $2 billion now. So I would, I would look at that, that he has had more success in this industry than Gary already, even though his agent count is substantially lower still. But I'd love you already. eXp, I'd love to get your thoughts on that.

Kevin Kauffman  26:15  

You know, the way you just pointed out the fact that Glenn's probably got more, you know, net worth at this point than Gary is, is funny considering the way Gary kind of poo pooed him for the entire company for the last five years.

Brian Charlesworth  26:29  

Well, why do you think he did that though?

Kevin Kauffman  26:32  

hubris. I just like, like all threatened threat. I also feel like so let me give the disclaimer that I appreciate Gary Keller on a very high level, he mentored me for like 10 years. So I totally agree Gary is one of the brightest minds in real estate without a doubt. And I think that Gary's number one asset is his number one enemy to which is probably true for everybody, which is he needs a fight. He, I've heard him say that to me multiple times. If I don't have a fight, I just go pick one. That's how he stays motivated. And

Brian Charlesworth  27:04  

I think that never heard those words out of his mouth, but you have been more time around him. So

Kevin Kauffman  27:08  

I'm telling you, I've heard him say it, like within inches of my face. It's who he is. It's that's his personality he is he needs to have a fight in order to stay, to stay engaged. And he also needs to be but I think his other problem though, is he also needs to be the smartest guy in the room. And that's, that's dangerous. When you have the level of success that he has and that he's built. It's easy for those around you who make their living off of your enterprise, to allow you to be the smartest guy in the room and to just play a political game around that. And I think that's I think a lot of that has happened. Gary is still very intelligent. He recognized years ago, that the franchise model while he was obviously wildly successful, I firmly believe he wished he didn't have a franchise system and that he wished he had a company system. Because I've heard him say if I could do it all over again. We wouldn't be Keller Williams Realty International. It'd be Gary Keller, real estate teams all over, you know, all over the country, amongst other things. So I think

Brian Charlesworth  28:11  

about some of their teams back, didn't they? Oh, yeah,

Kevin Kauffman  28:13  

Yeah. And that's been part of that I'm going back to 2011 or 12. Like, flat out, like, you know, they bought their regions back. They bought market centers back and it's been part of the plan for a really long time. Gary's very smart, obviously, that goes That goes without saying, I think also he allowed his, his ego to get in the way. And he decided to talk bad about eXp and Glen and other people there. Rather than go kind of learn from these people, like, what are they doing, that I shouldn't be doing and because he needs to fight, he decided to pick a fight with Zillow, he decided to pick a fight with the ibuyers he decided to pick a fight with the other technology companies. And if any, he ended up saying things. It's like the old saying, like, Listen, don't let your mouth write checks that you're, you know, that you're asking for cash, like, and I think he's he's done that he's been because he's been proven wrong for the last, you know, four or five years now. And I think that he's had my hope is he's learned that he's realized that and he's hopefully getting back to his lane. But I mean, I don't know.

Brian Charlesworth  29:16  

So it's, it's interesting you say that I've never heard anybody say that about Gary that he has to be in a fight but wants to pick a fight. But I think he's done that with the eXp clearly. And I would love to get your perception as to why he wanted to build this tech company.

Kevin Kauffman  29:35  

Geez, Brian, you're in even trouble. You got to understand that like, I've spent a lot of time around the guy in case you know, I smile,

Brian Charlesworth  29:42  

learn from people like you they've been so close to all of this.

Kevin Kauffman  29:46  

I mean, he like he would always use the example of David versus Goliath like he needs that he needs that. Or he's needed that. I've heard him say that in front of not just me in front of 100 other people more than once. why that is, I don't know. Some people, listen, I'm on a look, I am not comparing myself to him. So let me be very clear here. But similar to him, I've got this chip that just resides on my shoulder that like, screw them, I'm going to prove them wrong. It's probably why I wear flip-flops in a black t-shirt. And, you know, and just don't care about the rules of things. Like that's part of, that's the thing. And part of

Brian Charlesworth  30:21  

That was just part of living on the west coast,

Kevin Kauffman  30:23  

Maybe it is, like part of my thing that that I've tried to do is like, maybe instead of being mad, like try to just be more effective. And obviously, Gary's level of effective is significantly higher than almost anybody's on the planet. But I think that still his greatest strength became as became his greatest weakness in the last couple of years. And I don't know. So I think that I think he just, I'm not a political guy. I don't like politics. But even before we left kw, we started kind of like secretly, not secretly but going like man cares, like really running a Donald Trump playbook here. Like he's making hardcore making someone an enemy, vilify him even someone else. This case, it was Zillow, and it was open door and offer pad, and it was eXp and it was commissions Inc, and Boomtown. I mean, made them the enemy and then drew the line and said, Hey, listen, you're either with me or against me, for everyone. Like you have to pick a side. And that worked for a little bit of time,

Brian Charlesworth  31:25  

That before or after you left. I was before. That was before he left.

Kevin Kauffman  31:30  

But it was part of the reason I left because I'm like, it just didn't resonate. I'm like, God, this is not what I'm here for.

Brian Charlesworth  31:35  

I don't want you’ve been at the eXp how long now

Kevin Kauffman  31:37  

Two and a half years. A little more than two and a half years. Yeah.

Brian Charlesworth  31:41  

So my whole take on that thing. And this is pure speculation. I mean, I think like a tech guy, right? So I'm thinking about IPOs. And I'm thinking about stuff like that. But my personal opinion is, Glenn came out and did it. You know, I don't know if it was back or reverse merger, how they went public back then that was before those facts. Were the thing right, then reverse? Yep. Yeah. So, but he didn't go public the traditional way, but he knew he could build, he could build the value by having all of the agents buying stock every month. I mean, that's pretty much making a marketplace for that stock. And I think my personal opinion is Gary saw that and thought, I need to take this company public, but I can't take it public. As a franchise, as a real estate franchise company, we need to be a tech company. Exactly. Like compass, right. compass is a real estate company. But compass sells themselves as a tech company as a tech company. And I think maybe it's one I think it would have to do with eXp. I also think it had to do with compass. But again, that's just my opinion.

Kevin Kauffman  32:50  

I think that he's I think he's very well positioned to do that at this point. I don't. This just mine is my opinion. You and I both just speculating only Gary knows the truth. Only Gary knows the truth. Yeah, I don't think that was the grand plan from the beginning. I think it was about, I'm going to I've got the biggest baddest real estate company on the planet. I'm going to keep having the biggest, baddest company, real estate company on the planet. And we're going to do that by through tech. I think he I think he bet on some wrong horses in his company, and made some promises that clearly have not been fulfilled, technology wise. And now, no doubt they are positioned if they wanted to, to spin off public, AWS and go public, right? No, there's no doubt about that.

Brian Charlesworth  33:38  

Yeah. And I hear ya, I don't know. But we'll see.

Kevin Kauffman  33:41  

If I had to bet. I would probably bet. Yes. But understand, I'm also the guy. I've also heard him say 100, you know, 100, maybe maybe more than 100 times, we'll never go public. Like one of the things he likes to do is, say these things. So you believe it about anything? That's the opposite, right? As an example, you'd always say, refer to like, the religion brands as well. They're public. So they're beholden to the shareholders. And I'm telling you right now, they're not like you are their corporate responsibilities. Yes, no doubt about it with public companies. And I know because I highly investigated going there. I spent a couple of days with their senior leadership at realogy headquarters some many times as well. super smart people. Brian Gorman is one of the smartest people I've ever met in my life. And, and, and so is his boss, Ryan, like both amazing guys. I spent two full days with Ryan Gorman. I really liked that guy. And I have nothing but respect for him and a lot of his staff. And However, for the first like, 10 years of my career, I was like, I always just assumed that they were doing it wrong. And what I realized is the other 90% of the industry, doesn't all walk and talk and think the way Gary told me to think so when he says things like we tried rev share, it doesn't work. The part that he's leaving out with Brilliant for him to say that but he's leaving out the fact that rev share does work at kW. It's called kW worldwide, they don't do profit share, they do rev share. The other part that he's leaving out is rev share doesn't work, when there's brick and mortar and franchise fees and regional owners involved because all the money goes there. And so but because he says that,

Brian Charlesworth  35:19  

Which is actually a form of rev share just a different form.

Kevin Kauffman  35:22  

Exactly. It is rev share differently. And but he leaves that part out very strategically and very intelligently. So and so I think that he says things to set them up. So it's going to be hard for him to walk back the I'm never going to go public and I'm never going to sell out. I'm never going to be beholden to shareholders. If he does go that route, Willy Wonka, I don't really know. He's out. He's very clearly has the ability to if he if he chooses so.

Brian Charlesworth  35:49  

Yeah. So the other thing that you said that I think Gary has said to people is don't leave, don't use a tech company don't use Boomtown or don't use whomever right Commission's Inc, whatever 

Kevin Kauffman  36:04  


Brian Charlesworth  36:04  

Sisu, I don't think you mentioned Sisu, we weren't really big enough at the time. That's the reason why, yeah. But I know his team. I mean, they've looked at, you know, integrating with us many times and has decided, oh, we're gonna try to build that. So

Kevin Kauffman  36:18  

Did you have a message from Josh that he could buy you license you or just copy you to? He only said that the other two other tech company owners? Sorry?

Brian Charlesworth  36:27  

Yeah, indirectly. That's that's the message. So you know, but here's the thing that's interesting to me. I think he told all because spring was there at the time as well, when he was telling people don't leave, or don't use these other companies, because they will own your data. But I think the reality is that actually probably scared more people than didn't scare because for people like spring, she was thinking, Well, wait a minute. SoKW wants to own my data, so I can never leave.

Kevin Kauffman  36:58  

That's what I said, Listen, man, it was April of 2017. I'll never forget the day we use. He's going like this whole day, we're there for this pirate mastermind in Austin. And he's like, he's got all the programmers. And they're like, making it they're like, we're in a fishbowl. And like, we'll just build it for you like, what do you love about Boomtown like, we'll just rebuild it. I'm like, I don't want you to. And I literally just finally raised my hand. I said, Gary, like, here's the deal, dude, you know that I love you, I have another respect for you. But when I came here, the deal was I pay you a certain amount of money every year, and that it's my listing my lead, and that you would never get between me and the consumer. And now you're telling me you're going to indeed, absolutely get between me and the consumer. So number one, I don't like that. Number two, my problem here is with Boomtown at the time, I was a very happy Boomtown customer. I think the world of Greer and his team, I think they're amazing. And I said, when I have a problem with Boomtown right now, I picked the phone up, and I call Greer, or David or whoever, and I say, dude, I need this fixed, I need to fix now. And they fix it. I can't do that for you, with you, Gary, if you're my tech provider, because you have 100 of my escrows in your control, and all of my independent contractors are your independent contractors, and you have control of them to and where that money goes. And I refuse to get that wrapped up. I'd rather pay the bill to Boomtown every month, and have the ability to get up and go when I want to when I don't want to use the CRM or whatever service provider we happen to be talking about. It was a that was a I mean, I had that conversation. And it wasn't pleasant. I'll never forget that day. I mean, it was pleasant.

Brian Charlesworth  38:35  

That you would do that. I don't know many people that would say that to Gary. So

Kevin Kauffman  38:39  

I have I have respect for that said a couple of bolder things that were probably I shouldn't have. But yes, like, you know, the but that, but here's the guy, here's the deal, man. I just call it how I see it. And there's nothing wrong. I'm okay being wrong. That's like, if you were to prove me wrong, I don't care. I would have been like, Yeah, he was right. Damn. I mean, cuz like, trust me, I wish I would have moved to eXp earlier. Like, it's been amazing. The last two and a half years. It's been amazing. And I, I think so highly of Glenn and the team that he's built. And when I think about what I thought I thought about them, a year prior, I realized how wrong I am. So I wish I would have been, you know, I'm okay being wrong. But I'm going to call it how I see it. And I'm going to align with what I think is best for me and my business and the people that trust me with their business and our families. And I don't I don't think, you know, kW wasn't home anymore.

Brian Charlesworth  39:32  

Yeah. Okay, so we only have a few minutes left. I wish I had more time. I know, I have a hard stop. I know you have a hard stop in five minutes. So where do you see the industry going? Like, I know, nobody knows. But I'd love to hear your thoughts. I mean, what's gonna change over the next three to five years or even 12 months? I don't know, like this whole Zillow thing. Let everybody know with them acquiring showingtime things are definitely changing. Yeah,

Kevin Kauffman  39:59  

I think that right. You know, I think that writing has been on the wall for anybody who's been engaged in paying attention. What's going to happen? I don't know what's gonna happen the next 12 months outside of God, I wish there'd be some more homes for sale. This tight inventory is nuts that said, Where's it gonna go? I don't know, my hunch has been, and it will be for some time until I see something different that there'll be fewer real estate professionals in the United States. And, you know, as to companies like Zillow, and open door and offer pad take more transactions out of the marketplace, that's probably going to mean the overall number of agents drop. But I think what's going to happen Most importantly, is the consumer is going to continue to have more and more options. And for those of us who are willing to step up and provide those options, and provide solutions to consumers are going to be just fine. And we're gonna have great businesses, we're going to sell the ability to have great business. Outside of that man, I don't know, what I do know is that there's not going to be one piece of technology that's going to save me. And there's some amazing technology out there. And I got to be thinking consumer first, how can I provide for the consumer? And I think that's what all that's all I have to think about for the next three years. As we go after that, man. I don't know. I really don't know. But I'm interested in finding out.

Brian Charlesworth  41:16  

Yeah, yeah, you and me both. Very interested. I think one of the things you said is there's going to be fewer agents, I think that's starting right now. And here's why. Like, it used to be in my opinion, that if you were a really good agent, you had to be a listing agent. Yeah. And now, if you want to sell homes, and you're a buyer's agent, you need to be a really good agent, right? You need to be able to figure out how to win those offers, right. And if you're not a great agent, you're not gonna survive, and I don't see agents being able to just come in off the street now walk in and be a buyer's agent and, and be extremely successful.

Kevin Kauffman  41:52  

Yeah, it's hard, it's harder than ever, for newer agents, we were just talking about this earlier, with a couple of friends of mine, you know, just talking about the way the way things are having to change for newer agents. And the things again, that we have to do is whether you own a team, like myself and are at a at another brokerage, or maybe you own your own brokerage, whatever your scenario is, you're gonna have to, things are going to look different, you got to be okay with that. You got to be willing to do things differently than you've ever done. If you want to not just survive, but actually, you know, continue to grow.

Brian Charlesworth  42:25  

Yeah, I think, you know, the industry's been talking for forever about teams are the future and then I there was no, it's gonna be these indie brokerages. And but I think the reality is, if you're not with somebody, if you come into this industry, as a new agent, you need to connect to somebody like yourself, who's running a powerful team that can train you that can build you up that can give you leads that can do all the things you're going to need to do to really succeed, otherwise, you won't be in this business in a year.

Kevin Kauffman  42:56  

Yeah. It's fact. That really is that really is true.

Brian Charlesworth  43:00  

All right. Well, I know we're out of time, Kevin, you know, I've got a list of questions here that I didn't ask you. So we might have to do a part two sometime, because this just flowed. But I really enjoyed getting to know you better. We love getting your insights. And I hope all of our listeners today, I hope you guys feel the same way just to an honor and a privilege to have you on here with us today, Kevin. Thanks.

Kevin Kauffman  43:20  

Absolutely. Brian. I'm glad we got the chance to do this. I'm looking forward to run it back. That's for sure. Yeah,

Brian Charlesworth  43:24  

thank you. Talk to you soon.

About the Author

Brian Charlesworth
Chairman and CEO

Brian is an entrepreneur and business builder. He has built and sold companies in the software, telecommunications, and franchise space. He’s passionate about technology and focused on changing lives through driving technology forward.