Texas RE/MAX Team Leader Returns From Keller Williams

Top producer Paula Jones was enticed by a Keller Williams offer that seemed too good to be true. It was. Find out why she came back to RE/MAX after just six months away.

By Deborah Kearns // Photography by JasonMcD.com

When Paula Jones first joined RE/MAX, she felt like she’d graduated to the big leagues. Already one of the top-producing agents in Abilene, Texas, she knew her career could rise even higher.

It did. After that 2002 move, Jones kept building her business. Her production went through the roof, but at the same time, the demands and the pace – always available, always on the go – wore her down over the course of 17 years.

In 2015, the Chairmans Club member, Lifetime Achievement award winner and Hall of Famer needed a change. She wanted greater balance in her life, and more time to visit her elderly parents or grandchildren. She decided to build a capable team to take some pressure off, but she wasn’t sure where to start.

That’s when Jones met a Keller Williams recruiter who promised her she’d have the tools and resources to build a profitable team – if she left RE/MAX. So she did.

Jones says it was the biggest mistake of her career.

Broken promises

It wasn’t long before Jones began to regret her move.

“[The recruiter] told me that joining Keller Williams had changed her life, and I believed her,” Jones recalls. “She told me she had time for her family, because she had a team that took care of her clients when she wasn’t there. She said she’d help me build a team just like hers, too. She was full of reassurances – smiles and confidence galore – so I put my trust in her.”

Two months later, the recruiter was gone, and Jones felt lost.

She hired a buyer’s agent – a former client that she very much wanted to work with – who wanted to make the move from an independent firm to Keller Williams with her.

Then came a second blow: The majority owner of the Keller Williams Abilene Market Center recruited Jones’ buyer’s agent to become a salaried team leader, effectively hiring her away from Jones.

“It was an impossible situation, and I felt forced to say that it was OK, even though I felt hugely betrayed,” Jones says.

Yet another lofty promise – to reap the rewards of profit-sharing – was shattered soon after. Jones found out after her move that she’d have to recruit a new Keller Williams agent in order to take advantage of profit-sharing.

“At the time, I was selling about 100 homes per year; I was far too busy taking care of my buyers and sellers to be concerned with recruiting other agents under me,” Jones says. In addition to servicing so many clients, she was saddled with new rules and meetings she was required to attend. She’d lost the autonomy she enjoyed in running her own business under the Balloon.

Turning point

Over the next few months, Jones became increasingly disenchanted with her move. She was miserable. Even her clients noticed.

“I was still with Keller Williams in March 2016 when I listed a client’s very nice home,” she says. “This man had quit his job, and one day, while visiting with him, he said to me, ‘Paula, life’s too short to work somewhere you aren’t happy.’”

Talk about a wake-up call.

That same day, Jones met with Margie Peck, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Abilene, and told her she was miserable.

“Margie smiled and said, ‘Well, why don’t you just come back home to RE/MAX,’” Jones recalls. “I was so happy. Now, I’ve been back for 18 months, and I’m loving every single minute.”

Poised for success

Jones is thriving in the winning culture Peck has built at her brokerage.

“RE/MAX agents are professionals, with professional leadership in a professional atmosphere,” Jones says. “Since returning, I’ve had a huge weight lifted, and I feel like I can breathe again.”

Her clients are happier, too, Jones adds. A builder she’d worked with exclusively stopped working with her when she switched to Keller Williams, telling Jones she just wasn’t the same there. Now, he’s back on her client list.

“The RE/MAX name alone carries a lot of weight in Abilene … and everywhere else.”

Now, Jones is focused on developing her team of three new agents and keeping her clients happy. She’s found a deeper satisfaction and confidence now that she’s back with RE/MAX – where she belongs.

Click here for a print version of this story.


Join the Conversation


Why didn’t she follow the model? Her first hire was a buyer’s agent, and it was someone she knew. She’s already 4 steps back now. In Colorado, the balloon back yard, some of the top agents in the entire region are flocking to KW for help building a big business, but they realize that the onus is still on them to actually show up, follow the model, and do it. They can’t blame whoever helped them move. We live in a society of people who don’t want to take responsibilities for their own failures. Way to perpetuate that.

Denver Dave, I don’t think she was blaming Keller Williams, she was simply stating it wasn’t the model she felt like she had been promised. I think as professional individuals we all have the right to express our opinions. I happen to be one of those RE/MAX agents who after 5 years with Re/MAX decided to join Keller Williams and after two and a half years went back to RE/MAX. I personally felt it was the RE/MAX model that was better for me and my business. I feel I did give it my time and effort and followed the KW business model very closely and it didn’t increase my business but that was just my experience. I feel if I don’t learn something from each experience it wasn’t worth the time, effort and money making the move. I am very happy at RE/MAX & it sounds like Paula is as well. If you are with Keller Williams congratulations on your decision and much success to you now and in the future!

Why make false statements about a different model to divert attention away from your own
failings? This article puts remax in a worse light than kw. Don’t blame the logo. Take accountability. Pathetic…

Wow Tom Thumb, you are the Pathetic one, and a coward to boot for not giving your real name. If she made false statements all you have to do is provide proof. It’s that simple, but you didn’t so it’s clearly you who are making false statements.
“Don’t blame the logo” one of the most absurd comments I’ve seen recently. No one is blaming any logo. No one is even blaming Keller Williams.

You are definitely a KW member… wheres your objectively and positive support? Isn’t the fact that she is happy and thriving what matters? We are all in this together!

Nobody’s blaming the brand or the model. If you took the time to read the article it was the ethics of the individuals, the recruiter and owner, that are the crux of the matter.

Congratulations and welcome back home Paula Jones. Thank you for sharing your experience. Any move is hard, so proud of you for making the tough move.
Best of luck and cheers to a fantastic 2018!!!
Soha Fontaine
RE/MAX On The Hudson
Hoboken, NJ

I truly enjoyed the article! Kudos to Paula & congratulations! It takes an amazing business person to recognize a misstep & share it! I am a former KW Agent, I was on the ALC, I performed the KW model well. I recruited other agents, supported their efforts too! I began to notice that I was doing a lot of “work” on behalf of the market center. Unpaid & time I could have better utilized to work my OWN business. Often times KW staff was rude & treated me as if I worked “for” them. Often times no one would answer the phone or be present at the reception desk! It occurred to me most when my daughter & I formed a team. The market center didn’t want to support our effort. we decided to go to a more professional setting, REMAX Trinity! Our Broker, Jaci Coan has made it clear from the beginning, we are her clients & she supports us! Our business has grown steadily! Professionalism & support, The phone is ALWAYS answered & always a receptionist on duty… THAT’s how a REAL business operates. Not ONCE did Paula blame KW! KW works for the ones at the top rung of the market center. I don’t blame KW either, I can certainly say that the market center that I was affiliated with was & continues to be VERY poorly operated- they have management turnover at LEAST annually if not semi annually. Agents join & leave like hot cakes. It’s MY fault I didn’t bail sooner at the first sign of trouble! Again, my full respect & congratulations goes to Paula…..you’re gonna soar now!!!

I too left RE/MAX in 2001 and moved to KW. It was a good learning experience. I lasted about a year and returned to RE/MAX and never looked back.
I did learn a great deal and one of the things that I learned is this: NOTHING beats RE/MAX for the level of professionalism, cutting edge technology, agent support. The power of the brand and strong name recognition carry a LOT of weight in this profession. RE/MAX administration and agents have a great deal of respect for the profession. There are no part timers. RE/MAX agents are serious professionals who continue to advance themselves with education and experiences far above those in other companies. The systems that RE/MAX offers nurtures the culture of professional full time Board members who embrace the values that give Realtors a good name. There are too many companies offering part time agents and inexperienced agents the opportunity to mess up our industry.

I am a fellow ex-KW Agent also. I learned a bunch of wonderful things and met a circle if friends there, I still talk to, even after being gone from there over 10 years. RE/MAX has been an amazing place to be, especially now where I have landed at RE/ MAX Uptown. I have more support, and the atmosphere to be the Best I can be! My fees are less, and I don’t have to worry about recruiting, I worry about me. Congrats and welcome back!

Keller Williams is great for beginners, but no place for experienced Agent, One of the biggest challenges that I didn’t consider when I left RE/MAX and joined Keller Williams is the universal law, you become like the people you surround your self with, I went from a group of Top Professional Realtors at RE/MAX with I can do and have done It mentality to the KW office that was 90 % brand new Agents that had a mind set of fear & confusion like I had when I first got into Real Estate, The moved actually effected my mind set and after I started to think the same way, Well I’m back at RE/MAX now for 2..5 years and everything is great, the sky’s the limit.

Way to see the light Paula.
My first year in real estate (14 years ago) was with KW … I’ll sum up my experience – “lies and deceptive tactics”. Pathetic!
They are all about agent count and not success. The business model only works by having lots lower producing agents.
For me – I capped in 6 months, which meant I was producing and had paid KW International and the local brokerage prox. $24K. Changing to RE/MAX I kept all my commissions and paid RE/MAX International and the local brokerage under $12K … I looked at it financially as giving myself over a $12K raise.
Then they “meeting you to death”. After 3 months I stood up in one of meeting as they were promoting another meeting and said “you talk more about real estate than you do real estate!” That was my personal ‘aha moment’ and focused on clients versus anything else. I found my home with RE/MAX at the end of my first real estate year and never looked back!

Honestly, just looking at the cover of the magazine, the remax culture is really evident. There’s SOOO much us-vs.-them talk from remax it’s gross. The national hate ads, the articles like this, there’s fear all over. Just keep your head down and work.

It’s difficult to run a business in a competitive industry and I understand why people want to knock down others to build themselves up, it’s a tactic when you feel you are losing ground. But in the end it never makes one look stronger it only makes them look desperate,

Hard work gets you more business. Treating others kindly gets you more business. Being knowledgeable gets more business. Serving others at the highest level gets you more business. Being learning based will teach you new ways to get more business. Lifting others up higher then yourself will get you more business. Positive attitudes will as well. You will never grow your business by knocking your competition…you will just look childish.

I have been with RE/MAX DYNAMIC of the Valley, located in the Mat-Su Valley for more than 32 years. I have survived five owners! Every new brand arriving promised the world, I have seen Licenses come and go, most have come back to RE/MAX after a disappointing stint with a new kid in the business. While I am no longer the top producer in the Company, the name and credibility of RE/MAX has made it possible for me to achieve unforeseen heights and satisfaction in the business world.

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