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Real estate empire finds a new kind of 'Mister Fix It'

By Doug Snover

May 13, 2006

Scott Agnew hasn’t actually gone out and sold a house in about five years, he admits, but he is one of the most successful Realtors in Arizona. And now Utah, for that matter.

Agnew has emerged in recent years as a kind of “Mister Fix-It” for the Keller Williams International real estate empire, building up a once-troubled franchise in Utah at the request of Gary Keller until it is now one of the company's top 10 offices in the United States and Canada.

Agnew’s Warner Road office in the Kyrene Corridor also is among the firm's top producers. In fact, it’s the fourth-highest-producing office in the Keller Williams empire and the number one Keller Williams office in Arizona, according to Agnew.

Agnew owns five separate offices that operate under the Keller Williams banner. Two of them are among Keller Williams’ top 10 offices anywhere -- the Tempe office (Number 4) and one in Midvale, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City.

The Midvale office is rated Number 10 among more than 540 Keller Williams offices in the USA and Canada.

Agnew plans to open several more offices over the next few years.

Agnew got his start in real estate in 1978 after graduating from the University of Arizona with a business degree and an interest in real estate. Not surprisingly, he spends his time these days managing his interstate operations instead of selling individual properties.

“Patti, my wife, is the one who sells the houses,” he says.

The key to his success? “I believe it’s my ability to recruit the best leadership talent,” he told Wrangler News. “I’m a recruiter, a talent recruiter. I know how to align myself with the top people.”

Scott Agnew, who recently turned 50, calls himself a “strategist.”

“My thing is all about developing people,” he said. “I seek to recruit and train the very best talent in the real estate industry. That’s my quest. Every day, my interests center around those activities.”

It’s not a talent he learned in his college courses on real estate. He says his real textbooks came after graduation when he devoured bestsellers like Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and other self-help books for business types.

Today, Agnew looks for several key attributes in his teams.

First, he considers matching values. In Agnew’s case, that means putting God and family ahead of business.

Then he looks for “awesome problem-solving abilities.” Also, a clear track record of success. And, finally, “a behavior match for the job … they have to be wired in such a way that they want to get tasks completed quickly with people.”

Agnew went into real estate as soon as he graduated from college. But he detoured into what he calls “the corporate world” for a few years.

That’s where he learned that sometimes a handshake is just a handshake and sometimes it’s a dependable promise.

To summarize that story, Agnew says he had a handshake agreement with the owner of a business to the effect that that Agnew would build up the business in exchange for a share of the ownership.

“I worked there for a couple of years and really had a large increase in business,” he said. “The owner and I had a handshake agreement but when I went to get my ownership that was promised me in the handshake agreement, everybody forgot about that discussion.”

“At that point, I walked out of his office into my office and the telephone rings. It was a friend of mine from the University of Arizona who said, ‘I’m starting this real estate company, do you want to come over?’ I said I’ll be right over. Just as one door closed, another one opened.”

“I went there part-time, and within 90 days, I became the president of that company,” he said. “In the next couple of years, we grew it to be $100 million in volume.”

Agnew (who is no relation to the controversial former Vice President Spiro Agnew, by the way) has been building up real estate offices ever since.

In 1997, Agnew and Texas-based Keller Williams found each other. “We were the first Keller Williams franchise in Arizona,” Agnew said.

The franchise included the Tempe territory. So it was my job to come here and start the Tempe franchise.”

“At the very same time, Keller Williams had an office up in Utah that was losing money. I went up and bought it” with the encouragement of Gary Keller, he said.

“He’s the whole reason I joined Keller Williams,” Agnew said.

“That’s what propelled me into Utah.  Now I own the rights to sell all the rights to Keller Williams franchises in Utah,” he said.

Again, it was a handshake deal, Agnew said.

“It was nothing more than a handshake deal. It was a promise. It was, ‘Fix Utah, Scott, and we will see where that leads us’.”

By 2003, Agnew had opened the Midvale Keller Williams office to capture the Salt Lake City market. That office now is the top Keller Williams office in Utah and one of Keller Williams’ busiest anywhere.

Agnew, himself, spends only about six days each month in Utah.

The Utah market is growing, however, he says, and “our full potential is well ahead of us.”

Keller Williams now has five franchises in Utah, and Agnew owns three of them.

He plans to triple that to 15 Keller Williams offices within three years.

Agnew anticipates owning six of those 15 Keller Williams Utah offices.

“I’m going to pick where I’m needed, where they need the leadership. I’m just going to go in where I feel I need to go to make sure growth happens.”



Photo by David Stone


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