Business News

Business News NEWSROOM

Baylor University Opens Research Center to Study Real Estate Buyer-Seller Relationships

March 6, 2007

- Gary Keller, Chairman of Keller Williams Realty, Donates $5 Million to Establish Center -

The Marketing Department at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business will be home to a new real estate research center, funded by a generous $5 million donation by Gary Keller, Chairman of Keller Williams Realty.

Keller approached Baylor with the idea for The Keller Center, which will focus on the factors that influence individual home buyers in their decisions, as well as marketing and management issues that are important to real estate agencies and small businesses.

"Many thanks to Mr. Keller for sharing his vision for the future of marketing with Baylor," said Baylor University President John M. Lilley. "Innovative research coming from the Keller Center will give Baylor the national reputation necessary to attract more top-notch faculty. In turn, the university will be able to recruit top-notch students, helping us to reach the goals set out in Baylor 2012. We appreciate the faith Mr. Keller placed in Baylor by entrusting us with this initiative."

"We are sincerely thankful to Mr. Keller for his generosity. The Keller Center is an exciting opportunity to be entrepreneurial in a space or niche to which no one else in academia has really paid much attention," said Terry Maness, dean of Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business. "The buyer-seller issues in real estate are important not only for agents at real estate agencies, but also on a broader scale for marketers and salespeople in a variety of settings."

Two newly-hired research professors at the Keller Center will begin in August to explore the industry through the eyes of the agent and the consumer, rather than the aggregate real estate issues, such as interest rates and pricing, that are traditionally studied.

"The goal of the Keller Center will be to study the issues that are pressing for real estate companies and agents in today's marketplace," Keller said. "For all the awesome research that is already out there, there is an equal amount that is still not being done."

After conducting literature reviews of academic work in real estate marketing, Baylor faculty determined that little of it addressed buyer-seller relationships.

"Why do people really buy? How do they consider the role of the agent? What influence does the Internet have on information search processes and subsequent purchase decisions? These are the kinds of questions we will be answering in great depth," said Kirk Wakefield, chair of the Marketing Department at Baylor.

Research potentially synergistic to the new Keller Center has long been conducted at Baylor. Its Hankamer School of Business is also home to the Center for Professional Selling and has established highly-respected research streams in the area of professional sales and sales management. Its faculty have published research in venues such as the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Retailing, and Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management. In addition, the School is a pioneer in the field of Entrepreneurship and well-known for small business research, as published in Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice (owned by Baylor University), Journal of Small Business Management, Journal of Applied Corporate Finance Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance. Faculty also wrote the leading text book in small business, Small Business Management: An Entrepreneurial Approach (by Longenecker, Moore, Petty, and Palich), which is used by 600-700 universities.

"My hope is that the Keller Center will put Baylor University on the map as the definitive resource for comprehensive, in-depth studies that can bring insight and value to residential real estate professionals," Keller said.

About Gary Keller and Keller Williams Realty Inc.

Keller graduated from Baylor University in 1979 with a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing, with a specialization in real estate and insurance. In 2006, the university honored Keller with its Distinguished Alumni Award. That same year, REALTOR® Magazine named Keller one of the Top 25 Most Influential Thought Leaders. In 2005, Inman News recognized Keller as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate.

Founded in 1983, Keller Williams Realty Inc. is the fourth-largest real estate franchise operation in North America, with more than 600 offices and 77,000 associates in the United States and Canada. The company's agent-centric culture emphasizes access to leading-edge education and promotes an economic model that rewards associates as stakeholders and partners. Keller Williams Realty, which began franchising in 1990, is growing by more than a thousand agents a month. Keller Williams Realty associates place high value on professional education and a full-time commitment to real estate sales. For more information, visit Keller Williams Realty online at (www.kw.com).

About Baylor Business

The Hankamer School of Business holds to a visionary standard of excellence whereby integrity stands shoulder to shoulder with analytic and strategic strengths to build leaders, not simply careers. In the Ethics rankings done by BusinessWeek magazine, the undergraduate business program is ranked 3rd in the nation. Among private business schools, the undergraduate program is ranked 22nd by U.S.News and World Report and 23rd by BusinessWeek. Baylor's Entrepreneurship program is ranked 14th by U.S. News and its Accounting program is ranked 18th by Public Accounting Report. Visit www.baylor.edu/business for more information.

Border Title