Derek J Kats, Ranked in the USA’s Top-100 Realtors
Derek Kats had a promising start right out of the University of Nebraska. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, he had been recruited by two different Fortune 500 companies, the world was open to him and he was fast-tracked to climb the corporate ladder…however, something was missing. The corporate world that his new job existed within limited his entrepreneurial spirit (plus made him get up at 6 a.m. and drive to Omaha). Realizing that was no lifestyle for him, Derek walked out abruptly one afternoon and drove home in search of new career ideas.
With no background in real estate or construction, he decided to start his own real estate investment company named Real Estate Avenues that was set up to flip houses and hold rental properties. Thanks to detailed and “creative” maneuvering of the banking system (noting this was in 2005 when anyone could get a loan, or two or three), his investment company acquired foreclosure properties at a rapid rate that was only accelerated by the real estate recession of 2007-2008.
Since then, Derek and his investment company created a sister company named Real Estate Avenues: General Contracting, in order to aid the growth and maintenance of the investment company and its properties. To date, Derek and his investment company have bought or sold over 250+ investment properties in the Lincoln area, along with contributing to the revitalization of Lincoln’s distressed properties and neighborhoods, a necessary factor in fueling today’s hot housing market.
During this period of extreme growth in the investment property industry, Derek was simultaneously working on getting his real estate license, which he thought would solely be used to aid his personal investing and his investment company. Never did he anticipate obtaining a license in order to service and sell real estate for others, or as he calls it, “Realtoring.” It was only 2010 when he began this part of his career, but by the second half of 2011, he was already ranked as the top Buyer’s Agent Realtor in Lincoln. It was at this time he realized his talents and unique skill set as a REALTOR and decided to put his investment company on auto-pilot in order to make “Realtoring” his primary focus.
In 2014, Derek once again decided to try something new. Needing more freedom and the opportunity to build something of his own, he founded Real Estate Avenues: The Brokerage. REA was created with specific goals in mind – to serve as a real estate brokerage that was more professional than an upstart brokerage and more tech savvy and innovative than what traditional brokerages could offer. There was a need for a more streamlined approach to buying or selling homes that was not being fulfilled by Lincoln’s existing Brokerage models, and Derek was able to capitalize on that.
In 2016, Real Estate Avenues: The Brokerage had become the fastest-growing brokerage in Lincoln, with over 200% sales growth attracting the attention of both local and national brokerages. Out of all the companies showing interest in REA, only Keller Williams matched culturally, technologically, and in terms of agent independence, so a merger was completed in early 2017 to form the fourth largest brokerage in Lincoln. Since the merger, Keller Williams Lincoln has continued to grow in sales as well as agent count, and is currently in the process of purchasing a new commercial office building to house the quickly-expanding brokerage.
Derek is quick to show and discuss his excitement about the opportunity to be a part of the beginning of a Keller Williams in Lincoln, noting the consistent success of the surrounding regional and national Keller Williams Brokerages. He is also first to trumpet the incredible opportunities for Keller Williams agents in not only the Realtor sales side, but also with the ability to become a part of the organization and gain passive income from the Brokerage as well as its ancillary companies and other investment opportunities. As Derek puts it, “There is a reason Keller Williams is the biggest in the world, and I’m excited that their corporate think-tank realized the opportunity that was arising in Lincoln and focused their corporate resources on our growing city.”
During the aforementioned time spanning the Brokerage launch, growth, and the eventual merger with Keller Williams, Derek not only maintained his success as an individual REALTOR sales associate, but he was actually able to grow his practice. With hard work and the implementation of systems and support staff, Derek was recently ranked as Lincoln’s #1 Residential Realtor for Homes Sold in 2016 (Transaction Sides).
Even more staggering, in July 2017 Derek was also recognized in the Wall Street Journal by Realtrends as a TOP-100 REALTOR IN THE UNITED STATES for Homes Sold (Transaction Sides). This is nearly unheard of for a small- to moderate-sized market such as Lincoln’s when competing against a field of approximately 2,000,000 other licensed real estate agents (licensees) from across the United States, many of whom are in densely populated cities. In a letter from the Keller Williams CEO John Davis, Derek was praised openly for this accolade and was also recognized by Keller Williams Realty International with a full-page article in the Wall Street Journal.
Today, our real estate market is moving at an incredible pace. While the speed and pricing of real estate can be exciting, it is important to remember the potential pitfalls that come with this market. Diligence in both buying and selling is important, and utilizing the services of a skilled REALTOR is essential. In order to capitalize on the amazing opportunities in this market, one needs to select a REALTOR who understands the contracts and process, always keeping in mind that “finding the buyer” or “finding the house” is only half of why you hire a REALTOR. The other half is understanding how to write a favorable contract that keeps the client safe along with making sure the under-contract process goes smoothly and closes on time. Buyers can find homes and sellers can find buyers, but rarely can buyers or sellers understand a 10-15 page contract…nor the magnitude of the liability that comes with it. Derek Kats and his team of agents at Keller Williams Lincoln are focused on representing their clients’ best interests and consistently performing at the highest level.