In 1972, Karatz would first become affiliated with Kaufman & Broad, now known as KB Home. He would initially serve as an associate general counsel, moving up in the ranks over the next few years. Karatz and his family moved to France in 1974 to start up housing operations in Marseille and Lyon. He was named CEO of KB France in 1976. His first major mark with the business would come in 1977, when he installed a full-size model home directly on the roof of the Au Printemps department store in France. During his time in the country, he turned the company into a leading homebuilder. The rise in profile earned him consideration for other jobs within the business.
The rising star at Kaufman and Broad stayed in France until he ultimately relocated to Los Angeles in 1981. His official job title would continually change until 1986, when he was named the CEO of the company. Karatz changed the business model for the homebuilding sector by building houses on order instead of building on speculation. This revolutionary approach allowed the company to get a leg up on the competition in not only Southern California, but also in other regional locations that the company acquired as well. The focus shifted towards middle-class families looking for homes in growing communities throughout the 1990s.
KB Home continued to expand in other locations, and some of that came about thanks to unique opportunities presented to Karatz and the company. To help celebrate Fox Broadcasting’s 10th anniversary of The Simpsons, the company created a real-life replica of The Simpsons home in Las Vegas. This helped launch the Las Vegas Division and made it a true leader in a growing market.
Overall, Karatz was able to increase the company’s market capitalization by 1476%, increase the stock price by 800%, increase annual revenues by 575% and oversee a rise in dividends by 400%. Kaufman & Broad would go through a name change and become KB Home, a Fortune 500 company by 2005. In 2006 when Karatz resigned from the company, net profits arrived at $1.29 billion.