Keith and Kinsey's Real Estate Update


My Favorite Podcasts

I’m always trying to further my knowledge and better myself. I enjoy reading business and self-improvement type books far more than fiction. With that said, I’m not really a big reader. When I do slow down enough to sit down with a book, I usually enter into sleep mode pretty quickly.  So, I listen to a ton of podcasts. While I’m at the office or on the treadmill I’ve often got my headphones in with one of these podcasts going.

Real Estate

  • Creating Wealth with Jason Hartman – Jason, talks about real estate investing and long term wealth building. In my opinion he has a somewhat risky high leverage approach.  He provides great information, has good rules of thumb, and interviews highly successful people.
  • How to Rent Vacation Properties By Owner – Christine Karpinski shares her experiences, knowledge, and tips in the vacation rental business. While vacation rentals are not my favorite investment choice, they can be a fun and profitable investment. A lot of Christine’s advice can be carried over to other areas of real estate as well.
  • The Real Estate Guys Radio Show – These guys provide lots of general information about real estate investing strategies, taxes, and asset protection.
  • Real Life Real Estate Investing – Vena Jones Cox offers investing and landlording tips based on her real world experience. She definitely lets the reality of the pros and cons show.
  • Your First Day In Real Estate – James, a top producing real estate agent, shares stories, tips, and marketing ideas primarily for real estate agents.

Financial

  • The Dave Ramsey Show – This continues to be my favorite podcast. Dave provides financial advice to callers based on biblical no debt principals. His high level of energy, integrity, tidbits of relationship advice, and occasional rant never fails to entertain me. Dave also has a tenancy to help motivate me in all aspects of my life.
  • Brian Preston’s “Money Guy” – Brian and Bo are certified financial planners who provide well-rounded real life financial advice. These guys talk about everything including; Retirement planning, Estate planning, Investing, and even Black Friday deals.
  • Money Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for a Richer Life – Laura Adams provides a fairly short podcast on one specific finance related tip every week.
  • Motley Fool Money – These guys talk about business, investing, and the latest on Wall Street.
  • NPR: Planet Money – This podcast breaks down global economic information in terms that the average person can easily understand.

Business

  • The EntreLeadership Podcasts – This is another one of my favorites. This podcast is done by Dave Ramsey’s team, and gives advice on being an entrepreneur, running a business, and leadership. It also stays true to Dave’s Christian values and strong moral principles.
  • Eventual Millionaire – Jamie Tardy interviews entrepreneur millionaires in efforts to learn what makes these people successful.

Personal/Spiritual

  • Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman Gary, Chris, and Andrea provide some great gospel based advice on improving and growing relationships.
  • 1 Year Daily Audio Bible – Brian (and occasionally Jill) Hardin break down the Bible and take you through it step by step in 365 days. After each reading Brian always provides some quick highlights in plain English.

Typing this list, made me realize, there seems to be a shortage of good personal and spiritual growth type podcasts. Trust me, I’ve looked for more, but haven’t found others entertaining enough to hold my attention. If anyone has a favorite podcast of any type, feel free to post it in the comments below. I’d love to see what others listen too.



Ready, Set, GOAL!

We’ve come to the end of 2011. What was your biggest accomplishment in the last year? Did you achieve everything you wanted?  Many of us set New Year’s resolutions and have ideas of things we’d like to accomplish in the coming year, but how many of us stick to a plan and follow through with these things?

Within the past few years of running a business, I’ve come to the realization that in order to achieve goals; we must write them down, focus, follow through, and pay attention to the end target. Twenty-eleven ended up being a great year for us. We blew away most of our business goals, and we achieved all of our personal goals with the exception of running a marathon. I credit our success to having a plan and focusing on our goals.

I read a lot of business and real estate books, and I’m currently reading Dave Ramsey’s Entre Leadership. Ramsey mentions that goals must be measurable, realistic, and have a timeline. In other words, if your goal is to lose weight, you should consider the time frame and amount you want to lose. It would be better to say, “I plan to lose 10 pounds by March 1st” as opposed to, “I want to lose weight.” You’ll be much more successful having a realistic target with a deadline.

Zig Ziglar talks about the wheel of life and says we should set a goal in each of these areas: Career, Financial, Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Family, and Social.  Without getting into too many personal details I’ll share with you a few of our goals and you can help hold us accountable.

Career

  • Increase our 2012 real estate sales volume by 25% over 2011.
  • Minimize rental turn overs. The goal is only 1 turn over this year.

Financial

  • Buy a new home with 20% down by the end of July.
  • Keep a monthly budget and review it every month with my wife.

Spiritual

Physical

  • Complete a half marathon in 2hr and 10 min or better by the end of October.

Intellectual

  • Complete a real estate accreditation by the end of the year.

Family

  • Since I tend to be a workaholic – take one week off work for fun time with my awesome wife (time off to move or fix up rentals doesn’t count).

Social

  • Participate in 8 volunteer or charity events.

Remember, “If you don’t set goals for yourself, you’re doomed to work to achieve the goals of someone else.” – Brian Tracy. What are some of your goals for 2012? Feel free to post them in the comments, and we’ll help hold you accountable.



Our Year In Summary 2011 – Happy Holidays!
December 22, 2011, 2:48 pm
Filed under: General Info

I (Keith) always enjoy reading Christmas letters from friends and family this time of year. I realize how much we miss in other people’s lives when we just rely on the reading their occasional Facebook updates.  Personally I  am terrible at getting Christmas cards out. If you got one from me, it’s because my amazing wife sent out a few, but I don’t think she made it through our entire list either. So, I decided rather than send a Christmas card and/or letter, I’d just write a blog summarizing our year.

It’s been a great year and a busy year. We’ve spent a lot of time this year building and refining our real estate business and we had an awesome year in business. Although, I’ll try to stick to more of the fun personal stuff in this post.

Last winter we decided we were going to get fit and train for a marathon. Well, plans changed a bit when Kinsey ended up with a stress fracture in her leg. I lost a lot of motivation with her not being able to run for awhile, but kept up with a less rigorous exercise schedule. We’ll aim for a smaller more realistic goal of a half marathon in May 2012.

In February Kinsey did the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics. For those unfamiliar, this is where people jump in frozen Lake Monona for charity. Yikes! Yes, I was a wimp and chose not to do it. It was a great event and her team raised well over $1,500 the charity. It’s in the plans for 2012 again if you’re interested in joining the team or donating.

In March, I ran my first 10k with the Shamrock Shuffle. Kinsey was feeling that her leg was healed and against doctor’s orders ran the 5k event. This year it will be 10k events for the both of us.
 

In April we went took a long weekend trip to Texas for our good friends, Kristen and Jordan’s, engagement party. Then in June we went to St Thomas for their wedding, which Kinsey was a bridesmaid in. This trip was amazing and a much needed get away! In addition to the wedding we enjoyed some hiking on St John and lots of snorkeling  in the Caribbean. Kinsey saw a (nurse) Shark and speedily swam back to shore while I tried to get a closer look. Note to all, if you head to St. John and want to hike, take bug spray – or you’ll pay for it with a $10 can of Off! or a TON of mosquito bites!! Make sure you hit Little Trunk Bay and snorkel!

Also in June, we made a big business move switching our real estate sales business to Keller Williams Realty. I can say it has been a good move because we’ve had a great year.  Our rental property business also had a reasonably good year as well. In the rental world, that means no nightmare tenants or major repairs.

In July I put some of my attempted marathon training to use doing the Tough Mudder. For those that don’t know, this is a 10 mile obstacle course up and down ski slopes. It was definitely the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done, but it was a blast.

In October, we celebrated our 1 year anniversary with a trip to Minocqua. It’s hard to believe October was a year already. Again this was a much needed get away, since we spend far too much time working. I’m making it a goal for the coming year to spend more quality time with my wife. I’m thankful to have had a great first year of marriage.

Now here we are approaching the end of December 2011 already. The snow this morning finally made it feel a little bit like December, but it still feels like it should be October to me. A couple weeks ago we put my old house on the market (it’s been rented the last two years). We got an early Christmas present of an accepted offer within a week of listing it. I’m not too excited yet, as we still have some contingencies to get through. If all goes well we will get the house sold and we’ll put our condo on the market this coming spring. We are in search of a home in Verona that we can call home for the long term.

Lastly, the dogs say hi. **woof-woof**. Harley has slowed down a lot. She’s approaching 12 years old and has extremely bad joints and arthritis now. Although, Dyna is doing her best to keep Harley young and playful, and she’s doing a good job at it. Dyna is 2 and a half and still full of energy. I’ll be honest though, I never thought a small dog could have so much personality. She’s definitely entertaining.

All in all, it’s been an awesome year. I hope you all had a great year too!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Keith and Kinsey!



2011 Dane County Real Estate Stats

Yesterday we closed our final scheduled house sale of 2011. So, it’s time to look at our year end statistics.  While there is still doom and gloom all over the news about the real estate market, we were blessed with a great year.

Through November, the total number of home sales in Dane County was down 4.25% over last year. The median home price in Dane county was almost flat, down only about 0.5%. Thankfully the Madison area has been has held fairly strong compared to the rest of the country.

We are excited to report that even though the market in our area was slightly down, our sales were up 42.9%! We kicked some butt in almost every area compared to the Dane County MLS Statistics. Our lower average sale price is primarily due to young first time home buyers being the largest percentage of our cliental. Our clients have been great, and we enjoy working with each and every one of them, whether it was an $80,000 sale or a $400,000 sale!

Looking at the average days on market stat above seems absolutely unbelievable in this market (I had to double check it 3 times myself). However, I should point out that this stat is based on homes that have sold not homes that are still active. The average active listing on the MLS has been there for 331 days, and our average unsold active listing has been on the market 139 days. This is truly a market of deal shopping buyers. The homes that are the best house for the best price in the neighborhood sell fast, others definitely take more time.

It’s even more exciting that we blew away our own statistics from 2010 and made a huge increase in our charitable donations. This was partially due to some incentives that temporarily increased our commissions when we moved to Keller Williams in June.

Thank you to all of our clients that helped us have an amazing year and for choosing some great charities to donate to this year! We are thankful for each and every one of you, and the relationships we’ve built this year.



Making a Difference Through Charity
March 22, 2011, 1:01 pm
Filed under: General Info, Money, Real Estate | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

We are firm believers that you should give a portion of your income. Why? It makes a positive impact on someone or something, it makes you feel good, it makes you appreciate what you have, and (for the Christians out there) the bible tells us too. Whether you give it to your church, a charity, or a friend in need, you can make a difference.

With our real estate sales business we have committed to donating 10% of our commissions to charity. To make it even more meaningful and fun, we let our clients choose the charities they want us to donate to. We have had clients request donations to cancer foundations, community health services, various other health causes, Haiti earthquake relief, churches, and on and on. However occasionally we run across a client who says, I have no clue where to donate to. So, here are a few suggestions on how to decide.

Choose a cause that’s meaningful to you. Maybe a family member battled cancer, look at some charities related to cancer research. Maybe you walk by a homeless person every day and you want to donate to your local homeless shelter. Maybe you have a heart for animals, think about something related to your furry friends. There’s a charity related to just about every topic you could think about.

Once you have an idea of what to look for, research the organizations that relate to your cause. You want to choose a quality charity. A well run charity has low overhead expenses and gets a large percentage of the money directly to their cause. Charity Navigator is the best website We’ve seen to research this stuff. They have a rating system that is based on the efficiency and performance of each charity, and they show financial information for most charities.

Another great way to know if a particular charity is a worthwhile donation is to volunteer there. Not only will you learn more about the charity while volunteering, you will be helping them in the process.

Please help those less fortunate, and donate some time or money yourself.


Acts 20:35 It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you

Luke 6:38 For if you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure

Proverbs 28:27 He who gives to the poor will never want



Organize Your Life (and Your Digital Files)

In the past few years there’s been a flurry of new electronic devices such as laptops, cell phones, ipads, iphones, etc.  All these devices are suppose to make our lives more efficient; we can now look up a phone number or email address in seconds, we can keep our grocery lists on our phone, and we can carry our documents with us on our phones or laptops.  Although, as our technology helps us get the information we need faster, our jobs and businesses demand more of us. With all these tools we are suppose to be more efficient and do 5 times the work 10 times as fast right? Well sorta.

A few months ago, I found myself in organizational chaos. I’m still working at a full time engineering job as well as running a real estate sales and property management business with my wife. I found myself with with information scattered amongst my laptop, my wife’s laptop, my phone, my work computer, sticky notes, and good old fashion manila folders. I about went crazy one day looking for a real estate contract one day. It was then I realized something needed to change when I found it –  on the 4th device I looked on!

After a little asking around, my cousin turned me on to Evernote (thanks Erin). Evernote is a simple note sharing tool that can be downloaded on a computer and phone. It will sync notes between your phone, multiple computers, and website. My wife and I started using Evernote for simple stuff like grocery lists, business to do lists, our wedding guest list, et cetera. It works great. Too great as now I have no excuse anymore when Kinsey tells me I forgot something at the grocery store. We tried Evernote with some of our real estate documents and it was a little cumbersome having to delete and replace a document if there was an update. I love the note keeping features of Evernote and still use it for that, but I started looking for a more functional file sharing tool.

After a little more asking around, I found Dropbox (thanks Dad).  Dropbox is a true file syncing system. You download a program/app onto your phone and computer like you do with Evernote. However, Dropbox appears basically like a Windows Explorer folder. Anything I place in that folder (or it’s subfolders) will sync to my other devices that have Dropbox. For example, I now keep my property management accounting file on Dropbox. I normally do all my property management accounting at home on my laptop. However, I had a tenant call me while I was at work one day asking how much he owed and what his late fee would be. I could easily access my accounting file from my work computer to check. What a time saver!

Even if you don’t have as many devices or documents to keep track of as us, these tools are great for file sharing or keeping track of some of your personal files that you may want to be accessible from anywhere. Did I mention, both of these tools are completely free (up to a certain storage capacity). Try them out, hopefully these things will make your life a little more organized and efficient.



Happy New Year!
January 2, 2011, 6:57 pm
Filed under: General Info | Tags: ,

2010 was great to us! The highlights of the year for us were getting engaged in January, a Caribbean cruise in February, a Harley trip to Colorado in June, our best real estate sales month ever in October, and don’t forget our wedding day! We also started going back to church and met some great new friends. As always there were some rough times and disappointments, but I prefer to learn from the bad times and focus on the positives.

The New Year is now upon us. So, it’s time to set some goals. No matter how great the previous year was, there’s always room for growth and improvement. A few of our goals for 2011 are improving our real estate sales over the previous 2 years, increasing our charitable giving and volunteering, spending more time with our friends and family, and running a marathon!

Don’t forget to set some goals for yourself and do your best to follow through with them. Happy New Year!