Keith and Kinsey's Real Estate Update

Setting Your Goals For 2013
December 30, 2012, 9:34 pm
Filed under: Business, Life | Tags: , , , , ,

Well, here we are at the end of another year! It’s a great time to look forward to the coming year and think about what you would like to accomplish in 2013. It’s also a great time to look back and see how you did on your 2012 goals.

If you aren’t a goal setter, I encourage you to try it. Goals are a great way to improve your life. The difficulty is most people don’t set goals in a way that force them to stick to them. Most people just have some rough ideas in their head of things they want to accomplish, and most of the time they never follow through. There are 5 key things that will help you follow through with your goals:

  1. Write it down. Without your goals in writing, they will simply slip away as ideas and dreams.
  2. Have someone hold you accountable. If you have a friend or family member that knows your goals ask them to check in on you occasionally to see how you are doing.
  3. Make it measurable. Without a way to measure your goal you don’t know when you achieved it. This is the difference between saying I want to lose weight, and I want to lose 10 lbs. The 10 lbs gives you something to go by.
  4. Give it a timeline. Without a date to achieve something by, you’re not pushed to make it happen. To add to item 3, you might say, I’m going to lose 10 lbs by the end of March.
  5. It must be realistic. Make goals that push you a bit, but make them realistic. For example if you are starting up a new side business, maybe making a $30,000 profit in your first year is achievable, but making a million is not. Setting an impossible goal will just end in discouragement.

If you read our year end summary you already know that we had many great accomplishments in 2012 and we met and exceeded most of our 2012 goals. There are only two goals that I failed at. One was running a half marathon, though I got close with an 11 mile run. The other was the number of volunteer or charity events we wanted to participate in. I could make lots of excuses like a foot pain that’s been driving me nuts, or just the simple lack of time due to moving, building a house, and a busy business.  …but in reality, it’s more just lack of planning and focus in those two areas, and that I can only blame on myself.

I’ll be honest, I’m having a bit of a hard time coming up with goals for 2013.  The main reason for this is because we have a baby on the way. I know this will drastically change our lives and time commitments. My primary goal is to be a great Dad and husband, but that’s a little hard to measure or put a timeline on (if anyone has ideas on that let me know).  So, I’m setting some goals in other areas of my life that I think are realistic and achievable, yet challenging with a new baby to come. Here’s a few:

  • Get my real estate broker’s license – This is a step above a licensed agent.  Every agent must work under a broker’s supervision. Ultimately this could lead to starting our own brokerage, we’ll see.
  • Match our sales volume of 2012 – We had a phenomenal 2012 with sales up 149% over 2011 (even though our goal was 25%).  So, I’ll be happy just to match last year!
  • Stay (get) fit – I’ll admit I was pretty up and down with my workouts in 2012. There were some weeks where I just never made it to the gym and others that I kicked some butt. So, I’m going to allow myself some up and down but shoot for an overall average. So, we’ll say run 200 miles for the year, and workout 100 times a year. That’s an average of 2 workouts a week and 3.8 miles per week.
  • Charity events –Whether it’s Salvation Army bell ringing, a day working on a Habitat for Humanity house, or a charity run, our goal is to participate in 8 events that benefit charities. This one we failed at last year (I think we did 5 or 6), but we’ll try to make it happen this year.

Post in the comments a few of your goals, and we’ll try to help hold you accountable! Have a great new year! Bring on 2013!


Giving Challenge – Commit to Charitable Giving
December 24, 2012, 11:25 am
Filed under: Business, Life, Money | Tags: , , , , ,

I love the Holidays, It’s a time of year when people seem to be happy to give and help others. In fact, we’ve rung bells for the Salvation Army at Millers & Sons Supermarket twice in the recent weeks, and I’ve been amazed at the generosity of people in our small town of Verona! Although, this spirit of giving, doesn’t always seem to continue year round.

At Keith & Kinsey Real Estate we’ve made the commitment to donate 10% of our commissions to the charity of our clients choice. We started the charity program in 2010 after the earthquake in Haiti, and it’s been a hit with our clients. It always makes us and our clients feel good to know that people get help as a result of every closing. Even so, sometimes it’s easy to loose site of the real spirit of things. My wife recently emailed me a picture of another real estate agent’s business card which said, I donate 10% to XYZ. For a split second my reaction was one of spite, thinking she copied us and used it to market herself. However, that initial reaction quickly turned to delight realizing, she copied us and more charities are getting more money! 🙂

I started thinking… What if more businesses did this? What if more individuals did this? Would it every be possible for charities to replace government programs? Could it lead to the cure of certain diseases? Could it help the next generation?

My point here is not to boast or market ourselves based on our charity program. Instead, I’d like to encourage others to make the same commitment in the coming years. I challenge you to commit a portion of your income to charity. Lets see if we can change the world together.

If you need help deciding what is a worth cause to give to, Charity Navigator is a great place to research charities. They have a rating system that is based on the efficiency and performance of each charity, and they show financial information for most charities.

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

Related posts:

Making a Difference Through Charity

Our Year In Summary 2012 – Happy Holidays!
December 18, 2012, 8:43 pm
Filed under: Life

I can’t believe we are a week away from Christmas and approaching the end of 2012 already. Last year I posted a summary of our year for the first time rather than sending out a Christmas letter like many people do. So, we’ll try to keep it an annual tradition. Happy Holidays!

2012 was a great, rather busy, yet absolutely amazing. It seems like so much happened I had to look back at my calendar and past blogs to refresh my memory. It does seem like there was a little too much work and not enough play, but I can’t complain, the hard work has paid off with some relaxation near the end of the year.

In January, we started the year with the sale of my old house in Fitchburg, which had been rented for the previous 2 years. We had been living in Kinsey’s condo, but looking for a house that could be a longer term place to settle.

In February, we made the decision to build a house and we purchased a lot in Verona.

In March our real estate business was exploding. We were working with a bunch of buyers, had several new listings, and we were just trying to keep up with things while planning for our home build and move at the same time.

By April, the builder had broken ground on our house, and construction was in full swing. It was exciting to watching the progress as things went.

Ground Breaking
Ground Breaking

May ended up being a record month of real estate closings for us due to all the spring activity in March and April. We were swamped, but thankfully somehow everything fell into place. It was probably good to be this busy though, because it got my mind off some struggles with our rental property in Indy.

June brought a little bit of time for a breather to have some fun time with friends at a car show in Wisconsin Dells, but otherwise it was mostly spent packing, purging, and turning over a rental unit.

In July, our home was complete, and we took a few days off to move in and get settled. We were so excited to be in a new home with a little more space to spread out and grow into. I think I was most excited for the extra garage space, Kinsey was most excited about a larger kitchen and office space, and of course the dogs loved their new yard and freedom to roam.

Finished House
Finished House

We also ended up selling the rental property in Indianapolis at the end of July. This was a big financial hit but we managed to make it work. We learned some valuable lessons, and got rid of a big headache that was causing a lot of stress.

Most of August was spent finishing closets, working on landscaping, clearing out our storage unit, and trying to get grass to grow during a drought. Although, the end of august was the most exciting part of our year, we found out that Kinsey is pregnant! It has been very exciting watching the changes develop and planning for the new addition to our family.

In September we got Kinsey’s condo sold, and we almost beat our record month of May in real estate sales (records are made to be broken right). Somehow we managed to get through all of this while Kinsey was fighting the first trimester lack of energy.

12 weeks Ultrasound

In October after our 12 week ultrasound, and what seemed like forever, we announced to everyone that we were having a baby. This was a huge relief no longer hide it, and know that they baby was looking healthy so far. We also hosted a client appreciation Halloween party which was a lot of fun.

Kinsey pumpkin carving (with pliers?)

In Novemeber hmm… I’ve got no clue, It must have been an amazingly rare calm month.

Finally in December we took a vacation to Rivera Maya, Mexico. This was our last real get away before starting a family. We mostly relaxed and enjoyed the beaches and sunshine. However, we did take a day trip to see the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. This was quiet amazing if you ask me. How they built that stuff 1000 years ago, is beyond me! We also took a boat ride to Akumal Bay to go snorkeling, and we saw several giant sea turtles.

Sunrise near Rivera Maya Mexico
Kinsey sporting the baby bump at the cenotes in Valladolid Mexico

All in all 2012 was great. It seemed like there was a lot going on with all the selling, buying, building, moving, baby, etc. However, for the first time in a long time, I feel settled, relaxed and completely content. I know 2013 will entirely change our life and what’s important. I expect next year’s summary will be more about kids and family rather than business, property, and vacation. I’m ready, and I look forward to the changes!

Happy Holidays!

Top 10 Things I’m Thankful For
November 21, 2012, 8:49 pm
Filed under: Life | Tags: , ,

It’s Thanksgiving, a time when we reflect on what we are thankful for throughout the year. It’s kind of odd don’t you think? So many of us think about the stresses and negatives in life most of the time. It’s sad that it takes a holiday to get us to appreciate things. We’ve had some ups and downs this year, but I think I’ve done a good job focusing on the positives. Here’s the 10 things I am most thankful for.

  1. An awesome year in business exceeding our goals.
  2. Our loving families, who we can spend more time with during the holidays.
  3. Our church and it’s supportive, helpful, and faithful members.
  4. Less maintenance, financial management, and stress after selling my house, Kinsey’s condo, and a rental property.
  5. Our new house and it’s much needed garage space for me to enjoy tinkering on cars and motorcycles again.
  6. Our great friends and neighbors (we really did move into the best neighborhood on earth).
  7. Our tenants who have been incredibly great and dependable this year (excluding the one from item 4).
  8. Our health. Thankfully we’ve made it through the year without any major sickness or injuries.
  9. My amazing, beautiful, and hardworking wife.
  10. …and the best for last… our baby on the way. It amazes me at the growth and transformation every time we visit the doctor. We are so excited to be parents.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! What are you most thankful for?

The Golden Rule – How Does It Relate In Business
November 15, 2012, 12:15 pm
Filed under: Business, Life, Real Estate | Tags: , , , ,

Most of you have heard of The Golden Rule; “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As far back as I can remember this rule has been engrained in my brain. I don’t know whether my parents taught it to me or if I learned it from a Sunday school teacher way back when, but it stems from Luke 6:31 and Mathew 7:12 of the Bible. Ironically our pastor spoke about this a couple weeks ago after I had written half this blog. In any case, I’ve discovered how useful the Golden Rule is in business, in life, and in relationships.

In real estate, and any business for that matter, challenges arise, and mistakes happen. Often when a complication arises in a business transaction somebody ends up getting pissed off, defensive, disrespectful, or blaming. I’ll admit I’ve been guilty myself a time or two. However, you’d be surprised at the number of times I’ve had another agent yell, cuss, or even hang up the phone on me (I can say I’ve never done that). That kind of reaction never solves anything.

I always try to put myself in the shoes of the person on the other side of the deal. I ask myself if I were them, what would I do? …and If I were them, what would I want me to do? After all, a transaction must work for the people on both sides, or you’re not going to reach a deal.

This thought process not only helps a lot with the respect factor, it can also help with negotiations. You can negotiate hard while still being respectful, and treating others how you expect to be treated. In fact, if you can be friendly, helpful, and find out what the other party really needs it will almost always result in a better deal.

In other respects treat your clients how you would want to be treated as a client too. The reason most businesses fail is because they don’t meet the needs of the customer. A business is profitable when their product or service is valuable to the consumer. Provide your clients with the service or product you would expect and your business will be perceived as valuable.

This golden rule works well for our real estate sales business, our rental business, our marriage, and life in general. It’s Gods rule and words to live by. It’s not about you, it’s about others. The rule of business is the same as life and the path to success requires you treat others the way you wish to be treated. Doing the right thing is the key to integrity.

Big News!
October 29, 2012, 7:16 pm
Filed under: Life | Tags: ,

If you’ve been following us for a while, you know that there have been a lot of changes in our lives in the last year; selling some personal properties, growing our business, building a home, etc.  We are happy to announce the next big change which is completely unrelated to real estate or business… We are having a baby!

That’s right a new member of our family is on the way. We are so excited, and looking forward to being parents. I know our dogs are going to be quite jealous, but they will have to get over it.

Kinsey is about 13 weeks along, and everything is looking good based on ultrasounds and blood tests thus far.  It’s been quite amazing to me learning and watching the pregnancy process. It’s hard to believe that our 12 week appointment we could already see the baby fully formed, with arms and legs squirming around.

Our due date is May 5th which is 2 days from Kinsey’s birthday. So, she’ll get one amazing birthday present. This is our first child so it’s a little scary, and we have a lot to learn. I don’t know much about raising kids, but I’m going to be the best dad and husband I can possibly be.

If anybody has some recommendations on parenting blogs, books, or podcasts please share in the comments.