Tim Harstead of Kale Realty focuses his real estate business on giving back and making donations from his sales to places that help the communities where he works, as well as “Heros” such as veterans, teachers, and first responders. He also specializes in VA loans and Renovation Loans.
What was the reason you decided to get into real estate?
“I always had a entrepreneurship itch, even as a child creating businesses selling everything from Lemonaid to Pokemon cards. After college I first opened a Farmer’s insurance agency. After a few years I realized while I loved running my own business, I didn’t like talking about insurance. So I did some research and came to the conclusion that I should work in Real Estate. I could help people reach their goals instead of being the guy they called when things burnt down in their lives. “
When you’re not busy showing homes and negotiating offers, what extracurricular activity or hobby consumes your time?
“I am a huge sports fan so I am often watching my teams (Bears, White Sox, Bulls, and Hawks), playing fantasy sports, or playing real sports in Rec leagues. My other passion is food and craft beer, going to new restaurants or breweries, and checking out the neighborhoods they are in; this is how I have become familiar with areas that I didn’t know as much about as a kid growing up on the south side. If you ever need advice on where to grab food or a good craft beer, I am your guy for a recommendation. “
What Chicago neighborhood or hotspot are you most likely to be spotted in after a long day of work?
“I don’t really have one particular spot – as stated above, going to all the different breweries that are popping up in IL has been dictating where I hang out on a given night. But if I have to narrow it down it would be either Pilsen or the West Loop/Fulton Market area ( both have 4 or 5 breweries in them and tons of great restaurants).”
What’s the one thing you’re sure to recommend doing/seeing in Chicago when out-of-state friends/family come to visit?
“If someone has never been to Chicago, they have to try the obligatory going to Water Tower for some shopping, and Navy Pier. But after their first day going to those attractions, I’d try to get them to check out the neighborhoods like the West Loop or Pilsen for great food, and if it’s a weekend in the summer to pick a fest and go.”
What makes you different from other real estate agents?
“I treat all my clients the same. Whether you are buying a $50k house in Englewood or a $2 Million home in Lincoln Park, you are important to me and my business and I will spend time with you to make sure you understand all of your options and all of the pitfalls to avoid when buying or selling a home. I also specialize in deals that are not easy, like working with sellers who are being foreclosed on to sell before the banks force them out, or working with Veterans who want to use their VA benefits to buy their first home but need guidance on how to go about the process. Zig Ziglar said ‘You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.’ and that is how I choose to run my business – helping as many people as possible and not being worried about what I am getting in return for each one. “
How do you leverage technology to help you be one of the best in the industry?
“For better or worse I am a Millennial so I grew up using technology in my everyday life (although I am old enough to remember the time before the internet). On the listing side I use social media and retargeting ads to help market my clients’ homes to the people who are most likely to buy a home like theirs. I also use e-signing technology so you don’t have to drive out of your way to sign a document during the sales process. With all that being said, I still know that sometimes the best way to help a client understand the process and their options is to meet for a cup of coffee and talk face to face to be sure they understand what is going on and what is being asked of them.”
Tell us the most unique or interesting home you’ve ever shown.
“It’s hard to pin down just one, there are always some really interesting things you can run into while showing homes. From squatters who decided to move into a vacant listing, to weird things like a random toilet in the basement hooked up to plumbing but with no walls around it, or a shower in the middle of a family room. But if I had to pick one it probably would be this huge home I showed in the Austin neighborhood; it had 4 floors, with an elevator, and tons of light fixtures and crown moldings from the late 1800’s early 1900’s. The project ended up being a little more than my client could handle but it would of been really cool to see what rehabbing something that old and keeping a lot of the vintage charm would of turned out to be. “
What is your real estate spirit animal and why?
“Spirit animal? This is oddly the hardest question, as it’s not something I ever thought of, but I guess it would be a Lion. I consider many of my past clients as friends now and part of my pack. I helped guide them through the journey of buying their first home, to selling it when they are ready to buy a new one and again through the process of finding a bigger home and bettering their lives. And I do so while protecting their interest and negotiating deals where they are winning and protect them from the predators and pitfalls trying to stop them from reaching their goals. “