In the Spotlight

Jeff Kitchen, CRS, GRI, WRA Treasurer

 January 24, 2007

Jeff Kitchen began his real estate career in 1974 in Beaver Dam and presently is broker/owner of Century 21 in Beaver Dam. Jeff served as president of the Dodge County Board of REALTORS® in 1985 and was named the Local REALTOR® of the Year in 1985 and 1990. Jeff has been married to Shirley for 35 years and they have two daughters. Dawn is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Dana is attending the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

What qualities do you think make a successful REALTOR®?

I think the first priority is that you have to genuinely like working with a diverse public — sometimes under less than ideal conditions. The home buying process, regardless of how hard we work at eliminating stressful situations, brings stress by its very nature. For most people, it is one of the biggest decisions they will ever make, and they usually have no idea how many potential pitfalls there are because they are new to the process. The REALTOR® has to become an advocate for the principle, as well as a mediator and confidant. Another attribute of a "good" REALTOR® is education. In the fast moving world of technology and real estate, it’s important to be able to keep up with many of the customers and clients they deal with.

What tips would you give to a REALTOR® who is just starting out?

Just starting out is the most difficult time for any REALTOR®, even one who was born and raised in the area he or she intends to serve. Again, education, a sincere love of working with the public, a good broker and support group, and an office that will mentor are crucial to the development of new REALTORS®. In the environment we live in, with the advent of the Internet and the abundance of knowledge available to the general public, the new REALTOR® has a much shorter learning curve than we as "seasoned veterans" did when we started out. Go to the office and learn from the people around you, become active in the community, farm your field of influence, stay informed on current events, and take every opportunity to further your knowledge base.

What changes do you see happening in the real estate industry during 2004?

I have no crystal ball, but a few things are bound to take a lead role in our business and in the eye of the public at large. One of those things is the "no-call" legislation and our role in trying to get it clarified so we can continue to do business. At this point, we are subject to a law that was never intended to include us. Finally, I see technology playing a larger and larger role in our profession so we need to embrace it and play a lead role in its proliferation in the marketplace.

Where do you see your own business in the next several years?

I am not looking at huge changes in my personal business. I have eight excellent sales associates, most of whom have computers and a good solid business. We service a growing market and have tried to keep an eye on the future. A smaller company allows you to become more team-oriented and makes for a more homogenous working environment. We all try to help each other and get disputes, when they arise, quickly behind us.

As a member of the WRA board, how do you see the WRA’s role in the Wisconsin real estate industry developing in the future?

I think the role of the WRA now and in the future is on solid ground. The WRA has taken a lead role in the industry in terms of political advocacy, education of its members and the public with projects like "On Common Ground," which was taken over by NAR because of the quality of the publication, and the current project called "Quality of Life," which will once again involve the views and opinions of the public. The WRA has set both the national and state standard for association excellence. Our association has recognized who its clients are and has brought services and growth opportunities to those clients.

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