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It’s no wonder Kit Hale has such an impressive career in real estate, given the easy conversation mere minutes after sitting down to lunch at Montano’s International Restaurant (the fried green tomato BLT, by the way, is a winner). If I didn’t already own my home, I probably would’ve gone house-hunting with him that afternoon.
Hale, principal broker and managing partner at MKB Realtors, has served on many boards and received awards for his work. Realtor of the Year in 2003 and 2007 by the Virginia Association of Realtors, he’s served in a number of leadership roles with the National Association of Realtors. He’s modest to a fault–hesitant to crow about his own successes, yet quick to talk up his company and hardworking staff. He stresses how MKB gives back to the community with fundraisers and events, as well as his board position with Renovation Alliance.
“I think just being a person of principle, integrity and respect and helping people is my idea of leadership. I’ve been honored and blessed to be on many organizations and be involved and continue to do that.”
A Roanoke native, he had the foresight to marry his boss’s daughter (Betsy, his high school sweetheart and wife of 35 years); as they began their family, his father-in-law (the boss) encouraged Hale to get into real estate in order to make more time for the kids. Over the years, Hale worked his way up the ladder, leading to a management opportunity and involving himself in every aspect of the industry.
“If I saw something I didn’t like, I wanted to get involved and see why it was that way,” Hale says. “I learned about the industry at the local level with committees and boards, eventually graduating to state and national-wide levels.”
He believes it’s his responsibility to understand the industry in terms of trends, regulations, statutes and codes of ethics. If he’s to advise others, Hale says, he needs to know what he’s talking about! Hale is, as expected, incredibly knowledgeable about real estate and the overall market over the last couple decades.
“From 2009 or so to present, it’s been a buyer’s market. Right now is a good time to buy a house. That sounds clichéd, but there are many reasons–good bit of inventory, bargains to be had, interest rates are reasonable, tax deductibility, the ability to knock out walls or build decks or paint walls, you don’t have to ask anyone. There’s a lot to be said about home ownership; it’s a personal, individual decision.”
In a world of internet and HGTV, buyers are savvier than ever; they come to Hale already well-informed not just about their needs and wants, but the property information (school districts, crime and the community to name a few). Rather than shy away, Hale embraces the changes and does everything he can for his clients.
“We become much more service-oriented than information-oriented,” he says. “It’s an emotional step; buying a home, that investment, it’s scary and exciting. Our job is to navigate that for the consumer and let them know how to move forward.”
Hale and Betsy–the Education Specialist for Commonwealth Catholic Charities–will often jump on his beloved Harley for day trips to Paint Bank and other local spots. He’s admittedly obsessed with his Labradoodle, Daisy (ask him to share the “pre-puptial” agreement written up by his wife and brother-in-law). As they live in the Raleigh Court area, he frequents Grandin Village often for coffee at CUPS and ice cream at Pop’s (Daisy gets ice cream treats, too!). What matters most to him are the relationships he’s built over the years.
“I want to believe I’ve gained the respect of not only my agents but colleagues in the valley,” he says. “I enjoy involvement and learning from everything I do. I cannot emphasize it enough–I get more than I give.”