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Real Estate Agent of the Month Andy Kist

Andy Kist

The Road Less Traveled

By Susan Cushing

Ask veteran REALTOR Andy Kist how he’s doing, and his response will invariably be, “blessed.” Proud of his strong Christian beliefs and always ready to share the joy he’s experienced in his own life, Kist gives all credit for his success to God.

“I’m not shy about sharing my beliefs,” he says. “It’s critical to the foundation of my business to disclose that I’m a believer in Jesus Christ and it’s what drives not just my life, but my business. I believe that much of my success has been due to my efforts at encouraging others and maintaining an empathy for others as well as a heart of service. That’s really what I’m about. I know sometimes it may not be popular, and may not be what people want to hear, but it’s what I’ve based my life and business on for the past 31 years. I don’t wish to separate my faith from my market.”

Kist is correct in surmising that many people are not comfortable with or receptive to the idea of someone in the business world who is openly “Christian.” In fact, he admits that he’s had clients decline to work with him due to his overt expression of his strong beliefs. That hasn’t deterred or slowed him in any way. “I won’t acquiesce my faith for a paycheck,” he boldly declares.

On the contrary, Kist continues to seek new ways of blending his faith with his work, which is how he ended up with Keller Williams.

“One of the reasons I transitioned to Keller Williams is because the same DNA is in this company,” Kist says. “From Tom Woods to Eric Sanchez, team leader, and designated broker Wednesday Enriquez, they’ve all been so incredibly supportive. There’s no shunning or hiding me in a closet, they put my bible study on the monthly planner for the office.”

This is evident in the Keller Williams mission statement: “To build careers worth having, businesses worth owning, lives worth living, experiences worth giving, and legacies worth leaving.”

“I’ve been holding bible studies for decades, and people know that when they are facing crises or just need uplifting, ‘go to Andy’ and I’ll pray with them,” says Kist. “I admit, it requires a level of boldness, but it’s out of gratitude because I know what my life was like before and how awesome it is now. So, I’m excited, and feel obliged to share that knowledge.”

Perhaps it is because of these convictions that Kist seems to develop such deep and lasting relationships with his clients. He explains how invariably when he first sits down with a client, openly expressing his beliefs, that doors open and they share a personal tragedy or heartache.

“Naturally, we all want to make money, and worry about our ‘daily bread’ so we tend to leave God in this compartment over here, ‘we’ll talk to you on Sunday,’ but Monday through Saturday we tend to shelve those feelings,” Kist explains. “With me, it’s out there. People know my faith, and I have been blessed by opportunities sitting across table aft er table at listing presentations and hearing people pour out their hearts. Whether it’s a divorce, loss of a job, death in the family, or the loss of a child, and we turn to prayer before we ever put a pen to paper.”

Stepping from the shadows Kist has discovered and received support from not only his company, but from colleagues, clients and others he encounters every day.

“Susan Ramsey, one of the biggest producers in the Valley, was one of my earliest supporters,” he says. “She supported one of my first missions back in the ’90s, which was smuggling bibles into Vietnam and China. At that time, it was very hard for the underground church to get the word of God into these countries, and she supported me in that effort.

“Later, when my daughter was just 19, she wanted to do a mission in Rwanda, and Susan helped make that possible,” he adds. “So, I’ve been blessed with people like that in my life.”

Kist heads up his own team at Keller Williams, The Integrity Team, aptly named based on the precepts to which he and his team members subscribe. Ian Stoddard was working at a Starbuck’s when he first met Kist, but when he began taking real estate courses turned to the seasoned agent for advice.

“Everyone at Starbuck’s knows Andy,” says Stoddard. “We always commented on how he always seemed so happy and he was always so kind to everyone. I knew he was a REALTOR® so I thought I’d talk to him about some of the things I was learning in my real estate classes.”

Stoddard was looking for a mentor and Kist was just starting The Integrity Team, so the timing couldn’t have been better.

“It has seriously been absolutely the best working with Andy,” says Stoddard. “Everything I know about real estate I’ve learned from him. He once told me that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life, I wanted to experience that and working with him I have.

“Entering the business aft er just finishing real estate school, it can be pretty overwhelming, there is so much to know and so much to learn,” he adds, “but with Andy I know I’m in good hands and I’ve enjoyed every single minute.”

Kist seems to have a positive effect on everyone he meets, and many are so impressed they crave more. Such was the instance when he was invited to be a guest on a local radio program.

“About three and a half years ago, I started on the radio,” he says. “It wasn’t by my design or choice, but because I pray with and for people as part of my daily business, I happened to be working with someone who happened to be on the radio and she invited me to be on her program. All I was asked to do was talk about how I apply my faith in my daily life, and from that it evolved into my having my own program, “Seek First His Kingdom” on KXEG 1280 AM/96.1 FM, every Monday at 4 p.m.

“What I teach and speak on is number one love, but also to current believers in the marketplace, to remind them we’re not to be obnoxious or hit people over the head with the bible,” he continues. “We need to teach by example through our actions and words of kindness and our non-judgment. For instance, in my business, my clientele is wide and varied, coming from every orientation, every color and every faith and I love them all.”

But Kist demonstrates this love of all men with more than words. The owner of a five-plex, over the years he’s opened up these individual dwellings to homeless in the community. Ideally, his hope is that by providing a roof over their heads, they will find a better path and improve their lives.

“Honestly, if the success rate is just one or two out of 10, then I’m happy,” he says. “All I can do is put myself out there and witness to encourage them in their faith and to help assimilate them back to family and society.”

When Kist’s wife, Michelle, told her sixth grade class about the homeless outreach, they wanted to do something as well. This past Christmas, they decorated shoe boxes in colorful holiday wrap and filled them with food, personal hygiene products, and other essentials, then handed them out to homeless.

“The joy you receive is indescribable,” he says. “There is nothing quite so fulfilling as knowing you’re making a difference, no matter how small, in someone’s life.”

Kist says that he begins each day with a solitary hike into the mountains where he feels close to God, and can prepare himself for the day.

“I’m aware that not everyone understands my commitment or my boldness in proclaiming my faith,” says Kist, “but for me, it’s the only way to live. I’m quite happy taking the road less traveled.”