Meet Kurt Kunst!

Kurt specializes in industrial real estate and has been a partner at NAIWWM for 25+ years. He is a passionate bowhunter and loves spending time outdoors in West Michigan with his family. He has been married to his wife and best friend Shelly for 31 years and they have 4 children and 2 grandchildren he absolutely adores. He encourages others to find a career that fulfills them: “We spend most of our time each week at work, so it’s crucial to find a career that you love and are passionate about.”

What did you study in school and is there a correlation to where you are now?

“I chose to pursue a Business Degree at GVSU with an emphasis in Marketing. “The degree is the ticket in the door” but each day I am involved in business decisions and a lot of marketing, so the business degree has been helpful.” 

What interested you in industrial properties in particular?

“I have always been intrigued by how things are made and construction in general. I worked building homes with one of my brothers for a summer and also worked on a commercial construction crew in Montana and for Visser Brothers here locally. My job allowed me to see everything from making dog treats, slaughtering turkeys, stamping out vehicle hoods, and warehousing Christmas gifts for the less fortunate.”

What brought you into the commercial real estate industry?

“I had started my own business and wasn’t enjoying it because I worked by myself. I was at a dead end and did not know what to do next. Shelly and I prayed for a “Messenger” to give us direction. I was discussing my predicament with one of my clients and he said “you should try Commercial Real Estate”. I knew in my soul, that this is where I would end up… that was almost 30 years ago!”

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in CRE?

“Every year, January 1… You start over!

I equate it to climbing a 15,000-foot mountain. On January 1 each year the mountain is barely visible way off in the distance. You’ve not only got to traverse the terrain to get to the base of that mountain but at the base the real work begins on the upward climb. There are many obstacles and unforeseen things that pop up along the way that you have to navigate around or through. Then, on December 31st, you reach the summit, you look around and see the beautiful view for a few seconds and then fall off the back side and start all over again.

The hardest part of maintaining a successful career in this industry is dealing with the uncertainty of the future. There are many things that impact our market that we have no control over. There’s not a lot of stability, so you can have the best year of your life and follow it up with the worst year. I can do my job 100% and something like a bad environmental report, appraisal, or a lender issue, can derail a deal that I’ve spent an entire year on.”

If you had to practice real estate in a city that was not in West Michigan, what would you pick and why?

“I love Montana! If I could take my kids and grandkids with me I would be there in a minute. That would be a hard sell for my wife because she hates the cold!”

If you woke up tomorrow and couldn’t do real estate, what would be your next job? What would you spend your time doing if money wasn’t a factor?

“If money wasn’t a factor, I would become a professional bowhunter and hunt all over the world. I would also love to be a back country guide in Montana, Glacier, Banff, Jasper, or Alaska.”

Where in West Michigan could someone find you on a day off work?

“We have a place in Scottville (Ludington) on a lake with some acreage. That is my happy place!”

If you could overlap one principle from your hobby of bow hunting to real estate, what would it be?

“There are actually a ton of overlaps. But the main principle is being prepared for any outcome – for anything to happen. It’s all about having the right tools and knowing the right steps to take to close a deal or to figure out where the travel patterns are of the animal you are hunting. You have to be flexible and know how to improvise on the fly.”

What would be your best piece of advice for new college graduates entering the workforce?

“Don’t settle. Find something you love and that you’re passionate about. I had many different careers before finding one that was the perfect fit for me. You spend so much of your life at your job, so if you don’t enjoy it, keep on seeking and you’ll find what you’re passionate about. Give whatever you do your all! Be the best you can be!

I love this career because it’s so diverse and has so many opportunities. Pay a lot of attention to who you’re going to work for and with. Look at the company and look at the longevity of their employees. Find a company that treats its employees right and has your back. Live your life to the fullest!”

To contact Kurt for all of your industrial real estate needs, click the link below!

Kurt Kunst