Kirk Short is the son of a real estate broker, but after graduating from Northwest High School in 1992 he joined the Marines.
An injury to his knees, however, put an end to that career. So when he came back to Wichita, he sold cars for a year.
“I did OK with it,” Short, 38, said. “I did not like how they did car sales.”
And, he said, it was pretty much inevitable that he would follow the career path of his father, Wayne “Shorty” Short of Re/Max Realty Professionals. He started working in the business in 1995 and received his real estate license in 1998.
Now with Wayne Short’s retirement, Kirk Short is the boss of the company that operates east and west Wichita offices and has about 34 agents.
“It’s a small operation but we do a lot of business,” he said. “It’s about quality, not quantity.”
Being the boss also means that come spring, Short can more easily sneak out of the office to chase storms, which is his hobby.
So you became co-owner and broker of the company on Jan. 1?
Yes, but I’ve been the supervising broker here for the last year, and I used to be the broker of the east office back in 2003, 2004, part of 2005. Then I got too busy with all of my real estate (sales).
Was it a given that you would follow your dad into the real estate business?
I’ve always liked real estate. I’ve always felt like I was going to be in the industry, somehow. I was even studying for my license when I found out I was getting discharged from the military.
And you said you had concerns about working for your father and how that would work out, correct?
We went through our trials and errors, and here we are. Apparently it was meant to be, otherwise I wouldn’t be here now. It wasn’t an accident.
Do you have a nickname, like your dad (Shorty) does?
No, I really don’t have a nickname, but there are people who call me Shorty Junior. Is it something I am going to take on? Yeah, probably in some sort of fashion. He’s left a good legacy.
What about the business motivates you?
People, problem-solving, seeing others reach their dreams or goals. I just like dealing with people. I like dealing with real estate. Real estate is always changing. It’s not the same thing, and I like that. I like seeing others succeed.
Do you or the firm do any commercial real estate work or is it strictly residential?
I’m about the only one who dabbles in commercial. I like commercial. We’re working on some things (right now), a few good things.
What’s the difference between working commercial real estate deals and residential real estate deals?
Everything. The methods are different. The customers are different. You go from an emotionally based business (in residential) to a primarily numbers, fact-based business, and there has to be more out-of-the-box thinking. That’s how you structure deals.
What are some of your short- and long-term goals for Re/Max Realty Professionals?
Put it back on the top of the pedestal in Wichita. I feel we deserve to be the top company, and I am going to make that happen. Over time I’ve been able to achieve whatever I wanted to do. And I’m going to make that happen. One of my goals is to make sure I am a servant of my agents. (Some brokers) think that their agents are lucky to be with them. I think I am lucky to have my agents, blessed.
What are some key things you have learned from your dad about the real estate business?
You learn from your mistakes, you move on. You take care of your clients. You take care of your friends.
What are your thoughts about how the local sales market is performing?
I think our market is doing great; 2013 is shaping up to be a great year. Employment seems to be improving … sales are up, listings are up. I’ve got more people sitting there looking.
Do you still plan to work as an agent even though you have additional responsibilities now?
I really want to do, in 2013 … 80 deals, realistically. I’m a selling broker. I’m in the trenches with my agents. If an agent needs advice, who do they get it from? Someone who was in it 15 years ago or someone who is doing it now? I want to service my agents better.
Exactly how serious of a storm chaser are you?
We go all the way from Nebraska down into Texas to chase. My wife (Alicia) chases with me. She got more tornados last year than I did. She got 26, and I got 22. An associate here who got me into chasing, I became a driver for him. And it’s branched out from that.