When Kyle Karstens’s name comes up, typical responses sound something like this: “She’s got the biggest grin, happiest smile and the best sense of humor. She makes even the toughest real estate decisions understandable.”
Kyle Karstens is one half of the Karstens and Associates Realty team in Prescott. She and her husband of 35 years, Steve, have been handling real estate in Prescott for 22 of those years.
Those involved in the real estate business may say it is often a frustrating, annoying and disheartening profession that requires 24/7 attention and sometimes long periods of time without a paycheck.
But that is not the case for Karstens. In fact, she describes what she does as “…one of the most rewarding and satisfying careers possible. I get to meet the neatest people from all over the country, and I get to help people find just what they’re looking for.”
The Louisiana native has not always been in real estate. In fact, she has had a truly diverse career path, ranging from being a bartender in Tacoma, Washington, to driving an 18-wheeler Freightliner truck for a major commercial company, Conway Trucking. She also worked for a mortuary.
But she is adamant that the most fulfilling career she has had is being a real estate broker. “For 22 years, all of them in Prescott, my husband, Steve, and I have been lucky enough to live and work in what I think is one of the most charming communities in America,” she said.
Invested in the Process
Two of her clients have known Karstens for years. Dave and Brenda Favier, Prescott homeowners since the mid-1990s, used Karstens to sell their house a few years ago, at a time when the market was not as robust as it is currently.
“Kyle had such vast knowledge of real estate in the area that she and her husband made what could have been a stressful time into a pleasant experience,” said Dave.
When the Faviers decided to purchase another property slightly more than two years ago, they turned to Karstens. “Kyle doesn’t just want to sell a house or help you purchase one. She truly is invested in the process,” said Brenda. “We felt we had a good friend at our side.”
Recently, an out-of-state couple, Richard and Marlene Glasgow, sold their home in Redmond, Oregon and decided to move to Prescott. Marlene tells of her experience with Karstens. “We contacted her in mid-July and told her what we were interested in. Not long after, we got our first phone call from her. She had answers to our questions and some recommendations for us to consider. She helped us at every step of the way, finding just the right place for us to ultimately purchase.”
Glasgow continued, “Kyle was a joy to work with – a real ‘ray of sunshine’ in what sometimes can be a distressing time. Because of her, we bought our home and were able to move in mid-October – far sooner than what we ever thought we could. And guess what. She showed up when we moved in with wine and cheese.”
Karstens says buying and selling property through Karstens and Associates is a team effort. “My husband and I have loved this town and the people in it since we first rode through it years ago on motorcycles. Having earlier been in the cold, wet and gray Pacific Northwest, we decided immediately to move to Prescott. We’ve no regrets, and we’re here to stay.”
The Decision to Drive a Big Rig
When the real estate market crashed in 2008, Kyle and Steve wondered how they were going to survive economically.
“Our two girls, Chorissa and Caleena, were then grown and out of the house. Steve and I both liked to travel so we said, ‘What the heck? Let’s become truck drivers.’ So, we did. We went to school, got our Commercial Driver’s Licenses, and hit the road for 14 months.”
The Karstens were hired by Conway Trucking, also known as CFI, headquartered in Joplin, Missouri. CFI hired and assigned them to a brand new Freightliner with a Cascadia cab and berth. “It was big enough to stand up in and to sleep in quite comfortably,” Karstens said. “We called it ‘Frances the Freightliner’ and it was our home.”
For the next 14 months, the Karstens criss-crossed the U.S., coast to coast and north to south, in all kinds of weather and road conditions.
“We got to see a lot of country we’d otherwise never have seen – and somebody else was paying for the gas!” Karstens said they had long hours and were often exhausted, but as a team, they could take turns sleeping and keeping the wheels rolling.
“God was taking care of us, too. We never had an accident or serious problem, and we made a lot of friends across the country.”
But when the economy began recovering, the Karstens decided to return to their “real home,” Prescott. “We’re not going to leave again, unless it’s on our motorcycles for short vacations,” she said.
Karstens serves on the Arizona Association of Realtors Education Committee and was president of the Prescott Area Association of Realtors. She also is on the Prescott Preservation Commission and supports the Prescott Area Habitat for Humanity.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Many years ago, one of my supervisors told me this, and I didn’t forget. Remember you are part of the community. Find a way to give back and make the community stronger.”
If you could travel anywhere you wanted to go, where would it be?
“Any place I can go on a motorcycle.”
What’s your biggest family tradition?
“Thanksgiving, and it doesn’t have to happen in just November. We take time to sit together at the table, share our gratitude, count our blessings and eat all kinds of things that may not be good for us.”
What character trait do you value the most and why?
“The ability to listen. People who are connected and hear what others say are a pleasure to be around. They can re-energize or defuse a room.”
What actress is going to play your role when they make a movie or TV show about you?
“Oh, Myrna Loy, the ‘Nora Charles” from the Think Man movies. But if not her, then Audrey Hepburn. She’s absolutely wonderful.”
By Ray Newton, QCBN
Kyle Karsten, one-half of the two-member team of Karstens Brokers, is emphatic that the Prescott area is their first choice for a permanent preferred place to live. “And, we’ve seen almost every city and town in America,” she says.
Photo by Ray Newton