Get an “Unfair Advantage” plus Peace of Mind by Purchasing a Luxury Home from a REAL Professional!
At age 12, Brian Burke, owner of Kenna Real Estate, was balancing on church roofs working as
steeplejack with his father, who was a general contractor. The father-son team replaced rotten wood,
re-shingled roofs, and built entire new church steeples. By his late teens, Brian had worked in almost
every type of construction job.
Brian’s Work History
“Working my way through college at CU in Boulder, I did almost everything—foundations,
framing, siding, interior finish trim, roofing, painting, drywall, plumbing.” Brian says. “I worked on more
than 200 homes, and eventually became a project manager and superintendent in my late 20’s. I was in
charge of building apartment complexes, raising 3,000 units from the dirt and getting everything rented
and running smoothly.”
Real Estate Experience
A real estate veteran, Brian has noticed that whenever home values increase, a whole new
flock of salespeople join the ranks of real estate agents to get their hands on “quick money.” However,
buying a home is for most people the largest purchase of their lives. He offers this warning about those
you trust to help you with this transaction.
“Just because someone has gone through the training to become a realtor does not make them
an expert,” he says. “Many of these realtors who say they would ‘love to help you achieve the American
Dream’ know as much about home construction as they do open-heart surgery.”
Many homeowners feel pain and frustration after paying for a home inspection that uncovers a
long list of problems that banks want to see repaired before they give a loan on the property. For Brian,
it’s easy to spot many issues that the untrained eye overlooks.
“My clients often call me ‘The Burke on Homes,’” Brian says, referencing the HGTV show Holmes
on Homes. “My eyes automatically go to the problems, and I’ve been known to catch stuff that the
inspector missed,” Brian says.
The Problem with Agents
Not all agents are the same. Some are great at persuasion. Others are born negotiators, and
some know construction. It’s rare to find an agent who possesses all of these attributes.
Brian says, “There are some excellent realtors out there. Guys and gals who I really admire—
people I am proud to call my peers. However, the vast majority of realtors hitting the street are part-
timers who lack the knowledge that comes with experience.”
There are varying statistics on the prevalence of part-time agents in the field. Some websites
report as much as 80% of licensed realtors are part time, but it’s a safe bet that at least 7 out of 10
agents have full-time occupations elsewhere. One general statistic that has stood the test of time is that
80% of the business is done by 20% of the people, which leads one to the conclusion that 80% of the
real estate transactions done are by full-time professionals.
“My research has shown me that the average realtor out there performs just 6 transactions
each year. I average around 40,” Brian says. “In 12 years as a realtor, I’ve done over 500 transactions.
Most people get into the industry with dreams of making the big bucks, but soon find out it’s very
demanding, requires extreme attention to detail and constant ongoing education—not only for state
and federal compliance but also to improve your skills. And they’re not willing to put in the time and
effort, which keeps most people working as ‘weekend-warriors.’”
Brian’s Home Purchase Advice
Buying a home is one of the most emotional decisions we make, next to decisions involving
our children. Rarely does logic and reason steer your thought process. Many times, it’s only after the
transaction is complete that we realize how completely illogical our decisions were.
Brian advises people to think about how long they plan to live in the home before they even
head out the door to start shopping. He points to a statistic from the most recent US Census, which
found that 51% of all the homeowners move from their current residence in 10 years or less.
“Unless you’re in your twilight years, chances are pretty good that in 10 years, you won’t still
be in the home you are purchasing today,” he says. “As a result, you have to pay attention to many
elements such as your down payment, closing costs, the loan conditions, the neighborhood, whether or
not the home may appreciate, and more importantly, what it will cost you to sell the home.”
Often times, when homebuyers find a home they love, they get so excited about it that they
never even think about what it will cost to sell the home.
“Typically, you’re looking at 6% in realtor commissions, $2,000 in title fees, moving expenses
and utility costs,” Brian says. “Purchasers need to make sure that they will be getting a return on their
original down payment when they sell the home down the road.”
Brian points out that it’s not just working with a good realtor, but also finding a loan officer who
will help you get a bigger bang for your buck, that will guarantee a great return on your down payment.
“It goes hand in hand. A good realtor will align him or herself with a loan officer who will take
the time to educate buyers, show them options, and explain how those options will perform in the short
term and long run,” Brian says.
Most realtors and loan officers are paid only after the loan closes. Unfortunately, this can attract
people who are excellent salesmen able to emotionally motivate buyers rather than experts who can
provide unbiased judgment. The big mistake most homebuyers make is striking a deal based on how
much they can afford instead of analyzing a purchase that will benefit them most in the future.
How to Profit From Your Next Purchase
Brian says that a good realtor won’t tell you what you want to hear—they’ll tell you the truth.
“One of the most irritating slogans I see is, ‘I help people achieve the American dream,’ because
for some buyers that can turn into the American nightmare,” Brian says.
Over the last few years, there have been countless cases of people who overpaid for a house,
or were not prepared to deal with some major issues in the home they purchased. In today’s real estate
environment, the buyer needs to be educated not just on the home buying process but also on home
maintenance. A good realtor will challenge your decisions to make sure you fully understand them, and
ask you questions on your overall knowledge home maintenance.
Once both of you are on the same page, Brian says, there are a few simple issues a good realtor
should immediately be able to point out to you. Cracks in a driveway, a lack of down spout extenders,
and the proximity of sprinkler lines could already be creating foundation problems.
“One thing I always do with my clients is take them to the furnace and pull out the filter to show
them how simple it is to check it and change it,” Brian explains.
Brian keeps a complete contact list of contractors, subcontractors and individuals who specialize
in specific niches of home maintenance. “You name it, I have someone who can do it or fix it.”
In fact, when Brian lists a home, he will preemptively go through the house to show the
homeowner what items need to be fixed and will come up on an inspection. He then offers to have one
us his tried-and-tested professionals come in to do the repair at a reasonable cost. This not only takes
care of inspection problems but can help the homeowner achieve maximum profits at closing.
What Everybody Ought To Know About Brian Burke
Brian has pretty much been a lifelong resident of Colorado, other than a few years in California
and Kansas when he worked on different construction projects. He was raised by parents who taught
him the importance of personal responsibility and hard work.
Brian’s mother was in a devastating car accident at age 17 which severed her spinal cord and left
her a paraplegic for life. “It didn’t stop her,” Brian says. “She was determined to have a normal life. She
got married and had 4 children—I’m the oldest. Every morning she got up, put her pants on one leg at a
time and went to her job as an office manager. She’s a real hero to us all.”
She taught her children that you’re only as weak as your mind and you can achieve whatever
you set out to do. “You really can’t come to mom with an excuse about why you can’t do something.
Usually, she’ll point out that you’re just feeling sorry for yourself. She’s a great teacher.”
Brian’s father was a tough disciplinarian. “What got me up on the roof at age 12 was I told my
dad I wanted some money. And he said, want doesn’t get you money, work does. And ever since then,
I’ve worked really hard for my money.”
“It’s probably why I get along so well with anyone over 40 years old. They appreciate hard work
and knowledge, whereas the younger generation are always late, don’t respect what you’ve done and
believe if they can’t find it on their phone, it must not exist,” Brian says.
Choose Your Realtor Wisely
Most real estate companies hire anyone who has a license, not necessarily experience. Brian
says this hiring policy is in the best interest of the company because they charge a desk fee instead of
a per file fee. In other words, a company can charge each realtor $500 a month for a desk fee and not
worry about whether they are closing quality loans and keeping good clients.
“If you pay attention, realtors jump ship all the time, and real estate companies pop up
constantly with the latest and greatest way to recruit realtors with lower desk fees or per file fees
and whatnot. In other words, because the average realtor closes just 6 transactions a year, it’s more
profitable for the company to charge desk fees,” Brian explains.
Brian continues, “The vast majority of realtors out there are living by the ‘fake it before
you make it’ principle. This means they buy a bright shiny car, and wear expensive-looking clothes
and jewelry as a way to impress their potential clients. Honestly, I work to impress people with my
knowledge and experience, not what I can look like.”
“In fact, I’ve done appointments in shorts and flip flops. I want people to be comfortable, to be
themselves with me and to be able to ask questions without intimidation. I drive a Prius, not a Lexus. I
put about 50,000 miles on it each year and laugh at the money I save when compared to people driving
cars designed to show off.”
When He’s Not Doing Real Estate
When Brian isn’t researching real estate for clients, showing or listing homes, Brian enjoys
spending time with his 5-year-old son, Jesse. In fact, every Wednesday, he volunteers at Jesse’s school.
“I just love working with the kids, making them laugh and having fun. I’m truly a kid at heart,” Brian
Brian’s everyday car is sensible, but he couldn’t resist purchasing himself a version of his
childhood dream car. “I’m a muscle car guy,” he says. “Anything from the 60’s and 70’s I just love. I own
a 2011, white Camaro RS convertible with a 6.2 liter engine pumping out around 460 horsepower. I put
new exhaust on along with a cold air intake and she just screams when you thump the pedal. It’s a very
Brian also has created a community website and each year hosts a neighborhood garage sale
and block party. “Each year I have about 200 neighbors sign up for the garage sale where I provide them
with signs and do a massive promotion where I put out over 100 signs. It really gets people going, and
afterwards I have a block party. It’s a great way for all of us to get to know each other. Neighbors have
really become good friends and lookout for each other.”
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