Mike Keading on Revolutionizing Real Estate and Tackling the Housing Crisis

In this episode of Dial It In, hosts Trygve Olsen and  Dave Meyer interview Mike Keading from Norhart, a $200 million residential real estate company based in Minnesota. Mike is an expert in community building and shares his insights on how to build communities in the workforce and ecosystem. They discuss the importance of affordable housing, the amenities available in apartments, and the impact of reducing construction costs. Tune in to learn more about the strategies and tricks for growing businesses through community building.



Building Communities and Solving the Housing Crisis: A Conversation with Mike Keading from Norhart

In this episode of the Dial It In podcast, Dave Meyer and Trygve Olsen sit down with Mike Keading, the CEO of Norhart, a $200 million residential real estate company based in Minnesota. Norhart is committed to solving America's housing affordability crisis by reducing the cost of construction and providing affordable housing options. Mike shares his insights on community building, hiring great people, and creating a culture of transparency and learning within the organization.

The Importance of Community Building

One of the buzzwords in the business world today is community building. Mike emphasizes the significance of building communities within the workforce and the larger ecosystem. Norhart focuses on driving down the cost of housing and achieving a 20 to 30% reduction in costs. By building a system that can construct apartments more efficiently, Norhart aims to make housing affordable for everyone nationwide.

Creating Unique and Affordable Communities

Norhart is known for its unique and affordable apartment communities. Mike explains that they have different series of properties, each with its own set of amenities and design elements. They constantly evolve their thinking to create communities that people want to live in. For example, Norhart Oakdale is a seven-story building with high-end amenities, including a restaurant, coffee shop, co-working space, game rooms, and a rooftop patio. Despite the focus on affordability, Norhart aims to elevate the apartment living experience.

Hiring the Best and Building a Great Culture

Mike believes in hiring the very best people and building a culture that fosters growth and innovation. He emphasizes the importance of hiring top talent and not settling for an average team. While it may be more expensive to hire the best, the long-term benefits outweigh the costs. Mike encourages his employees to take calls from recruiters and explore better opportunities. He believes in paying top of the market and creating a culture where people want to stay and contribute.

The Keeper Test and Embracing Failure

Norhart has a unique approach to employee retention and development. They use the "keeper test" to evaluate how hard they would fight to keep an employee. If someone is not the right fit, they are encouraged to find something better. Mike believes in being transparent about weaknesses, mistakes, and failures. He shares the company's results from employee engagement surveys openly and encourages a culture of learning and improvement.

Norhart Invest: Investing in Affordable Housing

Norhart has also launched Norhart Invest, an investment platform that allows the public to invest in affordable housing projects. This platform offers higher rates of return compared to traditional bank accounts and allows individuals to contribute to the mission of solving the housing affordability crisis. Norhart takes extra precautions to protect investors and ensure their investments are secure.

The Future of Norhart and the Housing Crisis

Looking ahead, Norhart aims to continue building affordable housing and making a meaningful impact on the housing crisis. Despite challenges such as rising interest rates and a decrease in new apartment starts, Norhart remains committed to its mission. They are constantly adapting and finding innovative solutions to provide affordable housing options for everyone.

In conclusion, Norhart is a company that is not only focused on building affordable housing but also on creating communities and a culture of excellence. Through their unique approach to hiring, transparency, and investment opportunities, Norhart is making a significant impact on the housing affordability crisis. With their continued efforts, they are poised to change the landscape of the real estate industry and provide affordable housing options for all.

To learn more about Norhart and their mission, visit their website at Norhart.com. You can also listen to their podcast, Zero to Unicorn, where they feature stories of entrepreneurs who have made a billion-dollar impact.

Stay tuned for the next episode of Dial It In, where we will continue to explore the process improvements and tricks that help businesses grow.


Download the Transcript

Show Notes:
00:05 - Introduction to Dial It In Podcast
01:01 - Introducing Guest Mike Keading from Norhart
01:33 - Norhart's Mission and Housing Affordability
04:14 - Unique Communities and Property Series
05:41 - Norhart Oakdale: A Model Community
06:45 - Technology and Housing Industry Evolution
07:05 - Personal Anecdote: IBM and Technological Progress
08:20 - Defining Affordable Housing and Rent
09:38 - Building the System for Affordable Housing
11:01 - Hiring Great People and Building a Team
13:20 - The Keeper Test and Maintaining High Standards
14:06 - Risk Tolerance and Leadership Decisions
15:05 - Creating a Culture of Excellence
17:17 - Trial Periods and Employee Evaluation
18:10 - Transparency and Authentic Leadership
19:29 - The Importance of Mindset in Leadership
20:35 - The Challenge of Managing a Large Team
21:48 - Learning from Failures and Setbacks
23:12 - Transparency with Employees About Challenges
24:35 - The Story of Emberwood Project
27:06 - The Importance of Being Open About Failures
28:20 - The Future of Housing Affordability in America
30:04 - Norhart's Unique Employee Benefits
32:06 - Handling Conservative Investors and Partners
34:44 - Norhart Invest: Engaging the Public in Housing Investments
38:38 - The Next Five Years in Housing Trends
40:39 - The Impact of Airbnb and Housing Trends
43:01 - Norhart Invest: A Public Investment Opportunity
46:42 - Closing Remarks and Where to Find More Information