Photo by Simon Luna photography

Corsicana invites you into their booming downtown and onto the porches of their historic Carriage District this weekend with their Inaugural Porchfest and Crafternoon. You may have heard of the Porchfest craze sweeping the nation musicians playing on grand porches of neighborhood homes for a family-friendly afternoon of socializing and entertainment. (more…)

Blake and wifey

You have heard me talk about Blake Andrews here before, many many times. And I think you have heard me talk about The Referral Exchange.

Blake is the son of Lana and Barry Andrews, and the brother of Natalie Andrews McGuire. Dallas born and raised, Blake lives on the west coast but spends a lot of time in central and South America building homes for the poor. Blake is the founder of a charitable group called GiveBack Homes that has constructed more than 60 homes in areas where housing is low or non existent, including El Salvador, Nicaragua and Haiti. GiveBack Homes regularly hosts build days and networking events to help build awareness on how closing a deal in the real estate industry in the U.S. can make a huge difference to someone literally living under a tarp in Nicaragua.

On his first mission trip to Nicaragua in 2011, Blake was deeply moved by how the people of Nicaragua lived and where they lived — in homes you could not even call shacks. Back home in Dallas, his friends were buying homes with Viking ranges while to these folks, even a rusted-out stove was a dream. Most were living under scraps of wood and metal, or tarps. Blake was transformed. In his work for TOMS, he first got these people shoes for the feet. Working with his Manhattan Beach Realtor, he soon realized that the real estate community could help fund housing for these people. GiveBack Homes costs real estate professionals $50 a month to join, provides them with marketing materials to differentiate and brand themselves as a change agent, and allows them to donate as much as they want at any time. 100% of donations are used to build housing. Blake has thousands of agents enrolled across the country, including many in Dallas.

Currently, the group has 20 Build Projects in the U.S. and Nicaragua, working with Habitat for Humanity and planning to expand their reach this year. Ebby Halliday’s Linda Vallala,  Nathan Grace’s Carrie Hill & Jacy OlsenRobbie Briggs of Briggs Freeman Sothebys International Realty, Virginia Cook and Rogers Healy are just some of the local Dallas agents and brokers who have supported GiveBack Homes.GivebackHomes-1024x682-575x382 (more…)