The business of buying and selling real estate becomes more competitive every day – as potential homebuyers can now simply swipe right or hit up their smartphone app store to make one of the most important decisions of their lives – and it’s critical for experienced Realtors to have the tools and education they need to stay in the game.

The business of buying and selling real estate becomes more competitive every day – as potential homebuyers can now simply swipe right or hit up their smartphone app store to make one of the most important decisions of their lives – and it’s critical for experienced Realtors to have the tools and education they need to stay in the game.

Andy Bearden, the founder of Insight Realty Network, said there’s a lot of chatter about how technology is a major “disruption” in today’s real estate market – but the big picture shows it’s more than that.

“I’m maintaining that the disruption has to do with the brokers and the agent,” he said. “Agents have figured out that if they’re going to survive Zillow, Redfin, and Amazon, they’re going to have to figure out what the plan is. They’re spending all this time with ‘legacy brokers’ trying to figure out how to compete, and nobody is showing them how to do that.”

Insight Realty Network

Insight Realty created a transaction fee model, which isn’t uncommon, but they’re also looking only for experienced agents and showing them how to navigate new waters.

“We want our team to be the best-trained, best-qualified people,” Bearden said. “That’s our niche within transaction fee brokerages. Agents are facing competition from new business models, new brokerages, and pre-profit companies that have all this money from Wall Street and don’t need to make any money. The existing broker has to come alongside them and instead of being a recruiting machine, help them compete against those disruptors.”

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Big Thought

Fossil Group will host its seventh annual Works of HeART auction and fundraiser next week, benefitting Big Thought, a nonprofit organization working to close the opportunity gap (Photo courtesy Can Turkyilmaz).

Have some empty walls and empty shelves you need to fill? Fossil Group will host its seventh annual Works of HeART auction and fundraiser next week, and the money from that piece of art you could pick up there will go to benefit Big Thought, a nonprofit organization working to close the opportunity gap.

The event, which will be held Friday, Feb. 1, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Fossil Group Headquarters, will showcase original artwork created by company employees. Paintings, textiles, jewelry and even a 3D printed piece are on the auction block, and all proceeds from ticket sales and the silent auction will support Big Thought, a Fossil Foundation partner.

Big Thought’s mission of closing the opportunity gap for area students includes in-school, out-of-school and community partnership programs, with the idea that making imagination part of everyday learning can help achieve that. The organization also helps ensure that students get high-quality learning experiences (their summer camps are the stuff of wonder, and are offered free of charge) that promote creativity as well as social and emotional learning. (more…)

Pastors for Texas Children honored First United Methodist Church-Dallas senior minister Andy Stoker with its “Hero For Texas Children” award Thursday. Pictured, from left, Stoker, Dallas Judge Clay Jenkins, Dallas ISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa, and Pastors for Texas Children executive director Charles Foster Johnson. (Photo courtesy Angela Patterson/FUMC-Dallas)

It may have been unusually — for Dallas — chilly Thursday morning, but the warmth inside First United Methodist Church downtown was effusive when an organization of faith leaders held a breakfast gathering to talk about their unified efforts to advocate for public education.

Pastors for Texas Children members were also there to honor the church’s senior minister, Andy Stoker, with their “Hero for Texas Children” award, recognizing him for leading his church in work to provide assistance and care for children in Dallas ISD schools. (more…)

It’s not mere hyperbole — the worlds of architecture, urban planning, and construction are lacking in representation of people of color.

In fact, the American Institute of Architect’s 2016 “Diversity in the Profession of Architecture” found that the one thing most architects — regardless of race — could agree on was that people of color are underrepresented in that field. Similar studies have found the same is true in urban planning and construction.

(graph courtesy AIA)

Interestingly, just about every discussion in all three industries regarding diversity involves strengthening the industry’s presence among students through outreach programs with high schools, etc.

Michael Ford, a Detroit-based architect, brought the whole issue of diversity to the forefront with a 20 minute TED Talk last year. In his talk, he uses lyrics in hip-hop songs to show how they can serve as a very effective way to evaluate the good and bad of modern urban architecture. (more…)

Karthik Nemmani of McKinney. Photo courtesy of CNN

We get emails from people all the time, asking where the best place to live in North Texas is if you seek a high quality public school.

Tonight, the answer would be McKinney. 

Karthik Nemmani of McKinney is the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion. He won Thursday night, by spelling the word “koinonia” . Media outlets said he survived “arguably the most intense competition in the bee’s 93-year history.”

Karthik is 14 and he beat a record-shattering 515 contestants at the national spelling bee, plus six other Texans. Five of the champion spellers were from the DFW area. Even more, the number of contestants nearly doubled (not exactly, 515 compared to 291 but this is a spelling bee story, not math) after bee organizers expanded eligibility this year.

Along the way, he had to outlast a field of 16 finalists who vanquished words such as “Praxitelean,” “ispaghul” and “telyn” — sometimes without batting an eyelash — in a breathtaking show of spelling skill broadcast live on ESPN.

But Nemmani, who was competing at his first national bee, displayed the poise of a veteran, seeming to sail through his words: “condottiere” (knight or roving soldier available for hire), “miarolitic” (of igneous rock), “cendre” (a moderate blue), “ankyloglossia” (limited normal movement of the tongue), “grognard,” “passus,” “shamir” (tiny worm capable of splitting the hardest stone) and “jagüey” (an East Indian tree).

Dear me, I can even screw up spell-check. (more…)

teacherIt’s hard to find anyone who has spent much time at all around a school that will tell you that teachers are overpaid. In fact, most people that know children and all their levels of rambunctiousness will tell you that teachers are underpaid.

But that’s not just hyperbole. A recent study of teacher salaries by GOBankingRates revealed just where each state in the union falls when it comes to average teacher pay. No surprises — some of the lowest paid teachers are in states now hitting the news for teacher strikes. (more…)

If she brings a buyer, Lynda Piepgras will donate 5 percent of her commission from the sale of this gorgeous Robert Elliott custom home to the Highland Park Education Foundation as part of a new charitable campaign.

Realtors are famous for their generosity, and they are constantly looking for new ways to lift up the communities they serve. And though commission donation programs are nothing new, we’re absolutely impressed with Lynda Piepgras’ idea to help meet the needs of school districts by contributing a percentage of sales. In fact, Piepgras is launching a program that will commit 5 percent of her commission to the school district in which the home resides. 

“I really wanted to give back to the great neighborhoods I work in, and this is just a no brainer,” Piepgras said. “It’s easy and supports education, our kids, and our teachers.”

(more…)

When the Texas legislature gavels into session in January, education will be a hot topic. (Photo courtesy Nicolas Henderson/Flickr)

When the Texas legislature gavels into session in January, education will be a hot topic. (Photo courtesy Nicolas Henderson/Flickr)

When the Texas legislature reconvenes January 10, it will have a laundry list of things to tackle – some controversial, some mundane (you can keep up to date on the full list of bills filed here). But some of the biggest issues will involve the trajectory of public education in the state.

While we can’t provide an exhaustive list of everything the legislature will address this session (although rest assured – we’ll be keeping you abreast of the most vital pieces of legislation), I thought it would be a good idea to look at three key things legislature will have to address this session.

The biggest, of course, will be school finance. This is the one that not only affects how schools budget for education and innovation, but also how good and great schools stay good and great schools, and schools that need improvement have the tools to improve. And this, of course, directly impacts the bottom lines of Realtors and homebuyers and sellers, since schools are frequently in the top five considerations when it comes to looking for that family abode.

And, of course, school finances are currently tied to property taxes, which makes whatever the legislature does of vital importance to homeowners. And trust me, the legislature will have to do something – the courts have mandated it. It won’t be cheap, and it won’t be easy, but expect much discussion over better funding formulas in the 85th legislative session. (more…)