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The Socially Conscious Broker (or Agent)

Those that know me, know I care a lot about doing something that matters. Where you are born shouldn’t decide whether you live or die. I live an extremely privileged life, as do you (I wrote that post 6 years ago). So, given I’ve been in the industry since 2005 but never sold an actual home – it probably comes as no surprise that I’ve thought a lot about the possibility of starting a “socially conscious” real estate brokerage (though I chose to start Oh Hey World / Horizon instead – which also has a social mission behind it). Think a TOMS shoes like model — for real estate.

I’ve run the idea of a socially conscious brokerage by a few people I know in the industry over the years, and pretty much everyone has shot it down. The most common feedback I got was that clients just want to buy or sell a home – and will not pay any additional money to support an agent or broker who gives back as part of the transaction.

But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work, or that there isn’t an angle worth exploring further.

In fact, a quick Google search shows that at least one agent – Bonnie Meisels in Montreal – agrees with me. You can see her FB page here. Her bio is as follows:

Life is Incredible…

Be inspired….

We are all connected as Citizens of the Earth

Together we can consciously commit to making the world a better place

Create collaborative communities built on caring sharing and trust

Honor nature and the environment by envisioning a more sustainable future for ourselves and the generations that follow

Contribute by using real estate transactions to invest in our communities

This is the practice of Socially Conscious Real Estate

The practice of working for good 🙂

It’s just good business!

I offer 10% of my commission to the community or nonprofit organization of your choice

My friend Henry Shim donates some proceeds of every transaction he completes to charity.

So, it can – and is – being done by some.

But it should be more widespread. At least in my opinion.

There’s an initiative I recently come across that aims to get more real estate agents supporting their local communities. Schools in need, specifically.

1% for Public Schools, a movement of businesses that give 1% of their annual profit to public schools in need (coverage in the Santa Cruz Sentinel for those who want to learn more).

1 percent for schoolsFrankly, I don’t care whether people publicize their support for charities publicly. In fact, the ones that don’t are the ones that are certainly giving for the right reasons. They aren’t on the “social good” boat just for  publicity. Yet, that doesn’t mean being public about it is bad – as long as you are genuine. Examples of people doing nice things for others can inspire others to do more for others.

I’d love to hear your thoughts — positive or negative — about the concept of a socially conscious real estate brokerage (or agent). Leave em in the comments…

[Update: I’ve traded a few emails with Bonnie, and found she is working on two initiatives. http://www.iiconline.org and http://www.rebsea.org. I’ve asked her to write a guest post here in the coming weeks to share more of her experience with the concept.]

[Update 2: Support GiveBack Homes]

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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