By Zoe Eisenberg
As a real estate agent, you already know you have an important place within the community. However, selling homes isn't the only way you can help out. Below are a handful ways you can give back—and make invaluable connections—within your community.
Donate your fees. Many agents give back by donating a percentage of their fees to a local charity. Not only are you giving back to the community, but clients like to see that their money is going to great places. You may even want to consider allowing your client to choose the charity that a percentage of your agent or brokerage fee goes to.
Donate your time. Set aside time every week, month, or year to volunteer at a local charity organization. If you want to become more involved, consider heading up the board. Jane B. Locke, an agent in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. has spent the last 27 years on the board of Carolina Children’s Charity, an organization that helps families pay for medical costs arising from children's birth defects. Moving up the board ranks to president, Locke runs the charity’s annual telethon and attends every fundraiser. This year she helped the charity raise $433,000, and was a recipient of NAR's 2014 Good Neighbor Award.
Donate a home. Want to do more than donate time or money? How about building a home? Giveback Homes, a California-based company that has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity, brings agents together several times a year to help built a home for a family in need. The organization has built homes all around the United States and in Nicaragua. In late August 2014, the company held an event in Lynwood, Calif., where more than 20 REALTOR® volunteers gathered together to build an entire complex for families to live in. The project was financed by donations made from Giveback Homes members, professionals spanning an array of home-centric industries—from agents to home builders, mortgage brokers and interior designers.
Start your own foundation. Can't find a local charity that inspires you? Create your own. Gail Doxie, an agent in Fort Myers, Fla. founded the Miles of Smiles Foundation in 2007, which offers equine-assisted therapy for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Doxie also received the 2014 Good Neighbor Award for her good work.
Whether you donate time, money, or brain-power, giving back can be fulfilling, fun, and a great way to connect with your community.