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Top 10 things I learned at SXSW last week

I experienced SXSW for the first time this past week! Here’s my top 10 countdown to the top things I learned at SXSW:

10.  Paisley capri pants on men is not a good look.  Ditto for white overalls.  I don’t care how European you are.

9.  SXSW in Austin Robert Rodriquez on the Doritos Stage AntonesIt was insane that there was an Eric Clapton concert on Sunday (not related to SXSW, but an amazing way to round the week out).

8.  The most obscure artists can be the best musicians you have ever seen.

7. Musicians and real estate agents have a lot in common.  Both careers are much less glamorous than the media and public makes them out to be and most barely make a living at it.

6. Sometimes you need to just let go and dance like a white chick.

5. Call me old school but what do prerecorded tracks and a gizmo on a microphone that manipulates vocals have to do with “live music”?

4. The electrical outlet was one hot commodity.

3.  If you have musical Attention Deficit Disorder, SXSW is the event for you! 30-45 minute sets, 5-7 songs….my kind of listening.

2.  I now understand why Austin is known as the music capital of the world.

1.  Austin REALLY knows how to throw a party!

-Laurie Loew

GeneroCity Award: Give Realty Took Home a Win!

Austin realtor

In photo (right to left): Bobby Jenkins, Laurie Loew, Ed Kargbo (owner Yellow Cab), and Don Kendrick (President Wells Fargo).

Butterflies in my stomach; a table full of Give Realty staff and supporters; a room full of 300 generous people at the Austin Gives Luncheon to celebrate the inaugural GeneroCity awards.  I feel honored just to be in the same room, let alone for Give Realty be a finalist for the Small Business Award.

Roy Spence, cofounder of GSD&M/Idea City and founder of Royito’s, was the guest speaker.  To hear him speak is always inspiring and the story of his journey entertaining.  I’m always surprised at the similarities in the entrepreneurial stories of folks who have started a business and Roy’s tales about startup funding, business ideas and making a difference were all relative to the Give Realty journey.

As you can imagine, I often get asked about the Give Realty business model.  There are many adjectives that can be used to describe it: smart; rewarding; transformational; difficult. Now that Give Realty has 4.5 years under its belt and has survived the ups and downs, I can honestly say it has been the bravest thing I have ever done.  As the saying goes “hindsight is 20/20 vision”.  I am not so sure I would have had the stamina and the courage to fund the model had I known how long it would take to gain traction.

We won!  Give Realty’s name is called as the winner of the Small Business award. There is a round of cheers at the table.  Ultimately this award belongs to Give Realty’s clients.  Without you there would be no Give in Give Realty. I have said it before and I will say it again, our clients are our angel investors. You get it. You understand that allowing us to help you change your address allows us to continue giving in hopes of changing the world.

The rewards are endless. Give Realty has the best, kindest, most inspiring, giving and caring clients on the planet.  The business model allows us to give to wonderful organizations that are doing amazing things in and for our community. Our clients and the nonprofit community are our biggest fans and best advocates along with all the friends who share our story.

Give Realty consists of two full time agents (Laurie and Victoria), one part time agent (Sarka) and a part time admin person (Kim).  There are 9000+ agents who are members of the Austin Board of Realtors®.  If  I  am being truthful, most days I feel like David.  Thank you, Austin Gives, for helping Give Realty be Goliath.

Congratulations to Harden Health Care and BuildASign on their wins too!

Austin Gives™ is a community program to recognize and encourage business philanthropy in metropolitan Austin. There are currently over 130 business members who have committed to giving 1% or more of their pretax earnings to philanthropic efforts. 

Putting our money where your heart is: A story of incalculable impact

Don’t get me wrong, for every client there is an amazing story to tell about how or why they connected to the nonprofit they chose. This is Gwen’s story – a story about a client who discovered a father making a $20 monthly payment on the funeral costs for his little girl  – and her decision to help.

Any Baby Can donation Gwen S. sold and purchased a home using Give Realty last year.  She is one of the most amazing, funny, independent and beautifully spirited people I know. She’s no stranger to doing good – she’s been part of the nonprofit world for years, both as an employee and a volunteer.

When we started talking about where the $2,100 would be donated from her home sale and purchase, she told me she wanted to start a fund for Funeral Services and Bereavement Counseling through her employer, Any Baby Can, a nonprofit which provides case management for families with children who have serious illnesses.  As Gwen was doing her administrative work one day, she noticed a father had put a $20 down payment on his little girl’s  $2000 funeral costs  – a funeral the family had to finance because they didn’t have  insurance or the money to pay for it.  Imagine…writing a check every month for the indefinite future to pay for the burial of your child.  Sadly, Gwen found there were two more clients nearing the end of life and decided her Give Realty donation would be a darn good start for a fund that could help provide services for these families.

This is really what it’s all about. People (who sell real estate) helping people (buy and sell their homes) help people (who are in need). I’m also pleased to report, after hearing Gwen’s story, another Give Realty client designated their $1,600 to help these families too.

It’s my wish that none of us will ever have to experience the need for funeral assistance for a child, but I’m sure glad there are people like Gwen in the world who are doing what they can to help make a difference.  And I am extremely proud, yet amazingly humbled, to have founded a company that makes this possible.

If you would like to donate specifically to the funeral and bereavement fund,  visit donate and note funeral and bereavement costs in the comments section.

$1,772.50 Donated to Habitat for Humanity on Behalf of Diana Simpkins


                 Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to financing and building homes that low-income residents can afford through zero-interest, no profit mortgages. Since 1985, they have built more than 300 homes for low-income, hardworking families in the central Texas area. If you are interested in learning more about Habitat for Humanity check out their website at

3309 Western Drive – SOLD

MLS – 4642014 – $199,900


Cute 1650/sf home located in pocket community close to William Cannon and Brodie.  Super convenient location! Beautiful wood floors, 3 bedroom/2 bath, fireplace, open kitchen, interior laundry room. Backyard features sparkling pool, mature trees, big side yard, storage shed and covered patio.


3703 Steer Creek – SOLD

MLS – 8273957 – $359,000

Gently lived in,loaded with upgrades.Gourmet kitchen w/granite,ss appliances.Family room w/fireplace,formal dining,5th BR used as media rm,workout/sunroom,huge upstairs gameroom,media room,large bedrooms w/guest bedroom & private bath.Custom paint,ceramic tile,light & bright.2.5 car garage.No neighbors behind,big back yard, playscape, deck.

How it Works

When you buy or sell a home, 25% of Give Realty’s commission is donated to the 501(c)3 nonprofit of the client’s choice. That’s right – YOU choose the recipient. Learn More

Change your address. Change the World.®