Atlanta Real Estate Agents Donate Commission to Charity
Two well-known Georgia real estate agents are doing much more than selling homes to aspiring homebuyers -- they are giving back to their communities. The Corwell Group and Common Grounds real estate agencies have made it their mission to not only get involved in their communities but to also make monetary donations to local charities, many of which are LGBT organizations.
"The mission statement is the more I make, the more I give back," said Maximillian Corwell proudly. This Atlanta-area real estate agent recently reactivated The Corwell Group after serving as editor-in-chief of David Magazine earlier this year. The group, founded by him and his mother in 2008, sells and rents residential real estate in Atlanta neighborhoods.
Corwell earned his license at 18 years of age, while working at PalmerHouse Properties. He was one of the first 50 agents in the company, where he proved to be a repeat top performer.
When he began his own company, he knew he wanted to give back to community LGBT organizations. And Corwell was no stranger to fundraising, having raised large amounts of money for various LGBT charities such as AID Atlanta, Youth Pride and several others.
"Serving as editor-in-chief at David Magazine has allowed me to work closely with local charities and organizations here in Atlanta. Real estate is a great avenue to continue to serve the LGBT community while supporting charities close to my clients’ hearts. We have helped raise substantial funds in past years for local organizations," said Corwell in a press release.
The Corwell Group will donate 10 percent of any sales commission upon closing to the LGBT charity of the buyer’s or seller’s choice. After learning of their mission, Corwell said his clients are often very surprised and pleased that The Corwell Group will make a donation to a charity on their behalf.
"They get very thrilled," Corwell said of his clients. "They are making a good purchase and are thrilled to be able to give back at the same time. Not many realtors open up their own pocketbooks to give back to a charity."
This philosophy goes over well among the buyers drawn to the Corwell Group’s holdings in transitional, up and coming neighborhoods, in-town neighborhoods and luxury townhouses and condos.
Corwell is himself often personally invested in renovating or upgrading distressed properties, including FHA and VA foreclosures before resale (so-called "flipping"). This expertise can help guide investors interested in this business and always helps to ensure a maximum profit on a house.
The Corwell Group is also currently serving as a consultant for popular HGTV television show, "Property Virgins," further raising their profile.
Finding a Common Ground in Helping the LGBT Community
Common Ground Real Estate has a similar mission: to do more than just be another company located in the community. The Common Ground team has been named the number one sales group at Keller Williams Realty Metro Atlanta for the first quarter of 2012. But selling property is only half of the equation for these brokers who donate 50 percent of their commission to LGBT charities.
"It’s not just good business, but it’s being a part of the community we serve," said principal and realtor Justin "JZ" Ziegler. "To do good by doing well" is the double bottom line that Ziegler and his partner, principal and realtor Barb Rowland, value.
The two met when Ziegler was 28 years old, right after he was laid off from AID Atlanta. Ziegler, who had been working since he was 16, decided to slow it down and take a part time job at a coffee shop. He met Rowland there, and she was familiar with his fundraising abilities. She asked for assistance in raising funds for a gay community center. Ziegler said he went out that day and managed to raise $25,000 for the cause.
After that, Rowland encouraged him to leave the little coffee shop and to pursue his real estate license and to join her in business. Ziegler took her up on her offer, and the two formed Common Ground Real Estate at Keller Williams Realty Metro Atlanta.
They knew they wanted to do two things: Give back to the community and develop new real estate agents. Common Ground pays all the expenses to have their agents licensed and they also continually receive training and support.
And in return, their agents give 50 percent of their commission back into the company, which Ziegler said they donate to charities at large levels.
They make donations to both LGBT charities, as well as other community organizations. A large amount of their donations have been made to charities such as AID Atlanta, Atlanta Pride, The Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Chris Kids, East Point Possums and others.
While some agents may not have been too sure in the beginning about giving up half of their commission, Ziegler said the agents soon come around, after seeing how the money benefits the organizations and the important work that they do.
"It’s really been an amazing experience for us," Ziegler said of his and Rowland’s mission to give back and to help others through their donations.