District’s partnership with real estate agents helps educate potential buyers

by Leslie Trahan

In suburban Houston, Clear Creek ISD is attracting potential families through a new partnership with an unexpected source: local real estate agents.

Like most of Texas, League City, home of CCISD, has grown tremendously over the past decade. According to the 2020 census, the city’s population has increased by more than 34% since 2010. Texas, one of the fastest growing states in the country, has seen a population jump of 15 in 10 years. .9%, or almost 4 million inhabitants.

Amid this growth, CCISD has developed a way to attract potential families – leveraging the city’s real estate agents to serve as front-line ambassadors to help promote the neighborhood. This is accomplished through a six-hour training course that covers everything from special education and specialty program options to attendance limits.

“Each school has something unique about it, and in the program for realtors, they were able to show where you can find those programs,” said Jonathan Cottrell, CCISD board member and realtor. local. “If your kid is in engineering, or maybe you work at NASA and you transfer here and you want your kids to get those skills or that education, you know which schools are going to have those programs.”

Having real estate agents in the area who are knowledgeable about the local school district is beneficial for both agents and parents, Cottrell said. It’s also helpful for CCISD, which is seeking to define itself in the face of increasing competition from charter and private schools, as well as neighboring districts.

As a premier school district with a partnership with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, CCISD has a lot to offer prospective League City buyers. “People see that home values ​​go up when you’re in a good school district. You have the personal side of kids — you want to live in a house in a good school district to get a top quality education,” Cottrell said. “Personnel are first, but people are also seeing the correlation between rising home values ​​in top school districts.”

Educate the community

Eva deCardenas, CCISD’s deputy marketing director, said the city’s growth has created a natural alignment between area real estate agents and the neighborhood, which serves more than 41,000 students and spans 103 square miles.

When the program started in April 2021, she said the aim was to ensure estate agents have all the information they need when talking to families, who often have specific questions or concerns. at school. The certification course is now offered once per semester.

“We wanted to be their direct link as a communications office for any questions or uncertainties about a program or a border,” deCardenas said. “We learned there was a desire to take this to another level, so they could get to know the school district, their neighborhood school and amenities, and be better informed with their customers.”

One aspect of the six-hour class is to give realtors a real tour of CCISD schools so they can see how public education has changed and progressed. “Many haven’t been to a school for many years,” deCardenas said. “They go around the CTE [Career and Technical Education] program, meet students and see the real work going on. There is nothing like seeing it.

A win-win situation

Realtors who complete the course receive a USB drive containing comprehensive district resources, including information about the programs offered at each school. They are also listed as a Certified Residential Specialist on the district’s site and receive a certificate and digital emblem that they can use on their promotional materials.

Penny Brockway, a former teacher who now works as a realtor in League City, worked with deCardenas to develop the training. She said the district’s course and certification has been a boon to real estate agents in the area.

“When I hang a sign in the yard, it has my CCISD seal on it,” Brockway said. “It was a big deal, and the estate agents really pushed for it. We could only take 50 at a time, so they were just waiting to get into that class. It’s an impressive seal and a very prestigious certificate to have.

Given the popularity of certification at CCISD, deCardenas would like to see the program grow. The district is working on creating a more generic curriculum for the course so that it can be provided as a continuing education credit for real estate agents through the Texas Real Estate Commission.

DeCardenas said she thinks expanding the course could have ripple effects on public education in the state of Texas.

“If we all speak this common language and have this common course, it’s an effort not only to inform our community of real estate agents, but also for them to become advocates for public education,” he said. she declared. “Many of them are very influential and well known in their communities.”

Continuous demand

Given the influx of new residents to Texas and the demand for housing, Cottrell advocates continued collaboration between CCISD and the local real estate community. In League City, bidding wars and multiple bids are common as housing inventory struggles to keep up.

“Our home values, like everywhere else in the United States, are exploding,” he said. “I have two homes under contract right now and they’re both over $1 million, and both were bidding wars. There’s so much demand and so little inventory, there’s So was the economic factor that also created the rise in home values.

According to Adam Perdue, research economist for Texas A&M’s Texas Real Estate Research Center, this trend isn’t likely to end anytime soon. “The factors that have been driving Texas’ growth relative to the rest of the country are persistent, and we don’t see that changing,” Perdue said. “Texas is younger than the country as a whole and has grown faster than the country as a whole since the 1990s.”

Although fair housing laws prevent real estate agents from directing customers toward or against a particular neighborhood, Cottrell said having the facts about the neighborhood helps empower buyers by giving them accurate information.

“We can’t tell someone, ‘This is a good neighborhood, this is a bad neighborhood,’ or, ‘This is a good school, this is a bad school,'” Cottrell said. “You can definitely put that information in front of them and say, ‘This campus has this program,’ and let them decide, ‘Yeah, I want my child in this program, so we have to live within those boundaries.

This article was originally published in the May 2022 issue of The Lone Star of Texas magazine.

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