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2015 holiday gift guide for the real estate professional (or anyone, probably)



realtor gifts

Whether you’re buying for a coworker, the agent that helped you close on your home, or trying to drop some hints about what your loved ones should get you for the holidays, we’ve got you covered with our gift guide for the real estate professional. And not a single one is smart home related! Rejoice.

Badass coffee accessories

coffee mug
We all have that one friend or coworker that threatens murder with just a look in their eye if they haven’t had their coffee yet. Deliver it to them in the coolest way with some of these cool mugs, including one that stirs your coffee for you.

And never risk wasting another drop with this beverage warmer.
Price: $12.50-20.00

Women’s shoe ice grips

ice shoes
Ice shoes are hideous. Seriously. So instead of booting up, your favorite Realtor that practices, rain or snow, can pop on ice grips on top of a pair of heels or flats, without having to don ridiculous snow boots. Mynxx Women’s shoe ice grips are perfect for the hardest working, yet most stylish of the bunch!
Price: $38.00

iPhone ghost detector

ghost hunter
A g-g-g-ghost? Maybe. But how can you really know without the technology to prove it? If all signs point to “built on an Indian burial ground”, this ghost detector for your iPhone detects electromagnetic radiation and can give you some answers. If you believe in that sort of thing.
Price: $20.00

Picture printing iPhone case

ihpone print case
If the Cloud isn’t enough assurance, this case for iPhones prints your pictures. How many selfies can you fit on a fridge? We’re willing to test it out.
Price: $150.00

Wall clock (that’s a secret safe)

clock safe
What time is it? Where are the family heirlooms? Both of these questions can be answered by the same object.
Price: $11.00

Shop for gifts by color

color coded gifties
Whether your Realtor friend works at KW or CB, they probably already have a ton of broker-specific swag, so why not give them gifts based on their brokerage color, but without the logo gumming up the works? Shop for gifts by color and offer a thoughtful array of colorful presents this holiday!
Price: $5.00 – 199.00

Luggage that doubles as a scooter

If those moving walkways aren’t getting you to the NAR Conference quickly enough, may we suggest a solution? Not only will you win when you suggest to your colleague, “Race you to the gate!” but you’ll also look super cool while doing it.

Wireless mobile projector, yeah!

wireless projector
Wow any client by doing a CMA right from your phone, in their house. Instead of using a bunch of wires and laptops and gidgets and gadgets, just pull out your phone and your new wireless mobile projector (which has rechargable batteries, by the way), and present on the fly.
Price: $299.99

Waterproof notepad

aqua notes
For those of you that get your best ideas in the shower, these notepads might be the cure to your creative block.

A custom docking station for all

docking station
A quality docking station to hold all of your devices can be a useful organization tool, and keep your desk from looking ridiculous. We found these personalized docking station featuring your state, and a spot for every device. Bingo!
Price: $20.00 – 32.00

Super duper dash cam

dash cam
How many shaky “look at this neighborhood” videos have you seen (or made)? Be honest. It doesn’t have to be so horrible, there are affordable dash cams on the market now that don’t require complicated setup, like the SpyTec Black Box Dash Cam.
Price: $51.00 – $62.99

Make any car Bluetooth, hands-free

bluetooth hands free car
Not all cars or new, and even so, not all have the Bluetooth function that uses your phone’s Bluetooth to allow you to take calls through your car’s speakers. Most states have laws against using the phone or texting while driving, so get the iClever Bluetooth Hands-Free Multi-Point Activation kit so no important business calls are ever missed, no car rewiring is required, and no fines are racked up.
Price: $29.99 – 39.99

Yoga by number

yoga for beginners
For the yoga-dummy or the super beginner, this numbered mat pairs with a video series (available in an app or on Youtube) to teach you the basics. Your friend will be a yogi in no time! And all bendy.
Price: $120.00

Buy up anything from Photojojo

Almost everyone in the industry is enamored with photography, be it through a smartphone with neat lenses, or a full studio for social media videography. The needs vary, but the best place on the planet to buy anything photo related is Photojojo. We’ve spent quite a bit of money there, and when you visit, you’ll see why!
Price: $5.00 – 500.00

Man Crates with bacon and whiskey aren’t just for men

It’s called MAN crates, but most of the gals on our team drooled over the possibility of getting a Man Crate as a gift. They’re actual wooden crates filled with goodies that the recipient has to pry open with a frickin’ crowbar. Six degrees of bacon? Yes f**king please. Whiskey? Beard stuff? Food stuff? This might be the best option on the list, and the best way to make friends or impress a boss.
Price: $39.99 – $179.99


Jenna keeps the machine well-oiled as the Operations Coordinator at The American Genius and The Real Daily. She earned her degree in Spanish at the University of North Texas and when she isn't crossing things off her to-do list, she is finding her center in the clean and spacious aisles of Target or rereading Harry Potter for the billionth time.

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Malls repurposed as housing could bring back discrimination

(EDITORIAL) Recycling dead malls into community colleges and libraries are smart ideas, but is there a deeper, darker implication behind the affordable housing idea?



malls changed into housing

Clever investors want to transform defunct malls into affordable housing. This sounds like a win-win-win at first. It’s helpful, useful, practical–and doesn’t necessarily require federal funding. What a warm and fuzzy idea that can help people and make use of existing structures. Yaaaay!

We need more affordable housing. Nobody will deny that. According to Pew Trusts, the 2018 U.S. housing market was at its least affordable in ten years. Adaptive reuse is a brilliant idea on paper. However, “affordable housing” is not merely a phrase; it holds legal connotations and requirements, both on national and state levels. It’s…complex.

Then my inner skeptic popped up and whispered in my ear, “Careful. What if it’s a trap?” History tells us to be wary of separating people by socioeconomic status (often–though not always–related to race). I started thinking about the long, troubled history of the “projects” in the U.S., which served to effectively segregate low-income families from the post-New Deal era until modern days. This in turn led to less investment in the area, meaning residents had to contend with fewer schools, grocery stores, public transportation routes, and the like.

Perhaps the adaptive reuse of the malls is not so nefarious. After all, these malls are already in residential areas. Therefore, one hopes, decent schools, supermarkets, and public transportation already exist, just as in other areas of a given city. The residents of one mall, one housing development, should not significantly change the housing market and available local resources by much, right? It will be a seamless integration of a whole new group of people into a neighborhood, right? We hope that’s true.

Maybe it won’t be a case of white flight, AKA “There goes the neighborhood” all over again. After all, the ethnic diversity isn’t specified beyond “workforce, student and 55 plus housing,” future residents, as defined by Richard Rubin, CEO of Repvblic, the company leading the charge to invest in old malls and big box stores. It sounds like a positive thing that the new, “recycled” housing developments he’s investing in don’t require federal funding to get built.

Affordable housing is a challenge wherever you look. Investors in multi-million dollar, sexy and modern high rises aren’t traditionally going after the affordable housing market, because what’s in it for them? In Austin, where The American Genius is based, developers already balk at the idea of including the mandated affordable housing units required for new construction. Some developers have even paid the city millions of dollars to get around the requirement.

Adaptive reuse by recycling dead malls into affordable housing feels like a creative, beneficial idea. Yet, I encourage us to delve a bit deeper and ask the hard questions. I mean, there must be a reason there are more movies about hookers with hearts of gold than real estate investors with hearts of gold. This calls for cautious optimism, but also reading between the lines and paying close attention to the details as this type of housing develops.

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Want to move past your burnout? Stop using multiple lists

(EDITORIAL) How my evolving understanding of “burnout” helped me learn an important distinction between being busy and being productive.



too busy to burnout

When I used to hear the word “burnout” I would picture the freaks from the gone-much-too-soon series, Freaks and Geeks, as they would bum around outside, smoking in between classes. Now when I hear the word “burnout,” I think of myself a few years ago as my brain was being fried by life.

I wasn’t smoking between classes, rather running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to figure out how to manage all of my tasks at hand. I’d make a to-do list, see everything I had to do, and drown in overwhelm.

I’d spend my days fretting over how busy I was, and nights catching up with friends via phone, talking about how busy I was and how there just wasn’t enough time in the day.

Notice that nowhere in here was I actually doing anything productive. I fell into a vicious hole of being so consumed with how much I had to do, I wasn’t taking the time to do anything but stress.

At first, it made me feel interesting and somewhat important that I had so much going on. I quickly realized that no one cares and it’s not that interesting (I also quickly remembered how much I love to just relax and not have something planned every day of the week).

This is where I learned the of the most important lessons to date – being busy does not equal being productive.

It got to a point where I was running on fumes and eventually had this epiphany that how I was operating was doing nothing to help me. This was in part brought on by seeing someone close to me behave the same way, and I was able to actually look at how defeating it was.

From there, I made it a point to change my tune. Instead of wasting time writing and re-writing to do lists, I challenged myself to make one master to do list and accomplish at least one item upon completion of writing the list. This helped shake off the cobwebs and I was able to feel a bit of weight off of my shoulders.

The ideas surrounding the hustle mentality had me so consumed and all I was doing was hustling my way to nowhere. After feeling the burnout, seeing someone else operate that same way, and seeing that hustle mentality mocked, I was finally able to break free and get stuff done.

And, guess what? I have even more to do now, but feel more calm and collected than ever. I just have to repeat the mantra: being busy does not equal being productive. Being productive – especially in silence – is so much better and much more rewarding.

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10 Productivity tips to get the most out of yourself and your team

(EDITORIAL) Keeping up productivity can be a hard goal to shoot for, so sometimes It helps to see what others are doing. Here’s our list of 10 ways to stay productive



productivity in a team

Funny thing about inverse relationships, they are so counterintuitive. Like working hard. That is an example of doing what you think will be beneficial, but usually just makes the job what you expected, hard. When it comes to productivity, harder isn’t smarter, as the saying goes.

And, if you are sick of the word “hack” we hear you. But, finding ease in work will allow you to be more productive and with better results.

We offer you this list of stories to meet your productivity needs. Here’s to finding work-life balance, seeking ease in the moment and rocking out a productive day!

1. If you’re trying to be more productive, don’t focus so much on time management. Instead, consider energy management to get more out of less effort.

2. Meetings suck, wait I mean they are a time suck. Yeah, that’s it. Everyone knows some meetings are unnecessary and could easily be handled through an email. Yet, many supervisors are hesitant. But, there’s an app for that now. Here’s to meeting less and actually getting work done.

3. Kondo your desk, for God’s sake. If you say you are more productive with a messy desk, yet you have a sandwich from last week and those TPS reports you were supposed to turn in weeks ago somewhere under a pile of crap, you need to clean up your act. Nobody wants to get a report covered in coffee, chocolate and mustard.

4. Are you agile? I mean, really. Is your team as productive as it could be? Whether you are a PM or a real estate agent, if you need a tool that helps your team stay agile and nimble, this will help you and your crew kick ass and take names.

5. Cut the team some slack. Too many messages and you forget what you were originally doing. Slack thought about that and has a way to make the app work for your team so you can be more effective and keep the workflow moving.

6. Working remotely has some serious benefits, notwithstanding working in your PJ’s. Convincing your boss you will actually work and not binge on Netflix may be the challenge. And, for many folks, working from home is a much more productive option. Yet, anyone who has worked remotely also knows it can be easy to get caught up in work and miss human interactions, leading to burnout. Here’s how to make the remote transition work for you.

7. Sometimes more is less. That is the truth when it comes to work where quality beats quantity all day long. Our 9-5 workdays may be good for some, but not for all. And, putting in 80-hour weeks may seem righteous dude, but what do you really accomplish? Kick productivity in the butt and consider are you using your hours wisely.

8. Want to be a baller in the workplace? Then get focused. According to the experts, those at the top of their game aren’t necessarily working harder or smarter, they are just hyper-focused. Here are some good habits to have if you want to get ahead.

9. If it seems everyone has a podcast, you are correct! Some of those podcasts are useful, especially if you are trying to get ahead and find ways to use your productivity to the fullest. Here’s a list of podcasts that will fill your free time with useful information.

10. Creative folks love to start new projects. They can be like kids in the candy store any time they have a new idea they must explore. The problem is that whether you are an artist, writer, graphic/web/software designer or developer, you may start a lot of projects and finish few. Here’s how to finish what you start!

By now, you know what information to keep and you are ready to get your rear in gear. We wish you all the success with your future projects. We know you will be diligent and hyper-productive!

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