Winter 2018 California Real Estate Magazine: Fitzburgh Realty and Homes Fur All Featured in "Do Good" in This Month's Issue!
When Brian Fitzburgh decided to ditch the petting zoo at his annual Superbowl client BBQ in favor of a dog and cat adoption drive, he didn’t realize just how dramatically it would change his life — and his business.
Now, two years later, he’s in the process of rolling out a nationwide pet fostering and adoption campaign — “Be a Hero” — which has brought him closer to his clients than ever before. “It genuinely changed the course of my life,” Fitzburgh says. “I’d never done anything for the community; I’d never had a wish to be involved in community.” It started off small — four adoptions from a crowd of around 100 people at that first client BBQ — but that success was enough to set the wheels in motion.
“The thought occurred that it might not just be clients who wanted to help,” Fitzburgh explains. He decided to expand his reach, leading to the establishment of Homes Fur All, the 501(c)(3) through which he now runs all his adoption and fostering efforts.
Homes Fur All’s first event was held in 2017 in Brian’s city, Glassell Park — appropriately named “Glassell Bark” and run in the style of a community fair. It attracted 3,000 people and featured events such as a human barking contest and doggie fashion show, as well as free microchipping and, of course, animals up for adoption.
Then came events in Echo Park and a Superbowl party, all branded under the banner “Bark and Meow.” Homes Fur All also played an integral role in the REALTORS® to the Rescue Pet Lounge hosted at C.A.R.’s REimagine! conference. Adopting a pet is a great way to spare an animal from a shelter, but it’s not the only option.
Through partnering with Los Angeles Animal Services, Fitzburgh realized the crucial role that animal fostering plays in dramatically reducing shelter kill rates. Determined to incorporate fostering into his program, he started including a sign-up station for pet fostering opportunities at all his open houses and was struck by the response of his clients.
“You always have to beg people to sign your open house sheet, and I don’t have to beg anybody to sign the foster sheet — they do it on their own.” With well over 100 foster placements to its name, Homes Fur All has succeeded in saving many animals from shelters.
But that hasn’t been its only success; Fitzburgh believes it has helped improve business numbers, too. “I wasn’t expecting it to be a business boost, but surprisingly and pleasantly, I’ve found that it really is,” he says. “When you’re talking about [a client’s] family, their kids and the pets that they love — the dynamic is so different.
As an agent, you’re connecting with people on an emotional level, and before you know it, they want you to be their real estate agent.”
With a packed calendar of Bark and Meow events, the Fitzburgh Realty Team now has even bigger ambitions: going national by developing a marketing kit that will be available to all REALTORS® across the country.Titled “Be a Hero” and operating under the banner of “Real Estate Agents to the Rescue,” the kit will guide agencies interested in establishing their own fostering programs.
Homes Fur All is a 501(c)3 non-profit charity organization dedicated to helping the people and pets of NELA.
The Fitzburgh Realty Team