Spokane Journal of Business

Spokane Realtor plans to launch Washington Real Estate School

Gwynn says new effort also to offer tech training

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Spokane-based real estate broker Bryan Gwynn is in the process of establishing a continuing education school that he says will have an emphasis on technology. 

Gwynn is the founder of the Washington Real Estate School, a business that he established at the end of 2019 with the goal of providing continuing education for real estate professionals, primarily in the residential sector.

The arrival of COVID-19 derailed plans to begin offering classes to Realtors and real estate agents and is still awaiting final licensing approval from the Washington state Department of Licensing. The goal originally was to host in-person classes but the pandemic insures classes will be virtual to start, he says.

“Our business model was going to be traditionally in person,” he says. “We feel like we can make a bigger impact when it’s in-person than virtual or through correspondence.”

Gwynn has a certification from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in blockchain technology, he says.

“The blockchain is basically an Excel spreadsheet that no one can change,” he says. “That information could be titles to properties … a digital representation of your deed.”

Gwynn adds, “Our focus of our school will be to teach some of the aspects of blockchain and how it could affect us as Realtors.”

Gwynn, 44, who grew up in Spokane Valley and graduated from University High School, has worked in real estate in the Seattle area; Austin, Texas; the Lake Tahoe region overlapping the Nevada-California border; and Las Vegas, before returning to Spokane.

The cost of classes will be $10 per hour which is an amount similar to the industry standard for continuing education classes, which customarily range from three to seven hours. He’s hoping for initial class sizes of at least 20 students.

Gwynn eventually plans to host some classes in a fifth-floor suite in the Fernwell Building, 505 W. Riverside, downtown. He says he’s also working with other industry partners to host classes in other locations.

“We’re small and new. The idea is just to help educate and offer continuing education classes to Washington state Realtors,” he says.

In addition to the Washington Real Estate School, Gwynn heads up boutique real estate company, Urban Settlements, of Spokane which has four real estate brokers, including himself, with two in Spokane and two in Las Vegas.

Urban Settlements also operates out of the Fernwell Building.

“Pre-COVID, Urban Settlements partnered with another school that offered continuing education classes, and then we gradually moved to becoming our own school offering our classes on our terms,” he says.

As for Urban Settlements, Gwynn says he set up the company as a low-fee brokerage.

“We don’t take a percentage of their commission,” he says of Urban Settlements’ brokers. “They just pay a small fee to work with us.”

Urban Settlements charges the brokers $100 a month and $375 for each transaction completed, Gwynn says.

Right now, business is strong for the company, he says.

“We’ve been doing very well, but I have to say I’m not a big fan of this market because it’s so aggressive,” he says. “It reminds me of when I was in Vegas. Sellers can get sometimes get greedy and buyers sometimes acquire because they feel like they have to instead of maybe getting what they want.”

Regarding continuing education, Gwynn says, “It’s important as Realtors that we continue our education so that we serve our clients in the direction that they require. It’s an ever-changing industry and massively changing in the last two years.”

Gwynn, who also is the Spokane chapter president of the National Association of Property Managers, says he is involved with other peers in that capacity as it relates to rental regulations.

“I can see a day when homes have a lot of Internet of Things, and we don’t show homes anymore because clients will go out and look on their own,” Gwynn says.

He contends that most Realtors today have been slow to utilize new technologies available to them.

“There’s a small portion that embraces (technology)—the successful brokers—but there is a huge lag for sure,” he says.

A Realtor for more than 20 years now, Gwynn says he’s stunned by today’s Spokane housing market.

“Trying to buy a house right now is harder than trying to find a PlayStation 5,” Gwynn says. “It’s crazy.”

Kevin Blocker
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