After leaving a career in advertising to join the real estate industry, Shana Acquisto, 2023 president of Collin County Area Realtors, said she never looked back. Since 1958, CCAR has offered tools and resources to support its members’ success, and its team of specialists is dedicated to connecting realtors in Collin County with services, programs and a supportive network to enhance their careers.

Acquisto said when she made her career change, her first call was to CCAR to ask for help.

“I asked, ‘Where do I get my forms? What do I do?’ and our CEO, Mary Leidy, took me in, guided me and gave me all the tools,” Acquisto said.

Acquisto said CCAR gave her and her husband the tools to successfully run their own small business, and the culture within the organization is fantastic.

“The culture [Mary Leidy] has created is truly amazing,” she said. “She empowers her staff and everyone [else] to have their own ideas ... I think that’s what sets us apart from any other association.

A positive feedback loop

Acquisto said realtors are in the center of the ecosystem when it comes to a thriving community, and they impact factors such as the economy, local schools, new home construction, energy efficiency, sustainable building and more.

“The realtor is the center of all of it to ensure that the consumers are protected from a contract perspective, all the way up to the legislative level,” she said. “I believe many people don't realize how involved and how impactful realtors are.”

Realtors are a large and powerful group in Texas, and they embody the entrepreneurial spirit of the United States, Acquisto said. In addition, the buying and selling of homes in a community causes a positive ripple effect that creates a thriving economy.

“Every homesale generates more than $100,000 in local economic activity, and every two home sales support one job,” she said. “So, real estate transactions are not just about buying and selling homes.”

Acqusito said reality television shows don’t accurately depict real estate agents’ lives, and said the realtors are licensed professionals and are more like surgeons.

“A surgeon who is the highest level medical professional that there is, and if they make a mistake, there's a lot on the line,” she said. “It's the same with us. Our involvement in the economic impact is huge.”

Achieving homeownership, impacting school funding

Acqusito said realtors also play a pivotal role in helping individuals achieve homeownership.

“[Homeownership] is the American dream, and it stands for the most accessible avenue for American families to build generational wealth,” she said. “...We empower the families to make these sound decisions that contribute to long term financial stability and prosperity.”

In addition to helping individuals find a home to purchase, Acquisito said there’s also a connection between thriving real estate markets and well-funded schools.

“A thriving real estate market goes hand-in-hand with excellent schools, because the property taxes from these transactions play a significant role in funding education,” she said. “When the real estate market is doing great, the schools are doing great.”

Consumer protection

For those who aren’t sure whether they need a real estate agent or not, there are multiple factors to consider before making a choice, Acquisito said.

“[Homebuyers] are working with the builder and their representatives, but who's representing you on your side? We know the ins and outs of the actual process and things to look out for and all the pitfalls that can come with it,” she said.

Overall, Acquisito said she thinks real estate agents need to act more like consultants.

“That's what I kind of relay to our agents: that they’re not salesmen,” she said. “We can't make somebody buy something ... but we can give them all the tools to make sure they make sound decisions.”

Legislative advocacy

Advocacy is a huge component of the real estate industry, and it starts at the legislative level, which, in turn, impacts local real estate communities, Acquisito said.

“There are thousands of bills that are filed every legislative session, and some of them are catastrophic, in a negative way to real estate,” she said. “If we didn't advocate and have people looking at and reading every single bill ... There are so many bullets that we've dodged just because of our advocacy.”

Acquisito said there’s much more than meets the eye to the real estate industry.

“We're not just facilitators of property transactions—we're champions and contributors of our society,” she said. “We play diverse roles such as wealth builders, entrepreneurs, consumer protectors, community supporters and expert advisers.”


For local real estate agents, Acquisito said getting involved with their local realtor association is one of the best things they can do.

“The things that you learn are priceless,” she said. “And you're already paying for it through your dues.”

Curious about becoming a member of CCAR? The business’ mission is to provide the highest level of personalized service in North Texas. For more information about CCAR, visit the website.

The above story was produced by Summer El-Shahawy with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of its "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.