Real estate agent Lacey Brutschy prepares to launch a new social media website that’s all about community and accountability

exempt

 

Tammye Nash  |  Managing Editor

Everybody wants to find that place where they fit in, whether it’s that perfect house or apartment where they can escape the rigors of the workaday world, or that corner bar where everybody knows their name. And when it comes to where you live, finding that place you fit best is vital.

That’s the idea behind Dallas real estate agent Lacey Brutschy’s new social media network, Exxempt.com.

It started out, Brutschy said, as a way for people relocating to Dallas “to find their places and their people.” It has since evolved, she added, into a site for anyone in Dallas looking to find their niche.

“I get so tired of hearing people say, ‘I hate Dallas.’ They don’t hate Dallas; they just hate the part of Dallas they live in. They just need to find the right neighborhood for them,” said Brutschy, who works with Carolyn Shamis Realtors.

Just look at that three-and-a-half-to-four-mile stretch of real estate between Downtown Dallas and Old East Dallas, she said. “Those two areas — Downtown and

Old East Dallas — they aren’t very far apart at all. But those two neighborhoods are totally different from each other, and the kind of people who want to live

Downtown are different from the kind of people who want to live in Old East Dallas.

“You don’t even have to go that far,” Brutschy continued. “Just compare Downtown Dallas to Deep Ellum. That’s what? Only 12 blocks apart? And Deep Ellum has a totally different feel than Downtown.”

She clarified, “I’m not saying that one neighborhood is ‘better’ than another one. That’s not what this is about. It’s about what neighborhood is better suited to which people.”

But Exxempt.com goes further than just profiling neighborhoods, Brutschy said. It gives users a chance to find what restaurants best fit them, what bars and nightclubs, grocery stores, retail business — even what people fit them best.

“It will be all user-driven,” Brutschy said. “The idea is to create positive communication, accountability and a sense of belonging for people. What we want this to be is a site that builds community and that holds businesses and people accountable.”

Users will have the chance to rank neighborhoods, businesses and people based on a number of criteria, and the site will then use those rankings to determine who/what/where are the “trendsetters” in Dallas. Knowing that others will be watching and ranking you, Brutschy said, will encourage users to always be at their best.

“Everyone wants to be cool. Everyone wants to be on the up-and-up and in the know,” she said. “So knowing that people are watching what you do and how you behave, and that they have a place to go and tell other people about you, that holds people accountable for how they are. I think it makes people want to be better.”

Other popular networking sites “have no community,” Brutschy said. “They are selling your information, selling contacts. Exxempt won’t do that. It will make money off the advertising revenue.”

But even having an ad on the website will indicate that a business is a well-regarded member of the community, because advertising won’t be open to just anyone, Brutschy said.

“Businesses will have the chance to register and log in to answer comments about them and to address negative ratings if they want to. But a business will have to have a rating of at least three-and-a-half stars to get ad space on the site,” she explained. “That helps maintain the accountability that we want.”

Brutschy acknowledges that she has set high goals for the new website. But she won’t let the naysayers kill her joy.

“It’s a big job. I know that,” she said. “But I am young enough — and maybe dumb enough — to believe that it will work. I believe that we can create a place for a free-market community where we hold ourselves accountable and we hold each other accountable, and we can make it work. We will make it work.”

Exxempt.com is already online for those who want to register as users.  But the site won’t go live until after the invitation-only launch party on Wednesday, March 4.

For information, use the “Contact Us” page at Exxempt.com/contact.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 27, 2015.