Archive for September, 2011

Growing a Real Estate Company in 2011
September 27, 2011

Growing a real estate company in the aftermath of the 2007/08 financial meltdown has provided plenty of challenges and certainly has not been easy.  Many people have asked how we’ve done it.  Others have chosen instead to ask us why we’ve bothered.  To be honest, each question has merit.  Very simply, we’ve done it with creative and cost-effective marketing, word-of-mouth referrals, being very supportive to our agents, and returning time and time again to our mantra of Delivering Remarkable Service to our clients.  Our dogged tenacity has made all the difference and our dedication to our mission is the answer to the question, “Why?”.  At the end of the day, you can blog, you can call members of your SOI, and you can post on social media sites such as Facebook, but it really all comes down to serving your existing clients.  Unparalleled service is what makes you stand out and this is how BlueLeaf Realty has earned a reputation of being one of the most highly thought of and sought out brokerages in North Texas.  Thanks to those who have supported us during the economic downturn.  Here’s to better real estate days ahead!

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BlueLeaf Agent, Jimmy Ramey, Delivers Remarkable Service Again
September 24, 2011

Jimmy Ramey

We are excited to announce that BlueLeaf Agent, Jimmy Ramey, has helped another client purchase their first home in North Tarrant County.  Jimmy’s standard of excellence is unparalleled.  We are also very excited for his clients who are now happy homeowners.  Congratulations to Jimmy and his clients and thanks for fulfilling BlueLeaf’s Mission.  In a very short time, Jimmy is on pace to become a top producer in real estate.  BlueLeaf Realty looks forward to being a part of his continued success.  To learn more about Jimmy, please visit www.jimmyramey.com.  Whether you’re buying your first home or your last home, Jimmy Ramey is a Realtor who will take excellent care of you.

Avoid Costly Home Buying Mistakes
September 23, 2011

Miss the Pitfalls – Avoid These Common Home Buying Mistakes 

Purchasing a home is a big decision, and the process of buying a home can be stressful.  As such, there are some common mistakes that are inherent in the home buying process.  Fortunately, avoiding these mistakes is easier than you might think as long as you know what they are.  Below are some of the common home buying mistakes:

1.  Not doing your homework.  Because everyone leads very busy lives, it’s easy to forgo doing the research.  This mistake can cost you in the long run.  For instance, if there is a vacant field behind a home you like and you fall in love with the idea of watching the cows graze while the sun is setting, just remember that lovely field could one day become a bustling retail development.  Figuring out the zoning on the adjacent raw land should be a high priority for you and your real estate professional.  Don’t hesitate to ask your agent to investigate if you don’t have the time.   

2.  Not choosing the best location.  Although most buyers think about location in general, a common mistake is that many buyers do not think about it enough.  It’s very difficult to over think location when it comes to real estate.  Factors to consider should include, but not be limited to, such things as proximity to schools, jobs, retail providers, and major roadways.

3.  Not having the home inspected.  Many buyers make this mistake with new homes and existing homes.  In both cases, you should pay to have your home inspected.  The cost of the inspection is a small percentage of the sale’s price, so it is always smart to purchase a home inspection from a licensed inspector.  You should also talk with your real estate agent to make sure your offer to purchase a home includes an option period giving you the right to terminate and receive a full refund of your earnest money should you do so. 

4.  Not hiring a real estate agent.  Buyers, especially first time home buyers, sometimes make the mistake of deciding to go it alone.  A good buyer’s agent brings many talents to the table, and the listing agent and seller have already agreed to pay a portion of the commission to the agent who brings a buyer.  This means no out-of-pocket expense to the buyer in exchange for a wealth of expertise and knowledge about location, resale, negotiating, and market conditions, not to mention fiduciary duties to the buyer.  Ask an agent if he or she will agree to represent you exclusively and a world of opportunities will open up to you.  An agent should be willing to show you multiple properties in your price range, so don’t settle for mediocre service!  If you’re buying your first home, find someone who enjoys working with first time home buyers.  I’m biased, of course, but I stongly recommend Liana Oram – she is one of the best and takes very good care of 1st time home buyers! 

5.   Not being patient.  A common mistake is for buyers to rush through the home buying process or make an offer on the rebound.  If you don’t get the house you really thought you wanted, it might be a good idea to wait at least 24-48 hours before you make an offer on another home.  Rushing into a home purchase is never a good idea and usually results in the buyer overpaying.  It’s important to remember that there are always other nice homes on the market.  This is not to say that you shouldn’t be aggressive about a home if you really like it.  Chances are good that if you really like it, someone else really likes it too. 

6.  Not buying a home.  The final mistake many people make is not buying a home at all.  If you are in a position to buy a home, there are too many good reasons why you should buy rather than continuing to rent or live in a home that’s no longer suited for your family.  However, being able to obtain an exotic mortgage to squeeze into a home you can’t afford is just as big a mistake as not moving at all, so always weigh your options carefully and find a lender and real estate agent who you can trust.  Happy house hunting!

Good Neighbors – the hidden asset
September 13, 2011

Identifying the tangible assets of a neighborhood is easy.  You can drive up and down the streets, visit the amenity center, or look at crime statistics.  Doing these things will tell you a lot about a neighborhood, but it won’t necessarily reveal the hidden assets of a neighborhood – the residents. 

A neighborhood is made up of people, and they provide the intangibles in a neighborhood that aren’t easily measured.  Every neighborhood has many such hidden assets.  Assets like my former neighbor, a retired minister who daily practices being a wonderful neighbor.  It is the small things he did everyday that made him a good neighbor.   Having a good neighbor and being a good neighbor are the intangible assets that seldom show up in an appraisal.  They do, however, enhance your quality of life and they also indirectly increase your property values.  How this happens is very subtle, but it happens nonetheless each and every day.  For example, when a neighbor pitches in to help another neighbor repaint his home, he has just inadvertently increased the property values of his own home.  Another neighbor might indirectly enhance property values by lending a hedge trimmer or a lawn mower to his neighbor, thereby enhancing the curb appeal of his neighbor’s home.  In yet another instance, a neighbor might replace an outdoor light bulb for an elderly neighbor, making the neighborhood safer and indirectly increasing property values for everyone on the street.

So it is that kindness and generosity from the residents of a neighborhood, the hidden assets, contribute to maintaining and even enhancining property values.  If you have good neighbors, consider yourself blessed.  My neighbor would tell you that the simplest way to have a good neighbor is to be one.  I think that’s the simple truth.  To me it’s amazing to think about how much property values are enhanced by the things you don’t see on the surface.  It’s the small things that some times matter the most.  Start today by being a good neighbor in your own community.  Many thanks to my former neighbor Cody who inspired me to be a good neighbor simply by being one.

Great Companies Are Built on a Foundation of Small Gestures
September 5, 2011

If your business survived the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, it might be time to reflect on why your business survived and others did not.  Prior to the financial industry unleashing economic Armageddon on the US economy and then hoarding capital for years, many small companies were humming along oblivious to the financial turmoil that was bubbling under the surface.  Then 2008 and the ensuing financial meltdown changed everything overnight. 

Currently, the local and national landscape  is littered with stories of small businesses that struggled to make it but could not hold on in spite of tremendous effort.  Many had invested their entire life savings only to realize that their timing was really awful and there was no bailout plan and no golden parachutes waiting for them.  Many hopes and dreams were dashed.  And, with another recession looming on the horizon, it seems feasible that another round of businesses will have to throw in the towel if people tighten up their purse strings once again.  

Still, it’s worth asking why some companies made it while others who fought the good fight did not.  I suspect the answers are as varied as the companies that were created.  Partly, businesses that survived implemented strategies such as more efficient and streamlined operating procedures and serious cost-cutting measures.  But the real answer may be less about austerity measures or the creation of new streams of revenue; instead, the answer may be found in the quantity of personal sacrifices made by the company’s owners.  I’m sure there is a strong correlation between survival and sacrifice.  There has also been a renewed sense that a solid business foundation is more than just pretty spreadsheets and financial statements – it is a portrait of a thousand small gestures delivered to the company’s customers day after day.  In fact, small gestures are the adhesive that binds a solid foundation and keeps customers coming back time and time again.  Companies that hold fast to the idea that it is the countless small gestures delivered to customers each and every day which will carry it through the tough times and reward it during the good times.  

Hopefully, we can dodge another recession in the US and small businesses across the nation will finally  get to enjoy a bountiful harvest that is commensurate with their level of dedication and sacrifice.  If not, I suspect that many small businesses will hunker down, continue delivering small gestures to their clients and customers, and survive to become stronger than they were when they started out.  Unlike the people who run large bureaucracies, small business owners know better than to rely upon Washington to get it right or bail them out.   What they will rely upon is the notion that through hard work and sacrifice great things can be accomplished.  They don’t spend their time arguing over esoteric points or fawning over their hair in the mirror or fighting over the spotlight.  Those things matter little to them.  Washington should take heed and follow suit.