Going Back to School
August 28, 2012

As returning students, Liana and I did not really know what to expect when we signed up for graduate school at UTA in 2010.  Returning to school required some getting used to but we got back into the swing of it pretty fast.  Of course, we were older than most of our classmates and we had a business to run, but like many of them, we stayed up late on several occasions completing real estate projects and assignments.  Fortunately, we had each other to lean on.  We completed many projects together over the last two years and even wrote several real estate blogs.  Below is a complete list of the coursework that we completed to earn the MS in Real Estate at UTA:

REAE 5311 – Real Estate Analysis
REAE 5327 – Advanced Real Estate Market Analysis
REAE 5334 – Seminar in Real Estate Appraisal & ARGUS Software
REAE 5321 – Seminar in Real Estate Investment
REAE 5314 – Seminar in Real Estate Development
REAE 5319 – Seminar in Real Estate Finance
REAE 5317 – Real Estate Construction Management
REAE 5320 – Texas Real Estate Tour
REAE 5313 – GIS and Property Analysis
REAE 5318 – Sustainable Development
REAE 5315 – Real Estate Trends & Issues
REAE 5316 – Adaptive Reuse & Redevelopment

We learned a great deal about commercial real estate and would like to say thanks to professors, Dr. Forgey and Dr. Peterson, for helping us along the way.  For me, I must also say thanks to Liana.  She’s been a great study partner and has become a great spreadsheet creator, easily surpassing my expertise.  She’s not bad with a 10bii calculator either.  It’s been a lot of fun, we learned a lot, and we met some really nice people who I’m sure will prosper in the field of real estate.  Completing the program is a milestone and we are very glad to be done, but now comes the challenging part — putting what we learned into practice!

For help with commercial or residential real estate, please visit us online at BlueLeafRealty.com where the MISSION is to Deliver Remarkable Service.

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Liana Oram Completes Rigorous Program at UTA
August 12, 2012

Periodically, Realty Express takes a break from blogging about real estate trends and issues to congratulate one of its own.  This time the spotlight falls on Liana Oram, BlueLeaf’s cofounder.  She has just completed the final course, Construction Management, in the MSRE program at UTA, earning a master’s degree.  During the program, Liana completed a variety of courses focused on commercial real estate analysis, sustainability, and adaptive reuse.  She will graduate with honors, and has bold plans on how to implement what she has learned over the past two years.  Everyone at Blue Leaf Realty is very proud, so please join us in congratulating her on this terrific achievement.

Jimmy Ramey Reaches Next Real Estate Milestone
July 8, 2012

Blue Leaf Agent, Jimmy Ramey, figures out the recipe for success in real estate – delivering service that is so remarkable that people tell friends and family about their experience.  Referrals are the centerpiece of every successful real estate agent’s story and Jimmy’s story is no different.  As a result of earning his client’s trust and garnering referrals, Jimmy expects to exceed his goal for 2012.  As the real estate market in North Texas continues to heat up, Jimmy is positioned to take his real estate business to the next level.  Coming from the restaurant industry where great service is crucial, Jimmy understands how important it is to WOW each client with remarkable service.  “It’s always great to get a referral from a past customer — it lets me know that I’ve done my job,” says Jimmy Ramey.  “Many thanks to all my past clients and others who have referred me – referrals keep me busy and being busy is what I love!”  To learn more about how word-of-mouth marketing can take your business to the next level, check out one of Blue Leaf Realty’s favorite authors – Andy Sernovitz.

Self-Reliance in America
July 4, 2012

The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson understood the true meaning of self-reliance.  On this July 4th, I’m wondering what it means to be self-reliant in America today.

Does it mean that I am entitled to live in a big house and drive a new car?

Does it mean that I swear allegiance to one political party or the other?

Does it mean that I follow a trail that others before me have made?

Does it mean that I am entitled to wealth and prosperity?

Or, does it mean, like the founding fathers believed, that I hold certain virtues to be so important that they are inalienable such as the ones mentioned in the Declaration of Independence – life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

I’ve always tied these inalienable rights closely to the idea of self-reliance.  In fact, I believe the founding fathers were filled with self-reliance when they drafted the Declaration and the Constitution.

To me, self-reliance is the underbelly of work – the side of work that seldom gets much credit anymore in America.  It’s not the flash of genius moment; it’s the moments leading up to the flash of genius where an inventor or scientist works at discovering something that has the power to change the world.  It’s not the moment when a business makes a profit for the first time; it’s the moments where the owners devote countless hours getting there.  It’s not the moment when a child walks for the first time without his parent’s help; it’s the moments leading up to that event where the child spends hours crawling in order to strengthen his muscles to the point where he can walk without help.  It’s not even the single moment when a team wins a championship by only a few points; it’s when the individual players realize that all those moments spent practicing have finally paid off.  Single moments in time are exciting, of course, but they are not the embodiment of self-reliance.  Instead, self-reliance is best expressed by the moments we don’t see.  The ones of failure and heartache that lay behind the moment of victory where a person simply refused to give up, refused to quit.

Ever wonder why an Olympic athlete cries when he wins the gold medal or sets a new world record.  Rest assured, it’s not the applause of the crowd or the promise of fame.  It’s because in that brief instant, in that single moment, the winner realizes and reflects on all the hard work that has led him up to that single event, that single moment in time when he uncovers his personal best.

In America, we too much cherish the event.  Instead, we should focus more on the sacrifices and hard work leading up to the event.  This is why self-reliance is no less important today than it was when our founding fathers created our beloved Constitution or when Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence.

Without a doubt, the Declaration of Independence is probably the single most important American document ever written and it’s always good, in my opinion, to review at least the first few paragraphs now and again, especially on the 4th of July.  In doing so, I always wonder about the ‘pursuit of Happiness’ part and how that is interpreted.  Although it sounds good, I’ve often wondered whether happiness was the best choice of words.  It sounds very literary, of course, but I wonder if what Thomas Jefferson really meant was the pursuit of Self-reliance. not the pursuit of Happiness.  Today, happiness is generally used to refer to a temporary state.  Obviously, this meaning of the word is probably not what Jefferson had in mind when he chose the word.  Read on and determine for yourself:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

…Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Self-Reliance.

I agree, it simply does not roll off the tongue as well, but for me at least, it completes the thought much better. On this 4th of July, think about how America could be a better place if self-reliance became a virtuous virtue once again.

Training Super-Agents in DFW
January 15, 2012

Helpful real estate agents aren’t easy to find; well-trained agents are even harder to find.  Blue Leaf Realty is changing that.  At Blue Leaf Realty, each agent is a Texas Realtor and undergoes extensive training designed with achieving BlueLeaf’s MISSION of Delivering Remarkable Service in mind.  The following categories comprise the BlueLeaf Super-Agent framework:  the Client Driven Agent, the Recognized Agent, the Organized Agent, the Professional Agent, and the Exceptional Agent.  Each category contains 4-6 independent lessons that challenge each BlueLeaf agent to think critically about each aspect of the real estate transaction.  At its core, the training is designed to help the agent better serve his or her clients and develop a sustainable real estate business model.  All BlueLeaf agents are required to finalize this training in addition to the education required by TX real estate law within their very first year of practicing.  As an added bonus, each agent completes many hours of BLR elective course material designed to enhance their understanding of their role within the real estate process.  Put this all together and what you have is a group of agents who are committed to Delivering Remarkable Service to their clients.  Thanks to all our agents who go out of their way each day to bolster our reputation – we appreciate your hard work and effort.

Are you a Linchpin?
November 16, 2011

I just finished reading Godin’s book Linchpin.  This book has numerous applications for business owners and entrepreneurs.  The book compels you to think about your role and the role of your business in today’s fast-moving business environment.  The book asks some fundamentally important questions such as: Are you making a difference?,  Do you understand how the world of commerce is changing?,  Are you connecting with the people you want to serve or sell to?  Many thanks to Seth Godin for writing another book that captures the essence of entrepreneurship – it should be required reading for every small business owner.  Godin gets what it’s all about!  If you’re a small business owner, I strongly recommend reading this book to find out what it means to be a Linchpin.  What you learn just might help you grow your business to the next level.  I know I’ll be leading the charge at BlueLeaf Realty to implement the ideas from Linchpin.

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.

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.

Seize the Day
August 9, 2011

Setting goals is important in every profession, but goal-setting is especially important, even crucial, for small business owners.  Each week, a small business owner must set short-term goals that, once accomplished, will result in them being farther down the path toward accomplishing their long-term goals and vision.  This is why it’s so important for small business owners to seize each day.  In the movie Dead Poet’s Society, Robin Williams challenges his students to live life according to the motto ‘carpe diem!’  It is good advice for students and business owners alike.  Take a look at the you tube video below from Dead Poet’s where students are admonished to seize the day:

Carpe diem!

Seizing the day, however, gets you nowhere unless you become an expert goal setter.  When it comes to setting goals, set ones that are SMART:

Specific    Measurable    Attainable    Realistic    Timely

Setting goals that are SMART will compel you to be accountable to your long-term vision.  Setting SMART goals regularly will also lead to extraordinary accomplishments over time.  Remember, life is more of a marathon than a sprint!  Set SMART goals and you will finish the race well.  Blog post inspired by a  first-class friend of mine, Kelli Kilpatrick – a real life marathoner.  Hope you’re back on the trail very soon Mrs. K.

Falling Down Is Okay As Long As…
August 7, 2011

Falling down is okay as long as you get back up.  Learning to cherish failure as much as you do success is a very intriguing idea.  I’ll admit it’s not a very widely embraced one and it’s a little hard on your ego, but think about how much you learn when you experience failure.  Some people mistakenly equate failure with giving up.  They are not the same.  For some, failure results in giving up.  For others, however, failure rarely leads to quitting.  Most often, those who succeed view failure as a stepping stone to success.  If you are contemplating giving up because of failure, even repeated failure, consider following in the footsteps of these well-known figures:

Famous People Who Persevered

Many in America our fond of saying that failure is not an option.  A better way to think about this idea can be summed up by saying that failure is always an option but giving up never is.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly.”
~ Robert F. Kennedy