Is Fort Worth Green?
September 19, 2013

green-rooftop citySustainable architecture and green building are gaining momentum in cities around the country as more and more people are realizing that decisions about how things are built and the materials with which they are built are very important to the overall picture.  Here in the US, green building is making strides in commercial and residential construction but it has not fully reached the mainstream yet.  The upfront costs and the payback period are important considerations when making the determination about what, if any, green features will be included in a home or commercial building.  Other important considerations are air quality, open space, access to basic services surrounding the site and walkability to those basic services, as well as specific design features such as daylighting and variable speed HVAC.  A truly green building is green because every facet of the process from material selection to waste reduction and diversion are considered up front and the design process is integrative.  Examples of green buildings in Fort Worth are Chick-fil-A’s LEED Gold restaurant in Montgomery Plaza and BRIT’s LEED Platinum building in the Botanical Gardens.  Both are good examples of buildings that include green features and an integrative building design.  As of Oct 2013, there appear to be approximately 75 LEED rated buildings in Fort Worth.  Fort Worth, like many cities, is definitely headed in the right direction but there is still room for progress, especially when it comes to mass transit options.

North Texas Continues to Grow
August 21, 2013

welcome TEXASThings are really taking  shape in Texas and nowhere is this more evident than in North Fort Worth’s Alliance Corridor.  Everywhere you look, you see new residential and commercial construction.  Looking around, a person would be apt to draw the conclusion that North Texas is growing very fast, and the statistics certianly back that up.  Texas was the fifth fastest growing state by rate of increase according to the 2010 Census and much of this growth has occurred in DFW.    By 2050, the DFW consolidated area could have as many as 17 million people.  Wow – that’s a long way from today’s roughly 6.5 million people!  It will be exciting to watch areas like North Fort Worth and surrounding suburbs as well as urban locales like Trinity Uptown as they continue to evolve in an effort to meet the needs of a growing and diverse population.  For Realtors and real estate brokerages like Blue Leaf Realty, North Texas is an exciting place to be.

Trinity Uptown
April 10, 2012

Trinity Uptown is a large-scale mixed-use development that will change the flavor of the area immediately north of downtown Ft. Worth.  The project is massive and will encourage both commercial and residential real estate investment.  The heart and soul of the project is a 33 acre lake and boardwalk coupled with 12 miles of canals and public walkways that will accommodate pedestrians who want to stroll along the river, take a gondola ride, get something to eat, do some shopping or enjoy a little entertainment.  Trinity Uptown will be a place where people can live, work, and play and easilty commute to downtown Fort Worth or attend college classes at TCC.  It will extend and connect downtown  Fort Worth to the Stockyards in a new and exciting way.  Then, Ft. Worth will need a creative way to connect Near Southside with downtown and with Trinity Uptown and 7th Street, and Fort Worth will attract more people and more businesses than ever before.  Already the 16th largest city in America, Fort Worth has no place to go but up!

Great Mexican Food Comes To North Fort Worth
March 29, 2012

Spring is here and so is Mi Cocina, the latest full-service restaurant to open in Alliance Town Center.  Having eaten there twice already, I can vouch for the food and service – both are really good.  The restaurant itself is a work of art with excellent design inside and out.  Be sure to check out the patio dining as it is the ideal spot for lunch or dinner in Alliance Town Center.  BlueLeaf is excited about the growth occurring in the neighborhood and is looking forward to the new 14 screen all digital movie theatre slated to open in summer 2012.  Way to go North Fort Worth!

Approximately 526,000
January 24, 2012

CCR may have said it best when they sang, It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one; it ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaire’s son.”  As the owner of  Blue Leaf Realty, one thing I can say for sure is that good fortune has not come our way unless it was the result of hard work and personal sacrifice.  It certainly has not been the result of lucky breaks or fortuitous timing.    

Although real estate has been challenging at times, quitting never was an option.  Some, even from within our inner circle, have called us crazy; others have simply called us stubborn and left it at that.  Are we crazy?  I don’t think so, although I’ll freely admit that a stubborn streak runs through both me and my wife.  The truth is building from the ground up is difficult but it’s our nature, and for us it’s an integral part of the pursuit of the American Dream.  All along, our mantra has been that anything worth doing is seldom, if ever, easy. 

In our case, my wife and I did not inherit a company that was built by our predecessors, nor were either of us born with silver spoons.  Our real estate company was not borne out of a real estate boom; in fact, it was the opposite as we’ve been compelled to grow our company in an unprecedented downturn.  Furthermore, we did not receive funds to start our company from a wealthy relative or a venture capitalist and we have received no bailouts when times were tough.  No bank lent us money to get started, nor have we sold stock to would-be investors.  Instead, we simply put one foot in front of the other each day and relied upon common-sense, hard work, and faith in God along with a tenacious belief in the idea that the American Dream might be injured but it’s not dead – not for us at least.  

The reality is the formula for success is not that complicated and fairly easy to replicate.  It just involves a lot of hard work in the form of blood, sweat, and tears which makes all the difference, approximately 526,000 minutes worth of it every year.  In my opinion, that’s how good things, maybe even great things, get built, by layering minute upon minute of hard work and sacrifice.  That’s the way grandma and grandpa did it back when hard work mattered and personal sacrifice counted for something, and that’s the way we intend to do it – one minute, one hour, one day, and one month at a time.  We hope to see you at the finish line!

BlueLeaf Bids Goodbye to 2011 And Says Hello to 2012
December 22, 2011

2011 was a year filled with many milestones at BlueLeaf Realty.  For instance, we formally launched our BlueLeaf Commercial website this year to help spread the word about our team of talented real estate professionals who are ready to help with commercial sales and leasing.  We also added several more agents in 2011 and look forward to continuing that growth in 2012.  In fact, several new agents are planning to partner with us very soon.  On another exciting note, BLR owners, Scott and Liana Oram, are that much closer to wrapping up their master’s degree program at UTA’s College of Business and look forward to completing the program next summer.  The program’s focus is on commercial real estate.  In addition, BLR agent, Jimmy Ramey, finished the extensive BLR Super-Agent training this year as well, and BLR agent, Derick Townsend, is well on his way to completing the Super-Agent training.  This training provides extensive insight into the different aspects of real estate transactions.  Congratulations are in order for BlueLeaf agents: Liana Oram, James Coyel, DeLearn Allen, and Jimmy Ramey.  They all completed BlueLeaf’s in-depth commercial agency training in 2011.  Although there are still some headwinds facing the real estate industry, BlueLeaf is looking forward to achieving new milestones in 2012.  We are positioned to do just that.  Right now, BlueLeaf is at the center of some amazing real estate activity, highlighted by a new THR hospital just one block from BLR’s office and an explosion of retail activity in the nearby Alliance Town Center, a Hillwood Development.  We are very excited to be located in a market that is very active on the residential and commercial fronts.  In 2012, BlueLeaf would love to Deliver Remarkable Service to you.  Please follow our growth by joining us on Facebook and Twitter today.  See you in 2012!

BlueLeaf Creates A Blue Ocean
November 26, 2011

BlueLeaf Realty survives the real estate downturn by turning up the heat and implementing the Blue Ocean strategy to wow its customers.  The Blue Ocean strategy, proposed by  Kim and Mauborgne,  is very unique: it maintains that companies will succeed not be battling the competition head-on but by harnessing uncontested market space in a variety of ways.

BlueLeaf Realty has done just that and has built a great reputation.  “The customer response has been amazing!” says BlueLeaf’s co-founder, Liana Oram.  “In a very traditional industry, it’s difficult to raise the bar and create value for customers, but the Blue Ocean strategy has given us a plan to capitalize on our strengths as a small business in a very competitive environment.” 

Today, BlueLeaf Realty is fast-becoming one of the most desirable names in Real Estate, and BlueLeaf shows no signs of slowing down in spite of a protracted downturn in its industry.  Instead, it seems plausible that BlueLeaf will continue to grow by swimming in a slipstream in the calm waters of a blue ocean.  To learn more about how the Blue Ocean strategy can enhance your business, visit Blue Ocean today.  You’ll be glad you did!

The Next Wave of Home Buyers
November 6, 2011

The next wave of home buyers is building momentum and it may be a tsunami-size wave.  But will it be the housing industry’s salvation?  Some, like me, are speculating that it will be but only time will tell.  Overall, job growth is important (a key component to a sustainable and robust real estate recovery), but a more important trend is the current generational shift underway whereby echo-boomers are beginning to influence every facet of the US economy from marketing and advertising to real estate.  Their influence has grown steadily as they come of age and begin to consume more and more.  Currently, this group’s buying power is estimated to be $200B annually, and this figure will only grow larger over the next decade.  As 80M gen Ys, roughly 25% of the US population, dig deeper and deeper into the workforce many changes will take place.  Standing between them and the corner offices, however, will be their own parents who have maintained a tight rein over corporate America and local, state and national government for decades.  Watching how this unfolds will be interesting as one group, the baby-boomers, seeks to protect what they have while the other group, the echo-boomers, simultaneously seeks to obtain what it wants.

Figuring out what the gen Y group wants will be a major challenge for all industries, including real estate.  Right now, for example, this group is driving much of the growth in multi-family.  As a result, multi-family has experienced a boom.  But what is the 18-32 year old demographic really looking for.  Determining what they want, of course, is very important and starts with understanding how gen Y differs from gen X and their baby-boomer parents.  Some research suggests the following characteristics of gen Y: 

  • ethnically diverse
  • better educated
  • tech savvy
  • charitable
  • very social
  • environmentally conscious
  • pet friendly
  • very active

Given these characteristics, residential builders are aiming to adapt their construction to fit gen Y.  What is this going to look like?  It could mean building communities that have wi-fi hot spots, walkability, mixed-use, smaller floor plans, more open space, amenities that support an active and social lifestyle, high-end finishes, and access to outdoor spaces.  In a nutshell, amenities that accommodate a balanced work and play lifestyle will be better suited to gen Y.  Today, this group is driving a boom in multi-family but soon will make the decision to own versus rent.  When they make this decision will depend on many factors.  At that time, however, the next generation of home buyers will drive the housing recovery. 

Just like all retailers, builders and developers are taking note of the next wave of home buyers, but appealing to gen Y will not be easy.  In fact, the tendency to guess at what this group deems important will not work.  Products that are embraced by gen Y will have to genuinely reflect their own tastes and lifestyles, not the tastes and preferences of the preceding generations. This will be as true for real estate as it is for technology products, etc.  Like it or not, the torch has been passed and gen Y will lead the next renaissance in real estate.  In fact, it has already begun – the next wave of home buyers is gaining momentum.

North Texas – A Great Place to Live, Work, and Play
October 31, 2011

Okay, forget about the traffic for just a second… North Texas is one of the best places in the US to live, work, and play.  It scores high marks across the board with only  a few exceptions.  Like many businesses, BlueLeaf Realty has put down roots in the heart of North Texas for the same reason so many residents call North Texas home.  There are job opportunities here, there are cultural attractions here, there are great sport’s venues here, and, last but not least, there are wonderful people here as well.  The best part: it’s only getting better.  As a company, BlueLeaf is growing just like the area, and we are embracing agents with the same perspective about service that we have.  Growing a real estate company over the past several years has been no small task but growing pains are a part of every great story.  We look forward to serving the North Texas community for decades to come and look forward to partnering with other North Texas real estate agents who share our MISSION to Deliver Remarkable Service.

Kicking the Can Is Not A Solution
October 23, 2011

Kicking the can down the road has become a trend in residential and commercial real estate but the trend may be hurting more than it’s helping.  It seems that many have been slow to acknowledge the full extent of the long-term consequences of the unrestrained lending practices which occurred between 2001 and 2007.  Now, it seems that many believe that burying their heads in the sand until the mess blows over is a reasonable strategy.  The sad truth is the US economy is still limping along and many banks are still overburdened with non-performing and under-performing real estate loans.  As a result, kicking the can is en vogue.

 Although there have been small signs the economy is truly improving, there are many, if not more, signs which suggest the economic recovery is sputtering.  For instance, lagging home sales have continued to weigh down home builder profits.   In addition, Fed Chairman Bernanke has publicly stated that he is at a loss as to how to explain the sagging economy’s lackluster performance.  Could it be that “extend and pretend” or “kicking the can” is not a viable solution and that, without a housing recovery, the broader economy will merely continue to limp along.  It is difficult to see how kicking the can further down the road is going to accomplish much.  Maybe it’s time to get real about the economic state of affairs which starts by stopping the pretense that things are better than they really are.  Below are a few suggestions:

  • lock in the capital gains tax rate for a defined period of time
  • release trapped real estate assets into the marketplace
  • create tax incentives for investors who purchase distressed assets
  • discontinue governmental policies that encourage moral hazard
  • resist the temptation to over-regulate the lending industry
  • discontinue the practice of bailing out businesses that are deemed too big to fail

Addressing these very core problems in the real estate sector will allow us to make progress without kicking the can, and the broader economy is sure to benefit!