Off to the Races
August 27, 2013

apple-full[1]The start of a new school year brings mixed emotions.  For many, summer is too long and the start of a new school year is very exciting and long overdue.  For others, summer is never long enough and the end of summer brings nothing but anxiety as the next school year lurks around the corner.  For all kids and their families, it means transitioning away from the unscheduled pace of summer to a more hectic pace that fills the calendar with to do items.  Just as schools play a vital role in the lives of our kids, they also play a vital role in real estate.  Once again this year, Blue Leaf Realty had the good fortune of helping many families get into a new home just in time to begin the school year.  For that, we are grateful and we hope that all kids who are starting school or heading back to school will be challenged to reach their full potential.

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.

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.

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!

Pulte Homes Opens New Community in N. Fort Worth
December 14, 2011

Great news — Pulte Homes has completed West Fork Ranch, a new master-planned community in North Fort Worth and Keller ISD.   West Fork Ranch will offer Texas sized amenities to home buyers in the Alliance Corridor.  This great new community is very convenient to wonderful shopping, restaurants and schools.  BlueLeaf Realty would love to show you why North Fort Worth and West Fork Ranch is a great place to live, work, and play.

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.

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!

Buying A Home – It’s A Family Affair
August 28, 2011

These days, pets and children of all ages are wielding their influence when it comes to shopping for a home.  Of course, mom and dad still have the final say but kids’ opinions do matter.  That’s why smart real estate agents are tuned into helping kids feel like they are a  part of the process.  Depending upon their age, kids have many ideas about what the ideal home looks like.  It’s not uncommon for them to offer valuable insight into what’s important in the family’s next home.   It’s no surprise that kids of all ages have ideas about what they are looking for in a home.  Some times these ideas are grandiose but often they are very thoughtful and should not be dismissed.  Pets, on the other hand, don’t get a vote nor do they have a voice, but they sure have advocates in their owners.  Most would-be home owners are very concerned about how their pets will live in each home they look at.  Just like kids, pets play a major role in our lives and we look at them as one of the family so the pet’s point of view does count.  Whether it’s kids, pets, or both, real estate agents who listen closely to their client’s needs as they relate to children and pets can play a valuable role in finding the right home for their client.  For real estate agents, it all comes down to Delivering Remarkable Service and keeping in mind that kids and pets are a very important part of the home buying experience!

Blue Leaf Realty Welcomes Another New Agent – Derick Townsend
July 26, 2011

Derick Townsend

Blue Leaf Realty continues to grow and is excited to announce its newest partnership with real estate agent, Derick Townsend.  Derick moved to Texas from North Carolina, is an avid sport’s fan, and has served in the US military.  “We are very excited to have Derick as part of our group and look forward to helping him grow his real estate business here in North Texas,” says Blue Leaf co-founder, Liana Oram.  “He will be a tremendous asset to our company.”  Derick is very much looking forward to helping people with all their real estate needs in the Metroplex, and we are glad he has chosen to partner with the BlueLeaf group.  Welcome aboard!

Grass Not Always Greener But Air Is Certainly Cleaner
May 31, 2011

New BRIT Building in Fort Worth, TX

Wow!  The new 70,000 square feet BRIT building in Fort Worth is incredible.  BRIT or the Botanical Research Institute of Texas is committed to the study of plants and the conservation of our natural heritage.  BRIT’s new building in Fort Worth just opened to the public.  At a cost of approximately $45,000,000, you expect nothing short of amazing with regard to BRIT’s new facility that houses various classrooms, a research center, BRIT’s library, and, of course, its centerpiece herbarium. It delivers a knock-out punch.  The building is truly very special.  You notice several things right away as you approach BRIT’s entrance. For instance, you notice the contemporary architecture, the concrete walls with cable trellises, and the curved covering that slowly pulls you toward the front doors, but most of all you can’t help but notice the grass on the roof.  BRIT calls this its living roof and it consists of vegetation that is native to Texas.  The idea behind this type of extensive roof is that it provides insulation and slows the runoff of water.  Most importantly, it returns a portion of the building’s footprint back to nature.

Once inside BRIT’s new building, you immediately notice how clean the air is.  Indoor air quality is one of the most important components of the US Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designation system and BRIT is striving to obtain the Platinum certification, making it the first LEED Platinum building in Tarrant County.  BRIT fires on all cylinders that are important to LEED: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor air quality.  BRIT does such a good job, in fact, that it’s impossible to cover all the green features of the building,  In fact, a few visits to BRIT might be required in order to assimilate all of its green building features, but here are just a few of the highlights: 

5,000 Gallon Cistern

With regard to water efficiency, BRIT has low flow fixtures, waterless urinals, and two cisterns on its campus.  One cistern is underground and the other is visible above ground (shown in photo).  These cisterns collect water runoff from the living roof and store the water to be used for irrigating the native landscaping.  BRIT hopes it can irrigate all of its landscaping with water that has been recaptured and stored in its cistern and on-site catchment basin.

Natural Landscape Scene

BRIT has also been selected as a pilot project for the new Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES), a program that sets guidelines for landscapes that are sustainable.  BRIT is working hard to preserve the Fort Worth prairie and is allowing natural vegetation and grasses to grow on the north side of the building.  BRIT will share its findings on the natural vegetation used in its landscaping by conducting on-site scientific investigations and research.

BRIT’s Lobby

BRIT has strategically positioned its building to take full of advantage of natural sunlight or daylighting.  The bulk of BRIT’s windows face north and south.  The east and west ends of the building have few to no windows, reducing the cost to heat and cool the building in hot Texas summers and cold Texas winters.  The interior spaces are bathed in natural sunlight – the lobby’s floor to ceiling windows overlooking the natural prairie are especially impressive. 

Cylinder Style Solar Tube

Utilizing the latest solar panel design by Solyndra, BRIT’s solar energy system capitalizes on close to 300 solar panels each with cylinder style tubes mounted on them.  Each tube is able to collect sunlight from 360 degrees of its surface allowing it to collect and then transform more energy than traditional panels.  BRIT anticipates that approximately 14% of its electricity will come as a result of these innovative solar panels.

Sustainably Harvested Cypress Wall

BRIT has done a fantastic job of selecting sustainable materials.  The BRIT building was made with 20% recycled materials and they even recycled 97% of the site’s previous building, the Public Health Center.  With ceilings made of bamboo, floors made of rubber and carpets made of wool, the building feels very natural and sustainable.  It’s also very attractive and feels very clean, especially the air that you breathe.  BRIT seems to have thought of everything, including the use of low VOC paint to cover the walls.  The most striking use of sustainable materials is the cypress wall.  BRIT used cypress wood recovered from the bottom of a river to showcase its commitment to sustainable architecture as shown in photo.

It would be easy to go on and on about the different sustainable aspects of the BRIT building such as its geothermal wells, bio-swales, motion sensors, and natural vegetation, but to truly appreciate it, I think it’s best to visit BRIT and experience it for yourself.  Be sure to take the kids and let them enjoy the many different learning opportunities that are available.  While you’re there, you can see first-hand the living roof, the rainwater retention pond, the cistern, the cypress wall and much much more.  Congratulations to BRIT on the realization of a dream.