The T’s New Park & Ride
October 31, 2013

Park & Ride NorthMany projects are in different stages of construction in the bustling and rapidly expanding area north of Loop 820 in Fort Worth.  One such project is a new Park & Ride location on I-35W, south of Golden Triangle. Slated to be a 200 car lot, this will provide a great option for those who want to go green and save on gas costs.  The T has chosen a great location for its newest Park & Ride lot and it is a much needed development.   This project will be a valuable option for those who want to cut out the drive into downtown Fort Worth.  Fewer cars on the road also means less traffic and less pollution, a win for the citizens of North Texas.  This will provide another great linkage between the north part of the city and the city’s urban core.  With the new plaza opening soon in Downtown Fort Worth, it should be a great asset for people looking for alternative modes of transportation.  Welcome to the area!

Texas HOA Powers are Curtailed by 82nd Legislature
July 24, 2012

Are HOAs in Texas too powerful?  Many people think so, and apparently the 82nd Texas Legislature agrees.  As a Texas Realtor, I understand the value that HOAs bring to the table but too much power leads to abuses.

Fortunately, Texas has passed new laws that will keep the power of HOAs in check.  In Texas, a property owner’s association can no longer impose on a home owner’s right to:

Display the US or TX state flag (certain guidelines apply)

Install a solar energy device (certain guidelines apply)

Display religious items (certain guidelines apply)

Install shingles designed to be wind/hail resistant or energy-efficient (certain guidelines apply)

The 82nd TX Legislature also curtailed the power of the POA or HOA to foreclose by mandating judicial foreclosure except when the property owner waives the requirement in writing.  HOAs or POAs are an asset to a community but too much power corrupts.  As with any law or deed restriction, there are nuances.  Please check with your HOA and review the new laws for details on how these changes may affect your rights as a property owner.  Hopefully, these new laws will promote a more harmonious balance between POAs and the citizens that reside in affected subdivisions across Texas.  This is also a great victory for those who want to make their homes more sustainable and energy-efficient.  Good job 82nd Texas Legislature!

Rockin’ The River at Fort Worth’s Panther Island Pavilion
July 18, 2012

Panther Island Pavilion

What do good music and inner-tubes have in common?  On the Trinity River, it means fun for everyone.  For years, the Trinity River in Fort Worth has been an underutilized and often maligned natural resource, but positive change is underway.  For the 2nd year in a row, the Trinity River Vision Authority and its sponsors are brewing up a great time along the banks of the Trinity River at Panther Island Pavilion.  With four concert dates remaining this summer, it’s not too late to join in the fun by checking out a free concert and, if you like, going tubing on the Trinity.  Don’t forget your float and your sunscreen!

A Whirlwind Central Texas Real Estate Tour
June 13, 2012

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2012 Cool House Tour
Austin, TX

This past week, Liana and I toured the real estate markets of Austin, San Antonio, and Houston.  It all started on Sunday at the Cool House Tour in Austin, revealing that Austin is still keeping it weird in spite of the crazy traffic.  Austin is the Texas front-runner when it comes to energy efficient green-built homes.  Many of the homes we toured were really amazing.  The traffic however was not so cool.  After two full days of real estate site visits in Austin, we headed out for San Antonio via Wimberly, TX where we visited with an innovative architect named Neel Morton.  He took us on a private tour of his soon to be private residence that is currently under construction.  Coolest features were the use of construction material made out of recycled pallets and the cooling tower.  Thanks Mr. Morton for the tour, the hospitality, and the explanation of how rammed earth construction works.  Then it was on to San Antonio where we visited some great mixed-use developments and spent some time with commercial developers, Ed Cross and Marty Wender.  Mr. Wender is the developer who brought Sea World to Texas along with many other major employers.  Who knows maybe Disney will follow – Disney TX just makes sense!  Many thanks to Ed Cross and Marty Wender for their time and willingness to share what has worked and not worked for them in the real estate industry.  Also, thanks to Mr. Cross for the hands-on tour of his exceptional project, The Vistana, close to downtown San Antonio.   Mr. Cross and his architect did a fantastic job on the design of this building.  On a green building note, we also visited with Lawrence Jetter from AECT, a company that makes compressed earth bricks.  Very cool – thanks for the time Mr. Jetter.  After seeing some really neat stuff in San Antonio, we were off to Houston where we visited City Centre, talked with AMREIT officials, and visited

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Discovery Green in Houston, TX

Discovery Green Park.  The park is a homerun and is adjacent to the George R. Brown Convention Center on one side and downtown Houston on the other.  It is a must see while visiting Houston.  Thanks to site manager, William Flowers, for a terrific tour and education about all the sustainable features built into the park.  Of course, there were many more site visits and much more to talk about but my time is up.  Suffice it to say that the real estate markets in Austin, San Antonio, and Houston are doing well just like North Texas is.  Thanks to Dr. Fred Forgey of UTA for putting the trip together.

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!

Gifts from the IRS
October 10, 2011

The IRS mostly taketh but some times it giveth as well.  Two great gifts, compliments of the IRS, are the 1031 exchange and the primary residence exclusion, both useful in real estate.  The primary residence exclusion is beneficial for home owners occupying a primary residence for more than two years.  It allows home owners to exempt up to $250,000 in profit if they are single and up to $500,000 in profit if they are married on the sale of their primary residence.  The other, the 1031 exchange, is used most often by real estate investors looking to trade up to a property and defer their payment of taxes.  Both are wonderful gifts that provide investors and non-investors a unique opportunity to keep more money in their own pocket and pay less taxes but both have caveats and certain criteria that must be followed in order to qualify.   Although you don’t typically think of gifts when you think about the IRS, the primary residence exclusion and the 1031 exchange are just that – gifts from the IRS.  Take advantage and don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!  The content of this blog is not intended to provide legal or financial advice.  Always consult your attorney and/or your accountant for specific advice on tax deferral real estate strategies.

Blue Leaf Realty Adds New Agent – Jimmy Ramey
June 25, 2011

J. Ramey Realtor

Blue Leaf Realty, a privately held real estate company serving North Texas, continues to grow and is proud to announce the addition of a new real estate agent – Mr. Jimmy Ramey.  As is the case with all BlueLeaf agents, Mr. Ramey is looking forward to Delivering Remarkable Service to his clients.  “We are blessed and very excited to have Jimmy as part of our residential and commercial real estate group,” says BlueLeaf co-founder, Liana Oram.  “He is an outstanding person who brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our company.”  Mr. Ramey, a native Texan, grew up in Grapevine, attended Texas Tech University, and he is also a professional bartender for weddings and private events.

Blue Leaf Realty Finds its Slipstream
April 21, 2011

Blue Leaf Realty finds its slipstream in the bustling Alliance Corridor of North Texas and aims to expand in 2011/12.  In     spite of all the negative media attention surrounding real estate, Blue Leaf has continued to grow and is bullish on real estate for the forseeable future.  After a steep downturn in the residential market, a bottom has finally been reached in real estate, and BlueLeaf is looking forward to growing its brand in North Texas by fulfilling its Mission to Deliver Remarkable Service. “We are poised to take advantage of the real estate renaissance and look forward to growth in the years ahead,” says Blue Leaf’s cofounder, Liana Oram.  “Also,  I think today’s consumer is looking to partner with smaller, more responsive companies who can deliver the same service as a bigger company plus something more.”  Douglas Adams may have captured this idea best when he coined the phrase:

“To give real service you must add something which can’t be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.”

 
We hope that communities across North Texas will embrace Blue Leaf Realty and partner with us as we carefully grow our brand by layering our service with sincerity and integrity.  If you live in North Texas, remember the real estate company with the distinctive logo – the blue leaf –  and visit BlueLeaf Realty  today to learn more about what it means to receive REMARKABLE service from a real estate company that really cares.  In addition, watch for Blue Leaf Realty to open offices in Granbury, TX and Austin, TX in the near future.  “For now, it’s all about swimming in our slipstream and satisfying our customers here in North Texas,” says  BlueLeaf’s cofounder, “and we look forward to doing just that.”   
 

I like toll roads and I’m not afraid to admit it
October 31, 2010

Never in my life have I been so inspired by such a mundane topic as toll roads.  But what I’m really excited about is that toll roads provide a solution to a very nasty traffic problem in the Metroplex, and toll roads are finally being embraced as such.  Currently, there are approximately 6.6 million people living in the DFW Metroplex, making DFW the 4th largest metropolitan area in the US.   With this many people, it’s easy to see why getting anywhere has become increasingly difficult.  To complicate matters even more, the number of people living in the Metroplex will swell to 10 million plus by 2035.  That’s why I’m going on record as being ready and willing to pay for the privilege of getting where I want to go faster.  If paying a toll allows me to avoid the traffic problems in DFW that I’ve come to know and hate, I’m on board 100%.  And let’s not kid ourselves, traffic problems in DFW are getting worse, not better, by the minute.  Toll roads are the only viable answer, and they provide a lasting solution to the traffic congestion we face in North Texas.  It’s obvious that toll roads are here to stay regardless of how you feel about them.  Furthermore, toll roads enable public and private groups to partner together to fund, construct, and manage tollways.  There are very few other alternatives that work.  Raising taxes is unpopular and tax revenue is often diverted away from transportation to other more popular causes.  Also, alternatives such as rail systems, public transportation, and carpooling are great ideas, but we must also face the fact that Americans, especially Texans, want to drive their own cars, trucks, and SUVs and nothing, it seems,  is going to change that.   Although alternatives such as rail and HOV lanes might be part of the overall solution, they alone will not solve the traffic problems we face now and in the future.  That leaves us will toll roads.  Fortunately, modern technology has made toll roads more efficient than ever, and most  people in the Metroplex, I believe, will pay for the privilege of getting from point A to point B faster.  We’ve seen this with the success of toll roads like the North Dallas Tollway and the newer George Bush Tollway.  More toll roads are good for the citizens of DFW and they are good for business – that’s why I like toll roads and I’m not afraid to admit it.

Q: What’s your take on toll roads?

Is real estate really local?
October 27, 2010

Real estate is indeed very local but the story doesn’t end there.  In North Texas, the real estate market has been fairly insulated from the national economic woes.  However, local markets, including North Texas, are influenced by broader real estate trends.  Let’s take, for example, one of our 2009 clients.  These clients are retirees who, unlike many of their neighbors, own their Michigan home outright.  They have lived in their home for many years, have maintained the home, and were generally willing to accept any reasonable offer to purchase their home, including, if necessary, one that was below market value.  What, then, kept them from moving to North Texas?  What stopped them from moving here was the depressed condition of their local market.  As it turned out, they were willing to sell their home at a fair price, but they were unwilling to suffer the huge loss that would have been required of them to get their home sold.  The culprit — foreclosures in their area have dramatically driven down home values.  In the end, they had several great reasons to move to North Texas – warmer climate, kids in the area, grandkids in the future, no job strings, and a desire to make a change – but they won’t be moving to Texas any time soon.  Instead, they plan to stay put and ride out the storm.  This example illustrates the close connection between two completely different local markets, and this same scenario is undoubtedly being played out across the country.  There are many people who would move here in a heartbeat if they could only sell their current home.  The truth is that real estate is local until it’s not, so I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that the recovery gains traction throughout the US, not just here at home.  In the meantime, I’ll count my blessings that I’m already in Texas and not just hoping to get here as soon as possible. 

Q: How has your home’s value held up during the Great Recession?