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Explanation of Real Estate Titles

by Linnea Lavell

Recently I sat for my Broker exam and passed so I am now an Associate Broker.  The exam consists a State and National portion with a maximum of 4 hours to complete the exam.  

While updating my new title on my website and all of my advertising, I got to thinking "Do our clients and customers really understand the difference between a real estate agent,  Broker (Managing Broker or Associate Broker), Realtor, Real Estate Salesperson and an unlicensed assistance."  I wanted to take a few minutes and explain the differences in hope of giving a better understanding to our clients and customers we assist with buying, selling and leasing homes.

Each state regulates their individual requirements for licensure for that state but the titles you will come across in each state will be similar.

  • Real Estate Agent:  A person who has earned a real estate license can be called a Real Estate Sales Associate, Salesperson or Agent.  Requirements will vary from state to state but in most states you are required to take a minimum number of classes, submit an application, pay licensing fees and pass your test. For additional information on requirements in the state of Texas, visit the Texas Real Estate Commission website.
  • REALTOR®:  A real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®.  Membership requires the agent to uphold the standards of the association and its Code of Ethics.
  • Real Estate Broker: A person who has additional education beyond the agent level as required by the State, has satisfied the experience requirement, submitted the application, paid fees and passed the state/national Broker exam.  Broker's can work alone or hire agents to work for them. The Managing Broker is responsible for the actions of agents they sponsor or manage.
  • Real Estate Sales Associate or Salesperson:  Same as a Real Estate Agent.
  • Real Estate Associate Broker:  A person who has taken the additional education to earn a Broker's license but chooses to work  under a managing Broker.

If you are planning to purchase or sell a home, it is important to schedule a face to face meeting with the agents you are interviewing so you can ask important questions to determine their knowledge, experience, skill set and personality of the Agent or Broker.  For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office.

 

 

Spring in Texas Means Storm Season

by Linnea Lavell

Springtime in Texas not only means beautiful sunny days and warm temperatures but it can also mean severe weather. We can get straight line winds, thunderstorms, hail, tornadoes, heavy rain, flash floods and parts of Texas can get hurricanes.  It is always a good idea to have a plan in place and be prepared for severe weather.  

Here are some things to keep in mind to so you are prepared for storm season in Texas.

  1. Have a battery operated storm radio or download an app that will alert you if storms are heading your way. Also make sure you have additional batteries. 
  2. Know where to go in your home if the weather turns bad.  You want to be on the lowest level of the structure with as many walls between you and the outside walls of the home. An interior closet or bathroom on the first floor with no windows is a good choice. A storm shelter is the best choice should your home have one.
  3. Make a plan with your family on where to meet or how to reach each other should you not all be in the same location when a storm hits.
  4. Have an emergency preparedness kit available.  This should include a first aid kit, a flashlight with fresh batteries, a battery powered radio, any medications you must take, bottled water, etc.
  5. Make sure to protector your head.  Cushions or pillows can provide protection for your head.
  6. Make sure you have the proper footwear on during a storm.  If you are home and are barefoot, you will want to put on shoes in case there is broken glass or debris you need to walk over.
  7. Make sure pets are secured and you have food/water for them as well. Your pets will be scared so put their leashes on them and keep them calm during a storm by talking to them.
  8. Stay away from windows and stay inside during a storm. It is very tempting to see what is going on outside but if debris is flying through the air, you don't want to take the risk of being hit by debris or broken glass.
  9. If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a safe location and find shelter.
  10. Watch for downed power lines that could still have an electrical current running through them. Do not touch any downed lines. 

If you do experience damage to your home make sure you contact a reputable repair company to do the work on your home.  Many cities are having contractors register with them.  The town of Little Elm is offering this to residence who have been impacted by storms this past week. To view the information, click here.

Finally remember, things can be replaced but lives cannot.  Stay safe this storm season and keep an eye on the sky.

Spring Forward

by Linnea Lavell

It's that time of year again to set our clocks forward 1 hour.  The official beginning of Daylight Savings time for 2017 is 2 a.m. on March 12.  Before you go to bed Saturday night, don't forget to set your clocks forward 1 hour.

It is also a good time to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors.  

Spring is just around the corner.  Enjoy yourselves!

 

 

For Buyers: Internet vs. In-Person

by Linnea Lavell

Don’t believe everything you see on the internet. You’ve heard that one before. It’s great to start out by conducting research if you’re interested in buying a home, but I strongly advise you to be conscientious of the websites you use to do your browsing.  

Here is an interesting article to read regarding online property portals.  

The internet can be a great source of information but it can also cause you to have more questions than answers when you research a topic. As an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®), I can lead you in the right direction and better explain the online property portal process. I look forward to working with you!  

Feel free to check out the buyer reports page on my website for additional information.

 

 

FHA Reduces MIP Rate

by Linnea Lavell

**Update to this blog entry.  White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memorandum Friday night, January 20, 2017 to all executive departments and agencies to freeze new or impending regulations giving the new administration time to review them.  This includes the reduction of MIP rates that were set to take place January 27, 2017.  According to a report from CNN, this is fairly standard for a new administration taking over from the other party.  To see the full article click here.  

 

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) which is part of the Department Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on January 9 a reduction in Mortgage Insurance Premium of one quarter percent for most borrowers on closings/disbursements happening on or after January 27, 2017. This is great news for home buyers using a FHA loan.  For the average homeowner, this is expected to be a $500 savings annually in insurance costs.

To see the full news from HUD, click here.

FHA has been helping people become homeowners since 1934. FHA insures the loan so your lender can offer you a better deal.  With a FHA loan, your down payment can be as little as 3.5%.  If you have questions about FHA loans or what loan type is best for you, contact our office for a free loan analysis.

Buyer Representation When Purcahsing a Home

by Linnea Lavell

Buying a home is one of the largest financial decisions you will ever make so doesn't it make sense to have an experienced representative to work with you during the transaction?   

Not all real estate agents are created equal so here is a further explanation of types of buyer representation.

A Buyer's Representative (or simply Buyer's Rep) is a licensed real estate agent that represents a prospective home buyer during their transaction.   You can expect a Buyer Rep to assist you with how much you house you can afford to buy, understand your wants/needs, locate appropriate properties, view the homes with you, provide information on homes, advise you in formulating an offer, help with a negotiation strategy and keep track of the details throughout the transaction.  A Buyer Rep should make the home buying experience go as smoothly and successfully as possible.

An Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR) is a buyer's agent who has taken advanced training and  who has proven experience in servicing the special needs of the buyer client.  In addition to knowing the dynamics of the local market, an ABR designated buyer's rep can help you make informed decisions throughout the entire home buying process.  

A Buyer Rep and an ABR can also assist you with new construction.  It is important to remember that the builder representatives are just that - representatives of the builder.  When making such a large financial decision, it is important to have someone that represents you the buyer and can help you throughout the home buying process.

Many buyer's are concerned about the commission for a buyer's rep.  In the vast majority of cases, the seller's contract outlines the commission for the buyer's rep.  

If you are considering purchasing a home in the North Texas area and need an ABR, I would be happy to assist you.  To schedule an appointment visit my website.

 

 

 

 

Season's Greetings from Our Family to Yours

by Linnea Lavell

Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year!  

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving: A time for Celebration and to Give Thanks

by Linnea Lavell

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, many people are planning meals or preparing to travel to visit loved ones. Some of you are excited about the holiday and some are stressed out about it.  

I wanted to share a little history on the upcoming holiday and to give you a few ideas that may alleviate some of the stress you may be feeling. 

Thanksgiving originated as a time to celebrate the harvest with family and friends through a festival.  A time to be thankful for the harvest and bounty of the year.  Thanksgiving Day is public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November and has been nationally celebrated on and off since 1789 after a proclamation by George Washington.

Through the years as times changed so has the celebration.  The basic premise has remained a time for celebration with family/friends and a time to be thankful but now we also enjoy football games, turkey dinner, movies, family traditions and many people even get ready for Black Friday shopping. Whatever you elect to do on Thanksgiving, take time to reflect on the people and what you are thankful for in your life.

If your plans include preparing a meal for your family and friends, it can be stressful. Especially if you are not used to cooking for a large number of people.  To help ease the stress, plan the meal in advance and if items can be prepared early prepare them.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, assign side dishes or desserts to those attending the celebration.  This allows your guests to be part of preparing the feast and exposes your guests to dishes they may not have had an opportunity to try prepared in a different way than they are used to having them.  Having side dishes prepared by your guests also will free you up to enjoy time to visit with everyone.  If guests are traveling from out of town that cannot prepare a dish, ask them to help in different way.  Maybe have them bring wine, rolls, a salad or ask them to help set the table or help in the kitchen.  

Traveling a long distance in a car with children is never easy as they can get bored easily.  Make sure they have things to keep them entertained while they are in the car.  Technology is great to keep kids busy but research some games that the entire family can participate in while traveling or better yet make one up as you are traveling.  Discuss towns you are traveling through and what each town’s “claim to fame” is or something the town is known for producing.  This a good way to turn a boring road trip into a learning experience without the kids even realizing it.  It may take a little planning on your part but it will be worth it.  You can also have a conversation about what you are thankful for and why.  Be creative and make the trip a fun for everyone.

Whatever your plans are for Thanksgiving.  Take time to reflect on what you are thankful for in your life, celebrate what you have and enjoy those who are with you.  Don’t forget, if you have a friend or neighbor that may not be attending a celebration of their own, ask them to join you.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to have loved ones near them so include those people in your celebration of thanks.

As for me, I am thankful for my friends, family, teachers, employees and clients that have taught me life lessons and helped me with my successes or encouraged me during difficult times.  I am blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life.

Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Migration of the Monarch Butterfly

by Linnea Lavell

Starting in September and October eastern and northeastern monarch butterflies begin their migration from Southern Canada and the United States to Central Mexico in what is described as one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world. Monarchs fly south using several flyways then converge in Central Texas to form a single flyway the remainder of their migration. In March, they start their return trip arriving back north around July.  What is truly amazing is that no single butterfly will make the entire round trip. 

Monarchs only travel during the day so they need to find a roost at night.  When they roost they gather close together during the cool autumn evenings. Tens of thousands of butterflies can roost in a single tree.  Ideal trees for roosting are pine, fir and cedar trees as they have thick canopies that moderate the temperature and humidity at the roost site.  In the mornings, the monarchs will bask in the sunlight to warm themselves.

Monarchs overwinter in the same 11 to 12 mountain areas in the States of Mexico and Michoacán from October to late March.  They roost for the winter in the oyamel fir forests at elevations of 2400 to 3600 meters (nearly 2 miles above sea level). The mountain hillsides of the forest provide an ideal microclimate for the butterflies.  Temperatures there range between 0 and 15 degrees Celsius.  With a lower temperature the butterflies would need to use their fat reserves. The humidity in the forest assures the monarchs won’t try out which allows them to conserve their energy.

The monarchs know their way to the overwinter sites even though this migrating generation has never been to Mexico before.  While researchers are still investigating the directional aids used by monarchs to find their overwinter location, it appears to be a combination of magnetic pull of the earth, the position of the earth and other aids. 

The western populations of monarchs which are those west of the Rocky Mountains have a similar migration only they overwinter sites on the coast of California.

There are monarch migration sites which will show sightings for Summer and Fall of 2016 and give projections as to when peak migrations will occur.  There are also multiple festivals and events that celebrate this beautiful migration of the monarch butterfly.  In Grapevine, TX, the Butterfly Flutterby is being held on October 15 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This is an event for the entire family so come out to Grapevine Botanical Gardens for the Butterfly Flutterby.

 

 

 

 

 

The State Fair of Texas

by Linnea Lavell

Big Tex is standing tall again waiting to greet everyone visiting the State Fair of Texas so grab a corny dog and join the festivities.   The gates to the fairgrounds will open on September 30 at 10 a.m.  The Opening Day Parade is a tradition and kicks off at noon September 30 starting at Houston & Main Streets in Dallas.  

A little history on the State Fair of Texas.  According to the organization that produces the Fair today, the origin of the fair can be traced back to January 30, 1886 when a group of Dallas businessmen formed the Dallas State Fair and Exposition. In March of 1886 the board of directors for the Dallas State Fair voted to purchase 80 acres of land in East Dallas for an exposition site.  The first public event on the property was a gala Fourth of July celebration which was highlighted by a free barbecue, entertainment, races and dancing late into the night. Throughout the years, additional acreage, buildings and events were added.  In 1952 Big Tex makes his first appearance welcoming guests to the fair.  In 1986 Fair Park is designated as a National Historic Landmark.  In 2005 the first Big Tex Choice Awards are held with the challenge for concessionaires to create new and unique food items.  This year make sure to stop by the Woman’s Museum Building to view Rome Comes to Dallas where 34 life size replicas of Michelangelo’s masterpieces in true size from the Sistine Chapel (there is an additional fee to visit this attraction).

There are so many things to see and do at the State Fair of Texas that you may need to visit more than one day.  Enjoy live music, the auto show, livestock exhibits, puppet shows, pig races, agriculture exhibits, rides on the midway, lots of wonderful food and much more. 

For a list of events, information on ticket discounts, parking or  to plan your day at the fair, visit the website for The State Fair of Texas.  Enjoy attending the fair and don’t forget to try the fried Jell-o which has been voted Best Taste in the Big Tex Choice Awards.

The A T & T Red River Showdown between the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma will be held Saturday, October 8 at Cotton Bowl Stadium.  Kickoff is at 11 a.m. Game tickets are purchased through each universities athletic office and tickets include admission to the State Fair of Texas on game day.  Additional college football games will be held at the Cotton Bowl during the fair.  Click here for a full list of games being played. 

The State Fair of Texas runs through October 23.  Hope to see y'all at the Fair!

 

 

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 14

Contact Information

Photo of Linnea Lavell Real Estate
Linnea Lavell
Lavell Realty, LLC
P.O. Box 1243
Little Elm TX 75068
214-280-5900
214-810-5906
Fax: 877-488-1740