Real Estate Information Archive


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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.



Open House April 22 from 2-4 in Lake Dallas

by Linnea Lavell

Natural Spring Cleaning Ideas

by Linnea Lavell

It's the first day of Spring and while not everyone is enjoying blue skies with record breaking temperatures, we in North Texas are enjoying a beautiful day!  

Many people are wanting to do a little spring cleaning around the home and opening the windows to get some fresh air. While you are doing your spring cleaning, it is also a good time to de-clutter your home so go through your closets and see if there are any items that can be donated to a shelter or charity to help those in need.  

You may also want to consider some natural cleansing alternatives that will get things sparkling clean but are less harmful to your family, pets and the environment.  A few of my favorites involve lemons, baking soda, vinegar, salt, cream of tartar, rubbing alcohol and tea tree oil. Here are some simple ways to use these items to get your home sparkling clean.

  • Lemon Scouring Paste- the natural acid in lemons juice removes rust and dirt. It makes an excellent scouring paste when combined with salt.
  • Grout Stains - cream of tartar is a natural bleaching agent. Combine with 1 to 2 teaspoons to lemon juice to make a paste, then apply with a toothbrush to the grout and rinse with clear water.  Your grout will look brand new.
  • Cleaning countertops is as easy as cutting a lemon in half and dip the cut side in baking soda. After scouring the counters, wipe with a clean sponge.  This is not recommended for delicate stone like marble or stainless steel (it may discolor).
  • All purpose cleaner can be made with 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1 1/2 cups of water and 10 drops of tea tree oil.
  • Glass cleaner (streak free) - 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 2 cups water and 1 tablespoon of corn starch.
  • Scouring cleanser - 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 tablespoon dish soap, enough white vinegar to make a paste.
  • Wood cutting board cleaner - wipe with full strength white vinegar or cut a lemon and rub over board to sanitize it.
  • Freshen the garbage disposal by taking the lemons you used for your cleaning, drop them in the disposal and turn it on.  Lemony fresh and sanitized.

If you have questions or would like additional ideas, please contact me




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.





3 Ways Lenders Can Help Buyers Win!

by Kurt Gonzalez Highlands Residential Mortgage

 As buyers run into situations where they are competing in multiple offer situations these are the key things that can help buyers compete and win. 

Over the last two years these strategies have worked in the DFW area where homes go on the market and have anywhere from a few to more than twenty offers within 48 hours.

Experienced Realtors consistently use these strategies to compete and win in these situations.  Here is how the lender can help.

1.Pre Approval – make sure the buyer is fully pre-approved.  This means that the lender has not only pulled credit, but fully reviewed the buyer’s supporting documents.  Of primary importance are tax returns, paystubs and asset documents.  Also, good lenders will run the loan through an automated approval system or in some cases have an underwriter review the file personally.

2.Call the Listing Agent – have the lender call the listing agent directly and share some basic information about the buyer’s qualifications. Lenders are prohibited from sharing specific personal information but can discuss the buyer’s overall strength.

At Highlands Residential we will also discuss being a local lender with great local appraisal panel and advise the listing agent that they will be kept in the loop throughout the entire transaction.

3.Close Fast – great Realtors will often discuss with the listing agent the seller’s specific needs and prepare an offer that suits the seller. If the seller wants to close fast this is where a great lender can really help. 

We have helped many buyer’s win in multiple offer situations by closing in two weeks or less. Also, in today’s market many listing agents are advising sellers to avoid pre approval letters from big banks or out of state lenders because many of them cannot close transactions within a 30 day window.


This guest blog is courtesy of The Gonzalez Group at Highland Residential Mortgage.

To view homes in the DFW Metroplex, click here.


Rosa Gonzalez, Senior Loan Officer, NMLS#1193032, Office: 972.985.4700, Cell: 972.816.4616, / Kurt Gonzalez, Branch Manager, Office: 972.985.0000, Cell: 214.535.2882, / Angie Liebel, Business Development, NMLS#621451, Office: 972.581.2996, Cell: 214.435.6163,

Highlands Residential Mortgage / Gonzalez Group, 12001 N Central Expressway, Ste 750 / Dallas, TX 75243 / NMLS #134871


Tips on Relocating with Younger Children

by Linnea Lavell

Relocating to a new city can be both exciting and stressful.  Especially for younger children.  Kids are concerned about leaving their familiar surroundings, friends, schools, home and everything they are used to.  Will they be able to make new friends? Will they like the area?  What will there be to do in the new city?  All of these are concerns that children have when relocating to a new home.  You can help minimize the concerns and make the transition smoother by following some simple tips.

  • Talk to your children about the new location. Build some excitement. Show them information about the new location such as parks, schools, fun activities and sporting events in the new location.  Have your children help you do research on the internet and show them pictures or articles about the new location.  Show them on the map where you are moving.  If they excel at sports, music or a special activity, find out what your new city has to offer in regards to these activities and encourage them to get involved right away with activities and groups so they are making new friends.
  • Create special note cards or stationary for your children and their friends in the location your will be moving from.  Encourage them to stay in touch with notes or cards to each other.  Your children can tell their friends all about the new location and stay in touch with their existing friends. Make it a project and let your children help design the stationary.  Maybe use the outline of the state they are moving to as a watermark on the stationary.
  • Keep the lines of communication open and let you children know you want to know their thoughts and concerns about the move then go over the information to put them at ease.
  • Don't forget that moving is a good time to purge items you no longer use or may not need in your new location.  Take time to go through closets, drawers, etc. with your children and have them be part of the process.  If they have outgrown some of their clothes or have toys they don't play with any more suggest that they be donated to a charity so other children will be able to get some use o
  • When packing for your relocation, select a few special toys or stuffed animals for your children to take with them while you travel.  Let your children pack some of the non-breakable toys they will not be able to take and either color on the moving box or place special stickers on the box so they can easily identify those boxes as theirs when they arrive at your new home.
  • When you arrive at your new city, take time to do some exploring with the kids.  Even if it is just driving around to figure out where everything is located in town make sure the kids are involved and add a fun activity such as going to the park or playground.  This will also give them an opportunity to make new friends right away.
  • Talk to other parents in your new neighborhood and find out where their kids enjoy about the area. See if you can arrange a play date with neighbor kids of similar ages as quickly as you are comfortable making those arrangements. 
  • Many cities have special activities for the kids during the summer.  Find out what those activities are and where they are having them, then get your kids involved. 

These are just a few tips that may help make your move a little easier for your children and yourself.

If you need information on the cities in Dallas-Ft. Worth area or help finding a new home in this area, see our communities section of our website or contact our office.  We can also provide you with a free relocation guide for the area.


City of Plano

City of McKinney

City of Frisco

Town of Little Elm

City of The Colony

City of Allen



Upcoming Events at Union Park

by Linnea Lavell

There are always fun events happening at Union Park.  

  • July 18 UP & Out  - Crafts at the Little Elm Library 4 p.m.
  • July 20 National Lollipop Day - stop by the HUB for a lollipop!
  • July 21 What's UP with Chelsea?  Welcome party for your new lifestyle manager 6-8 p.m. at the Hall. RSVP.
  • July 23 New Homeowners Pool Day.  The Cove
  • July 23 Ruthie's Rolling Cafe 12-3  p.m. at The Kitch
  • ​July 23 Dive In Movie 8:30 p.m. at The Cove
  • July 24 Ruthie's Rolling Cafe 12-3 p.m. at the Kitch
  • July 24 UP & Out family story time 2 p.m. at the Little Elm Library
  • July 26 Kids Pizza and Movie at 12:00 p.m. RSVP
  • July 27 UP & Out Toddler program 10:15 a.m. at the Little Elm Library
  • July 28 UP & Out Lego Club 4:30 p.m. at the Little Elm Library
  • July 29 National Chicken Wing Day - Adult Happy Hour 5:30-7 p.m. at the Porch RSVP
  • July 30 Wake UP Breakfast 9-10:30 a.m. at the Porch RSVP
  • July 30 Ruthie's Rolling Cafe 12-3 p.m. at the Kitch
  • ​July 31 Ruthie's Rolling Cafe 12-3 p.m. at the Kitch.

​​Events in blue are HOA sponsored and only for homeowners.  RSVP to

Events in purple are the Town of Little Elm.  Little Elm Public Library 100 West Eldorado Pkwy.


For more information on Union Park or to view homes for sale in Union Park contact us.



Water Safety

by Linnea Lavell

Summer is here and the most popular summer activity is swimming.  If your summer plans to beat the heat include being around water, make sure you do everything possible to keep your family safe.

According to the CDC annually in the United States there are 3,536 unintentional drownings (non-boat related) which relates to about ten deaths every day.   An additional 332 people died each year from boat related incidents.  Nearly 80% of the people who drown are males.  Children between the ages of 1-4 have the highest drowning rate.

The best thing to do to help keep your family safe around is to enroll in age appropriate swim lessons.  Knowing how to handle yourself in water will make it a safer, more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Tips on Making Water Safety a Priority

  • Swim only in designated areas that have a lifeguard.
  • Never swim alone.  Always had a buddy with you even at a public pool or life guarded beach. Use the buddy system.
  • Make sure everyone in your family knows how to swim.  The American Red Cross offers age appropriate water orientation courses.
  • Never leave small children alone by water and do not trust your child’s life to another child.  Make sure to teach your child to ask permission to go near water.
  • Have young or inexperienced swimmers wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket.   Do not rely on the life jacket alone.  You must still supervise them while in or near the water.
  • Establish family rules for being around water and enforce them. 
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be careful around water sources.   Currents, cold temperatures and underwater hazards can make a fall into the water very dangerous.
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket.
  • Avoid the use of alcohol.   Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance and coordination.   It also reduces your body’s ability to stay warm.
  • Install and use barriers around your home pool or spa.   Pool covers, gates and alarms should be added as an additional layer of protection.
  • Make sure home pool barriers encompass the entire pool area and are at least 4 feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward away from the pool.  The latch should be high enough to be out of the reach of a small child’s reach.
  • On above ground or inflatable pools, remove portable ladders and secure with a safety cover when not in use.
  • Remove any structure such as outdoor furniture, trees, decorative walls or play equipment that allow access to the pool area.
  • Keep toys that are not being used out of sight.  Toys can attract children to pool areas.
  • Actively supervise children around water even if there is a lifeguard on duty.  Designate a responsible adult to supervise.
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.
  • If you own a home pool or spa, make sure you have the property equipment such as reaching or throwing equipment, life jackets, cell phone and a first aid kit near the area.
  • Learn CPR and know how to respond or prevent a water related emergency

By following these tips, you and your family can keep cool and stay safe this summer.

Click here for information about parks in and around Lake Lewisville.




Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 18

Contact Information

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