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.



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




Popular Paint Colors for 2017

by Linnea Lavell

Painting a room is an easy and fairly inexpensive way to update your home.  Color can make a tiny room feel larger, or a spacious room feel more warm and intimate.  

Selecting a color can be overwhelming with all the options available.  Take your time, use the tools offered by many paint companies and find a color that works for you and your home.  Don't be afraid to experiment with color.  You can purchase a small sample of paint to try out on your walls to see if it will work with your vision of the home.

Take time to check out some home decor magazines to get ideas.  Not all colors will work with all home styles so research what others have done that might work for your home.  You don't have to exactly copy what someone else has done but maybe take parts of one design and combine it with another to make something that is unique to you and will work with your home.  

The forecasters are making predications as to what will be the most popular color trends this year. Neutrals are always popular, safe, traditional and comforting. Dress up the neutral color by adding pops of color throughout the room.  Color forecasters are indicating chocolate browns, mocha browns and cinnamon as popular colors.  Green is continuing to gain strength and popularity.  Red, pink and violet have also become popular choices.

Colors that are not fairing so well this year include orange  (unless you choose coral or a deep, earthy orange), true yellows, and soft lavenders (or true deep purples).

Color is a powerful design tool that can make your home feel warm, calm, cheerful, comfortable or dramatic. Color is a wonderful way to lift your mood (and it doesn't have the calories associated with ice cream or dark chocolate). 

Be creative, have fun and spice up your home with a little color.

Curious about the current value of your home?  For a free home valuation, click here.



Latest List of the Ugliest Paint Colors

by Linnea Lavell

Every year we have a new list of the ugliest home paint colors but after extensive research the Australian government thinks it has come up with the world's ugliest paint color. The lucky, or unlucky, winner is Pantone 448 C which is a lovely shade of greenish-brown bile called Opaque Couche. This color has such a negative impact that the Australian government is considering using this it to discourage people from smoking and other governments may follow suit.

When people choose paint colors they want to feel happy and uplifted however Opaque Couch misses that mark by a long way.  It might not be bad as a color for a pair of slacks or a jacket but that would be it. For a color in your home, it would be best to just say "No thank you".

Other colors that interior design experts have included on their worst possible colors you could have in your home include Peach Fuzz, Orange Popsicle, Blazing Yellow, Poppy Red, Parfait Pink and Revere Pewter.

If you are considering doing some painting at your home, do yourself a favor and do some research, test sample colors or consult an interior design specialist to see what colors will work best in your house.  Also don't forget if you are painting the outside of your home, many Home Owner Associations (HOA)  have specific regulations about colors of homes in their neighborhood so check with your HOA before purchasing your paint.






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



New Flooring Can Make a Big Difference in Your Home

by Linnea Lavell

After years of having carpet in our living room and laminate floors in our kitchen, laundry and bathroom we finally decided to get new flooring for our house.  

As with any major purchase I make, I took my time to research types, durability, ease of installation as well as cost per square foot and if the end result would increase the value of our home. I knew that I wanted a flooring that had the look of hardwood.  Having two young pets in the house I wanted to make sure that the product I decided on was going to hold up to any wear and tear my adorable fur babies could dish out. 

My choices on type of flooring included real hardwood, engineered hardwood, bamboo, cork, laminate, vinyl and ceramic tile that looks like wood.  I learned about Janka Hardness Rating for the various hardwood floors and finally decided that in our family room, hallway and kitchen an engineered hand scraped hardwood was the best product for our needs.  In the bathroom and laundry room I decided to have tile installed since those areas are more susceptible to water which could damage a wood flooring. 

Now that the decision on the type of flooring was made, I had to decide on the color of wood and the thickness of the wood that would best complement our home.  I wanted a rich, warm feeling in the family room but knew that a dark color would not go well with the cabinets in the kitchen.  I didn't want to have different types of wood in different rooms so I looked at some products that use a variation of color so the different woods in the home would be pulled together and complement the flooring.  I finally decided on an medium shade Acacia in the family room and kitchen.  As far as the thickness of the flooring, I went with the half inch product.  

I researched and purchased a good quality underlayment for the flooring.  Unlike most homes in Texas, we are on  pier and beam foundation so additional consideration had to be given as to if the floors were level or if the foundation was going to shift in the future. 

We made sure to allow a contingency fund in our flooring budget just in case we had to replace any of the sub-floor or had any unexpected surprises.

Then the real work began.  Our crew came out and did all the prep work to install our new flooring. The house was a mess for the first day but when they started laying the new floor it looked absolutely beautiful.  

We did have a few surprises such as having to cut down the cabinet above the refrigerator to allow for the additional half inch the new flooring raised the refrigerator but that is what contingency funds are for.  I  now have beautiful hand scraped engineered hardwood floors in my family room and kitchen. The flooring has lightened up the rooms and added a lot of warmth to the areas.  They are also very easy to clean. 

As far as time required to finish a project like this, the flooring needs to acclimate to to your home for 5-7 days before it can be installed.  We actually purchased the flooring and let it sit in the second family room for a few weeks before having it installed.  Prepping the house and removing the old flooring took one day.  Installation of the flooring took two and a half days. 


Popular Color Trends for Homes in 2016

by Linnea Lavell

A simple and inexpensive way to freshen up your home is by painting.  Changing the paint color can transform a dull, dreary room into a fresh and vibrant one without breaking the bank.

 Some of the most popular colors according to paint companies for 2016 include white.  There are many shades of white but the more popular shades of white include Benjamin Moore's "Simply White", Glidden's "Cappuccino White and Sherwin Williams "Alabaster.  

This year many people are looking to add white cabinets in their kitchen or paint the existing cabinets white. The white cabinets make the room look light, bright and may give the appearance of the room being larger than it really is.  By using pops of color for accents you can really make a striking look in your kitchen.  If you are going to paint the cabinets yourself, make sure to do your homework and know how the cabinets need to be prepared prior to painting so they turn out exactly as you want them.

Light gray, gray-green and gray-blue tones are popular as well.  Try to keep the color on the lighter side of the color spectrum to make the room crisp and clean looking.  Again accent the room with touches of color and textures to draw interest and show your style.

There is also some interest being shown in more dramatic colors for bedrooms.  Some people are opting for deep purples or midnight blues in their bedrooms.  Colors that mimic the hues of both dawn and dusk.  Include lighter shades of your main hue for depth, incorporate gold tones to elicit the light that is shown just before dusk and after dawn and finally use touches of white for contrast, 

For a quick update to an outside area, use a calming green tone that will fit in nicely with your outdoor space. Make sure to select a shade that will compliment the natural environments so it brings charm to your patio space.

Now is the perfect time to plan and execute a painting projects.  You don't have to do the whole house, you can select on room to start.  Once you have finished one room you are going to want to continue with another room,  then another and before you know if, you will think you have a whole new home.


Avoid Regrets - Get a Home Inspection

by Linnea Lavell

The home buying process is a lengthy one, and many buyers rush through or even forgo the home inspection. It's important that you don't make the same mistake! Professional home inspections can save you time and money, or even prevent you from making a disastrous deal. In case you're not convinced, I've compiled a quick list of some serious home defects that can be found during a home inspection:


  • Defect #1: Bad Foundation
    Unless your agent can negotiate a price reduction to cover cost, walk away.

  • Defect #2: Worn Roof
    Most likely it will need to be replaced. If the seller will not do so, negotiate a lower price.

  • Defect #3: Termite Infestation
    The house is probably in need of expensive structural repairs. Unless the seller is willing to help pay, it's probably not a good investment.

  • Defect #4: Outdated Wiring
    This can be expensive to correct, and is a dangerous problem. Your agent should negotiate with the seller after getting an estimate from an electrician.

  • Defect #5: Damaged Shower Pan
    Get an estimate from a contractor if you find water under the shower, and your agent can negotiate with the seller to cover costs.

Protecting your investment, especially one as special as a new home, is crucial. An expert home inspection is often the most important step in securing that protection. More tips on home buying are available on my website. If you'd like to talk more about home inspections or any of your real estate questions, please call. I'd love to hear from you.


Do you have your Fall "To Do" List complete

by Linnea Lavell

As the temperature gets colder and the leaves continue to fall from the trees, it is very important to make your fall list of things to do around the home in preparation for cold, rainy weather.  The list may seem like it is a long one, but if you tackle one task at a time, you will be able to get everything done quickly.

One of the things on your list should be to make sure your gutters are clean and ready to do their job when the rain and snow begins to fall. You may want to install gutter guards to make to make this job a little easier in the future.  It is important to make sure your downspouts are pointed away from your foundation.  It is recommended that gutters are directed 5-10' feet away from the house.  You should also make sure to slope or grade your yard away from your foundation.  This will help maintain your foundation and help avoid any issues in the future.


Make sure your outside faucets are wrapped and covered for cold temperatures.  It is also a good time to check pipe insulation to make sure none of it is warn or missing.  This is also a good time to make sure none of your pipes are leaking.  Look for dark spots under pipes or on ceilings. You wouldn't want any pipes to freeze if temperatures get low enough.  


It is a good time to check around doors and windows to make sure the weather stripping and caulk are not worn or cracked.  Taking a little time to repair or replace these items will save you money on home heating costs.

Your furnace has been turned off for the summer so at a minimum changed the filter. You may want to get a tune-up to make sure everything is working as efficiently as possible and when you need heat, you will not have any issues.  If you use a wood burning fireplace, get it cleaned.  

Many people over look checking their roof.  Look for lifted, damaged or loose shingles. Make sure to check around vent pipes, fireplaces and any other areas that could have flashing that is loose or may not be sealed to prevent water penetration.

Trim trees and shrubs especially if branches are close to the home or rubbing on the roof.  

Change the batteries in your smoke detectors.  This takes just a few minutes and can save your life.  The batteries should be changed twice a year.  Many people will do this when Daylight Savings Time begins and ends.

These are some examples of maintenance that needs to be done to protect your home and your investment.  Your list may be much longer or could be shorter and depending on what area you live in, can vary.  By taking some time now to handle these Fall maintenance items may help save you costly repairs in the future. 

Enjoy the changing of the season and don't get caught in the cold. 

Time to Fall Back

by Linnea Lavell

Daylight Savings Time ends on November 1 at 2 a.m. so don't forget to turn your clocks back before you go to bed.


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
Fax: 877-488-1740