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OCTOBER 8, 2011

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Realtor Revealed Mary Ann Grafft Where did you grow up? Kansas is my birth state, however, as a child I moved to Caracas, Venezuela. I relocated to Graham, TX as a sophomore and continued my education at Texas Tech. Why do you live in the Lubbock area? What do you like most about it? When I moved to Lubbock from Anchorage, AK it just felt like home. It has been great to watch the city grow! Our area offers great affordability and warm and generous people. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? When I get the chance, I love to travel. New York City is one of my favorite places. My daughters and I love Broadway.

e s i t r e v d To A g n i t s i L r u Yo l l a C e m o or H


RE/MAX Lubbock (607) 438-7653 (cell)

What tips do you have for someone looking to buy or sell a home? Buyers deserve an educated and experienced agent that is familiar with the inventory of available homes. Sellers should do everything possible to have their home ready to win the beauty contest and price realistically. Our area has always been price sensitive.

What is your specialty? All facets of residential sales are my first love. I enjoy working with the Tech parent looking for their student or Tech professor, as well as the luxury home buyer. My sales are generally equally split between buyer representation and seller representation.

What do you see in the future for real estate sales? Unlike many markets that are boom and bust, West Texas continues to be slow and steady growth. With many of our local lenders recently quoting under 4 percent fixed 30 year rates, and our great inventory of homes, what’s not to love!

What designations do you have? It is important to me to continue my education. I take every CRS class that comes to Lubbock. Recently I attended a training seminar in Dallas hosted by Bank of America. Also, I have the GRI designation. Clients need to know that their agent has the knowledge and expertise to answer every question they have.

What is the most gratifying aspects of what you do? How long have you worked in Knowing you have done a real estate? great job for someone whether it My career in real estate began is finding “The One” for a buyer in the mid-eighties in Anchorage. or going the extra mile for the It’s fun to tell people I have sold seller, it’s very gratifying to know igloos, which is Eskimo for house. you have helped them with their next life chapter. What did you do before that? Before becoming a REALTOR, What is the most unique I was an American Airlines flight property you’ve listed or attendant and worked as a TV sold? advertising sales representative One of my first listings was for an ABC affiliate in Alaska a home in Anchorage located

Why should someone choose you as their real estate agent? My duty is to be a great consultant to the buyers and sellers I represent. It is important to me to make the process as worry free as possible. I respect that the checkbook belongs to the client and not me.

Mary Ann Grafft, RE/MAX Lubbock in a typical subdivision. What was atypical and unknown from the curb was that the home sat in front a dedicated greenbelt.

Photo by Misty Setzler

When buyers stepped onto the back deck, it was “The Call of the Wild” with a view of all the natural beauty Alaska offers.

Produced By Advertising Editorial Staff

What local organizations and charities are you involved in? I enjoy staying active with our local association. I am proud to be affiliated with RE/MAX Lubbock, a firm that gives back to West Texas by supporting organizations such as Children’s Miracle Network.

Josh H 806-766-o8rs6e5y3

Jason W-h2it1tle96 806-766

Katie McKinney 806-766-8646

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real estate



Featured Floorplan – Betenbough Homes

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6103 87th Street – Valencia


his week, Betenbough Homes is proud to showcase the stunning New Lady 3235 located at 6103 87th Street. This brand-new design is featured in Betenbough Homes’ newest community – Valencia. Located near 87th Street and Iola Avenue, Valencia is nestled in southwest Lubbock and features brand-new homes from the $230s, all certified green through the National Green Building Certification Program. This community boasts four and five bedroom floor plans ranging from 2,500 square feet to 3,600 square feet. “Our Valencia homes are a complete departure from the philosophy that we adopted in 1992 and a wonderful addition to the portfolio of homes we currently build,” said Ron Betenbough, vice president of Betenbough Homes. “Our selection of floor plans is larger than ever before, with a wider array of new options that give your home a distinctive, custom feel without a custom price tag.” Priced at approximately $108 per square foot, this brand-new home has 3,235 square feet of living space, featuring a grand entrance with a regal covered front porch and decorative front door with glass and wrought-iron accents. This beautiful four-bedroom, three-bathroom home includes two open and inviting family areas, both featuring majestic stone fireplaces, a spacious kitchen with a beautiful island centerpiece, a large two-car garage, and a sizeable covered back porch with room for relaxation. The master suite includes vaulted ceilings, his and her Portofino engineered marble vanities accentuated by a beautiful garden tub, and an expansive walk-in closet. Included features of the New Lady 3235 at 6103 87th Street are decorative, rounded wall corners, 11-foot ceilings in the family area, 18” x 18” ceramic tile, built-in cook top and cabinet

vent hood, built-in KitchenAid oven and microwave set, KitchenAid dishwasher, granite countertops, maple-finished cabinets with fluted decorative end panels, and no paint exterior, as well as a weather-treated 7-foot capped cedar fence with concrete ribbon. Each Valencia home will include a landscape package featuring at least three trees. Also included are three options of flowerbed borders and two options of plant packages, including traditional and indigenous. The flowerbed soil will be treated with Nature Life Soil Conditioner and topped with two inches of granite gravel mulch. Visitors are welcome to view this new home at 87th Street and Iola Avenue by appointment. To make an appointment, please visit a Betenbough New Home Specialist at the New Home Center, located west of 82nd Street and Milwaukee Avenue or call (806) 687-8787. The New Home Center is open for tours Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Betenbough Homes, West Texas’ No. 1 home builder, was founded in 1992 when father and son duo, Ron and Rick Betenbough, teamed up to deliver quality homes at the most competitive price. Based in Lubbock, Texas, Betenbough Homes has built more than 3,800 homes in communities across West Texas. Named one of America’s Top 100 Builders by Builder magazine, Betenbough Homes is an employee-owned, faith-based home building company passionate about people and committed to providing West Texans with an unparalleled home buying experience and more home for less money. For more information on Betenbough Homes, please visit This home is sponsored by the West Texas Home Builders Association in cooperation with the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.


real estate

Be a budget-savvy trendsetter

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Refresh home decor with paint, furniture placement (ARA) – Many people use just one word to describe lavish, luxurious homes filled with the latest interior design trends: unattainable. These dream homes that appear on television programs and grace the pages of magazines are seen as projects that can only be executed by affluent homeowners who chase trends and change decor with every season. But, according to television design star Lisa LaPorta, with a practical approach, it’s easy to stay at the forefront of hot home design trends on any budget. “Designer homes should be sources of inspiration and motivation,” LaPorta says. “When you’re researching home renovation and style, you should absolutely look to the most stylish and opulent examples. Then, once you know what you want, execute those ideas on a budget that works for you.” According to LaPorta, the best way to keep your home up to date with current trends is to change elements that have high impact, and are cost-effective. “It might seem obvious, but painting can truly transform a home from being 20 years outdated, to one on the cusp of modern decor,” she says. “Keep abreast of the design trends, but don’t forget to include your own personality.” LaPorta advises homeowners to be introspective and look to their own personal sense of style to identify paint colors. Your

wardrobe says a lot about you and can help guide color selection for your home, she states. Be confident in your choices and run with them. But, she cautions people to never choose a final color while at the paint or hardware store. “Too often I see people choose colors on the spot at a paint store, only to go home and realize it looks completely different on the wall,” LaPorta says. “There’s a reason you’re allowed to take color chips home with you. You need to test them!” She goes on to say that many people think color selection is the most important part of painting. Once they know what colors they want to use, it’s as simple as grabbing a paint brush and covering the wall, right? Wrong. In reality, choosing an inferior brush can have an enormous negative impact on the final result. LaPorta recommends using high-quality painting tools such as Purdy brushes and rollers for a flawless finish. The appearance of a finished painting project is very much dependent on the quality of the applicators used. “When you’re painting, the brush really does matter. A Purdy brush holds more paint, provides smooth, even coverage and vastly reduces brush marks on the wall.” Once you have the perfect, trendy colors on the walls, it’s time to accessorize. LaPorta notes that many people have a tendency to overpopulate their

The best way to keep your home up to date with current trends is to change elements that have high impact and are cost-effective – such as the paint color. Be sure to test the color by bringing home samples before making a final decision.

rooms with too much furniture. Not only does this clutter the space, but it’s quite costly, as well. Instead, she recommends putting larger furniture pieces in a rotation to cut down on clutter. “Design is cyclical,” LaPorta points out. “Eventually, the couch you bought in the ‘70s will be popular again. But, that doesn’t mean it should be

on display until that happens. Focus on a few pieces of large furniture and then chase the trends by purchasing smaller, less costly items such as throw pillows, rugs or inexpensive art and paintings. Then, as trends change and evolve, rotate the larger pieces into your decor. You’ll save money, but still feel like your home is on-trend. A fresh coat of paint and some

new accessories can create dramatic change, but LaPorta also points out that simply changing the layout of a room can also make a big difference. “Homeowners sometimes forget that rearranging furniture can completely change the appeal and feel of a space,” she says. “Step outside of the boundaries of your normal decorating style and see how you feel. In-

stead of having the television as the focal point of a living room, make the coffee table or fireplace the center. The best part is, it’s free. And if you don’t like how it looks, you can always change it back.” These few simple design tips can help transform your home into a chic, trendy space that’s the envy of the neighborhood, all at a price tag you can afford.

Loveseats offer many options for living spaces When purchasing furniture for a living room or family room, many consumers think they have to have a sofa “set” or the pieces displayed at a nearby furniture store. But oftentimes these pieces of furniture do not fit well in everyone’s home, particularly if rooms are on the small side. Homeowners or renters can think outside the box when creating a furniture placement layout for their homes. For those furnishing a small space or an oddly shaped room, think about experimenting with different pieces of furniture, even skipping the sofa altogether. There’s no rule that says living room must have a couch, nor that all living rooms have to look the same. Using only a loveseat or a few comfortable

chairs can work better for some room dimensions than the traditional couch, loveseat and chair combination. Loveseats make cozy places in which to curl up with a good book or snuggle with a loved one. Individuals who are tight on space, especially those who live in apartments, may find that the size of a loveseat is a perfect fit in the room. Adding a separate chair provides a little extra seating space as well. When a room’s layout can’t accommodate a larger sofa, consider flanking a coffee table with two loveseats, a layout that’s typically conducive to conversation. Loveseats enable homeowners to arrange furniture in plenty of conversationfriendly configurations. When

two loveseats are paired with a arm chair in a room, up to five people can be seated comfortably. Loveseats are also ideal pieces of furniture in a bedroom or home office. They can be used to create a cozy nook for watching television or reading a book. Instead of a glider in a baby’s nursery, place a plush loveseat that will make those 2 a.m. feedings more comfortable, allowing Mom and baby to stretch out. A loveseat also gives parents a place to recline and sleep if they want to be close to the child throughout the night. In a home office, a loveseat can be a spot to sit and relax during a break from work. It also helps the room appear more lived-in and less of a utili-

Use neutral shades to create a softer look (NAPS) – A growing number of decorators are using complex neutral shades to create a look that they say is not too bold and not too loud, but just right. Running the gamut from the grays, khakis and beiges that most people associate with neutrals, to some surprisingly deep and rich colors – such as pinot noir purple or cappuccino brown – they are softer colors that whisper quietly and blend seamlessly into a space. Complex neutrals are created by adding gray tint to the paint, resulting in hues that are veiled, misty and chameleon-like. They react to other colors present in a room and can vary in appearance based on the lighting conditions. This flexibility helps neutrals to blend seamlessly Complex neutrals can vary in appearance based on the lightwith the variety of fabrics, floor- ing conditions in a room. This helps neutrals to blend seamlessly with ing, furniture and colors that a wide variety of fabrics, flooring, furniture and colors. are already in a space. Only Use White If You Mean It Oftentimes, homeowners are looking for a neutral to create the perfect atmosphere but end up defaulting to white. According to color expert Dee Schlotter from PPG Pittsburgh Paints, The Voice of Color, “White should only be intentional.” Schlotter says that when the use of white is not intentional, it can make a room look unfinished. “Instead of using white or being overwhelmed by selecting a bold, bright color, homeowners

should try a complex neutral,” says Schlotter. Additional Tips On Color Homeowners can consider the following tips when choosing a color: • Pick paint color last – Select paint color based on everything that is in a room: furniture, floors, tiles, curtains, etc. Selecting the wrong paint color is easy to correct – just paint over it – while the wrong granite countertop, carpet or furniture

is more difficult to change. • To make a room and space cohesive, use colors at least twice. This will help to merge the walls, furniture, accessories and flooring. • Our response to color is subjective and comes from our life experiences and emotional associations, so select the colors that are personal to create the right atmosphere. To find your color personality, try the online color tools at

tarian work space. In a small family room or bedroom, a convertible loveseat that opens up to a bed provides a compact guest space when a guest will be staying the night.

When a sofa simply won’t fit in a room or work with the configuration of the living area, a loveseat or a pair of loveseats can be a winning combination. Find out if loveseats can be

swapped out for a sofa when purchasing a furniture package at the store. Loveseats are generally less expensive than sofas, so consumers might save some money as well.

real estate



Local Real Estate News – Lubbock Association of Realtors

Don’t be afraid of home maintenance

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BY Joe L. Murfee, III, President Lubbock Association of REALTORS®

A common reason for many people to rent rather than buy is home maintenance. When the roof leaks or the air conditioner stops working, they like knowing they can call the landlord or property manager to remedy the situation. Yes, maintenance is an ongoing part of homeownership and can be expensive and frustrating. Problems will arise MURFEE – even in new construction. But many problems can be avoided, or at least resolved on your schedule, by following a regular maintenance schedule. Take it from the top Every house is different, but here’s a basic list of things you should do periodically to protect your investment: • Inspect your roof, or pay a professional to check it out for you, especially if there’s been severe weather. Hail is particularly damaging.

• Head up to your attic and look for any roof leaks and signs of termites or rodents. Squirrels or rats nesting in your attic are not particular about what they chew, and they sometimes gnaw electrical wiring, which can lead to damaged infrastructure or fire. • Check out the paint on your home. It seems cosmetic, but paint is a first line of defense against the weathering and aging of wood. Also, damaged paint can indicate the start of a larger problem. Brick, stucco and siding should be inspected as well. • Depending on the level of traffic, hardwood floors should be refinished every five to 10 years. If they get too worn down, you’re risking permanent damage to the wood. • Check for leaks in any room that has plumbed fixtures. • In some older homes, cast iron was used for the wastewater lines. These pipes eventually fail. If the seepage is under the foundation, you’ll probably never notice, but it may be worth it to have a professional plumber come check it out. If the leak gets bad enough, it can damage your foundation. • Watch for cracks in the walls or other signs of foundation issues. The main cause

of foundation problems, whether pier and beam or slab, is fluctuations in the moisture content of the soil. If the soil beneath a foundation swells uniformly or shrinks uniformly, it is unlikely to cause a problem. When only part of the foundation moves, though, you’re likely to see signs of damage. Your efforts will pay off Deferring repairs and maintenance will catch up to you eventually. If you end up selling your house, you’ll have to do the work anyway or accept a lower price to compensate for the house’s condition. Even if you never sell, large problems will surface in time that you’ll need to address. One of the best things about homeownership is that your investment typically appreciates over time. In order to support that appreciation, though, the home must be well-maintained. Home maintenance is like a trip to the dentist – not many of us look forward to it, but it’s necessary, it pays off, and not doing it will definitely cost you in the long run. Protect your biggest asset by diligently maintaining your home. For more tips about buying and owning real estate visit

Connected homes: modern systems go beyond security (ARA) – Forget the days when home security systems were intended only to keep the bad guys out. “Today’s security systems don’t just respond to an emergency by calling out the police or fire departments,” says Jonathan Klinger of Honeywell Security. “They help homeowners control access to their home remotely, check in on their loved ones, be informed when important events occur and reduce energy costs.”

Remote control Long gone are the days when the only way to control your home security system was through a keypad installed inside the home. With the use of handheld devices booming, home security systems have had to keep pace. Systems like Total Connect allow you to use a handheld device – whether it’s your smartphone, iPad or laptop – to remotely connect to and control your home security system. Apps and reduce the rising inventory of foreclosed make it easy to access real-time video and information from your homes.” home’s security system, and completely control the system from Phipps recommended that political and in- anywhere. dustry leaders work together to help reshape Modern systems employ wireless technology to make installation real estate and put the country back on the faster, and damage free. Homeowners can have a system installed in right track. “Our goal is to help ensure that their existing homes or new home construction with the confidence anyone in this country who aspires to own that the installation will not require opening walls or ceilings. their own home and can afford to do so is not denied the opportunity to build their future Video insight through homeownership,” Phipps said. Adding video cameras into a security system can help you see who NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun also is inside and outside your home. Remote access services can allow participated in the forum. Yun said it’s a mis- you to view real-time images of key areas in and around your home placed argument to say the mortgage inter- or see a video clip of an event such as a child arriving home from est deduction is suddenly part of the deficit school, if an elderly parent is safe at home, or even if a package has problem, when it’s been part of the federal arrived at your front door. tax code for nearly 100 years. “The mortgage interest deduction is vital Disaster prevention to the stability of the American housing marWhen positioned in key areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms, ket and economy. Now is the worst possible kitchens or utility rooms, environmental sensors can alert you to time to discuss changes to the tax laws,” said flooding, leaks and extreme temperatures – all situations that could Yun. “Reducing or eliminating the MID is a cause damage to your home. When used in conjunction with a remote de facto tax increase on homeowners, who al- services product environmental sensors can help you catch and reready pay 80 to 90 percent of U.S. federal in- pair potentially high-cost problems before they turn into disasters. come tax. And middle-class families would be “Given the costs associated with burglary, flooding and other among the hardest hit; 65 percent of families potential problems that home security systems can help catch, these who claim the MID earn less than $100,000 systems are a cost-effective way to protect your home and stay conper year.” nected,” Klinger says.

Housing must remain nation’s top priority, say Realtors® We need to keep housing first on the nation’s public policy agenda, because housing and homeownership issues affect all Americans, and a housing recovery is necessary for the nation’s economic well-being. That was the message delivered by National Association of Realtors® President Ron Phipps during the New Solutions for America’s Housing Crisis forum, where he joined a panel of experts to discuss solutions for addressing the country’s housing and economic challenges. The event was hosted by Economic Policies for the 21st Century and the Progressive Policy Institute. “As the leading advocate for homeownership, Realtors® know that issues like affordable financing, natural disaster insurance, the mortgage interest deduction, and foreclosures and short sales don’t just affect people who own a home – homeownership shapes communities and strengthens the nation’s economy,” said Phipps. “America needs strong public policies that promote responsible, sustainable homeownership and that will help stabilize the nation’s housing market to support an economic recovery.” Phipps said that housing is not recover-

ing at the rate it should be and called on legislators and regulators to do no harm. He said that proposed legislation and regulatory rules or changes to homeownership tax benefits need to help America out of today’s economic struggles and not further harm consumer confidence or exacerbate problems within the fragile real estate industry. Overly stringent standards and lower mortgage loan limits are preventing qualified borrowers from getting loans, and Phipps called on lenders and regulators to reduce the overcorrection in underwriting standards for mortgages. He urged support for policies that ensure qualified borrowers can obtain safe and sound mortgages in all markets at all times and encourage sound lending without high downpayment requirements. “Realtors® support strong underwriting, but too-stringent standards are curtailing the ability of creditworthy consumers from obtaining mortgages to purchase a home, and that’s impacting the recovery,” said Phipps. “Making mortgages available to creditworthy home buyers and streamlining loan modifications and short sales will help stabilize and revitalize the housing industry’s Picks of the Week 1. 3. 5.

2. 4. 6.

Cul-de-sac This week’s favorite picks from are homes located on cul-de-sacs in the Lubbock area. These homes vary in price, style and location. 1. This is a great starter home on a cul-de-sac for only $99,950. There is a beautiful living room with new wood floor and a fireplace that is bricked all the way to the ceiling. The kitchen, dinning room and bathrooms are all tiled in a neutral color that will go with any decor, and the house has updated paint throughout. Outside there are large established trees with recently-planted fescue. This 1,339 square foot home has three bedrooms, two baths, and a two car garage. MLS# 9979761

as well as a skylight. All three bedrooms in this house are large. The owners have made updates to the interior, including fresh paint, stainless steel appliances, a new sink and faucet, high-end gas logs and much more. This 1,505 square foot house is priced to sell at $121,000. MLS# 9982512

3. Custom Homes built this home on a quiet cul-de-sac. Enjoy the open floorplan for the living room and kitchen areas. There is a breakfast bar and island in the kitchen. Crown moulding, special ceilings and other touches make this home appealing to the eyes. Great neighborhood in the Cooper district with quality landscaping and a 7’ fence in the backyard. This home is ready for you to move 2. A great home at 404 Kirby in and enjoy. The asking price for Avenue is longing for a new owner. this 1,675 square foot home is An open floorplan with vaulted $144,950. MLS# 9982998 ceilings fill the home. The isolated master has a walk-in closet, 4. This three bedroom, two bath,

and two-car garage home at 1518 Nottingham in Preston Estates has it all. Large, high ceilings adorn the living room. The kitchen is spacious. There is a huge isolated master bedroom and hard surface flooring throughout the living area and master, with newer carpet in the other bedrooms. A surround system is in the main living areas and on to the back patio. There are two backyards both accessible from the house. The owners just installed a sliding door off the kitchen. You won’t be disappointed in this 2,122 square foot home, priced at only $176,500. MLS# 9980470

in the desirable Ravenwood neighborhood, is in the Cooper school district, is close to shopping, and is only $269,000. MLS# 9980645 6. Designed and presented to perfection, 6002 87th Street has a spacious living area with a brick and stone fireplace and a knockout kitchen with granite, exceptional cabinetry, island, and gas cooking. There is a formal dining or home office, master suite deluxe with dual head shower, air-flow tub, wrap closet, and safe. This 3,033 square foot home is thoroughly custom with wood floors, plantation shutters, recirculating hot water, foam insulation, and an interior staircase to an enormous attic. It is priced at $344,500. MLS# 9983129

5. Our fifth pick, located at 3904 100th Street, has a great 2,231 square foot plan that the seller says she wishes she could take with her. It has an open concept, For more details and pictures is nice and bright, and features an about these and other homes, go to office and additional half bath. The and enhome has wonderful curb appeal ter in the MLS number provided.

Go online & view hundreds of listings in the Lubbock area, read home improvement articles, real estate tips, and local news. “Your best source for housing in the Lubbock area”

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Lubbock AJ Real Estate Section 2011-10-08  

The Avalanche-Journal's Real Estate Section comes out every Saturday. It contains local Real Estate related news, editorial stories and feat...

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