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Moves by Jeb Bush add to talk of 2016 candidacy

WASHINGTON — Jeb Bush's decision to release a policy-laden e-book and all his emails from his time as governor of Florida has further stoked expectations among his allies that he will launch a presidential bid.

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Ebby Halliday acquires Fort Worth’s Williams Trew

Williams Trew Real Estate of Fort Worth has been acquired by Dallas-based residential real estate brokerage Ebby Halliday Real Estate Inc.

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Meridian Bank Texas parent acquired by UMB Financial for $182.5M

Kansas City, Mo.-based UMB Financial Corp., the parent company of UMB Bank, said Dec. 15 it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Marquette Financial Companies in an all-stock transaction.

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Cousins Properties to sell 777 Main tower in downtown Fort Worth

Cousins Properties Inc. has confirmed plans to sell the 777 Main office tower in downtown Fort Worth, according to a news release from the Atlanta-based real estate investment firm.

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Glen Garden sale closes, distillery on tap

Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. closed late Wednesday on its purchase of the historic Glen Garden Country Club in southeast Fort Worth, with plans to convert it into a whiskey distillery and bucolic visitor attraction.

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Firm blooms amid hot housing market

Photo by Glen E. Ellman 

Mary Carolyn Gatzke, Zareen Khan and Ashley Mooring

Betty Dillard
bdillard@bizpress.net

With a rebounding residential market and a recent shakeup in the local industry, the time seemed ripe for a group of veteran real estate agents to plant a new boutique agency in Fort Worth.


Team agents Mary Carolyn Gatzke and Ashley Mooring left Williams Trew Sotheby’s International Realty and partnered with real estate broker and licensed real estate attorney Zareen Khan to form Bloom Real Estate Group.
The full-service residential brokerage opened Aug. 2 and within the first week of business the owner/brokers scored their first sale. That first listing received multiple offers and sold above the asking price.


Bloom principals say they aren’t surprised with their first quick sale, or with another listing under contract with multiple offers, also in less than 10 days.
“The housing market is very good. It’s red hot,” Gatzke said. A Fort Worth native, Gatzke is a certified residential specialist. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University and a master’s degree from Baylor University and was a licensed assistant to one of Texas’ top real estate producers before joining Williams Trew in 2004.


“There’s pent-up demand. Because of all the uncertainty of the economy, the presidential election and interest rate predictions, people just kind of kept their hands in their pocket,” Gatzke said. “Fort Worth wasn’t affected by the real estate downturn but we’re getting the benefits of the recovery efforts nationwide. We really didn’t experience the pain but we are getting the gain.”
Khan, who owned Dallas-based Z Real Estate since 2009, agrees.
“It was like a switch flipped on. The market just went crazy the first of this year. People are buying again,” she said. Khan also grew up in Fort Worth and earned two degrees from Stanford University and a law degree from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law.
“Consolidation and corporate affiliations have changed the local landscape. It sounded like the timing was really good to start something fresh and new here but to keep it small and local,” Khan said. And, she said, she was ready to move back to her hometown.
The new agency, located off University Drive near the Texas Christian University campus, focuses on the classic neighborhoods in central Fort Worth as well as lake listings at Eagle Mountain, Possum Kingdom and Granbury. The firm gives home buyers and sellers what the principals call a “high touch” approach combining the latest in professional methods, tools, technology and local market knowledge. The firm’s founders have a record of success, accounting for more than 200 closed transactions valued at $50 million in sales since 2009.


Mooring, a Houston transplant and graduate of the University of Texas, joined Williams Trew as an agent in 2009. She and Gatzke attribute their sales success to establishing key relationships with online real estate companies such as Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com.
“We saw our success in these relationships as an opportunity to put a platform together for other agents,” Mooring said. “We want to be where the market is, which is online.”
The women cite a 2012 study by the National Association of Realtors that shows that 96 percent of Texas buyers under the age of 44 used the Internet for their housing search.


“We’re leaning into these sites and learning how to work with them. It’s where people are now,” Khan said. “Our services include priority placement for sellers on these popular real estate sites and there’s professional photography on every listing.”
Another differentiator for Bloom is its commitment to the firm’s agents.
The agents have chosen to not put their names on the door or on yard signs.
“Our firm signals a return to an agent-centric approach developed to support their personal strengths, leverage their entrepreneurism and foster mutual success. Our agents make the Bloom yard signs stand for something greater,” Khan said.
According to the company’s principals, the name, Bloom, and the firm’s signature bright green hue reflect what home buying and selling is all about: fresh beginnings, growth and optimism.


“The metaphor fits our business ideology for client service in a real estate transaction,” Khan said. “Harvesting a successful bloom requires both science and nurture. Together, a proper understanding and application of the best techniques, as well as meticulous caretaking, will yield a bloom.”
 

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