04/20/14 1:47am

DFW_REALTIES_SoldDon’t think the only hot market in North Texas exists south of LBJ. Agents everywhere are going to unconventional extremes to find their clients’ homes.  June Graham recently moved into what she calls the “home of her dreams” in Castle Hills, where the market is also extremely competitive.

In fact, June’s agent, Sunny Chaparala of DFW Realties, had to scour Castle Hills for a home she found off market, off MLS. But June claims Sunny, who is a computer programmer, actually wrote a computer program to find their home, because it was like finding a needle in a haystack.

“In this market, oh my God you need a sharp Realtor. Sunny wrote a computer program to find houses that matched what we were looking for,” says June. “We’ve been here a month and we love it. Love the community. Love letting the kids go off to the parks. Our friends are here, and we’re close to everything”.

June and her husband finally decided to sell their Carrollton ranch home and make the move north to Castle Hills. Their $230,000 home was in an older, quiet neighborhood near I 35 and George W. Bush.

“We thought we’d get $230K and be happy,” says June.

But Sunny got them more. June had met Sunny over a year ago, but Sunny kept up with her. Finally, when they were ready to pull that sell trigger, she was right there.

“We were looking on line in Castle Hills, but it was so competitive!” says June. “Houses would come on and they were just GONE.”

If they found one Thursday,  by Saturday it already a contract.

We needed to get our house together to sell, says June, which was a huge project, but Sunny pretty much managed it for them. She paid for a home stager to give June a consultation, and she paid for a professional photographer to photograph the home, things June had not experienced before with an agent. They put their home on the market Saturday, by Sunday they had it under contract: three multiple offers.

“Sunny said, I think you could get more,” says June. She was touched by the second couple, who wrote her family a letter saying how brutal the market was, how much they loved the house.  Then a third couple put their money where they mouth was — $15,000, and the deal was on.

But after contract, as they often do, the buyers started in on their their repair wish list: pool resurfaced, foundation fixed. June was ready to cave but Sunny held fast. She got a foundation engineer to inspect and found no problem, she said no way to pool resurfacing. Sunny split the foundation inspection cost of $350 with her sellers.

“We sold seamlessly and she handled all of that,” says June.

Next, they needed a home to buy. That’s where Sunny used her computer program skills to scour the MLS — even old listings — using her clients’ criteria. She also sent out letters to homeowners to see if they were interested in selling.

“We had found a home,” says June, ” but it wasn’t our dream house.”We were about to settle for a home we were not that crazy about.”

Sunny found 4 homes off market through her computer query. They approached one homeowner who said yes, they were interested in selling, but were actually too busy to put their home on the market.

“It wasn’t staged, it wasn’t ready to be a showhouse,” says June, ” but we loved it. And they probably saved $15,000 in staging and other prep fees. We just loved the house.”

The homeowners wanted to stain some doors and cabinets, but June said no, don’t worry, we’ll do it, take it as is.

They paid $350,000 to live in castle Hills where they love the schools, safety and sense of community.

“This has worked out so well for us,” says June. “Hopefully, we will be in this house forever, and I won’t need Sunny again, but I will certainly recommend her.”




04/18/14 9:05am

IHOTW 2411-Hall-Street-view

The State Thomas Home Tour was just last weekend, so we are bringing you a brand new listing (just hit MLS) in the State Thomas District at 2411 Hall Street, No. 1. This is an end unit three story that proves how affordable great brownstone living is in Uptown, especially in the State Thomas ‘hood which is so rich with history.

The way back machine: In 1868, James and Elizabeth Routh Thomas bought 40 acres in State Thomas. Of course, it wasn’t called State Thomas just yet, it was farm and prairie. The hopping part of town we call Uptown was known as The Vineyard, called such because there were actual vineyards and fruit trees raised and cultivated on the land between Cedar Springs and McKinney. The Vineyard was west of McKinney Ave. East of McKinney was the Thomas Colby District until 1976, when it was just shortened to State Thomas. Did the “Thomas” part of the name come from Elizabeth? Or was it from Dallas businessman Thomas Lardner who, in the mid-1980s, cleared more than 30 acres along Thomas, State, Allen and Hall streets with the investor Lehndorff Group.

Lardner was actually one of the first developers to call the area Uptown, and he planned for a high-rise district. But then came the 1980s, real estate crashed, and the neighborhood grew organically into a community of low- and midrise residential buildings. The McKinney Avenue Trolley stopped running in 1956, to start back up in 1989.

Today, Uptown is one of the most walkable communities in Dallas. Weekends and even on many Weekday evenings, hundreds of people walk the well-lit, tree-lined sidewalks from restaurant to restaurant, from home to the gym, from work and home to shops and public transit via the McKinney Avenue Trolley. That and the nearby Katy Trail could be why so many young professionals want to live here.


04/17/14 5:45pm

5307 Morningside ext longThis just has to be Tudor week in my head somewhere, probably because my son and daughter-in-law are in London and Ireland visiting Downton Abbey! William Davis Realty just listed this absolute angel of an M-Streets rock Tudor that moves and grooves. I have this thing about rocks — diamonds, sapphires, even rock crystal. But this home has the hook: located on a premiere block on Morningside, you get the location gold standard down from the start. (more…)

04/17/14 5:03pm

I345 image006.jpg Dallas metro

Yesterday,  Ed Woodson, a Dallas attorney, and Aren Cambre, a computer scientist, gave us part I of their insightful, well-researched counter to Patrick Kennedy et al’s passion to tear down I-345 in downtown Dallas, an elevated highway they believe is choking urban living, creating a schism of disruption between neighborhoods and sucking up dirt that could be developed as housing units. Etc. Today, Ed and Aren bring you part two of their post, asking what makes Dallas a “World Class” city? They also ask, if we tore down I 345, where would the traffic go? A very interesting question as I spent the morning looking at development proposals and learning that Northwest Highway is already choking from extra traffic as people avoid LBJ/635 construction. A NCTCOG traffic study reports that Northwest Highway, essentially our city’s cross-town expressway, held 56,659 cars per day in 2011. With the current LBJ re-routing, that number is probably closer to 67,000 cars per day today. Traffic is like water: while a small amount may evaporate, most just finds the route of least resistance: (more…)

NotInMLS_2The day started with a few tweets from Rob Hahn, the founder and managing partner of 7DS Associates, a boutique management consulting firm specializing in corporate strategy, product management, and strategic marketing for real estate and related industries. Gosh, that’s a mouthful. Rob is one of the nation’s loudest voices for change in the real estate industry, whipping the MLS’s of the nation into shape and technology.

“The MLS industry needs focus and strong leadership to turn its attention away from the noise and concentrate on the serious challenges it faces. It needs a plan of action, one that contains some new and perhaps radical (at least by traditional conservative thinking) ideas.  It needs to focus on that plan, execute on that plan, daily – not just once or twice each year at convention time.”

Rob is a Yalie with a law degree. Anyhow, he was tweeting about Dallas this a.m:


04/17/14 12:19am

6523 Lakewood Blvd precious doorI know, I hear you. We all wrote huge checks Tuesday, got drunk Wednesday, and just feel poor today. Even worse, I had to return stunning borrowed gems to The Diamond Doctor.

Where does our moola go? Did you notice not as many deductions this year? Feeling that ACA pain? Well, I have just the thing to charm you right back into sunshine spirits: 6523 Lakewood Boulevard.

This house is story-book cute, so much that it reminds me of a Hugh Comstock home from Carmel-By-The-Sea, where we all would like to be and could be if we hadn’t blown our wad with the Department of the Treasury. (more…)

04/16/14 1:22pm

Carmel Valley Aerial

I know it’s a hot market and several properties are gone before they even hit MLS, and those that do get listed often are under contract within days or weeks. There are bidding wars, back-up bids, and tons of competition. Truly, you have to have a stiff upper lip and be prepared for heartbreak. But what you don’t ever, ever do is what this San Diego woman did when she lost the bidding war for her Carmel Valley dream home.


04/16/14 11:53am

I-345 MeetingDallas is a fascinating place to live right now. Downtown, urbanists are lobbying for the tear-down of a short but squirrely elevated highway they believe is choking urban living, creating a schism of disruption between neighborhoods and sucking up dirt that could be developed as housing units. Go north of the Park Cities to the junction of Preston Hollow and University Park, an entire neighborhood is battling MORE housing units: a proposed luxury, 220 unit apartment complex that would replace dilapidated, tired housing built in the 1950′s. “No” signs can be seen all the way north to Forest Lane, west to Midway Road. Homeowners with ranches valued from $300,000 to $3 million dollar plus estates are so worried about increased traffic, so protective of the peace of their neighborhood, they have hired a seasoned attorney to represent them before the Dallas Plan Commission. Even former mayor Laura Miller is piping in, demanding a new proxy City Councilman to replace the current proxy. East of Central Expressway, investors want to build a restaurant on park land at the northern end of White Rock Lake, just off Mockingbird Road. Though they are just “feeling out” the neighborhood before plowing ahead, most of the feedback has been pretty negative, especially in a neighborhood known for fiercely defending it’s urban lake. Two years ago this ‘hood battled a plan to mow a meadow called Winfrey Point and turn it into a commercial parking lot. Don’t mess with Lakewood. (more…)