Articles by

Candy Evans

Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters, bloggers and consultants. She reports on Dallas real estate for WFAA-TV’s Daybreak with Ron Corning, and is frequently called as a real estate expert by other Dallas media. She is also a real-estate editor for CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, the Katy Trail Weekly and the White Rock Weekly. She even has her own web-based Real Estate show called, The Party Line. Candy has written for AOL Real Estate, and is a guest blogger for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News plus a host of national sites. Candy was a longtime contributing editor to Dallas’ D Magazine and sister pubs, and in 2007 founded the wildly successful Dallas real estate blog, DallasDirt. That’s where she broke the news on where former president George W. Bush bought his Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of an exciting platform of Dallas-based real estate sites including SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market, and her signature CandysDirt.com, everything you need to know about real estate in North Texas. And yes, we are still psyched about the GOLD! In 2013, CandysDirt.com was named Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations, and the only association for journalists covering real estate, home and urban design. We snatched silver in 2015, and who knows what 2016 brings...

12/09/16 5:21pm

Penson House Demolition 1

On September 27, when the Penson house at 3756 Armstrong Parkway sold at auction, a handsome gentleman with white hair was the buyer. He walked out of the house that day smiling broadly with his agent, Allie Beth Allman.

He was Lute Riley of the Honda car dealership fame. As we told you, he paid $4.95 million, including the buyer’s 10% premium, for a home that had almost a Camelot presence in Dallas. Built for Jack and Nancy Penson in 1954, it is one of architect O’Neil Ford’s largest residential projects, and was designed in one of his favorite styles, Texas Regionalism. The exterior and interior of the 9,800-square-foot home remains very close to the original design with the exception of a second story addition, a massive, indulgent master bath expansion, and enclosure of a rear porch.

The home remains an architectural icon that has been named by Preservation Dallas as one of the major Dallas buildings in danger of destruction.

Sadly, a permit has been pulled to demolish the home.

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12/09/16 6:00am

3908 Euclid ext

Property previews begin Friday through Monday, 1 to 5 p.m.

When Dallas architect Joe McCall starts talking about 3908 Euclid, you can see the proud papa gleam in his eyes. It was almost 26 years ago that he met Dana Nearburg and her husband, Charlie, with the commission to improve their family home on Lindenwood Avenue off Abbott. Dana was an architect by training and trade; Charlie was an engineer who had majored in art at Dartmouth College. Any other architect might have thrown in the T-square rather than work with two such precise and detailed homeowners, who soon decided NOT to build on their existing homestead, but step it up a bit by buying a lot on Euclid.

And then the real challenge began!

“We had three challenges, actually” says Joe. “First of all, the lot was 70 by 225, well-sized, but the trees were smack dab in the center of the lot. Great trees, too.”

And the Nearburgs wanted to save every one. Not only did you have a lot with trees in the prime building footprint, you had a deep neighborhood setback: 61 feet. Unfathomable.

Add to that the homeowner’s desire for two separate garages, one of which would be a car collector’s dream garage with spray paint bay and full auto shop, with all the bells and whistles.

A tough assignment, but when the design challenge gets tough, Joe McCall just gets going. He also got to work with one of the best builders in town, Randy Clowdus, Randy Clowdus Construction Company. Randy also did significant work on the $39 million estate of John and Debbie Tolleson, where the George W. Bush library was conceived, in Volk Estates.

“I’ll never forget the first time I met Randy, ” says Joe. “He was in the living room with a plumb bob. He was making sure the studs were perfectly straight before the sheetrock and dry wall. Any studs that were not perfectly aligned were shaved or shimmed.”

Thus begins the opus of 3908 Euclid, which goes to auction next week with Heritage Auction Luxury Real Estate. Which was the scene of a lovely party benefitting Jubilee Park in Fair Park last week, as potential buyers kicked the tires of the imaginary collectible cars that could be housed in the incredibly tricked-out garage.

3908 Euclid is not like any other home that has been to auction in Dallas. Frankly, it has no flaws. The home was timelessly built to the most exacting standards by the owners, architect and builder, high tier overachievers all. Though the brick appears to be NorthPark brick, it is not, but matches the color exactly. The home has an undisclosed but easily attainable reserve, because it has to. (Listing price is $6,400,000.) Come Tuesday, December 13, a savvy buyer is going to get the deal of the century.

On the market with veteran Dave Perry-Miller agent Martha Tiner and her daughter, McKamy,  The owners now simply wish to move on. With homes of this calibre being “soft” in the current market, residual effect of the calendar and election, they want to cut as wide a marketing swath as possible to ensure their dream home is passed to the perfect buyer and next lineage of proud ownership.

Let me ask you this: is there any home in Dallas with a waterproof mailbox?

3908 Euclid stone wall (more…)

12/09/16 1:43am

Mark

There are five fabulous finalists vying for the Dallas City manager’s job, and the Dallas City Council soon picks one to be our next fearless fiscal leader. Dang it, they were out for the public to see Tuesday at six, I should have gone down to City Hall but Wilonsky did a pretty cool round-up. All but one would have to relocate.

Jelynne Leblanc-Burley is from San Antonio, where she is the President/CEO of JLB Group, a consulting firm providing professional services in the areas of talent development, project management, and leadership training. She was previously Executive Vice President and Chief Delivery Officer for CPS Energy, the nation’s largest municipally owned energy company. I’ll have to check BCAD to find her house. By the way, whenever I have dealt with CPS, the company has been wonderful.

Maura Black Sullivan hails from Chattanooga, Tennessee, gorgeous place, where she is the city’s Chief Operating Officer, reports directly to the Mayor, and runs the day to day operations of the Chattanooga city government with a $200 million budget. She was also the deputy manager for the city of Memphis.

T.C.Broadnax hails from the northwest, where he is the city manager for Tacoma, Washington. He has twenty-three years of city/county management experience and currently manages a billion dollar budget.

James Twombly has been the City Manager of Tulsa since 2009. He oversees a $700 million budget and has experience in brokering successful police and fire labor relations in Tulsa and in other cities.

And then there is Mark McDaniel of Dallas. He’s the current Dallas Assistant City Manager, but has only been in Dallas since 2014. He came to us from Tyler. McDaniel is reportedly the favored child with City Council folk. He told WFAA-TV he’s been in the city management business 30 years in six different Texas cities, and wants Dallas to be the next. Thinks managing our city would be a capstone for his career.

When Mark and his wife, Cynthia, move to Dallas from Tyler, they settled on a home at 6807 LaVista Drive with a great view of Lakewood Country Club golf course on a verdantly leafy 59 by 145 ft lot. Look at those trees! He is a nature man!

La Vista ext (more…)

12/08/16 12:07pm

VIP party guest2

Last Wednesday, we were just starting to feel a bit lighter on the scales after a weekend of eating turkey, or whatever your favorite Thanksgiving indulgence happened to be. Heritage Auctions Luxury Real Estate threw open the doors at 3908 Euclid, the Dallas-based auction house’s next big luxury real estate auction that happens NEXT WEEK! The previews begin this Friday through Monday, from 1 to 5 p.m, at the property.

And where did everyone end up after the presentation? In the DREAM GARAGE!

That’s right, you too can grab the steal deal of the century (and the best garage in Texas) for an exquisitely timeless, modern home on one of Highland Park’s most coveted streets designed by Joe McCall, built by Randy Clowdus, and offered for sale by the folks at Heritage along with Martha and McKamy Tiner from Dave Perry-Miller.

Heritage is the world’s third largest auction house and is a leader in luxury real estate auctions after several recent scores, including the successful sale and closing of 3756 Armstrong Avenue, Highland Park’s famed O’Neil Ford house. It is now the only top tier auction company to offer truly luxury properties through auctions. Utilizing a powerful platform from a client base of more than 900,000 members worldwide, Heritage Auctions specializes in marketing and selling luxury real estate valued at $2 million and above throughout the United States, the Caribbean, and in select international destinations. It is an effective alternative to selling high-end properties in a transparent, competitive bidding environment — all within 60 to 90 days.

True to it’s core business, Heritage also offers a benefit auction at each property prior to sale. Through donated paintings and furniture, funds were raised last week for Jubilee Park, a thriving residential neighborhood in Fair Park, with affordable new housing options for low income residents.

Heritage brought in Joe McCall, of Oglesby Greene Architects, who oversaw the construction of 3908 Euclid. The home is one of the most unique in Dallas. There is a six-car garage split in two, four bays decked out as a professional garage for car collectors and aficionados.

3908 Euclid is not like any other home that has been to auction in Dallas. Frankly, it has no flaws. The home was timelessly built to the most exacting standards by the owners, architect and builder. Though the brick appears to be NorthPark brick, it simply matches the same color.

The home will have an undisclosed (but easily attainable) reserve, the listing price is $6,400,000. It is listed with veteran Dave Perry-Miller agent Martha Tiner and her daughter, McKamy. Get thee to this auction for the bargain of a century!

Oh and one more thing you will not find in any other house in Dallas: a waterproof mailbox! Jump for more party photos!

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Tax vs Income Chart Dallas 1

Our real estate market has never been better. North Texas sales were up 26% in November. Our median home price is now $230,000. Yeah, the trophy home sales are a little soft, but  our region saw some of the biggest property price/value increases in the country in September, just three months ago. We are up a whopping 8% year over year from 2015 (Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index) and only Seattle, Portland and Denver have bigger price gains. We are among the top U.S. cities with the greatest annual home price gains. Nationwide, prices were only up 5.5 percent from 2015. Says Standard & Poors:

“Other housing indicators are also giving positive signals: sales of existing and new homes are rising and housing starts at an annual rate of 1.3 million units are at a post-recession peak,” S&P’s David Blitzer said in the report. “We are currently experiencing the best real estate returns since the bottom in July of 2012.”

Dallas-area home prices are up over 30 percent from the pre-recession high in mid-2007, according to Case-Shiller.

But I am still terrified. And confused. All this could be wiped out by the absolute Class A disaster going on down at City Hall: figuring out how to save the Police and Fire Pension plan. Which has been around since the mid 1990’s. Did everyone just ignore the problems up until now? (Including me — wasn’t on my radar.) And where is the tax revenue on all these gains going? I sat at City Hall in late August and heard, with my own ears, Mayor Rawlings say there was “room in the budget”.

Could this be the next perceived nail in the Dallas real estate coffin? “Bad schools, bad taxes, let’s look in the ‘burbs.”

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12/07/16 9:00am

take command health

To immediately get started finding your plan, click HERE or continue reading.

 

Been putting off the headache of finding health insurance for 2017? Who can blame you when there is a party every night, trees to be decorated and cards to be written and mailed. But the deadline is looming: Dec. 15 is the last day for open enrollment for plans that begin Jan. 1, 2017.

ICK!

So how can you find a health insurance plan without confusion and frustration that makes you grab a Xanax? Dallas-based startup Take Command Health offers Realtors a simple but effective way to find and enroll in a health plan.

“Trying to find the right health plan that fits your needs can be very difficult, time consuming, and frustrating for anyone not covered by a group insurance plan,” said Todd Peoples, Partner at Take Command Health.

Take Command Health is an innovative health insurance platform, similar to TurboTax, but exclusively for health insurance. Using big data and plain language, they help Realtors navigate the insurance market and find the right health plan.

“Realtors will find more plans on our site than Healthcare.gov or the TREC site because we focus on putting all your options forward, not just the ones that pay large commissions,” Peoples said. “Instead of just presenting all of the plans and saying, ‘Good luck finding the best plan for you,’ we actually guide our users through a custom survey process that includes a few questions about their doctors, prescriptions, and conditions they have. The end result is a customized health plan that truly fits their lives.”

And pocketbook!

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Screen Shot 2016-12-06 at 11.28.55 AMThis is one of the biggest pickles Dallas, or really any U.S. city, has been in.

As we have mentioned, the police and fire pension is asking the taxpayers of Dallas to make up a $1.1 billion shortfall. At the same time, the police are SUING Dallas for $4 illion in back pay, IF they are victorious in ther lawsuit.

The mayor of Dallas has personally filed a lawsuit against the fund, asking it to put a halt to the DROP program, which he maintains is bleeding it. And the Dallas City Council will be hashing it out all day tomorrow.

A real estate connection: the mayor’s lawyer, by the way, is Mike Gruber, husband of Dave Perry-Miller’s Diane Gruber, father of Dave Perry-Miller’s Becky Gruber.

There are a trifecta of issues to consider, and Jennifer Staubach Gates sent the entire briefing to her email list. That woman is the queen of transparency.

On the one hand, we have the police filing suit against the city of Dallas, the taxpayers, in a lawsuit that goes way back to 1994, more than twenty years ago. The lawsuit is over a pay differential: that is, the police say that every time the city gives one member or group of members (such as new recruits) on he force a raise, everyone on the force gets one. Whole new meaning to “Let the force be with you.” Dallas says no, but a stupid state law from 2005 is fueling that flame.

We have put the briefing up for all to read. Of note: (more…)

floresrawlings

How badly has our real estate market been harmed by this news? Why did he wait until now, or was Rawlings’ timing impeccable?

The news about Dallas’s Police and Fire Pension System goes from bad to worse. And it continues to be negative national news that could potentially hurt our housing market. In particular, the Wall Street Journal ran a backwash of Dallas Morning News reporting blaming everything on the “bad real estate investments.”

Those “bad real estate investments” are not the whole reason why the fund is in trouble and asking taxpayers for $1.1 billion. It’s mismanagement, and an incredibly thoughtless accounting trick that has enabled retirees and mature pensioners to essentially rob from the young.

In that recent New York Times piece that has the world talking about “Dallas’ bankruptcy”, the blame is put on the state legislature in 1993:

To many in Dallas, the hole in the pension fund seems to have blown open overnight. But in fact, the fuse was lit back in 1993, when state lawmakers sweetened police and firefighter pensions beyond the wildest dreams of the typical Dallas resident. They added individual savings accounts, paying 8.5 percent interest per year, when workers reached the normal retirement age, then 50. The goal was to keep seasoned veterans on the force longer.

Guaranteed 8.5 percent interest, on tap indefinitely for thousands of people, would of course cost a fortune. But state lawmakers made it look “cost neutral,” records show, by fixing Dallas’s annual pension contributions at 36 percent of the police and firefighters’ payroll. It would all work as long as the payroll grew by 5 percent every year — which it did not — and if the pension fund earned 9 percent annually on its investments.

Buck Consultants, the plan’s actuarial firm, warned that those assumptions were shaky, and that the changes did not comply with the rules of the state Pension Review Board.

The DROP accounts were like savings accounts with a guaranteed interest rate. But few news reports critiqued it. . The media only blamed the “shaky real estate investments.(more…)