Centex Homes' "Larkspur" floor plan starts at $175,990 inside the Paloma Creek development at Little Elm.

Centex Homes’ “Larkspur” floor plan starts at $175,990 inside the Paloma Creek development at Little Elm.

We’re seeing tons of apartment construction, but what about affordable single-family homes? They’re getting more and more rare inside Dallas, especially if you’re shopping for a new home. According to Steve Brown’s story, the first-time homebuyer price range is thinning out in a big way, and if you want a new home, plan on a long commute.

There are some builders who are still constructing homes in the $175,000 to $200,000 range, but you’ll have to travel all the way to exurbs like Little Elm to find them. Why? It’s because of the price of the dirt itself has gone up, making the cost of the lot a disproportionately high portion of the total cost of the home.


All that's needed is a chalk outline of the body

All that’s needed is a chalk outline of the body

When buyers peruse listings, they rely heavily on the pictures posted by the listing agent. Usually pictures entice, however sometimes they’re scary, wary, or pointless. I know when I look at homes, I expect the pictures to be a storyboard that escorts me through a property.

I want to see the exterior, the entryway, and onwards as though I’m walking through the home. I give extra points if pictures “connect.” By this I mean that if I see a chair in one picture, I want to see it from the next picture. It becomes a bridge that gives the viewer an idea of how the rooms flow.

We all know we’ve seen listing pictures uploaded to the MLS in a scattershot fashion – bathroom, basement, attic, master bedroom, backyard, etc. Viewers can’t get a feel for where anything is. And in the end, agents wind up visiting homes that a buyer would have axed had they been given a better storyboard.

Storyboards are all well and good, but if the pictures are bad, it won’t matter much.


America's Most Haunted

We’ve all lived in homes with creaky floors and funny noises, writing them off as the house settling, the wind, or some benign cause. But what if that thump, thump, thump in the attic is something else? Something much more sinister? Are their certain neighborhoods that are more likely to have an unexpected guest of the spooky kind?

That’s what RealtyTrac set out to find as it searched for the Zip codes with the highest density of homes most likely to be haunted. What increases the likelihood of a haunting? According to RealtyTrac, it’s homes that are vacant with a deceased homeowner. While Mobile County, Ala., topped the list with one in 89 homes that is likely to be haunted, Dallas and Fort Worth both had Zip codes with high ratios of haunted homes.

Feeling ghoulish? Jump to see the most haunted Zip codes in Dallas and Fort Worth … if you dare!


Dallas Avg Apt Rental Rates

Chart: via RentRange

Why are so many investors hot on Dallas apartments? Why are more people choosing to become landlords instead of selling their homes after moving to a new one?

It might have something to do with demand for rentals and rates inching skyward. In fact, RentRange has Dallas/Fort Worth ranked at the No. 9 spot for year-over-year rental rate increases for single-family residences, and Dallas is posting huge gains in rental rates for apartments.

That, of course, might have some people saying this:

The Rent is Tood Damn High

Well, they better get used to it. If you’re hoping to see some affordable apartments getting built in Dallas, you may have to wait a while. Luxury developments are the majority of what’s going up in West Dallas, North Oak Cliff, and North Dallas, as companies such as Transwestern and Trammell Crow Co. are buying up former industrial sites and plunking down pricey rentals in areas that are gradually gentrifying thanks to cultural amenities.

And they just keep coming, as Steve Brown notes in his piece about The Mark at Midtown Park. It’s an apartment community along North Central Expressway and Meadow Road, just a hop, skip, and jump from Royal Oaks Country Club developed by Dallas businessman Carl Wescott, designed by BGO Architects, and built by Balfour Beatty Construction. It looks a little something like this:


As Eric Nicholson noted in his piece for the Dallas Observer, not all of these buildings are stunning feats of architectural genius. In fact, they all kind of look the same. Critiques aside, isn’t it interesting that rents are going up, up, and away, and yet developers seemingly can’t build enough units? That’s a great recipe for any investor.




Investors ranked Dallas/Fort Worth as the top spot to sink big bucks, eschewing NYC and Chicago. Apartment construction is a big driver for the market, too.

Even Austin can’t beat Dallas real estate when it comes to investors, and we know how crazy that market is. But it seems as if real estate has lost its luster in larger “gateway” cities such as NYC, Chicago, and D.C. according to a survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute. They asked 1,500 real estate industry professionals to tell them where there is moolah to be made, and our little North Texas towns of Dallas and Fort Worth topped the list!


Screen shot 2015-09-28 at 2.09.20 PM

At first, my eternal optimism and wishful thinking had me fooled when I saw this amazing deal on Zillow. Heck, who wouldn’t want to sprint for their checkbook after seeing this gorgeous four-bedroom, three-bath renovated midcentury modern for sale at the bargain basement price of $300K.

*record scratches*

Wait, that house looks familiar … wasn’t it on the market last year for more than twice that?



Rogers & @kaitlinechu

I remember Rogers Healy in 2007. Boy, do I remember him. I had just started my brainchild blog, “Dallas Dirt”, over at D Magazine. Most of the agents in town were not super excited, mostly because they had no idea how technology was about to shift the real estate industry. But I did.  I had seen the writing on the wall and knew that as print media rode off into the sunset, it would take old real estate print ads with it. Adios.

Was talking to a friend tonight who has a contract on his home. He is looking for another. Is he sitting with a pile of magazines or newspapers looking at the listings? Hell no, he is on the internet surfing for his next home. And that’s where he will start to find it.

In 2007, I remember that many agents not only had no idea what a blog was, they couldn’t even pronounce the word, so they called it a “blob”! (more…)

Allie-Coosh- Paulette

We at CandysDirt.com are tickeled PINK that tomorrow is the BIG DAY for Realtors on the Runway!

Wednesday afternoon, Allie-Coosh founder Paulette Martsolf will dress five legendary Dallas Realtors —  Allie Beth Allman’s Doris Jacobs, Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s Joan Eleazer, Dave Perry-Miller’s Karen Fry, Virginia Cook’s Shelby Fuqua, and Ebby Halliday’s Kelly Logsdon Rush for a fashion show you’ll never forget! Then they will strut their stuff among a bevy of professional models, all to show agents how they can look their best (without spending a fortune) in the hottest real estate market ever.

Even better, all that prettiness will benefit one of our favorite charities, Dwell With Dignity,  not-for-profit that tackles poverty by transforming ordinary shelters into warm family homes. Because all of us in Real Estate want to see a home for every child. RSVP now to make sure you get a spot near the catwalk to ogle the newest from Martsolf’s everyday collection, plus her line of leather handbags which can hold a measuring tape, contract and five smart phones. Vino and bites will be served, and there will be a complimentary valet to keep you from circling Snider Plaza for the perfect parking spot.

We are super proud to huddle with two other great sponsors on this event,  Wallick & Volk Mortgage Bankers, and LegacyTexas Title,

Cynthia Smoot and Lisa Petty

Cynthia Smoot and Lisa Petty in designs by Allie-Coosh’s Paulette Martsolf.