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Recently former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert sold his $6.2 million ski-in, ski-out house, right near the Dreamcatcher Lift in Park City Utah. It was sold at auction to another Dallas family who bought it for their grandchildren. Now here is the best part of the story: the family already owns a home in Deer Valley. They just wanted a place for the grandchildren to ski where snowboarding was allowed. So of course, they bought a house in Park City. Got a good deal, too: $4.2 million. The auction was conducted by the good folks at Heritage Auction here in Dallas.

The vacation home market is estimated to be at $100 billion worldwide, and a lot of it is because of grandparents wanting fun for their grandkids. In New Orleans at NAREE this month, I gathered five top vacation home experts, including Bill Furlong of HomeAway, Jackie Doak of Dart Enterprises Ltd., the developer of Camana Bay on Grand Cayman Island, Hunter Harman, Broker/Owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida, Tina Necrason of Montage Hotels & Resorts, and Tyler Niess of Crescent Communities.

Vacation home sales are robust but not as furious as they were in 2014. Still, 920,000 vacation homes were sold in the U.S. in 2015, the 4th highest number in NAR survey’s 13-years. In 20015, 16 percent of all US home sales were vacation homes. In 2014, 21 percent of all were vacation homes, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The median price vacation home is now up to $210,000 in 2015 from $197,200 in 2014. To find out where the hottest markets are — surprising! —  and see the entire panel in full video, click on over to our sweet sister blog, SecondShelters.com.

This is what affordable housing looks like in Waco. Will it be coming to Dallas?

Lately it seems like there is nothing but bad news when it comes to affordable housing solutions in Dallas. There is a lot more demand than availability with no viable solutions in sight.

It’s an entirely different story in Waco — groups like Next Step Network and NeighborWorks Waco have come up with some smart affordable solutions to bring new homes to vacant lots in and around Waco as they provide hope and housing to hard-working families at a cost they can afford. (more…)

Berkshire Hawaii Small

Out on a morning walk, I saw a sign for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Hawai’i and decided to give them a call. I wanted to get the insight into what Allie Beth Allman’s crew have gotten themselves into. A few days later, I met local president Tracy Bradley at that first-seen home’s open house. The short answer is that others in Dallas real estate should be a bit worried by the Berkshire firepower and savvy.

The Honolulu real estate playing field was at one time dominated by local brokerages that over time were acquired by national brands like RE/MAX, Prudential and such. Often what was gained in national presence was lost at the local level with layers of mainland management out of touch with the islands. Also, like many conglomerates, technology tools were not the best. Bradley told me of one of her agents who had been screaming for years for a way to embed a video into an email – no link, no Dropbox. Spoiler alert: now she can film a property on her phone and embed the impromptu tour into an email to her client from her phone.

1,820 oceanfront square feet. A snip at $4.69m

1,820 oceanfront square feet. A snip at $4.69m

One of Berkshire’s first real estate acquisitions was Prudential. Apparently, franchisees had the option of opting out and that’s what Hawai’ian offices did. With no presence in high-priced Honolulu, Berkshire approached Bradley and a select group of agents to be their start-up in Hawai’i. Little did I know how timely my meeting would be.

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Photo courtesy Nebraska Furniture Mart

Photo courtesy Nebraska Furniture Mart

When the CandysDirt.com team got an invitation to do a early tour of the yet-to-be-completed Nebraska Furniture Mart Texas, we absolutely had to jump at the chance. There’s nothing that we love more than looking at pretty things, and besides, Nebraska Furniture Mart is a pretty interesting spot. The new Texas location of the brand is in Grandscape, a new development in The Colony. The store, which will anchor the 430-acre mixed-use development, is on 100 acres and is about the same size as 31 football fields. It is absolutely mammoth.

We walked the store (all 560,000 square feet of it!) and learned about the brand’s modest history (started in the basement of an Omaha pawn shop by Rose Blumkin in 1937) and its bright future in Texas (the only location planned for the Lone Star State). The store, which is more like five or six stores all under one very large roof, will open some time in the spring, though the marketing team isn’t ready to pin down a date yet.

After our tour, Leah Shafer and I sat down for a frank discussion about Nebraska Furniture Mart. Jump to read all about it!

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Greyson sofa with Clover chairs courtesy of Cort Furniture Rental

Greyson sofa with Clover chairs courtesy of Cort Furniture Rental

One of the most requested staging services is furnishing a vacant property, what I call a “naked” listing.

Every day, Realtors call stagers asking for a ballpark figure to furnish a house followed by, “Can you install tomorrow?”

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