Bella Vita Custom Homes set up offices all over Austin, but failed to deliver on their promises to clients according to an investigation by KXAN.

Bella Vita Custom Homes set up offices all over Austin, but failed to deliver on their promises to clients according to an investigation by KXAN. (Photo: KXAN)

According to a brand new investigative report from KXAN in Austin, Dallas-based Bella Vita Custom Homes has declared bankruptcy. The builder, after failing to pay subcontractors and losing vast sums of client money, has permanently closed and remains a target in lawsuits.

Bella Vita was founded in Dallas in 2010, with its trademark white crest on a navy blue background popping up on lots all over Dallas and the Park Cities. But just after Tracey and Joel Lackovich selected Bella Vita to build their custom home in the gated community of Spanish Oaks just outside of Austin in Bee Cave, construction slowed and problems began to crop up. That was in 2015, and since then, the Lackovich family has dealt with one nightmare after another.

But what can be done to protect a homeowner from a less-than-honest builder? Not much, the story alleges.

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Bella Custom Homes

Bella Custom Homes has seven amazing and rare lots in Frisco for built-to-suits. This is a custom home available in Frisco.

Frisco real estate is some of the hottest in the nation, with the big influx of new residents who are looking to live close to their work along the $5-billion mile and nearby.

But this huge influx of new residents to the Frisco area means it’s harder to find available lots for true custom homes.

“There’s a shortage of lots—it’s very difficult to get your hands on lots because there’s such a high demand and most of the production builders have locked up future sites,” said Tony Visconti, President of Bella Custom Homes. “There are all these jobs coming to this area, like with Toyota and Liberty Mutual, and these people are looking to build, but there are very few custom neighborhoods.”

Bella Custom Homes, in business since 1993, currently has seven available Frisco lots in two amazing subdivisions, the Hills of Kingwood and Starwood. Both are gated communities with guards at the entrance, and luxe, family-friendly amenities.

“These seven lots offer buyers a chance to own coveted land in Frisco and these are two of the best communities in the city—most of these lots have incredible topography and gorgeous views and this is a rare opportunity,” Visconti said. “We also work very well with Realtors and unlike many custom builders, we pay their commission at the time we pour the foundation. They don’t have to wait 18 or 24 months.”

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Let’s face it, Barrow Durrett knows what appeals to Dallas buyers. Their latest custom home at 6335 Pemberton Drive, designed by Fusch Architects, ticks every box and then some. They consistently build properties that hit the mark, not only in construction and style, but also in finish-out and amenities.

Any builder that has the foresight to install an elevator has certainly captured our hearts. (more…)

A 3D showcase of a property allows potential buyers to "walk through" a home, even from the other side of the world. Photo: Worth3D

A 3D showcase of a property allows potential buyers to “walk through” a home and explore it in detail, even from the other side of the world. Photo: Worth3D

In the competitive business of luxury real estate, attracting attention to a listing and making it memorable are critical for Realtors hoping catch the eye of potential buyers and land big sales. This is particularly true of out-of-town or international buyers viewing multiple properties online, narrowing their selections, and making an offer before ever setting foot in town.

Worth3D is a new business in Fort Worth aiming to give Realtors an edge by creating an immersive, interactive, 3D showcase to enhance online listings. This allows buyers to “walk through” a house and and understand the context of the layout and amenities more completely than traditional real estate photography, says Worth3D co-owner Tim Sehnem, who founded the company with Mark Smith last year. Their product is designed to complement MLS photography, give buyers an additional resource when scouting properties online, and offer Realtors a “latest-and-greatest” tool to differentiate themselves from competition.

“This software works with Redfin, Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia, so Realtors can upload it with their listing and when buyers go to ‘virtual tour,’ it will launch the 3D viewer,” Sehnem said. “It allows buyers to refine their search, and they find it useful after seeing a property to help them remember details.”

He said a 3D showcase is particularly useful in marketing homes over 4,000 square feet, where it’s easy to forget what you saw where just because of the scale of the house. An online virtual tour allows buyers to revisit properties as many times as they want, and see specific details that might not be pictured in the MLS photos.

 

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copper pipe theft

Unless their clients want to shell out even more money, home builders can’t secure their work sites 24 hours a day. Criminals know this, and that’s why a combined $15,000 worth of copper pipes were stolen from two University Park construction sites during the weekend of Sept. 6-7. The crimes happened in the 4000 block of Glenwick Lane ($10,000) and the 4000 block of Lovers Lane ($5,000). Here are some tips to stop thieves from stealing your copper pipes.

A few days later, between 7 p.m. on Sept. 9 and 8 a.m. on Sept. 10, thieves stole $920 worth of hardware and materials from a construction site in the 3400 block of Purdue Street.

Of course, unfinished homes present opportunities for more than just theft. At 1:15 p.m. on Sept. 13, a juvenile was apprehended with less than 2 ounces of marijuana in a vacant house in the 3500 block of Westminster Avenue. Police also confiscated two glass pipes, two glass bongs, and six lighters. That’s a lot of paraphernalia for just one kid; something tells us he has a few buddies who were on a munchies run when the police showed up.

Click through for a roundup of other residential crimes in the Park Cities.

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Tom Greico’s project on Easton Road is a modern home that takes full advantage of the long lot and canopy of trees.

He’s passionate about building custom homes that evoke the clean lines and accessible floorplans for which he’s known. Forward-thinking, open, and bright, Tom Greico’s brand of modern has developed a loyal following.

“They go on the internet and they see me on Facebook and they follow me. People will come up to me and say, ‘We saw your house on Such-and-such Road,'” Greico says with a laugh. And after that, they often ask when Greico Modern Homes be available to build the home of their dreams. With eight projects right now, he says it’ll be about a year or so before he can start something new, but it’s great to be in-demand, Greico said.

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Crescent Estates, the developer who built the Courtyards at Normandy, will construct an 18-home luxury development on Forest Lane.

Crescent Estates, the developer who built the Courtyards at Normandy, will construct an 18-home luxury development on Forest Lane.

Word comes that the custom home builder that has signed on to build 18 luxury custom homes on the almost 4 acre site on Forest Lane just sold by Unity Church of Dallas is none other than Crescent Estates Custom Homes, the very same developer that built the Courtyards at Normandy in University Park.

The development, which will be called 6600 Forest Estates, was part of the 11-acre Unity Church of Dallas Campus. Charles Hicks, who purchase the property in a deal facilitated by Solender Hall Real Estate, has had the land rezoned for planned development. Crescent Estates is known for European-style homes with top-of-the-line finish-out, including museum-quality interiors, and attention to detail both inside and out. We have a feeling that the homes proposed for the Forest Lane development will be similar in construction if not in style to the Courtyards at Normandy.

We have calls and emails out to Crescent Estates to get the specifics on this luxury home development, so stay tuned!

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By Sam Graham
Director of Operations and Marketing

Veranda Fine Homes, a CandysDirt.com Approved Builder

Sam Graham HeadshotEvery home construction project is unique, as are the homeowners; however, no matter the project or people involved, there is one universal question we are always asked: “What will this project cost?”  Your budget is one of the things that keep us up at night.  We would love nothing more than to give you a number that comes in below your “budget” and move forward, but unfortunately, this is almost never the case for a variety of reasons.

When starting this process, we know you have a budget.  We know you have a finite amount of cash allocated towards your home and going above this amount will put you in a less than desirable place financially.  You will communicate this number to us repeatedly and express that we stay within this number.  We truly don’t want or mean to go above this number, however, there are several factors that serve to increase the “budget.”  Jump for six tips to think about that will help you stay within budget.

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