(Editors Note: Please welcome Marc Lee to the CandysDirt.com team! Marc is an experienced writer with a love of real estate that makes us girls swoon. Read on for more, and send him a note at email@example.com)
Pre-owned homes in desirable southern neighborhoods seem to pop on and off the market as quickly as craft beer bottle caps in the Bishop Arts District.
Only a few years ago, scoring a great deal on a house, like this stuccoed Winnetka Heights craftsman listed at $275,000 by Gia Marshello of Coldwell Banker, seemed almost too easy. But Dallas real estate prices have zoomed past pre-recession highs, according to surveys like the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and solo professionals and young families have to keep an eye on value like never before.
“Winnetka Heights and Kessler Park are the neighborhoods that people flock to now,” says Marshello. “There are several nice streets and they’re close to downtown.”
This three-bedroom, two-bath 1925 bungalow with breezy wrap-around porch sits on a secluded, shady, tree-lined street that seems miles away from anything urban. But it’s close enough to Oak Cliff’s entertainment districts to hop on a bike and grab a slice of pizza. And it’s an easy pedal over the bridge to work. Children could attend the well-regarded Rosemont Elementary a short walk away, or The Kessler School, a private elementary campus in Kessler Park.
Two bedrooms and a bath with claw foot tub downstairs belong to kids or guests, while the master suite perches on the second story. Windows on all sides of the bedroom provide sweeping views of the architecturally significant homes in the neighborhood and a green swath of the back yard.
Multiple built-ins, hardwoods, heavy wood-and-glass entry doors, and detailed millwork bring out the historical charm of every one of the home’s 1,921 square feet. But the tile-faced living-room fireplace and its flanking bookshelves make the most elegant statement.
The original kitchen has been replaced and updated with cherry-faced cabinetry, granite countertops, and a matching stainless steel appliance package that will give the new owners a modern place to make a meal. And a study just off the living room — somewhat rare for this kind of house, Marshello says — is a cozy place to pay the bills.
Back to the nuts-and-bolts of value: The water heater, plumbing, insulation, and HVAC at 218 N. Rosemont Ave. have all been recently replaced or updated over the past few years. While not quite worth their weight in gold, they’re pretty close.
The home’s value has steadily risen, even during the recession years, according to tax assessments and Marshello’s own calculations.
“A year ago, it would have been listed at $235K to $250K,” she says, but compared with similar homes in the neighborhood, it’s priced in a solid middle ground. A quick look at listings of similar properties show prices range from $245,000 to $312,000.
The average sale price for a single family Oak Cliff home is $270,000, according to the latest figures from online real estate database Zillow, down about 7.2% from a year ago. As a comparison, the average sale price for Dallas as a whole is $277,700, up 15% from the same time last year. Oak Cliff seems to have slightly more stable prices than the rest of the city, which is definitely a consideration for buyers if we are caught up in a regional housing bubble.
But it’s all-too-easy to get caught up in the money game and forget about quality of life issues. With its amenities, spacious rooms and proximity to entertainment, schools and jobs, this may be a perfect starter home.
The neighborhood association even has complimentary beer and wine tastings at its meetings. Makes it easy to get to know the neighbors. And get to know the neighborhood better, too.