When self-described “late-bloomers” Meltem Ballan and Nathen Hinson made their first foray into the Dallas real estate market when they bought their Oak Lawn townhome in 2013, it was almost as renters.
“My husband and I are in our 40s,” Ballan said. “I studied too long to have a Ph.D., and never married until I was 36, and my husband was married for 13 years with a child, but had never had the money to buy a house.”
“When we moved to Dallas in 2013, we never thought we could afford a house, as we had no down payment,” she continued, adding that they had thought renting would be their only choice. “We were working with a young real estate agent, Shawn White to rent a place. Apartments were expensive and nothing that we want to rent.”
But the Internet — and a website that may sound a bit familiar — caused the two to shift their focus.
“I follow the blogs on Facebook and CandysDirt.com inspired me to buy a house,” Ballan said. “There was an article about low down-payment options and how it is better to buy.”
So the two talked to their Realtor about townhomes and condos they could potentially buy.
“He was very patient and passionate about his job to find us the right home,” Bellan said. “After seeing about 100 places we decided on our current home.”
The two had a definite wish list — a walkable neighborhood with access to local amenities like dining, shopping, and parks. They needed three bedrooms for when Hinson’s son and their niece came to visit. They wanted good schools.
“We looked around Greenville, Lakewood, M Streets, and surrounding areas,” she said.
Staying at an Airbnb rental at the corner of Wycliff and Cedar Springs eventually gave them a taste of the exact neighborhood they were looking for — “we fell in love,” Ballan said.
“The gym was at the corner, Katy Trail and Oaklawn Park was a short walk,” she added. “We liked the coffee shops, Eatzie’s, Kruger, Wholefoods and even Equinox at a walking distance.”
With a neighborhood in mind, the hunt intensified. But it was happenstance that helped the two actually land on the townhome that would turn them into homeowners for the first time.
“One day I was walking on Cedar Springs and saw a paper hanging on one of the polls,” Ballan said. “The was trying to sell the townhome and it was not listed on MLS.”
“I took one of those wet papers — the ink was all over because of the rain,” she recalled. She ran back to their Airbnb, she said, ready to call the homeowner.
“I was like ‘This is it we will buy this house,’” she said., adding that her husband told her to “slow down and call Shawn.”
“We called him and came to see the house very next day,” she said of their townhome at 4213 Dickason Avenue. “It was what I was looking for — two bedrooms downstairs and one has a patio door opening to a small city yard with mature trees.”
A second floor offers a big open concept common area with high ceilings and a kitchen that overlooks the yard — “I could see the trees while cooking,” Bellan said.
“At that moment I knew that we could create great memories in this house,” she said. “I started to talk about the art to put on the walls. Then the master suite upstairs was what I wanted. I always wanted to have a large closet with a bench and a small study to work while home. It was all in our price range.”
And if kismet didn’t feel strong enough, Ballan and Hinson found that the townhouse they were standing in not only met their wishlist, it met their budgetary needs, too.
“The price was in our budget and our budget was only allowing us to afford two bedrooms,” she said. “I couldn’t believe at first — but, it was so quick — we left the owner with earnest money that day.”
“He and his husband didn’t even think about where they would move,” Ballan said, adding that the sellers were equally caught up in the excitement, leaving the couple a bottle of champagne and bar chairs when they moved out a month later.
Having gotten their feet wet as homeowners, the two are now moving on to a new adventure, and are ready to become part of someone else’s real estate story.
“Now it is our turn to make another couple to make happy as we are moving to start a new life in another town and we would like to sell this house to some people or someone who loves the place as much as we do,” Ballan said.
In the market for a three-bedroom, two bathroom, 1,960 square foot townhome close to Katy Trail and all the Oak Lawn amenities? Ballan and Hinson’s home is listed for $419,000 by Jessica Clark with Real Living Real Estate Group.